Campus Climate Response Team releases first report

Madlin Mekelburg

The Campus Climate Response Team, or CCRT, released its first report Thursday of reported bias-related incidents that occurred from August 2012 to August 2013, which revealed nearly half of the reports filed involved race and ethnicity.

According to the report, 94 complaints were filed with the response team as a result of 82 separate incidents of bias on campus. The report states the most commonly reported incident involving bias was “the use of verbal harassment or slurs,” which constituted 47 percent of all filed reports.

According to Ryan Miller, associate director of Campus Diversity and Strategic Initiatives, the response team acts as a central point of contact for any student who is involved with or witnesses any incident involving bias.

“[Bias instances are] any instances against individuals or groups or offense that’s motivated wholly or in part [by] an individual’s or groups’ identity,” Miller said. “We’re talking about the categories that are in the non-discriminatory policy, like disability, gender, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, etc.” 

Miller said the report is part of the response team’s efforts to provide “diversity education” to the community.

“For me, I hope that the report itself is an educational opportunity and that all students and staff on campus who aren’t aware of CCRT on campus can become aware,” Miller said.

The response team reports to Gregory Vincent, vice president for diversity and community engagement. Vincent said he thinks the team benefits the entire campus community through their actions.

“The first Campus Climate Trend Report produced by the CCRT offers an opportunity for students, faculty and staff to reflect on our campus climate and culture,” Vincent said. “Creating an inclusive campus is a responsibility for each of us at the University, and we hope this report prompts dialogue and reflection as we work together to achieve this goal.”

According to Miller, when a report is filed, a “lead team” of three administrators — including Miller — reviews the report and discusses possible courses of action.

“Our priority in all cases is reaching out to the individual who filed the report and doing whatever we can to provide and offer support for that individual,” Miller said. “There is not a certain playbook for each incident or even each type of incident. We really evaluate the options in all cases.”

Miller said the response team also tries to provide comprehensive diversity education to individuals who were mentioned in reports and to the campus community.

“We have a lot of educational conversations after reports have been filed because usually it gives us an opportunity to knock on a door or invite someone to come in for a conversation with us about the intent and impact behind a certain incident,” Miller said.