Bias Incident Response Team (B.I.R.T.)

Frequently Asked Questions

"I Dare You to Stop the Hate" logoEvery Year more than half a million college students are targets of bias-driven slurs or physical assaults.

Every Day at least one hate crime occurs on a college campus.

Every Minute a college student somewhere sees or hears racist, sexist, homophobic or otherwise biased words or images.

What is a hate crime?
A hate crime is any act prohibited by law that is motivated because of the victim's actual or perceived race, nationality, ethnicity, religion, gender, disability, or sexual orientation.

What is a bias incident?
A bias incident is a lawful act motivated because of a person's actual or perceived race, nationality, ethnicity, religion, gender, disability, or sexual orientation.  In other words, the act itself is not illegal, but it is "hateful" toward a particular identity group.  For example, use of a racial slur or derrogatory word directed at a person could be a bias incident.  Most words, including racial and ethnic slurs, are consider "protected speech" under the First Amendment to the United States Constitution.  All hate crimes are considered bias incidents, but not all bias incidents are considered hate crimes.

What are the indicators of a hate crime or bias incident?

  • Is the motivation of the alleged offender known?
  • Was the incident known to have been motivated by racial, religious, ethnic, sexual orientation, gender, or disability bias?
  • Is there no clear other motivation for the incident?
  • Were any racial, religious, ethnic, sexual orientation, gender, or disability bias remarks made by the offender?
  • Were there any offensive symbols, words, or acts which are known to represent a hate group or other evidence of bias against the victim's group?
  • Did the incident occur on a holiday or other day of significance to the victim's group?
  • What do the demographics of the area tell you about the incident?

Should I report bias incidents to the campus police?
Yes.  It's extremely important that all bias incidents and hate crimes be reported to the Campus Police as soon as possible. Often, an incident involving use of a racial slur  escalates to a hate crime later on.  Unless Campus Police are made aware of an incident, there is little they can do to prevent future events.

Why does Napa Valley College need a Bias Incident Response Team?
Bias Incident Response Teams are common on college campuses that are committed to providing students and staff with a safe place to work and learn - "a hate free zone."  Napa Valley College believes so much in providing a safe place to learn that it has formed a group of specially trained members to be ready when incidents occur.  The team has a role in helping prevent such incidents by providing education and awareness.

Can I report a bias incident or hate crime to a team member instead of the police?
No.  Campus Police Officers are the only individuals authorized to take official reports of bias incidents and hate crimes that occur on the Napa Valley College Campus.  However, anyone can contact a member of the Bias Incident Response Team and ask for assistance in making a report to Campus Police.  A team member will accompany the victim(s) and provide support throughout the process.

Who do I report a bias incident to that occurred off campus?
Local police departments and sheriff's departments throughout California have all received training in the taking of bias incident and hate crime reports.  Incidents need to be reported to the law enforcement agency responsible for the location where the incident occurred.  Students and staff can get assistance in making a report to another agency by contacting Campus Police or a member of the Bias Incident Response Team.

How can I find out if Napa Valley College is a safe place for me to go to school?
Napa Valley College is a very safe place to go to school.  The College has been aggressive in creating a "hate free zone."  There are student clubs based on ethnicity, religion, and sexual orientation.  Napa Valley College Campus Police also publish a report containing information about reported hate crimes. 

Does the Bias Incident Response Team provide training or presentations?
Yes.  All team members are trained and can provide presentations to classes, student clubs, or work units on a variety of topics related to hate crimes and bias incidents.  Contact a team member for more details or to discuss a particular area of interest.

How often does the Bias Incident Response Team meet?
The Bias Incident Response Team is not a standing college committee and does not meet regularly.  Typically, the team will meet once a semester to assess the campus climate.

What can I do to prevent a hate crime or bias incident?
Everyone has the ability to do their part to prevent bias incidents and hate crimes.  Creating a "hate free zone" starts with you.  For a list of ideas of how you can contribute to making Napa Valley College a safe place for everyone, look at "10 Ways to Fight Hate On Campus" using the link on the left side of this page.