A Guide for Responding to Hate Crimes / Hate Behaviors / Hate Acts

What are Hate crimes?
Crimes involving larceny-theft, simple assault, manslaughter, arson, intimidation, and destruction, damage and vandalism of property – that can be categorized in relation to the following prejudice: race, gender, religion, sexual orientation, ethnicity, and disability… (Per 2009 Federal Higher Education Reauthorization Act)

Support for victims of Hate Crimes, Hate Behaviors, or Hate Acts is also provided through the following areas:

Examples of common Hate Crimes/Hate Behavior/Hate Acts on College Campuses:

  • A piece of art work was vandalized with gender-related obscenities.
  • Clubs & organizations are encouraged to hang flags or posters representing their group. The rainbow flag has been taken down four times.
  • Anti-black or racial slurs are written on the door of a black student.
  • A faculty member had swastikas sprayed on his/her office door after mentoring two African-American pre-med students.
  • A group of women distributed materials and posted “Stop Rape” posters after participating in the Vagina Monologues. Some males destroyed the above mentioned materials and verbally abused the women.
  • A black student was rooming with a white student. The black student returned to the room and saw her black cabbage patch doll hanging from the ceiling with a rope around its neck.
  • Two lesbian women live together in a residence hall. There were signs put up in the bathroom that said, “Dykes not welcome here” and, “Death to Fags.”

Berea College Policy Statement on Hate Crimes, Behavior and Acts:

“Berea College welcomes all students and staff who seek to live and to learn at Berea in the context of our mission as expressed in the College’s Great Commitments, but this does not mean that the College condones all behaviors as acceptable from all individuals or groups. Given Berea’s inclusive welcome to all peoples of the earth, the College will not tolerate speech and acts that are harassing to anyone regardless of race, gender, religion, sexual orientation, or other such distinguishing characteristics.” (Berea College Student Handbook)

The Berea College Student Handbook defines harassment “as the creation of a hostile, offensive or intimidating environment, in which verbal or physical conduct, because of its severity and/or persistence, has the purpose or effect of substantially interfering with an individual’s work or education, or adversely affecting an individual’s living conditions. In particular, harassment may include instances of verbal or physical behavior directed at an individual who is abusive of that individual’s distinguishing characteristics, including race, age, religion, sexual orientation or national origin to such an extent as to substantially interfere with such individual’s work or education or adversely affect the individual’s living conditions.”

The College has appointed Compliance Officers for handicap and sex discrimination.  The Section 504 Coordinator oversees activities and facilities to insure that they are accessible to disabled persons and that the College is in full compliance with the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and subsequent related legislation. The Title VII/IX Coordinator is charged to assist all elements of the College to eliminate any vestiges of discrimination based on gender, and to monitor institutional compliance with Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended, and Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 and related legislation. These coordinators are available to receive inquiries and complaints. All complaints are thoroughly investigated and appropriate action taken. (Berea College Student Handbook)

Procedure of Investigation at Berea College:

Behaviors of harassment and the incidence of hate crimes affect not only the individual but also the campus community. Procedures to respond to such acts have been implemented. If you are a target of a hate crime/hate behavior/hate act at Berea College or you witness such behavior, immediately report the incident to Public Safety (ext. 3333). You may also inform your Resident Assistant and/or Collegium member, and/or the Assistant Vice President of Student Life. The procedure of investigation for a reported incident is as follows:

  1. A written report should be filed.
  2. Pictures should be taken, if appropriate.
  3. Removal of damage may occur.
  4. An investigation will be made.
  5. Public Safety and other members of the Labor and Student Life Division will be informed of the incident so that they can respond appropriately.
  6. A member of the Labor and Student Life Division will follow up with the individual or group targeted.
  7. A report to the campus community may follow.

For more information on safety and security at Berea College, as well as statistics on the number of incidents and hate crimes that have occurred (see Incidents and Hate Crimes Statistics).

Things you can do:

  • Counter hatred by advocating for hate crime prevention
  • Understand the motivation behind hate
  • Understand the difference between hate speech (which is not illegal) and hate crimes
  • Identify and assess the hate and violence behavior.
  • Support victims of hate.  This improves the overall climate of the community, helps ensure the health and well-being of community members, and can de-escalate tensions.
  • Respond to all hate incidents. This can deter them from escalating into more violent hate crimes.
  • Working with hate crime offenders is a significant prevention activity. Effective diversion programs and aftercare can reduce repeat offenses among these groups.
  • By using tools from violence prevention and prejudice reduction programs, college students can become the most effective advocates for hate crime prevention on campus.
  • Develop hate crime partnerships and coalitions to improve communication between campus groups. (Stophate, retrieved 2009)

Additional Resources:

  • Stop The Hate – Program that provides anti-hate tools for colleges and universities
  • Teaching Tolerance- 10 Ways to Fight Hate
  • Napa Valley Criminal Justice Training Center – Bias and Hate Crimes Victims Guide
  • ADL Hate Crimes– Statistics and Strategies for Fighting Hate