Bias Education Response Team (BERT)

Nebraska Wesleyan University is committed to being a safe community for everyone to learn, work, and grow, and you make that possible. As members of the campus community, all of us have a responsibility to “speak up” when we witness bias incidents or hate.

What is a bias incident?

A bias incident is conduct, speech, or expression that targets an individual or group based on race/ethnicity, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, age, disability, cultural background or other characteristics. Bias incidents include a range of behaviors including telling jokes or calling names, silently avoiding someone, or harassing someone based on their real or perceived membership in a certain group.

What is a hate crime?

A hate crime is a an act of conduct, speech, or expression to which a bias motive is evident as a contributing factor and which has risen to the level of a crime. So, while all hate crimes are bias incidents, not all bias incidents are hate crimes.

What is the impact?

Hate crimes and bias incidents don't just victimize individuals; they harm entire communities making individuals feel frightened and unsafe.  That’s why we need to work together to reduce bias and eliminate hate on our campus.

How to speak up?

If you think you have experienced or witnessed bias or hate, or if you are advocating on the behalf of someone who may have, the Bias Education Response Team (BERT) wants to know about the incident so we can investigate it and respond appropriately to it, educating the campus community and providing support to victims.

First, if you have experienced or witnessed a bias incident, make sure you are safe. If a crime has occurred, call 911. Once you are safe, report the incident to the Bias Response Team as soon as possible by email or phone (reportbias [at] nebrwesleyan.edu or ext. 7732).

What will we do?

BERT will investigate all reports of bias or hate within 48 hours of receiving the report. After investigating the incident, we will intervene if we determine it is appropriate including possibly referring the incident to the University Judiciary, will follow up with impacted parties, and will monitor the situation. We will also provide feedback about reported incidents, suggest ways to prevent future incidents on campus, and suggest diversity programming to address the issue.

BERT Members for 2015-2016

  • Facilitator: Tyre McDowell (T.J.), Student Life Office
  • Candice Howell – Success and Retention Office
  • David Iaquinta – Sociology Department
  • Brad Tice – English Department
  • Rachel Droogsma – Communications Department

Campus Contacts

Action Council on Diversity and Inclusion
Dr. Abigail Mitchel, council leader
Associate Professor of Psychology
Smith-Curtis 340F
(402) 465-2431
amitche2 [at] nebrwesleyan.edu
Bias Education Response Team
Candice Howell, BERT team leader
Assistant Dean of Students
(402) 465-2401
chowell [at] nebrwesleyan.edu
Meeting of Students Addressing Intercultural Concerns
Lisette Torres-Gerald, MOSAIC advisor
Assistant Director of the Cooper Center
Cochrane-Woods Library 307
(402) 465-2458
ltorres [at] nebrwesleyan.edu