What is the Bias Impact Response Team?
The Bias Impact Response Team (BIRT) is an interdisciplinary, interdepartmental group of NC State faculty and staff led by the Office for Institutional Equity and Diversity and trained to address the individual, group and institutional impacts of negatively biased behaviors, actions, policies and practices. In collaboration with the Campus Community Centers, college diversity offices and other key campus partners, BIRT offers a supportive process that allows for naming harm, listening to and educating one another and for building, repairing and/or restoring relationships and communities. BIRT draws on restorative principles and practices (affirmative and humble inquiry, community conferencing, circles, etc.) to guide students, faculty and staff as they process the impacts of bias incidents.
BIRT members and advocates participate in ongoing training on anti-bias (explicit and implicit), restorative practices and First Amendment/free speech/free expression.
Does the expression of political or social opinion cause bias impact?
Free expressions of opinion on social or political topics (even on controversial questions of race, gender, gender identity, etc.) are protected under the university’s Freedom of Speech and Expression Policy and therefore are not subject to disciplinary responses. However, we acknowledge that expressions of opinion can have harmful impacts on individuals and on the broader living and learning community – regardless of intention. In some instances, social or political actions, speech, policies and practices undervalue personal rights, dehumanize individuals and adversely impact morale. When this occurs, BIRT provides careful guidance and support for individuals and groups involved, equipping community members with the tools necessary to acknowledge those impacts and respond accordingly.
Is discrimination or sexual misconduct considered biased behaviors or actions?
Some, but not all, bias impact results from discriminatory harassment, sexual misconduct or other violations of university policy or law. These occurrences are subject to applicable disciplinary and legal processes. Policy violations are handled and redressed through the Office for Institutional Equity and Diversity, consistent with POL 04.25.05 and related Regulations. Student Conduct Code violations are handled and redressed through the Office of Student Conduct.
In these cases, however, BIRT remains in contact with the necessary departments and divisions and ensures that, when appropriate, restorative support is provided to impacted and responsible persons and/or groups.
A bias incident is an occurrence that does not give rise to an Equal Opportunity and Non-discrimination policy or Code of Student Conduct violation. Policy violations are handled and redressed through the Office for Institutional Equity and Diversity, consistent with POL 04.25.05 and related Regulations. Student Conduct Code violations are handled and redressed through the Office of Student Conduct.
What type of follow-up should I expect?
A BIRT advocate contacts persons who submitted a report to 1) ensure that we understand the concern; 2) assess any immediate support needs; and 3) discuss next steps for you and other impacted individuals. Reporters requesting additional support will receive confirmation of receipt and should anticipate additional outreach from the response team. If your report is for “information only,” a BIRT advocate may contact you for additional details or to provide an update on next steps. If you have immediate questions or concerns and would like to speak to someone, please contact BIRT Coordinator Adrienne M. B. Davis, at 919-515-4755 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.