The Bias Data Gathering System (BDGS) serves to support Kalamazoo College community members by providing an online mechanism to submit reports of bias related incidents on campus. Through compiling information about the incidents and the nature of bias experienced, the College can offer care and support, discern patterns, and determine strategies that may minimize the likelihood of future harm. Strategies for minimizing the likelihood of future harm may include educational meetings with students; professional development for staff and faculty; restorative conversations; prevention programming; and policy initiatives. When BDGS receives submissions that report an alleged violation of a College policy, such as discrimination based upon a legally protected category as outlined in the College’s Nondiscrimination Policy, the appropriate office reviews for consideration under relevant College policies.
The BDGS is overseen by the Bias Incident Response Team (BIRT): J. Malcolm Smith, Vice President for Student Development and Dean of Students; Danette Ifert Johnson, Provost; and Renee Boelcke, Associate Vice President for Human Resources. Since its inception, BIRT continues to seek continuous improvement of BDGS, including increased accessibility to the BDGS through prominently posting the BDGS reporting link on campus webpage banners and encouraging faculty to include information about BDGS in their syllabi.
BIRT compiles a BDGS Annual Report that includes bias related incident reports submitted through BDGS each calendar year (January 1st and December 31st). The following report is for the time period January 1, 2023 through December 31, 2023.
Bias Related Incident Definition
Bias refers to a preconceived negative preference, inclination, or attitude about groups of people, often based on physical, cultural, religious, or social identities. The term ‘bias related incident’ refers to language and/or behaviors that demonstrate bias against persons because of, but not limited to, their actual or perceived identities. Examples may include defacing posters or signs, intimidating comments or messages, vandalism to personal or college property, or similar acts, if the targets or persons harmed were chosen because of a characteristic such as those listed above.
Although an expression of an idea or point of view may be offensive or inflammatory to some, it is not necessarily a bias-related incident. The College encourages freedom of expression and the open exchange of ideas. Intellectual academic discourse often involves the expression of controversial ideas and differing views. Accordingly, ‘bias related incident’ does not include speech historically and currently protected by College policies.
Aggregate Data Review
The information contained in this report refers to bias related incident reports submitted to BDGS through its online form between January 1, 2023 and December 31, 2023 and may not capture bias-related incidents reported through other College systems. BIRT also acknowledges that BDGS reports do not encompass all bias related incidents that may have occurred on campus as underreporting is likely. Additionally, this report is presented in aggregate form to protect the privacy of those involved.
During calendar year 2023, two (2) bias related incident reports were submitted through BDGS. Each submission reported a bias related incident concerning race. In both reports, the reporting parties provided their names and contact information for additional follow-up by BIRT and/or the appropriate office. This is the third consecutive year in which reporters welcomed additional follow-up. In both matters, the reporters were students reporting conduct by staff.
This bar chart is a visual representation comparing the number of reports in 2023 (2 reports); 2022 (7 reports); 2021 (7 reports); and 2020 (8 reports). FN1
While the purpose of the Bias Data Gathering System is to compile information about the reported incidence and nature of bias on campus, BIRT carefully reviewed each report and responded to persons involved with support and education. As indicated above, this annual report does not include outcomes of reviews conducted under College policies.
BIRT will continue to monitor the use of BDGS and assess the reasons for the decrease in BDGS reports during calendar year 2023.
The Kalamazoo College community is committed to addressing bias related incidents on campus as part of our mission to better understand, live successfully within, and provide enlightened leadership to an increasingly complex world. The Bias Data Gathering System is an important tool in this effort. BDGS, including subsequent follow-ups with reporters and others and outcomes thereof, informs the ongoing work of the Offices of Human Resources, the Provost, and Student Development. This work includes supportive responses to specific reports as well as broader planning for educational, professional development, and policy initiatives that support rigorous intellectual academic discourse in a supportive learning and work environment free from bias related incidents.
Renee Boelcke, Associate Vice President for Human Resources
Danette Ifert Johnson, Provost
J. Malcolm Smith, Vice President for Student Development and Dean of Students
Contact Renee at firstname.lastname@example.org to receive a printed copy of this report.
(1) In 2019, there were no bias related incidents reported. Significantly, in 2019, BDGS was only a year old when the pandemic began and stay at home orders were enacted due to the pandemic.