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Reporting Incidents of Bias

Acts of discrimination and harassment can be reported to the police and Monmouth University officials, and so can situations of bias.

According to the University policy, an incidence of bias is any suspected or confirmed offense or unlawful act that occurs to a person or private property on the basis of race, color, religion, gender, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, national origin, or ethnicity.

The editorial staff of The Outlook discussed what they would do in situations of bias, and the fact that such incidences can be reported on campus.

The editors were asked whether or not they would intervene if they witnessed a situation of bias. 

The majority of editors agreed that they would intervene but this depended on various factors.

“I think [reporting an incident of bias] would depend on the severity of the situation, and how hurt I personally felt, after the fact,” one editor said.  

Another editor stated they would need to know all of the details of the situation and the process of reporting before doing so.

“I would intervene whether I knew them or not because either way I’m going to fight for what I think is right,” said one editor.

University procedures indicate that those who witness bias and hate related incidents should collect as much information as possible, and be available to speak with the appropriate authority about the incident. 

It is one thing to stand up for people that you know, but what about a stranger? 

“I would intervene whether I knew them or not because either way I’m going to fight for what I think is right,” said one editor.

“If I didn’t know the people involved I think before I would report anything I would intervene and ask if the person is okay, how they feel, and explain that I feel the situation should be reported for their best interest,” continued the editor. 

The staff also gave their thoughts on why people may not intervene in such scenarios. 

“I feel that reporting a situation of bias may cause harm to the victim involved, especially if they are already in a vulnerable population, and you would not want to put them through any unnecessary struggle with the system at large,” said another editor.

“I think people don’t intervene in situations because a lot of times they may think the victim can handle it themselves, or feel that it is not their place,” said one editor. “Sometimes maybe the person is too shy to intervene and may feel that someone else will do it, if they don’t,” continued the editor. 

This is the Bystander Effect. According to Encyclopedia Britannica, the bystander effect is a phenomenon that occurs when an individual is less likely to extend help in a situation if other people are present. The more people there are, the less likely someone is to help because they feel that someone else in the group will rise to the occasion. 

One editor shared this sentiment: “People may experience the true bystander effect and not feel capable of intervening in a situation. Incidences of bias can vary in degree and form, so it’s not always as simple to get directly involved.” 

Another editor mentioned that people may not do anything in these types of situations because bias is not thought to be as serious as discrimination or prejudice. 

“Bias is a serious issue that I feel is not taken as seriously as it should. Bias can make students feel uncomfortable in the classroom and anywhere else on campus. Students should feel comfortable enough to report these incidents,” said an editor.

If you experience or witness a situation of bias, report it directly to the Monmouth University Police Department at 732-571-4444 or the Office of Equity & Diversity at 732-571-7577. The Bias Incident or Bias Crime policy can be found online at  

PHOTO COURTESY of Monmouth University