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Office of Equity & Inclusion

Pursuing Inclusive Excellence

Office of Equity & Inclusion

Pursuing Inclusive Excellence

Office of Equity & Inclusion

Pursuing Inclusive Excellence
Students walking from class

Bias Incident Response Team

What is BIRT?

Skagit Valley College maintains a Bias Incident Response Team (“BIRT”) to respond and implement protocol whenever a hate crime or bias incident is perceived to have occurred. This protocol is specific to addressing hate crimes or bias incidents directed at or affecting members of the Skagit Valley College Community.


Bias Incident

A “Bias Incident” is defined as an act- either verbal, written, physical, or psychological which is personally directed against or targets an individual or group based on perceived or actual characteristics such as race, color, nationality, ethnicity, religion, gender identity or expression, disability or sexual orientation. The act itself is not illegal, but it is “hateful” toward a particular identity group.

The kind of incidents that may constitute a bias incident, include but are not limited to, threatening telephone calls or mail (including electronic mail), graffiti, physical assault, stalking, vandalism, destruction of personal property, harassment, coercion or the use or oral or written expression of bias involving degrading language or stereotypes. SVC strongly encourages the reporting of all hate crimes and bias incidents that occur on campus or at college sponsored events and activities occurring off campus.

Hate Crime

Any act prohibited by law that is motivated by the victim’s actual or perceived race, color, nationality, ethnicity, religion, gender identity or expression, disability or sexual orientation.

Note: All hate crimes are considered bias incidents, but not all bias incidents are considered hate crimes.

What Are the Goals of BIRT?

  • Receive, monitor, refer incidents
  • As necessary, coordinate college responses to hate and bias-based incidents that impact the college community.
  • Provide immediate assistance and support to those impacted by bias-based behavior.
  • Work collaboratively to offer a comprehensive and multifaceted primary prevention and education bias/hate training opportunities.
  • Collect and track of anonymous information related to bias and hate crimes to help us better understand our campus climate.
  • Provide an annual fall report of trends to the Equity and Social Justice Committee beginning each academic year.

What BIRT Is Not:

  • Does not conduct investigations based on reports of bias and/or hate. Upon notification of a report, BIRT will evaluate the appropriate response and then the report will be assigned to the appropriate school official for investigation.
  • Does not conduct individual follow ups or inquiries to the parties involve.
  • BIRT has no authority to discipline any student or employee, bias incidents that violate the college’s campus rules, policies, and procedures will be addressed to the college’s appropriate investigative process.

Protocol for Bias Incidents

  • Individuals may also report an alleged bias incident online.
  • Upon receipt of any report alleging bias, the co-chairs will determine if the report triggers an immediate PUBLIC call to action by the college.
    • If yes, the BIRT will convene and determine the appropriate measures to be taken.
    • If there are not immediate actions required based on the content of the report, then, within 24-48 hours
      • Review the potential bias component
      • Make a preliminary assessment
      • Assign the report to the appropriate official

Bias Incident Response Team:

The Response Team will be comprised of:

  • President – Chair
  • Associate Vice President for Equity and Inclusion- Co-Chair
  • Vice President of Administrative Services
  • Vice President of College Advancement
  • Vice President for Instruction
  • Vice President for Student Services
  • Associate Vice President for Human Resources
  • Director for Student Equity and Inclusion

The President may invite faculty and staff to serve as consultants to the team if they possess expertise that could add to the analyses in a special case.

Anonymous Collection

The office for Equity and Inclusion will maintain summaries of bias incidents for information gathering and archival purposes. Through this recordkeeping, the BIRT will be better equipped to identify any patterns of bias that exist on campus.

Records will be securely kept and managed by a tracking tool to assess trends and patterns. Compliance with FERPA and other privacy laws will be maintained.


Skagit Valley College is committed to protecting the privacy of all individuals involved in a report of a bias incident. Every effort will be made to protect the confidentiality of individuals targeted and confidentiality requested by the reporting party.

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