Bias Response Team

Bias Education Resource Team

The Fairfield University Bias Education Resource Team (BERT) grew out of the President's Institutional Diversity Council (PIDC). The Bias Response Team is a new mechanism/remedy under our Non-Discrimination and Harassment Policy (see the Student Handbook).

Fairfield University is committed to promoting a community based in the Jesuit tradition of care for the whole person.  With this in mind, the Fairfield University community has an important mechanism in place to coordinate and support individuals and the community in the wake of certain types of bias-related incident on campus.  

The Role of the Bias Education and Resource Team

The Fairfield University Bias Education Resource Team (BERT) is made up of administrators from different offices and operates under the auspices of the Title IX Coordinator who works with the Vice President for Human Resources and the Provost for Academic Affairs.  There is a convener who will organize meetings, trainings etc as needed.

The Bias Education and Resource Team (BERT) will:

  • Collect and refer all reports ( written or verbally) to the appropriate parties (Dean of Students, Title IX Coordinator, Vice President of Human Resources or designee, and the Provost of Academic Affairs or designee). 
  • Provide educational outreach as a means of preventing and responding to certain types of bias-related incidents when the responsible party cannot be identified.
  • Assists different bodies such as the Diversity leadership Team, Title IX, Human Resources, Dean of Students in setting clear standards for administrative responses to bias related incidents that do not fit the informal and formal mechanisms of the Non-Discrimination and Harassment policy as stated in the Student and Human Resources Handbooks.
  • Provide direct support to individual(s) who are targeted, the witness to a bias incident or hate crime though the process of reporting any bias-motivated incident. 
  • BERT members will partner with individuals affected by bias incidents to identify appropriate resources and responses.
  • The BERT will also convenes in the wake of critical campus incident to respond to the needs of students and the community in conjunction with appropriate offices.  

The BERT will assemble on as-needed-basis determined by the convener of the BERT in consultation with appropriate university personnel. The team will meet to review incidents, to discuss team and campus educational and training needs, and to determine potential recommendations to appropriate senior administrators of the university.

What is a Bias Incident at Fairfield University?

Fairfield University defines bias as language or behaviors that demonstrate bias against persons or groups because of race, color, ethnicity, religion, faith, national origin, political orientation, or sexual orientation, in which the perpetrator(s) cannot be identified and/or the acts of bias do not rise to the level of discrimination or harassment for purposes of Title IX. An example of bias might be graffiti appearing on the wall of a commonly used space on campus.

Any member of the University community impacted by the acts of bias are encouraged to report the behavior to the Bias Education and Resource Team. The Bias Education and Resource Team serves to advocate for both individuals and groups impacted by acts of bias and will assist in situations including but not necessarily limited to those in which the perpetrator of the bias cannot be identified and/or when the behavior in question does not constitute discrimination or rise to the level of harassment for Title IX purposes.

Identifying and Reporting Bias

Student, faculty, and staff who witness or experience bias activity or find evidence (or hear about past incidents) on Fairfield University's campus that impacts the campus community are strongly encouraged to report it to the appropriate parties: Department of Public Safety, Dean of Students, Office of Residence Life, or complete a confidential Report of Incident as soon as possible.

Reporting is confidential and open to students, faculty, and staff. While bias incidents can be documented through this form, incidents of discrimination or harassment or other acts which are criminal under law should be reported immediately to the Department of Public Safety or the Office of the Dean of Students.

Online Reporting Form

Members of the Fairfield University community are encouraged to report all types of bias-related incidents to the Bias Education and Resource Team via the online Bias Education and Resource Team Reporting Form located in

  • Students can report incidents of bias from the Student tab/University Activities
  • Faculty and staff can report incidents of bias from the Employee tab/Human Resources/Quick Links
  • Reports can also be submitted directly at here.

This report will result in:

  • Appropriate involvement/communication from the Bias Response Team to the community.
  • The Bias Response Team will follow up with the complainant to discuss the process, options, and resources available and when relevant (i.e., consistent with the wishes of the complainant), to bring it to the attention of the broader community.
  • Intervention with witness(es) of the bias activity with assistance from the Dean of Students, Department of Public Safety, and Office of Human Resources if applicable

The Bias Response Team's processes do not create a new category of prohibited behavior or a new process for members of the University community to be disciplined or sanctioned. The Bias Response Team has no authority to discipline any student or member of the faculty or staff. When reported conduct is subject to existing University disciplinary or judicial procedures, the Bias Response Team does not have jurisdiction and will refer the complainant to the appropriate University department.

For additional information regarding the BERT, please see the Student Handbook or contact chair, Ophelia Rowe Allen at

BERT Members include:

  • Provost for Academic Affairs
  • Vice President of Human Resources
  • Title IX Coordinator
  • Director of Residence Life
  • Director of Student Diversity and Multicultural Affairs
  • Associate Director of Student Engagement
  • Marketing and Communications
  • Director of Public Safety

Additional support

Staff in the following departments and the university Title IX Coordinator are available to support and guide individuals seeking assistance in determining how to handle a bias incident.

  • Athletics Department
  • Campus Ministry
  • Counseling and Psychological Services
  • International Student Services
  • Student Accessibility Services
  • Student Diversity and Multicultural Affairs 

If there is an emergency and/or you feel your safety or someone else's is at risk, please call the Department of Public Safety at 203-254-4090.


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