Wheaton College Bias Incident Policy
The College aims to cultivate Christian character defined by intellectual humility, prudence and temperance. As followers of Christ, we are called to exercise our Christian freedom responsibly in holiness and humility (Eph.1:4, Col. 3:12); to walk in a manner worthy of our calling (Eph. 4:1-3); to uphold justice, mercy, and the equitable treatment of everyone (Mic. 6:8; Matt. 23:23; James 2:1-13); to edify one another and build up the Body of Christ (Rom. 14:19; Eph. 4:11-16). Biased behavior, speech, expressions, or actions fundamentally violate this Christian calling.
Wheaton College is committed to fostering a campus environment in which all members are free to learn and work without bias, thriving as unique persons made in the image of God and growing in their divinely endowed gifts. For purposes of this policy, bias incidents are defined as occurrences that display an unreasoned or unfair distortion of judgment in favor or against a person or group. Bias can be perpetuated by individuals, groups, or systems. Bias incidents impede objectivity and truth thereby negatively impacting a person’s or group’s experience at the College.
Wheaton College prohibits biased speech and behaviors that foster attitudes and/or actions condemned in Scripture, such as prejudice, slander, gossip, hatred, dissensions, factions, stereotyping, and exclusion, all of which threaten the ability to love our neighbors as we love ourselves and to nurture a learning community that reflects the Kingdom of God. Bias incidents are antithetical to the Wheaton College mission as expressed in the Wheaton College Community Covenant, Statement of Faith, and Christ-Centered Diversity Commitment.
The Bias Incident Policy intends to improve the campus climate by identifying and remediating incidents, whether by facilitating restorative, reconciling conversations among campus stakeholders or by invoking disciplinary action when needed to address individual, group, or systemic discrimination. The Policy seeks effective and efficient responses to bias-motivated incidents on and off-campus, which include students, staff, and faculty. Members of the College community are encouraged to report incidents to the Office of Intercultural Engagement, to help ensure equality, promote a sense of belonging for all, and successfully address bias incidents.
After a Bias Incident Report is submitted, the Chief Intercultural Engagement Officer, or their designee, will review the report and contact the reporter unless the report is submitted anonymously. The CIEO may consult with the Director of Equity and Title IX, Dean of Residence Life, and/or the Director of Human Resources to determine if other College policies may have been violated. If it is determined that the allegations fall under another College policy, the matter may be referred to the appropriate campus office for resolution with no further action taken through the Bias Incident Report process. Individuals who report bias incidents will have the option of seeking to resolve them through restorative conversations and other informal remedies, appropriate conduct policies and processes, or choosing to make a no action report. In certain situations, the College may choose to further investigate bias incidents. In making this determination, the CIEO may designate Equity Officers who will consider the nature of the alleged conduct, the severity of the alleged conduct, the wishes of the person alleged to be the subject of the conduct, and any other relevant factors. In all cases, the College will carry out this policy within the broader context of biblical principles for addressing and resolving conflict. Where possible and appropriate—and in keeping with the spirit of Matthew 18:15-20—the College seeks to promote interpersonal engagement, leading to positive resolution.
Although a Bias Incident Report may be filed anonymously, it is most helpful if filers provide a phone number or email address to ensure the appropriate College official can follow up to obtain additional information that may be crucial to addressing the incident. Anonymous reports may significantly limit the College’s ability to address concerns effectively or support affected individuals. Information shared by all reporters will be treated with the utmost sensitivity. Faculty, staff, and students who do not report anonymously will be contacted by the appropriate College official. No one will be subject to discipline on the basis of an anonymous or non-anonymous report without being provided with notice of the concern and given an opportunity to respond.
Retaliation against an individual who makes a report or who participates in the information-gathering or resolution of such a report is prohibited. Retaliation occurs when materially adverse action—including reputational harm—is taken against an individual due to participation in the activity protected under this Policy. Protected activity includes but is not limited to making a good-faith report of conduct that may be in violation of this policy, cooperating in good faith information-gathering related to a report under this Policy, and/or serving as a witness to any report of conduct that may be in violation of this Policy.
Retaliation should be reported promptly to the CIEO, who will refer the matter to Human Resources (for employee matters) or to the Dean of Residence Life (for student matters). Complaints alleging retaliation will not be adjudicated under the Bias Incident Policy but processed under other College policies.
As of June 15, 2022