Responding to Bigotry and Intergroup Strife on Campus:
Guide for College and University Administrators
Taking Action Against Hate
The struggle against hate is not easy and it cannot be accomplished only through short-term measures. Rather, effective action requires a long-term commitment of energy, resources, passion and collaboration. This section outlines general proactive and reactive strategies to help free the campus of hate and intergroup strife.
Respond to Specific Events
- Provide proper and immediate assistance to the target(s), including ensuring that law enforcement is notified as necessary.
- Improve information flow so that all levels and constituencies of the university are instantly aware of university responses and feel included in the process of response information. E-mail and institutional Web sites are excellent tools.
- Deliver a prompt and forceful media message that highlights the university response.
- Put a “community watch” system in place so that staff, faculty and students in potential target sites can be trained to contact the campus police if they see suspicious individuals and activities. This type of system will not only bolster law enforcement efforts, but also build a sense of community on campus.
- Train all Student Affairs staff, including residence halls staff and residential advisers, in the hate crimes and emergency protocols. This includes knowing who on campus to contact, how to support the target(s) and how to manage the situation.
- Campus police need to continually reassert their authority on campus. Private off-campus groups should not be allowed to provide security when their representatives are invited to speak on campus. This requirement should be stipulated to groups and speakers in advance of, and as a condition of, their appearance on campus. In cases where persons with private security details speak on campus, such security should be coordinated with the campus and other appropriate authorities.
- Establish and organize a university’s rapid response group so that it can meet and act immediately during a crisis. When a response is delayed, the efficacy of the response is compromised.
- When and where it is appropriate, issue timely announcements of concern, outrage, or condemnation from the president. If communication from the president is not feasible, the university’s highest-ranking appropriate administrator should issue such statements. Circulate these statements widely and immediately to all university constituencies, demonstrating that the administration is actively addressing the situation and is exercising effective leadership.
- Develop Proactive Strategies
- Introduce anti-bias education programs, such as ADL’s A CAMPUS OF DIFFERENCE™ training programs.
- Introduce training on extremism and hate crimes for campus security, such as ADL’s Law Enforcement Training.
- Seek to develop both formal and informal mechanisms of improving communications and coordination between student affairs professionals, faculty members and campus security. College deans and the provost’s office can play a crucial mediating role in this regard.
- Improve institutional responsiveness by outlining clear lines of administrative authority and communicating them throughout the campus. University community members need to know the appropriate avenues for addressing specific problems and concerns. The appointment of a central university ombuds officer should be considered. The ombuds officer should clearly communicate to the students the exact procedures for dealing with an emergency.
- Make resident advisers aware of all available campus resources (e.g., Office of Multi-Ethnic Student Education, Counseling Center, Disability Support Service, Office of Human Relations Programs). Invite staff members from these offices to conduct training programs for the residence hall staff. Require resident advisers to inform the university’s professional resident services staff of all bias incidents.
- Improve the Campus Culture
Develop leadership and “authority-legitimacy” roles for the university president and senior administrators. While effective management is necessary at the administrative level, it is not sufficient in the climate of today’s complex higher educational institutions. Arguably, the major task at this level is the definition, articulation and communication of the moral center of the university and the values for which it stands. This is a constant, ongoing task that, if successful, will reward the university in good times and preserve its balance and public image in times of difficulty.
- Formulate a positive code of conduct. A positive code embraces those behaviors and beliefs that the university will value and reward, not just those behaviors and beliefs that are to be punished.
- Go beyond the mere celebration of diversity, which may be viewed as fleeting and peripheral, and find ways in which it can integrate equity into all aspects of the institution.
- Provide programs that encourage the development of new courses, innovative teaching methods, team teaching, etc. among the faculty so as to provide for greater diversity within the curriculum. Faculty fellowships, providing summer stipends or limited release time for the development of innovative course offerings are one way in which the university can encourage such trends.
- Develop Clear Grievance Procedures
It is essential that all universities establish response protocols to deal with issues relating to hate, bias and intimidation. These protocols must be communicated to the campus through student policy manuals, orientation materials and clear step-by-step instructions listed in every campus building. It is often helpful to appoint a central university ombuds officer as a first responder to dealing with these issues. The following are examples of campus grievance procedures.
Hate Crimes and Bias Incidents
|Campus Presidents/ Senior Administrators
Speak Out to Oppose Hate on Campus|
Last Thursday's issue of The Bucknellian contained an advertisement placed by an individual in California who denies that the WWII genocide of the Jews really happened. ... I want to make it very clear that Bucknell University in no way accepts or condones the views voiced in this advertisement. The anti-Semitic views behind Holocaust denial violate the spirit of inclusiveness and openness to diversity that the University has worked hard to create. To deny the reality of the Holocaust is to ignore the suffering and death of millions of Jews, Poles, Roma, Communists, Christians and homosexuals attested to by witnesses, survivors, and scholars.
I hope that the inadvertent publication of this despicable ad will encourage all members of our community to educate themselves on the realities of the Holocaust and the ongoing patterns of anti-Semitism through history of which this advertisement is an example.
President Steffen Rogers following the publication of a Holocaust-denial advertisement in the campus newspaper