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WKU introduces Bias Incident Reporting program

WKU is taking steps to provide a safer environment for its diverse populations. The university encourages students to take advantage of the safe places the campus has to offer and utilize the new programs.

Bias Incident Reporting is an online portal that will allow students, staff and faculty to report incidents of bias or hate to a campus representative. The university has been working on this program for several months and hopes to have it up and running in the fall of 2017.

The program is expected to appear on the WKU website and will eventually serve as a location for all incident reporting. This would range from acts of bias to a water leak on campus. The objective ensures that students, staff and faculty have a place to report any incidents that may occur on campus.

Reported incidents will go to the office of the dean of students where they are then transferred to the appropriate department. All submissions for bias incident reporting are anonymous.

The university also administers Inter Group Dialogue for students who volunteer to sit with other students not like them and have positive conversations. The program last met during the 2014-2015 school year and plans to resurface in the fall. IGD is led by a trained facilitator who guides conversation among people of different races, religions, genders and sexual orientations.

The program is broken up into different sessions that are co-facilitated by trained graduate students, faculty and staff. The program is sponsored through Housing and Residence Life, the Intercultural Student Engagement Center, and the Center for Citizenship and Social Justice.

Dr. Lynne Holland, Chief Diversity Officer, said the goal is cultural competency. She believes students and faculty have to become comfortable in their day-to-day interactions with others who are different from them.

“When we’re comfortable, we convey that to others but we have to move beyond the rhetoric and implement these values,” Dr. Holland said.

Programs such as MASTER Plan are reassessing their makeup to advance the diversity and multicultural component to better educate students. Others, such as the Intercultural Student Engagement Center, are already in place and promote a culturally inclusive campus environment.

For more information on ways students, staff and faculty can express themselves or learn more concerning diversity and inclusiveness, contact Dr. Lynne Holland at lynne.holland@wku.edu or Dr. Martha Sales at martha.sales@wku.edu.

Contact: Lynne Holland, (270) 745-2683

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