Washington University in St. Louis values diversity, inclusion and human dignity, and strives to foster an environment in which all community members are respected and able to take part in academic, co-curricular and social activities.
Following these values, the university developed a system through which students, faculty, staff and community members who have experienced or witnessed incidents of bias, prejudice or discrimination involving a student can report their experiences to the university’s Bias Report and Support System (BRSS) team. If you would like to report a bias incident that does not involve a student, please contact Human Resources.
The BRSS team will:
- Support students who have witnessed or been the target of bias-related incidents.
- Refer community members to appropriate university and local resources, and educate reporters on what to expect from each resource.
- Inform the university community about the frequency and nature of bias incidents through semesterly summary reports to drive discussion around making Washington University more diverse and inclusive. In addition to providing regular reports, the BRSS coordinator will meet with the vice chancellor for students and the vice provost to discuss our community’s climate and areas for potential improvement.
What Is a Bias Incident?
A bias incident is any discriminatory or hurtful act that appears to be or is perceived by the victim to be motivated by race, ethnicity, age, religion, national origin, sex, disability, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, veteran status or socioeconomic status. To be considered an incident, the act is not required to be a crime under any federal, state or local statutes, nor does it have to violate university policy.
Filing a Report
If you have witnessed an incident of hate, bias and/or discrimination involving a student, you have several options for filing a report:
1. Report Online
Complete the BRSS online form. Once the online form has been completed, the BRSS coordinator will receive an email notification and assign your report to a BRSS team member.
2. Report by Phone
Call the BRSS at 314-935-7535 during business hours of 8:30 a.m. – 5 p.m. Monday-Friday. After-hours calls will be returned during the next business day.
3. Report by Printing Form
Print, fill out and submit a BRSS paper form (PDF) via campus mail to the BRSS office at Campus Box 1061.
4. Report in Person
Provide an in-person report during a meeting with the BRSS coordinator or a BRSS team member. Schedule a meeting via email.
If, for any reason, you do not want to provide identifying information when you file a report, you have the option to fill out the BRSS form anonymously online by selecting the “For Information Only” option. Please note that a brief description of the incident will be included in the quarterly summary report.
Non-anonymous BRSS reports on the Washington University School of Medicine campus are sent to the assistant provost who assists WUSM students in navigating their programs and connects them with the relevant policies and contacts within those programs.
After Your Report Is Filed
If you select the “For Support and Referral” option, a BRSS team member will contact you to schedule an in-person meeting. During this meeting, the team member will:
- Listen and support you as you provide details of the incident
- Identify campus and community resources to help you understand your options
- Walk you through what to expect should you choose to utilize referrals
After your in-person meeting, you will receive an email from your team member to make sure the BRSS has answered your questions and provided appropriate referrals.
The university will strive to protect, to the greatest extent possible, the confidentiality of persons reporting to the BRSS and of those involved in the reported incident. Because the university may have an obligation to address certain reported incidents, however, the university cannot guarantee complete confidentiality where it would conflict with the university’s obligation to investigate meaningfully or, where warranted, take corrective action. Even when some disclosure of the university’s information or sources is necessary, it will be limited to the extent possible.
If you are concerned about the immediate health and safety of yourself or someone else, do not complete the online form. Please call 911 or WUPD at 314-935-5555.
Each BRSS team member is personally committed to issues of diversity, inclusion and social justice. In addition, the team has undergone a thorough training process that includes information on diversity and bias, active listening, and campus resources. Members receive over 20 hours of training before their appointment and continued training during their tenure on the committee.
Questions? Contact Emelyn dela Peña.
BRSS Summary Reports
2015 Summary Report – Fall (PDF)
2015 Summary Report – Spring (PDF)
2014 Summary Report – Quarter 4 (PDF)
2014 Summary Report – Quarter 3 (PDF)
2014 Summary Report – Quarter 2 (PDF)
2014 Summary Report – Quarter 1 (PDF)
How We Use Summary Reports
The BRSS coordinator will issue reports of incidents submitted through the BRSS that will be freely available to members of the Washington University community. All incidents will be summarized and identifying information will be removed. With the release of each report, the BRSS coordinator will meet with the vice chancellor for students and vice provost to discuss trends in when and where incidents occur and potential university actions.