Office of Diversity and Inclusion

Bias Incident Response Guidelines

The University is committed to maintaining a campus environment free from unlawful discrimination and harassment.  Please use these guidelines if you witness or experience a bias incident so that the University may promptly and effectively respond.  The University recognizes that each incident is unique and must be addressed as such.  As a result, the information listed below is merely a guide.  All incidents should be assessed in light of the fact that the University is deeply committed to addressing bias on campus.

WHAT IS A BIAS INCIDENT?     

Bias incidents are acts committed against a person or group that are motivated in whole or in part by prejudice against the person’s or group’s sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, national origin, race, religion, disability, veteran status or other protected class. 

Please note that just because the expression of an idea or point of view may be offensive or inflammatory, it is not necessarily a bias incident. The University values freedom of expression and the open exchange of ideas, and the expression of controversial ideas and differing views is a vital part of the University’s mission.

WHAT SHOULD I DO WHEN I LEARN OF A BIAS INCIDENT?

When you see, hear of or experience an incident, you should:

A. If you believe there is a risk of imminent harm, a crime, or a threat, please contact the University Police Department (412-624-2121).  This includes graffiti incidents.  The Facilities Management Department also informs the Police Department of graffiti incidents.

B. Promptly contact the University’s Office of Diversity and Inclusion (“ODI”) at (412-648-7860) diversity@pitt.edu, or at http://www.diversity.pitt.edu/report-incident. A staff member will promptly reach out to you seeking all relevant information such as: the name of the person who experienced the incident, the name(s) of the alleged perpetrator(s), what occurred, date, time and location.

C. Promptly contact/inform your immediate supervisor, director or dean.

D. Retain all relevant records, photographs, documentation and materials relating to the incident.

E. If there is a known victim, explain to that person that you will report the incident to your supervisor and ODI, and that while the University is sensitive to concerns about confidentiality that sometimes arise, it is obligated to investigate and cannot guarantee confidentiality.

F. If the victim wants to talk with someone who can maintain complete confidentiality, direct the victim to confidential resources such as the University Counseling Center (412-648-7930) or Life Solutions at http://www.hr.pitt.edu/lifesolutions.

G. Be aware that ODI and the appropriate leader in your department or unit will help establish the appropriate Response Team for the particular incident, which may include partners like departmental leadership, the Division of Student Affairs, the Provost’s Office, Human Resources, the Police Department, University Communications, etc.  

H. Be aware that ODI and your departmental leadership will make prompt contact with affected individuals or group(s), offer the appropriate support resources (see above), and let them know that that the incident has been reported and will be investigated and addressed.

I. Be aware that ODI and your departmental leadership will assess the need for immediate interim measures to address issues that impact the affected person's educational or employment environment. Common interim measures include "No Contact Orders," changes in work schedules, job assignments or housing, restricted access to faculties and referrals to counseling centers.

J. Know that ODI and the response team will conduct a prompt, thorough investigation, to include an analysis of the incident/facts, and will make recommendations to the relevant department/responsibility center. 

K. Continue to communicate with ODI and the response team relating to resolution and beyond.

Together we can work to maintain an educational and work environment that is free from unlawful harassment and discrimination.  Incident reporting and response is a critical component of building that culture.