Beginning in fall 2018, the Hate and Bias Response team created the Hate and Bias Summary Report to show incidents of hate, bias and harassment at the university. However, due to difficult and inconsistent reporting practices, the reporting summary does not display every incident, according to certain groups.
A student can file a hate, bias and harassment report through an online system. From there, the Equal Opportunity and Title IX Office review the report for violation of the law or university policy. The hate and bias team states bias-related incidents do not break the law or university policy, but the university can help address the problem in some cases.
If a student, faculty or staff wants to sue the assailant, they have 180 days to file the incident with the Equal Opportunity and Title IX (EOTIX) State office.
University Diversity and Inclusion Officer Eloisa Gordan-Mora said the Hate and Bias Summary was in place prior to her arrival in June 2019.
“One important change that we have carried out for this year, however, is that to the group of administrators that oversaw the reporting, we have added faculty, student… representatives, as well as classified staff and residential life representative,” Mora said.
Gordan-Mora said the Hate and Bias Response Team receive a number of reports from the EOTIX office and the team was incorporated at the beginning of this academic year. She said she has worked on the reporting system to be more regulated and to be more protective of confidentiality of the individual reporting.
“There is a logic curve to the reporting of incidents that we have already corroborated: more at the beginning of the [f]all semester, then going down and again increasing in the [s]pring,” Gordan-Mora said. “Identifying this logic is useful because it will allow us to be more proactive in possible actions. However, because reports are not consistently received, we do view them when they arrive, but will update on at least a monthly basis.”
Gordan-Mora said she is reorganizing work this semester and has not incorporated recent reports yet because she needs to complete due diligence procedures. She aims to have the Hate and Bias Summary updated and active before the end of the current semester.
“There is a single Incident Report for Discrimination, Sexual Assault or Hate and Bias that you access at the reporting site…” Gordan-Mora said. “Those reports are received by the EO and Title IX Office, which is in charge of the Discrimination, Sexual Assault investigations, while those reports that fall under the category of [hate and bias] are then sent to my Office for work with the Team. It might seem cumbersome, but the legal division has to be the receiver because of federally mandated protections of confidentiality and others.”
Gordan-Mora said they will confirm whether the incident is hate and bias related. From there, they prepare a summarized, non-discriminating report to be uploaded to the information site. The Hate and Bias Summary Report does not equate with the actual number of incidents at the university due to lack of reporting from victims and witnesses.
“[W]e, as a university, need to have better documentation of what is taking place, as a way not only to inform the community but to clarify what possible action steps can be taken,” Gordan-Mora said. “Many times we hear about these events through the grapevine, which does not allow to confirm the information that is necessary. I believe that we, as the rest of the nation, have much to learn about hate, bias and how to better confront these situations, while not feeling exposed and isolated.”
Atty Garfinkel-Berry, the Director of Hillel of Northern Nevada, expressed her concerns with the reporting system. She said her students and herself reported all of the incidents they learn about.
“The website is not up to date. I know of [nine] swastika reports from a variety of places this fall alone. All the visible information on the site is from 2018,” Garfinkel-Berry said in an email to the Nevada Sagebrush. “There were reports that I know were made in the Spring of 2019 term, and many this fall. None are visible.”
Garfinkel-Berry said she is aware of swastikas appearing in Wolf Pack Tower, William J. Raggio Building, residence halls and Paul Laxalt Mineral Engineering.
“… In some incidents people cleaned up the offensive imagery and words without creating visual documentation,” Garfinkel-Berry said. “That’s a huge problem and it needs to stop. I have repeatedly shared the reporting steps for my students…”
Garfinkel-Berry said she understands there are some concerns from the university about the confidentiality associated with the current system. She also knows the reports are reviewed by a committee. She believes a solution to this could be an opt-out tab on the reporting page or ask for student ID numbers instead of names.
“Part of the issue as I see it is that the reporting system is reactive in nature,” Garfinkel-Berry said. “Yes we need to report incidents and track them to paint an accurate picture of campus culture, but why do students have to search for the reporting page? Why isn’t it a piece of a whole in dealing with campus problems? How can we as a community support victims of crime and engage with potential perpetrators before they become perpetrators? What can we do to engage with people and create relationships before things happen, and in turn change the campus culture to one of actual inclusivity?”
Garfinkel-Berry wants the system to be a service-based model. She wants the system to offer resources for support related to each category: hate, bias and harassment. She also believes the disclaimer regarding slow uploads for supporting documentation is problematic.
“Students are specific about how they want to spend their time, and if something just happened you could be in a crisis situation,” Garfinkel-Berry said. “No one wants to wait for an upload or a little gray “I am not a robot” box.”
The Nevada Sagebrush reported on several swastikas incidents not cited in the Hate and Bias Report, including swastikas in Wolf Pack Tower found in September, American Identity Movement flyering incident, swastika found in Church Fine Arts in October and a swastika found in the Raggio building.
There are other incidents not reported, such as Patriot Front’s flyering attempt and an incident of students burning the LGBT flag.
Maria Doucettperry, Director Title IX and ADA Coordinator said Title IX will screen incidents, which come through to see if it is discrimination against a protected class. If it is, it will be assigned for an investigation.
“If it doesn’t look like discrimination on the basis of or doesn’t give us enough information to initiate an investigation, … we would forward it to any other entity that would cover it on campus—say the Hate and Bias Response Team,” Doucettperry said.
Todd Renwick, the university’s Chief of Police, cited how UNRPD handles hate, bias and harassment incidents.
When a hate crime is reported, UNRPD begins an investigation. Renwick said UNRPD will collect any evidence, physical, photos, etc., interview potential witnesses and attempt to identify a suspect for arrest and criminal prosecution.
The information will not be passed to Reno Police Department unless the incident took place off-campus or required a need to notify RPD. The information will be shared with the Department of Education and the Federal Bureau of Investigation for statistical purposes.
Assistant Dean of Student Conduct Kimberly Woods said the Office of Student Conduct reviews hate and bias incidents on a case by case basis.
“Students found to violate the Student Code of Conduct are subject to sanctions listed in Section IV of the Student Code of Conduct,” Woods said. “This includes students found responsible for violations that were initially reported by the Hate & Bias team.”
TIMELINE OF INCIDENTS REPORTED AND KNOWN
Church Fine Arts Swastika 1 – October 2017
The Nevada Sagebrush reported swastikas along with a message which read “Is this political enough” found in CFA on Oct. 13, 2017. The perpetrator or perpetrators are still unknown. This incident was not listed in the Bias and Hate Report Summary.
Scrugham Engineering and Mines Racial Slur Graffiti – September 2018
The Bias and Hate Report Summary discussed a racial slur drawn in the restroom of SEM on Sept. 18, 2018. A police report was filed and a police investigation started and was completed. The words were removed. The perpetrator or perpetrators are still unknown.
Peavine Hall – October 2018
The Nevada Sagebrush and the Bias and Hate Report Summary reported a swastika drawn on a wall of Peavine Hall on Oct. 27, 2018. A police report was filed and a police investigation started and was completed. The perpetrator or perpetrators are still unknown.
Ansari Business Building – November 2018
The Bias and Hate Report Summary said derogatory statements were made on a live shared platform during class on Nov. 2, 2018. The professor removed comments because the statements violated class policy.
Online & Undisclosed Location – November 2018
The Bias and Hate Report Summary said an individual posted ‘Go Kill Yourself’ printed material and posted it on an undisclosed campus bulletin board on Nov. 20, 2018. The comments were reviewed for violation of policy or law and the posters were removed.
Nevada Living Learning Center – November 2018
The Bias and Hate Report Summary said an individual verbal harassed, intimidated and yelled racial slurs towards another on Nov. 26, 2018. The Dean of Students Kimberly Thomas discussed the issue with Residential Life staff and campus resources were offered.
Campus Escort – December 2018
The Bias and Hate Report Summary said an individual played offensive music in a Campus Escort shuttle on Dec. 5, 2018. The policy was reviewed with Campus Escort.
Southwest Corner of Main Campus – December 2018
The Bias and Hate Report Summary said an unknown object which said “Men Beware! Fems Encourage Women to Make False Assault Charges! MGTOW” was plastered on a light pole on the southwest corner of main campus on Dec. 31, 2018. The incident was reviewed but was out of their jurisdiction.
North Virginia Street – February 2019
The Bias and Hate Report Summary said an individual pushed an international student on the side of the northbound lane of N. Virginia Street on February 15. There was a police report filed and an investigation.
The Center. Every Student. Every Story. – February 2019
The Bias and Hate Report Summary said a poster was displayed in the Center which read “Immigration is a Black Issue” on February 21. The Director of the Center, Jose Miguel Pulido Leon invited the offended individual to have a conversation about the poster.
Hilliard Plaza – March 2019
The Bias and Hate Report Summary said a sign was displayed in Hilliard Plaza which read “ACAB – All Cops Are Bad” on March 4. The message was noted.
Sarah Fleischman Building – March 2019
The Bias and Hate Report Summary said a poster of Identity Evropa was displayed in the Sarah Fleischman Building on March 4. The message was noted.
Juniper Hall – March 2019
The Nevada Sagebrush and the Bias and Hate Report Summary reported a swastika drawn on a wall with a message which read: “Kill all Jews” at Juniper Hall on March 6. A police report was filed, a police investigation started and was completed, residents and Resident Assistants were interviewed and the message was removed. The perpetrator or perpetrators are still unknown.
Juniper Hall – March 2019
The Bias and Hate Report Summary said graffiti which read: “F*CK NAZIS” was found in Juniper Hall on March 14. The message was removed, a police report was filed, a police investigation started and was completed.
Juniper Hall – March 2019
The Bias and Hate Report Summary said graffiti which read: “F*CK NAZIS” was found in Juniper Hall on March 18. The message was removed, a police report was filed, a police investigation started and was completed. There was a town hall in residence halls discussing advocacy for the Jewish community.
Wolf Pack Tower – August 2019
The Nevada Sagebrush reported a swastika was found painted in the stairwell by the seventeenth floor of Wolf Pack Tower on August 24. The perpetrator or perpetrators are still unknown. This incident was not listed in the Bias and Hate Report Summary.
Unknown Apartment – September 2019
A Twitter user posted a video on September 1, showing two UNR students burning the LGBT flag in a fire pit. The incident was not shown in the Bias and Hate Report Summary .
Several university buildings- September 2019
The Nevada Sagebrush reported the flyering of the American Identity Movement on September 17. The perpetrator or perpetrators are still unknown. This incident was not listed in the Bias and Hate Report Summary.
Church Fine Arts – October 2019
The Nevada Sagebrush reported a swastika drawn in the Church Fine Arts on October 10. The perpetrator or perpetrators are still unknown. This incident was not listed in the Bias and Hate Report Summary.
Manzanita Lake – October 2019
A Twitter user posted photos of the white supremacist organization Patriot Front placing stickers on signs around Manzanita Lake. The incident was not formally reported by the Nevada Sagebrush or shown in the Bias and Hate Report Summary.
William Raggio Building – October 2019
The Nevada Sagebrush reported a swastika drawn in the Raggio building restroom on October 24. The perpetrator or perpetrators are still unknown. This incident was not listed in the Bias and Hate Report Summary.
Taylor Johnson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @taylorkendyll.