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Responding to Harassment

Here’s what to do if you experience harassment based on race.

Though we are always striving to eliminate discrimination on our campus, some Wheaton students have faced racial harassment, typically through verbal comments. One way to directly address situations of racial discrimination is to thoughtfully challenge the inappropriateness of others' words and actions.

Below you will find recommendations for both immediate and future handling of harassment based on race. These actions are to be followed when you, as a student, are confronted with situations of harassment on and off campus. Racial harassment conflicts with Wheaton College's Community Covenant and will not be tolerated. Therefore, all reported cases are taken seriously and investigated promptly. If you are able to mediate the situation to your satisfaction, please chronicle the event and report it to the Director of Multicultural Development as soon as possible. 

As a community and as individuals, we need to pray that these vestiges of racially motivated thoughts and actions will be broken down. Our long-range goal is to continue creating an environment for open and honest interaction across cultural lines, and to encourage the holistic development of all our students to the glory of Christ. I pray that you will be a catalyst for Christ-centered social change in this area and all areas of your life. Please feel free to stop by and discuss these concerns if you have any questions. 

In Christ, 

Rodney K. Sisco

Director, Office of Multicultural Development 

In the Event of a Harassment Situation

  • Remain Calm - Do not yell out in anger or hostility or engage in unnecessary debate. Get names of all people involved in the incident who are being harassed.
  • Get descriptive information of those involved in the harassment: names, license plate or other identification, any physical description, vehicle description, any other descriptive data.
  • Though assigned to protect and serve the public it is possible that an officer of the law could be involved in racial harassment, in those cases please also remember to get badge number or other identification. With an officer, even if there is a debate as to the appropriateness of their actions, answer all questions, and remain engaged in conversation. It is easy enough to file the appropriate complaint later.
  • Pay close attention to the details of the event. Note important issues - date, time, actual words spoken, actions taken, etc. One person should make it his/her objective to promptly get all the pertinent details in some written form.
  • Immediately contact a campus administrator or faculty member. The key issue is to make contact with someone at that time. Leave a message if the one you are calling is not there, but continue calling until you reach someone who can immediately give advice and/or come, regardless of the hour. If alone, be sure to pay attention to all details and excuse yourself to make the phone call.
  • As soon as the event has been completed, write a summary statement of the actual situation, including as much detail as possible.
  • If a situation occurs on campus, and you feel the harasser is willing to listen, attempt to point out what has been said that is abusive.
  • If online, attempt to print screen for accuracy of words transpired. Additionally attempt to secure any information regarding the identity of the harasser.
  • Continually commit the matter fully to prayer.

If you would like to see them, we have two documents in the Office of Multicultural Development regarding being stopped by a police officer.

  • “A Police Officer Stops Your Vehicle: What Next?” - Produced by the Wheaton Police Department.
  • “The Law And You: Guidelines for interacting with law enforcement officials” - Produced by the NAACP, National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives and Allstate Insurance Company.