Definitions & Terms Related to Bias Response

Bias:  An inclination or preference either for or against an individual or group that interferes with impartial judgment. Bias can give rise to incidents, including slurs based on racial or ethnic identity, faith tradition, gender expression/identity, sexual orientation, ability and others create, a hostile educational, living and working environment and such acts are not tolerated in our community.

Bias-related incident:  Conduct, speech, or expression motivated, in whole or in part, by bias or prejudice. It differs from a hate crime in that no criminal activity is involved. While hate crimes, if charged and prosecuted, will be dealt with in the court system as well as through our Elon policies, Elon will handle bias incidents through grievance procedures and educational programs.

Hate crime:  In North Carolina a hate crime is defined as any act prohibited by law that is motivated because of the victim’s race, color, religion, nationality or country of origin.

Harassment:  Acts that unreasonably interfere with an individual’s work or academic performance, or create an intimidating, hostile, humiliating or offensive working, living or learning environment, based on their protected categories. This includes verbal, written, visual or physical harassment.

Protected categories: The following are considered “protected identity categories” with respect to discrimination, harassment and bias: age, (dis)ability, ethnic origin, faith tradition, gender expression, gender identity, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, race and veteran’s status.

Harm transformation: systems change(s) that involve the understanding of the perspective of the harmed parties, but does not always involve the person(s) harming and/ or the person(s) harmed.

Restorative practices: processes that involve harmed and harming parties aimed at repairing, healing, and creating healthier relationships, communities, and systems

(Harm transformation and restorative practices are community processes aimed to promote equities and reduce social disparities.)

Bias impact:  Harm caused by negative bias, prejudice, hate, and/ or bigotry. Bias impact can include but is not limited to:

  • Interference with ability to work, learn, and maintain healthy relationships.
  • Marginalization from the community and barriers to participation.
  • Rendering groups more vulnerable, powerless, and feeling unwelcome.
  • Increased distrust and the erosion of a healthy sense of community.

Affected individual/ group(s): those directly or indirectly impacted by bias, prejudice, hate, and/ or bigotry, whether intentional or unintentional.

  • Affected individuals can also include those intentionally and unintentionally involved in the harm.

Prejudice:  Attitudes, beliefs, and/ or decisions held without facts, experience, or adequate knowledge. In this context, most often used to refer to preconceived, usually unfavorable, judgments toward people because of assumptions about their identity or identities.