Bias Response and Support System

Our community at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health is committed to creating an inclusive working, learning, and living environment where all are respected. The occurrence of bias related incidents, involving conduct, speech, or expressions reflecting prejudice are an opportunity for learning and growing as a community. At the request of faculty, students, and staff, and in partnership with Student Conduct and Community Standards, the School has developed a Bias Response & Support System (BRSS) that will aid us in:

  • Addressing bias-related concerns
  • Ensuring that community members receive necessary support
  • Identifying patterns of bias and best practices in promoting a bias-free environment that will be used to inform future programming and further our growth as an inclusive community

BRSS will ensure that we hold each other and ourselves accountable to the School’s commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion by acknowledging and addressing bias-related concerns.

Events and experiences communicated through the BRSS will also allow the Director of ODCI to connect community members with appropriate resources and support available at the School as well as through partner offices at the University. When events or experiences shared with the Director of ODCI involve specific allegations of discrimination, harassment, or gender-based misconduct, it is especially important for the Director of ODCI to consult with the appropriate partner offices for any additional guidance or resources.

BRSS is one of many tools provided by Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health that will support us as we co-create a community dedicated to learning and developing skills needed to bridge differences.

access the BRSS


To report a violation of Columbia University’s Non-Discrimination Statement and Policy, Gender-Based Misconduct Policy and Procedures for Students, and/or Employee Policies and Procedures on Discrimination, Harassment, Sexual Assault, Domestic Violence, Dating Violence and Stalking, please fill out the Discrimination, Harassment, Gender-Based Misconduct form.

 

Who may use the BRSS?

All members of our community (staff, students, faculty, and alumni) and anyone observing or experiencing a potential bias-related incident involving our community members can use this form to communicate with the Director of the Office of Diversity, Culture, and Inclusion (ODCI). The system can be accessed with or without a UNI.

Community members are especially encouraged to notify the BRSS of events and experiences that are bias-free or inclusive. 

What is a bias-related incident?

A bias-related incident occurs when language or behavior conveys prejudice against individuals because of a dimension of their identity (race, color, religion, sex, gender, gender identity, pregnancy, age, national origin, disability, sexual orientation, marital status, status as a victim of domestic violence, citizenship or immigration status, creed, genetic predisposition or carrier status, unemployment status, partnership status, military status, or any other applicable legally protected status). 

What are some examples of bias-related incidents?

Examples of bias-related incidents include, but are not limited to:

  • Learning/working environment microaggressions. 
    • Microaggressions are “brief commonplace daily verbal, behavior, and environmental indignities, whether intentional or unintentional, that communicate hostile, derogatory, or negative…slights and insults to the target person or group on the basis of their membership to a marginalized group” (Sue, 2010).
  • Feedback or appraisal based on identity. 

What happens if I notify the BRSS?

After the BRSS has received your notification, the Director of ODCI will review it within 72 hours to assess whether an incident appears to be bias related, and then ensure that proper procedures are followed. 

Following the initial review several options for resolution will be offered. These include:

  • Being contacted, within 72 hours of submitting your report, by the Director of ODCI if you have agreed to being contacted;
  • A conversation with individuals involved to explore options for resolution;
  • Referrals to appropriate resources for those affected.

Of course, the option not to pursue further action is always available.  

In cases where someone other than the individual who experienced the bias-related incident notifies the BRSS, the Director of ODCI will make every effort to speak with the individual to discuss available on-campus/off-campus resources and options. 

What if I notify the BRSS anonymously?

Information from anonymous sources will be treated in a similar fashion. The Director of ODCI will make every effort to reach out to involved parties. Due to the nature of anonymous notifications, action in response to an anonymous notification may be limited. However, you are still encouraged to submit; any information entered into the BRSS will be useful in identifying and addressing experiences and patterns of bias in our community. 

What happens with the data gathered through the BRSS?

All data gathered through the BRSS will be de-identified and disaggregated by department/office, reviewed by the Bias Incident Response Team (BIRT), and included in ODCI’s annual summary report so that we can monitor our progress and continue learning as a community.

Who are the members of BIRT?

Members of this advisory team include:

  • The Director of the Office of Diversity, Culture, and Inclusion: Raygine DiAquoi, EdD
  • The Vice Dean of Education: Julie Kornfeld, PhD
  • The Dean of Students: Marlyn Delva, EdD

The team will meet quarterly to review notifications submitted to the BRSS.

Please email the Office of Diversity, Culture, and Inclusion if you have additional questions.