Bias FAQs & Terminology

Bias FAQs & Terminology

What is a bias incident or hostile climate action?

Any demeaning, derogatory, or otherwise offensive behavior directed toward an individual on the basis of sex, gender identity or expression, race/ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, ability/disability, or other group or personal characteristic may qualify as a bias incident or hostile climate action.

What should I do if I experience or witness a bias incident?

You can file a report directly here. You can also contact one of the offices on the Resource List and submit a report in person. Your report will be directed to the appropriate office.

Why should I report a bias incident?

Engaging in behavior that demeans any individual or group member is contrary to the values of the university community. Bias incidents and hostile climate actions divide our community, diminish an individual’s sense of belonging and participation, and undermine the university’s goals of creating and maintaining a welcoming and inclusive community for all of its members. UNL needs your help in responding to these situations. The purpose of reporting is not to start a punitive action but to allow the university to address incidents and respond in other ways using education, speaking out, and/or other appropriate means. Any disciplinary measures will be initiated in compliance with university policies and in accordance with the law.

How can I be assured my report is confidential?

Our intention is to treat all reports and information confidentially to the extent permitted by law. Only authorized UNL employees will see the information submitted. The confidential nature of the information will be emphasized to all employees receiving or responding to this information. If you want to speak with someone about the incident without having any follow-up, please speak to a counselor. Resources are listed on the Campus Resources page.  You may contact Counseling and Psychological Services, the Victim Advocate, or another counselor as client-patient privilege will apply.  The bias response team members and other UNL employees may have an obligation to report and follow-up on information provided.  Counselors also have an obligation to report any situations that indicate there is a danger of harm to self or others; suspected child abuse; and/or abuse of a vulnerable adult.  Please report crimes to the UNL Police Department.


Bias: A pre-formed negative opinion or attitude toward a group of persons based on their race, religion, ethnicity/national origin, or sexual orientation (FBI Hate Crime Data Collection Guidelines).

Bias Incident: An event that has the effect of demeaning or degrading an individual or a group and is motivated in whole or in part by the perpetrator's bias against a particular group. Experiencing prejudice, stigma, or discriminatory attitudes and/or behavior.

Bias Crime/Hate Crime: A criminal offense committed against a person or property that is motivated, in whole or in part, by the offender's bias against a particular group. (In addition to those mentioned above, other categories or identities may be protected depending on where the crime took place; local and state laws may vary and a federal offense may have been committed).  

Even if the offender was or is mistaken in his or her perception that the victim was a member of the group he or she was acting against, the offense is still a bias crime because the offender was motivated by bias against the group (FBI Hate Crime Data Collection Guidelines).