Below are frequently asked questions related to our incident reporting tool. If you have further questions, please do not hesitate to reach out to the Office of Inclusive Excellence at email@example.com.
What is a bias incident?
A bias incident involves any discriminatory act against an individual or a group based on their age, religion, disability (physical or mental), race, ethnicity, national origin, sex, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, marital status, veteran status, socioeconomic status or any other identity.
What is harassment?
Harassment can be defined as continued unwanted actions of one party against another, which may include threats and demands.
University policy defines sexual harassment as:
- Unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, or other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature by a person who has authority over the recipient when:
- submission to such conduct is made either an implicit or explicit condition of the individual’s employment, academic status, or ability to use University facilities and services; or
- submission to or rejection of the conduct is used as the basis for a decision that affects tangible aspects of the individual’s employment, academic status, or use of University facilities.
- Unwelcome and unsolicited language or conduct that is of a sexual nature and that is sufficiently severe, persistent or pervasive that it could reasonably be expected to create an intimidating, hostile, or offensive working or learning environment, or has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual’s academic or work performance. This also includes acts of sexual violence, such as sexual assault and sexual exploitation.
How is this different from the central UW bias reporting tool?
The College of Engineering incident reporting tool allows us to identify concerns and patterns specific to our community. Information collected through this process also helps us work strategically with those who need additional guidance on creating a more inclusive environment.
Who can submit a report?
All UW students, staff and faculty can submit a report regardless of their affiliation with the College of Engineering. For example, students in non-engineering majors who engage in any of our affiliated courses or opportunities are encouraged to contact us if concerns arise. You can also submit a report if you are a member of the College of Engineering and would like support following an encounter of bias, discrimination or harassment in a non-engineering experience at the UW.
Can I report something that did not occur recently?
Yes, you can submit a report for an incident that happened in the past. Even if it did not happen recently, notifying us of a concern allows the College to identify possible patterns of behavior.
Can I remain anonymous when submitting a report?
We understand that anonymity and safety may be a concern for some who file under an incident report. If a case involves suspected child abuse or neglect, we do have legal reporting obligations. Under Executive Order 56, University employees are mandatory reporters for cases of suspected child abuse or neglect.
In cases that we don’t have legally mandated reporting requirements, we are required to ask for contact information initially for safety purposes, however, your identity is kept confidential. We are able to offer an anonymous option for cases where mandatory reporting is not required, and no names will be shared in conversations connected to your report moving forward. This can include advocating on your behalf in various meetings with your permission and input if desired.
If you have experienced incidents of sexual assault, relationship violence, stalking, or sexual harassment and are looking for fully anonymous or confidential support, we strongly encourage utilizing SafeCampus and the LiveWell Confidential Advocates.
Why should I submit a report?
Unfortunately, many instances of bias, discrimination and harassment are not reported. This process was created as a centralized way for community members to communicate where harm is being done and to identify places where further attention is needed. Submitting a report not only provides the option for you to receive tailored support from trained advocates, but it allows the College to better understand where targeted interventions are needed to improve our community as a whole.
Who receives this report? What is an Engineering Advocate?
Your report is first received by only a small number of staff members within the Dean’s Office at the College of Engineering who have been appropriately trained to handle various types of concerns. Depending on the nature of the report and your preferences moving forward, other pertinent individuals or offices may also be looped in.
Engineering Advocates are trained staff in the College of Engineering who can connect you to additional resources, articulate possible next steps and support you in future conversations with other units if appropriate. Advocates can also keep you informed on what takes place following your report.
What happens after I submit a report?
- An initial email will be sent to confirm receipt of your report.
- After the confirmation email, you will be communicated with based on the preference you indicated in the form. If you indicate that you’d like to be contacted, an engineering advocate will follow up and support you by communicating your options for having the matter investigated, providing information about relevant resources and working with you to determine how you can be aided in any further actions. If you choose to remain anonymous, we commit to maintaining confidentiality and will not share your name in any conversations moving forward.
- After gathering information, the committee will determine what kind of follow up is appropriate. The committee may take certain actions directly such as working with facilities to remove graffiti, reaching out to affected communities to provide support, or working with departments on possible next steps. Formal investigations are discussed below.
- It is important to note that engineering advocates and the incident report committee do not perform formal investigations. Our mission is to provide you with support and advocacy while determining follow up activity where appropriate. Responses will vary based on the nature of the incident and can include additional communications with pertinent offices on campus. In most cases, the reporter decides if they want to have a formal investigation initiated. However, there are certain instances (e.g., sexual misconduct, hate crimes) where we may be compelled by law to report to an appropriate investigative body like Safe Campus.
- The College of Engineering will partner with the university’s central Bias Incident Advisory Committee to catalog reports and further track for trends.