Bias Education Support Team (BEST)
What is BEST?
Seton Hall University’s Bias Education Support Team (BEST) is a cross-campus team of administrators, faculty, and students to whom members of the University community can report instances of bias. BEST will provide support-related resources to campus community members who have experienced, witnessed, and/or are aware of a bias incident; act as intermediaries; and design programs, events, education, and outreach initiatives to aid in the prevention and elimination of bias incidents on our campuses.
Seton Hall University supports a safe, diverse, and inclusive environment that recognizes the dignity of all, and helps to ensure that our campuses are affirming and welcoming of all students, faculty, administrators, staff, Trustees, Regents, officers, vendors and guests. The Bias Education Support Team is a University-wide initiative that educates the campus community about bias and provides resources to report and receive support for bias-related incidents, thus enhancing the campus climate by promoting positive change.
What is a Bias Incident?
A “Bias Incident” is defined as a verbal, written, or physical act that threatens or harms a person or group on the basis of actual or perceived race, religion, color, sex, age, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, national origin, ancestry, disability, marital status, civil union status, domestic partnership status, atypical heredity or cellular blood trait, military service or veteran status, or membership in any other protected class in accordance with federal and state law, and that interferes with one’s educational opportunities or disrupts the learning environment.
Why Report Bias?
When someone reports an incident of bias, it helps Seton Hall University maintain an inclusive campus community where all members feel welcomed, affirmed, and supported. Additionally, awareness of bias-related incidents supports Seton Hall University’s efforts in educating and empowering all of its community members to advance diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives.
The University urges anyone who has experienced or witnessed a Bias Incident to report it to BEST via BEST’s incident reporting process.
Reports will be treated as confidentially as possible, on a need-to-know basis. Once a Bias Incident is reported, the BEST co-chairs will review and the Chief Equity, Diversity & Compliance Officer (CEDCO) will make the final determination in accordance with University policy as to whether the Bias Incident should be investigated through the University’s Office of EEO and Title IX Compliance, or another University office or through BEST.
A prompt and thorough investigation will, thereafter, proceed. All campus entities will adhere to FERPA regulations when handling reports and information submitted via this website. An investigator and co-investigator will be assigned to review applicable reported incidents.
How Do I File a Bias Report?
- File a new report online and click on Bias-Related Incidents
- Follow-up an existing report or
- Phone-in a report: (888) 236-7522
You may also file a report by contacting the BEST Team at BEST@shu.edu or calling Lori Brown, CEDCO at (973) 313-6132 for more information.
Responding to Reports of Bias
For all reports of a Bias Incident containing contact information, and if the CEDCO determines that review by BEST is appropriate, a BEST member will contact the reporting person and if desired, offer a meeting to discuss the incident in detail, and explore a plan for resolution. During this meeting, the reporting person can expect to obtain information about related University policies, procedures, and resources.
When a Bias Incident is determined by the CEDCO to not involve a violation of law or University policy, BEST members may offer to assist in implementing remedying solutions, called BEST practices. Subject to an individual’s privacy rights, BEST practices include, but are not limited to:
- Connecting reporters with necessary resources
- Facilitated dialogue with the affected individual (with their consent)
- Facilitated dialogue with all parties involved in the incident/community (with their consent)
- Restorative circles, such as hearing circles and peace circles
- Prevention and Education
- Speak-outs and testimonials
- Other restorative remedies
Although BEST may refer affected parties to additional resources, BEST cannot initiate disciplinary action or impose sanctions.
If an individual claims that the individual has been subjected to retaliation as a result of reporting a Bias Incident and/or assisting in the investigation of a Bias Incident, the BEST co-chairs will review and the CEDCO will refer the matter to the appropriate University office for investigation and determination of the appropriate discipline.
In the event an individual makes a false report of a Bias Incident, provides false information during the investigation process and/or fails to cooperate in the investigation of a Bias Incident, the BEST co-chairs will review and the CEDCO will refer the matter to the appropriate University office for investigation, if necessary, and to determine the appropriate discipline.
BEST shall assist the University in documenting and reporting Bias Incidents that occur on campus. Bias Incident data will be used to develop community educational and outreach programs.
Lori Brown, Chief Equity, Diversity & Compliance Officer
Majid Whitney, Assistant Vice President, Sr. Associate Dean, Campus Inclusion & Community