Defining Bias

Bias:  An inclination or preference either for or against an individual or group that interferes with impartial judgment.

Identity-based Bias: The inclinations or preferences that demonstrate harm, discrimination, or hate against a person or groups based on their association with any of (included but not limited to) Elon’s protected categories: race, ethnicity, national origin, faith tradition, gender, gender expression, sexual orientation, age/generation, disability, socio-economic status and, veteran’s status. These categories are examples and are not an exhaustive list of attributes or characteristics that may be considered identity-based Bias.

Bias-related incident: An intentional or unintentional event (language/expression, behaviors, and acts) motivated, in whole or in part, by identity-based bias or prejudice against a person or group based on (including but not limited to) Elon’s protected categories. 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 supportive measures, educational programs, and disciplinary procedures (when applicable through Student Conduct or Human Resources).

Related Terms

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.

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.

Discrimination: Adverse treatment that results in the exclusion of participation or denial of benefits based on protected categories.

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.

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.

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.

Implicit Bias: Attitudes or stereotypes that affect our understanding, actions, and decisions in an unconscious manner.

Microaggressions: Everyday verbal, nonverbal, and environmental slights, snubs, or insults, whether intentional or unintentional, which communicate hostile, derogatory, or negative messages to target persons based solely upon their group membership.

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.

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.

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.)