A Systematic Plan
to Fight Hate on Campuses
Daniel Hiroyuki Teraguchi, AAC&U, 2004
more than half a million college students are targets of bias-driven
slurs or physical assaults.
at least one hate crime occurs on a college campus.
a college student somewhere sees or hears racist, sexist,
homophobic or otherwise biased words or images.
From Southern Poverty Law Center’s 10 Ways To Fight
Hate on Campus: A Response Guide for College Activists, available
for free at www.tolerance.org.
The Association of American Colleges and Universities’
(AAC&U) brief summary is designed to encourage campuses
to think about more comprehensively about how they might establish
systematic, proactive ways to prevent and respond to hate
crimes and bias incidents. We encourage readers to send in
additional examples that expand upon what is included in this
document. Send your examples to email@example.com.
This document was produced for the Bildner Family Foundation’s
New Jersey Campus Diversity Initiative, a partnership with
the Association of American College and Universities (AAC&U)
and the Philanthropic Initiative (TPI). The Bildner NJCDI
seeks to make diversity a strength on campus and a resource
for the future of the state of the New Jersey. Over the next
three years (2002-2005), Bildner will invest in colleges and
universities as key sites of citizenship and learning, confident
that higher education can help reduce prejudice and promote
The overarching goals of the Bildner New Jersey Campus Diversity
Initiative (NJCDI) grants are threefold: to reduce prejudice,
promote intergroup understanding, and foster comprehensive
institutional change needed to support such learning. The
Bildner schools receive ongoing assistance from AAC&U
over the three year life of the project, which have included
three capacity strengthening meetings, consultant site visits,
and the dissemination of diversity resources.
To distinguish the difference between hate crimes and bias
incidents, we begin with definitions. The Federal Government,
more than 40 states, and the District of Columbia have hate
crime statutes. Traditionally, hate crime is a crime of violence,
property damage, or threat that is motivated in whole or in
part by an offender’s bias based on race, religion,
ethnicity, or national origin. A smaller number of states
cover hate crimes motivated by an offender’s bias based
on gender, physical or mental disability, or sexual orientation.
In short, a hate crime must meet two criteria:
- · A crime must happen, such as physical assault,
threat, and/or vandalism.
- The crime must be motivated by bias.
In New Jersey, any crime is given an enhanced penalty if
“the defendant in committing the crime acted with a
purpose to intimidate an individual or group of individuals
because of race, color, gender, handicap, religion, sexual
orientation or ethnicity.” Also, New Jersey law enforcement
agencies are required to report bias incident offenses to
the Diversity of State Police, Uniform Crime Reporting Unit,
on a monthly basis. If you or someone you know is a victim
of a hate crime in New Jersey, you should call the Office
of Bias Crime and Community Relations, which is required to
monitor and assist local authorities in bias crime investigations
and prosecutions. Their Web site address is www.njbiascrime.org/index.html.
Bias incidents are conduct, speech, or expression that is
motivated by bias based on race, religion, ethnicity, national
origin, gender, disability, or sexual orientation, but don’t
involve a criminal act. However, bias incidents may violate
campus codes or policies, so they may be handled through campus
grievance procedures. Examples of bias incidents are degrading,
derogatory comments or email messages.
Sometimes the victims are unsure if a crime has been committed,
so they do not report the incident to campus officials or
the police. If a person feels that he/she may have been the
victim of a bias-motivated attack, he/she should report it
to the proper officials and let them determine if it was an
incident or a crime. Something that seems to be rather minor
could be perceived as a bias incident, but, in fact, could
be a punishable crime. For example, in United States v. Machado,
a former student was convicted of disseminating an email containing
racially derogatory comments and threats to 59 college students,
nearly all of whom were of Asian descent.
Summary of the Research
According to a snapshot read of the literature on hate crimes
and bias incidents, a systems-wide plan to fight hate on campus
generally develops in four phases. The phases are:
- Establishing a crisis plan with response protocols;
- Determining an educational strategy that is focused on
- Instituting curricular strategies to embed issues within
- Creating a college-wide crisis response team.
The first phase is initiated when an institution creates
a crisis response plan to address possible acts of intolerance
or sexual harassment on campus. The response plan generally
results in a set of protocols to clarify legal protections
and to highlight services available to victims. These protocols
are typically developed and carried out by the department
or division of the institution where the incident or crime
occurred. This isolation of protocols, which often produces
inconsistent legal procedures and disconnected services to
the students, is a common phenomenon on campuses and a major
barrier to establishing a system-wide response plan.
The second phase is typically an educational strategy to
prevent hate from reoccurring or new acts of intolerance from
surfacing. After the legal response protocols are produced,
a task force, generally housed in student affairs, is assembled
to develop a preventative plan through education. This plan
includes training programs for campus police, administrators,
faculty, and residence hall leaders on the response protocols.
Two examples of phase two activities are: (1) The Anti-Defamation
League’s (ADL) World of Difference Institute established
in 1992 to “define and advance a discipline of diversity
education;” and (2) New Jersey City University’s
Peer Education Peers (PEP) based in the school’s psychology
department. The World of Difference Institute aims to increase
awareness of hate crimes and bias incidents and encourage
university students to make proactive changes on campus. PEP
engages students to educate their peers using films, small
group discussions, and campus speakers to increase awareness
and promote safety. More examples of phase two activities
are provided in Appendix B.
A less developed third phase occurring when campuses focus
on instituting curricular strategies that promote tolerance,
deepen knowledge about injustices, and encourage assertion
of democratic principles of equality, dignity, and opportunity.
Ethnic and Women’s studies and other diversity-based
courses contribute to this curricular strategy. They focus
on the history of struggles for democracy by different groups
and have used learning goals to expand a student’s ability
to understand and experience the world from different social
locations. In addition, these types of courses examine the
psychological, social, and scientific ways that bias, prejudice,
and intolerance operate, are sustained, and justified, so
students can problem solve to find ways to remedy these persistent
injustices in our society.
A useful pedagogical tool to teach tolerance is intergroup
dialogue projects. These projects require students to work
in diverse groups that focus on a community-based project
to help them understand and experience diversity and difference
as a source of strength, not hate. Intergroup dialogues draw
on students’ experiences as a resource for discovering
a potential solution to the community-based issue they are
New curricular attention that promotes intergroup dialogue
to reduce bigotry could strengthen efforts to create positive
learning and living environments. The curricular phase would
focus, in part, on establishing ties between the institution’s
educational mission and the reduction of bigotry through understanding
and skill development.
A fourth phase that is beginning to emerge is the establishment
of a campus-wide crisis response team that links different
components of campus through a common set of protocols, including
steps to enhance educational strategies within student affairs
and academic affairs. The establishment of a campus-wide crisis
response team facilitates immediate actions regardless of
where the act of intolerance occurs on campus. When an act
of intolerance is reported, a member of the response team
is informed, so they can assemble to respond in an efficient
and appropriate manner as laid out in the protocols.
Ideally, campuses would have a crisis response plan reflecting
different aspects of the four phases appropriate for their
context when an act of intolerance occurs. Below is a set
of resources to assist institutions to strengthen their crisis
response plan. Each of the resources provide versions of the
different phases integrated together.
Best Practices and Resources
1. A resource that integrates many of the phases is a report
produced by the U.S. Department of Justice. The report was
prepared by the Center for the Prevention of Hate Violence
at the University of Southern Maine, under contract with Community
Research Associates, Inc. to assist institutions to deal with
acts of intolerance on their campuses. A series of best practices
and ways to overcome several problems areas that occur on
campus are provided. For a copy of this report, see Appendix
B. It is also available free on-line at: www.cphv.usm.maine.edu/monograph.pdf.
The collection of system-wide models and concrete examples
in this report complements the protocols created by Southern
Poverty Law Center’s 10 Ways to Fight Hate on Campus:
A Response Guide for College Activists. For free copies of
the SPLC’s Response Guide see tolerance.org.
2. Southern Poverty Law at www.tolerance.org
continue to provide a plethora of resources for college campuses.
The SPL’s 10 Ways to Fight Hate on Campus: A Response
Guide for College Activists is a powerful student-centered,
proactive way that students can intervene and interrupt hate
and bias to create a more equitable, safe campus for learning—it
is a wonderful resource.
3. Two universities, New York University and St. Lawrence
University, are currently enhancing their campus-wide crisis
response team. Brochures and educational materials are not
available yet, but they have agreed to send AAC&U their
information when it is completed. NYU is consolidating their
protocols across campus to ensure consistency and align training
workshops for campus police, administrators, faculty, staff,
and students. A larger, more difficult effort in NYU’s
initiative is developing an educational plan that links co-curricular
and curricular strategies to prevent acts of intolerance on
campus and sustain a safe, supportive, and welcoming environment
in which students may learn. St. Lawrence University has recently
implemented a campus-wide response team that seems to be very
effective in responding to acts of intolerance regardless
of where they occur on campus.
During a short conversation with Dr. J.J. Jackson, Associate
Provost of Student Affairs at New York University, she indicated
the value of organizing a campus-wide committee because it
forces the campus to institutionalize both an educational
and an institutional response plan. This strategy was also
used at St. Lawrence University to avoid the problems associated
with phase one: isolated and inconsistent response protocols.
If no response plan is in place, one of the first steps is
to create campus-wide protocols similar to the University
of Rochester’s set of brochures. The campus-wide task
force should then focus on preventative strategies in both
student and academic affairs. The resources above provide
several models and programs that institutions could adapt
for their campus.
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