The University of San Diego’s mission statement affirms the institution’s commitment to advancing academic excellence and creating a diverse and inclusive community. Existing USD policy affirms the institution’s commitment to creating and maintaining an environment that is free of discrimination and harassment. In furtherance of USD’s mission and policies, USD prohibits and does not tolerate hate crimes or bias incidents.
Hate crimes are different from other crimes in that they are “message crimes.” The perpetrator of a hate crime sends a message to members of a certain group that they are unwelcome. As such, hate crimes are an affront to a community that values diversity and strives to create an inclusive environment. When one person in the community is the target of a hate crime, the entire community often feels at risk. Hate crimes can divide communities by raising levels of fear and suspicion which lowers openness and cooperation among its members. While bias incidents may not necessarily constitute crimes, they often have the same effect and impact upon the university community as do hate crimes.
USD expects all members of the university community to abide by the law. USD also expects all members of the university community to comply with applicable university policies, including those that set forth the standards of behavior expected of community members, such as the Student Code of Rights and Responsibilities and the Policy Prohibiting Discrimination and Harassment. Both applicable law and USD policy address and prohibit hate crimes and bias incidents.
USD adopts these Response Procedures in furtherance of the university’s existing policies and applicable law.
Hate crimes are against the law. Under California law, a hate crime means a criminal act committed, in whole or in part, because of one or more of the following actual or perceived characteristics of the victim: (1) disability, (2) gender, (3) nationality, (4) race or ethnicity, (5) religion, (6) sexual orientation, or (7) association with a person or group with one or more of these actual or perceived characteristics. Hate crimes are not separate distinct crimes, but rather are traditional offenses motivated by the offender’s bias. Hate crimes may include crimes involving not only offenses against persons but also offenses involving damage to property, such as breaking windows of religious institutions, spray painting walls with offensive words and/or symbols, or defacing or burning property.
Hate crimes also violate university policy, including for example the Student Code of Rights and Responsibilities and the Policy Prohibiting Discrimination and Harassment. A student, group of students, student organization, or employee found to have violated such policies is subject to appropriate disciplinary action up to and including separation from the university. The university also will take appropriate corrective action against individuals who engage in hate crimes who are not students or employees when the conduct occurs on university property or otherwise is university-related.
Bias incidents, on the other hand, may not meet the necessary elements required to prove a hate crime under California law, but the behavior may violate university policy or state or federal civil law. A bias incident is conduct that is motivated, in whole or in part, because of the victim’s actual or perceived disability, gender, nationality, race, ethnicity, religion, or sexual orientation. Examples of bias incidents include dissemination of racist flyers, defacing of a student organization flyer, name-calling, and other similar conduct that is motivated by the actual or perceived protected status of a person or a group. A student, group of students, student organization or employee found to have violated such policies is subject to appropriate disciplinary action up to and including separation from the university. The university also will take appropriate action against individuals who engage in bias incidents who are not students or employees when the conduct occurs on university property or otherwise is university-related.
What can I do if I am the victim of a hate crime or a bias incident?
- Promptly report all hate crimes and bias incidents. Hate crimes and bias incidents should never be written off as "pranks" or "bad behavior." This type of behavior should not be tolerated in classrooms, residence halls, in offices, study areas, social gatherings or elsewhere on campus or as part of any university activities. A person who commits a hate crime or engages in biased behavior can not be held accountable for his or her actions if the incident is not reported. The university encourages the prompt reporting of all hate crimes and bias incidents.
- Preserve any evidence related to the incident (e.g. graffiti, phone call recording, e-mail message, letter, photo, flyer) and make that evidence available when the report is made.
- Be aware of your reporting options.
To make a report, contact:
Department of Public Safety
Office: Hughes Administration Center, Room 151
Phone: (619) 260-2222 (24-hour emergency line).
Complaints that fall within the scope of the Policy Prohibiting Discrimination and Harassment also may be reported in the manner described by that policy.
To make an anonymous report:
Download the report form by clicking here, and send it to one of the offices listed after filling out the appropriate information.
If you are unsure of whether to report, and would like to obtain assistance and/or explore options in a confidential setting, contact:
Office: Serra Hall 300
Phone (619) 260-4655.
Counselors are also available after hours by calling 619-260-2222.
What if I have additional questions?
Additional questions may be directed as follows:
Inquiries by Students:
Dean of Students
Office: University Center, Room 232
Phone: (619) 260-4588
Assistant Dean for Diversity and Inclusion and Director of UFMC
United Front Multicultural Center
Office: University Center, Room 128
Phone: (619) 260-2395
Inquiries by Employees:
Director of Employee Relations and Diversity
Department of Human Resources
Office: Maher Hall, Room 101
Phone: (619) 260-4594
What will USD do when it receives a report of an alleged hate crime or bias incident?
After receiving a report, Public Safety will:
- Take every case seriously
- Meet promptly with the individual who made the report
- Discuss options and review this Response Procedure
- Conduct, arrange for, or oversee an investigation. As appropriate, an investigation may involve the appropriate local law enforcement agencies. The investigation may be referred to, overseen or conducted by other appropriate university officials when a complaint falls within the scope of another applicable policy, such as the Policy Prohibiting Discrimination and Harassment.
- Contact the appropriate campus resources to provide help and support (e.g., Counseling Center’s on call psychologist, Dean of Students or designee, or another appropriate university representative)
- All reports by or involving students will be forwarded to the Dean of Students.
- All reports by or involving employees will be forwarded to Human Resources.
- As needed, arrange for appropriate reporting of the incident (e.g. on the San Diego County Hate Crimes Registry or as part of the Annual Safety and Security Report)
- As appropriate, the university’s Critical Incident Response Team or the Sensitive Issues Team will be convened to respond to the situation and take appropriate action.
For reports that fall within the scope of other applicable university policies, please see those policies for a description of response steps that will be taken by the university.
What are the university’s disciplinary proceedings and sanctions?
Where the alleged offender is a student, the matter will be handled in a manner consistent with the Student Code of Rights and Responsibilities. Corrective action will be initiated as appropriate under the circumstances, and may range from verbal warnings up to and including dismissal from the university.
Where the alleged offender is an employee, the matter will be handled in a manner consistent with the Policy Prohibiting Discrimination and Harassment. Corrective action will be initiated as appropriate under the circumstances and may range from verbal warnings up to and including termination from employment. If termination of a faculty member is contemplated, the applicable rules governing dismissal for serious cause will be followed.
Where the alleged offender is not a student or employee of the university, corrective action within the reasonable control of the university, and as appropriate under the circumstances, will be initiated and may include removal of permission to be on the university’s campus or to participate in university activities.
As appropriate, incidents may be referred to the appropriate local law enforcement agencies.
Will I be retaliated against if I report a hate crime or a bias incident?
No. The university prohibits and does not tolerate retaliation against any individual who in good faith files a complaint of a hate crime or bias incident or is involved as a witness or participant in the complaint or investigation process. Engaging in retaliation can result in disciplinary action, up to and including separation from the university.
The Department of Public Safety has developed a system for informing the campus community of a variety of crimes or incidents that pose a threat to the safety of the university community. The system includes four levels of notification depending on the nature of the risk to the campus community. The methods of notification include for example: automated mass electronic notification system (phone, text and email); campus-wide e-mail; physical posting of safety/security notification flyers on doors and bulletin boards; and electronic announcements on my.sandiego.edu, the Vista newspaper and the Department of Public Safety website.
The university will consider the facts and circumstances of each reported hate crime or bias incident to determine whether the incident meets the criteria for a campus notification. The university’s Sensitive Issues Team or Critical Incident Response Team may be involved in evaluating the appropriate level of notification in a particular case.
Notifications may include, as appropriate, some or all of the following information: a description of the incident; any action required by community members if necessary; where to find additional safety and crime prevention information; a contact location or source for additional or updated information; and information regarding the university’s response and action plans.
- Learn more about community organizations challenging hate on campus. You can get involved in promoting awareness and openness.
- Dispel prejudices and racist ideas by taking the opportunity to counter distorted views.
- If you know a victim, offer your help, provide support, and show the victim that you and the university community care about their well-being. Encourage the victim to report the incident.
- Do not write off hate crimes and bias incidents as "pranks" or "bad behavior." Follow the reporting procedures listed above.
- Do not assume that someone else has made a report of an incident you observed or experienced. Report the incident yourself.
- Do not participate in activities or visit websites that perpetuate hateful or biased behavior.
- Be part of a community that does not tolerate any act of discrimination, harassment or hate.
- To learn more about USD’s efforts to educate our community please visit www.sandiego.edu/unitedfront/
Effective September 24, 2008
Crime Prevention Home Page
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Hate Crimes/Bias Incidents Response Procedures
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Alcohol and Other Drug Policies
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