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Introduction

Eastern Mennonite University is a Christian institution that is committed to creating and maintaining an educational environment that fosters respect for others and is free from intolerance directed toward individuals or groups. The following ideals describe the learning community we aspire to be: Love for God and one another, wisdom, equality, sustainability, and accountability (Life Together: Commitments for a Community of Learning, 2017). It is within the mission of Eastern Mennonite University to promote and develop an inclusive campus climate which seeks harmony and cross cultural communication, encourages and embraces differences, recognizes values, and affirms all community members.

Scope and Prohibited Conduct

All university-enrolled students, parents of students, and visitors located on property-owned, leased, or otherwise controlled by Eastern Mennonite University are expected to comply with this policy.

While the university is equally invested in protecting freedom of speech, academic freedom, and the widest, possible dialogue in the classroom and research,  Eastern Mennonite University does not condone acts of discrimination towards individuals or groups based on the following classifications listed below:

race, gender, religion, ability, sexual orientation, perceived gender, gender identity, expression, ethnicity/national origin, age, ancestry, color, marital or family status, pregnancy, pregnancy-related conditions, physical or mental disability, genetic information, HIV/AIDS status, creed, military or veteran status, club affiliation, organizational membership, or perceived political ideas

Bias Incidents

Bias incidents are harmful to the EMU community and/or individuals within the EMU community. A bias incident is an act or behavior motivated by an individual or group bias against the identity of an individual or community. Bias occurs whether the act is intentional or unintentional and may be directed toward an individual or group. A bias incident may take the form of a verbal interaction, cyber-interaction, physical interaction, or interaction with property.  Bias often creates harm and contributes to or creates an unsafe/unwelcoming environment for individuals and communities.

Examples of Bias Incidents

  • Unwelcome comments and conduct with bias connotation(s) or subject matter that are demeaning to an ethnic group or people of a particular skin color or group
  • Offensive and vulgar jokes, name-calling, ridicule or mockery, insults or put-downs, stereotyping based on a person’s skin color, ethnicity, or national origin, physical gestures or enactments, or displaying racist photographs or objects;
  • Suggestions or expressed/implied communications that classifications listed above will affect decisions regarding such matters as employment, work assignment or status, academic standing, grades, receipt of financial aid, or letters of recommendation, or receipt of an EMU benefit or service;
  • Physical assaults or threats and intimidation

Prohibited Conduct

Formal policy and procedures are outlined in the Standards of Conduct in the Undergraduate Student Handbook, Seminary and Graduate Student Handbook, Lancaster Student Handbook, and Title IX Relationship Violence and Sexual Misconduct policy. These standards are listed and referenced as bias motivated, prohibited conduct and bias informed procedures and outcomes. The university understands that those with a history of trauma are capable of hurting others due to unresolved hurt; however, this preference for trauma informed processes does not excuse behavior such as harassment or expressions of bias or hate aimed at individuals that violate the Standards of Conduct. Consequently, while the university seeks educational approaches and responses as much as possible, the severity of the violation could result in action up to, and including, permanent separation from the university for those individuals found responsible.

Prevention

Eastern Mennonite University actively strives to educate its members on appropriate discourse and behaviors for living and learning in community. 

The university commits itself to conducting trainings, workshops, presentations and marketing campaigns to promote a respectful and inclusive campus throughout the academic year through programs and initiatives led by Student Life and the Committee on Diversity and Inclusion (CODI).

Procedures

The bias response team consists of:

  • Dean of Students

  • Title IX Coordinator
  • Director of Multicultural Student Services

  • Bias response trained faculty member

  • Director of Residence Life, Student Accountability, and Restorative Justice 

This team receives, monitors, refers, and, as necessary, coordinates university responses to hate and bias related incidents that impact one, all, or a significant portion of the university community.

Campus reporting options

Bias reporting is a resource for anyone who needs to communicate an incident or explore a better understanding around issues of discrimination and learning how to effectively respond. All members of the university community are encouraged to report incidents of bias in any of the following ways:

Campus Safety Incident Report: https://emu.edu/safecampus/

Other ways to report:

  • Director of Multicultural Student Services: 540-432-4458
  • Director of Residence Life, Student Accountability, and Restorative Justice: 540-432-4128
  • Campus Safety and Security: 540-432-4911
  • Residence Director on Duty: 540-476-4578
  • Title IX coordinator: 540-432-4849 or titleixcoordinator@emu.edu
  • Harrisonburg Police Department: 911

In addition to a university response, EMU also encourages reporters to pursue criminal action for incidents that may also be crimes under Virginia criminal statutes. Students harmed by bias related incidents may simultaneously pursue criminal and university disciplinary action.

Harrisonburg Campus Resources:

Approved by Provost's Council, April 30, 2020

Responsible party

The provost is responsible for this policy.

Policy Review

This policy is to be reviewed every three years.

Distribution

Employee Handbook, Student Handbooks

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