Reporting Bias Incidents

Bias incident reporting data and trends

At the University of Washington, we value and honor diverse experiences and perspectives, strive to create welcoming and respectful learning environments and promote access and opportunity. At the same time, our institutional commitment to freedom of expression encourages members of our University community to hold and express views that are sometimes unpopular or troubling to others.

To help us fulfill our commitment to addressing bias at the individual, institutional, and systemic levels, in the fall of 2016, the Bias Incident Advisory Committee (BIAC) was established in partnership with the Office of Student Life and the Office of Minority Affairs and Diversity. The committee is charged with collecting data regarding bias incidents occurring in our university community to reveal a clearer picture of what our students, staff and academic personnel are experiencing; and providing information to members of the community regarding support resources (e.g., Counseling Center, Ethnic Cultural Center, Q Center, Safe campus, Ombud) as well as presenting options for reporting to an investigative body (e.g., UWPD or other law enforcement, Community Standards & Student Conduct, the University Complaint Investigation & Resolution Office). Additionally, when the reported incident is one that has an effect on all UW communities, the committee collaborates with campus partners to help develop and implement opportunities for broader community support, healing, and learning. The Bias Incident Advisory Committee launched an online reporting tool in November 2016

Reporting trends: July 1, 2020 – June 30, 2021

During the 2020-21 academic year, 118 reports were submitted via the Bias Incident Reporting tool. This number is 83 fewer reports than 2019-20; this could be attributable to the COVID-19 pandemic and the vast majority of campus working and learning remotely. Of the 118 reports during 2020-21, 46 (39%) were submitted anonymously. The anonymity feature remains important, as some students, academic personnel, or staff may feel nervous about identifying themselves in a report, but they still wish to have the incident they experienced documented. While anonymous reports may reduce the committee’s ability to provide resources and options, the information is invaluable in tracking trends and partnering with departments across campus to address ongoing concerns.

Each report is categorized under a bias “topic” based on categories as defined by the reporter of the incident.  Of the 118 reports, 63 (53%) were filed under the topic “Discrimination,” meaning that the person was reporting either witnessing or experiencing discrimination based on a protected category.  In addition to “discrimination.” the following were listed as the “primary concerns” in order of prevalence:

Primary Concern Number of Reports
Discrimination 63
Harassment 20
Flyers/Posters/Posts 10
Bullying 7
Intimidation/Threat 7
Graffiti/Malicious symbols 3
Damage/Destruction to Property 2
Verbal Assault 2
Written Assault 2

Reporters are asked to select what they perceive to be the basis of the bias incident. The table below highlights the highest to lowest among the topics selected by those who submitted a report (please note: reporters may choose more than one topic):

Basis Count
Race 34
Ethnicity 23
General Climate 16
National Origin 13
Gender 12
Employee/Coworker Relations 8
Retaliation 8
Accommodation Request 6
Disability 6
HR Policy 6
Religion/Creed 6
Age 5
Sexual Harassment 5
Gender Identity/Expression 4
Sexual Orientation 3
Pregnancy/Family Responsibilities 2
Childcare/Eldercare 1
Marital Status/Family Status 1
Ex-Offender Status 0
Veteran Status 0