Report an Incident

Report an Incident of Bias, Intolerance, Discrimination, and/or Hate

Tufts is committed to fostering an environment where you, and every member of our community, feels respected and safe. By the same token, you play an essential role in our ability to uphold this commitment.

Our nondiscrimination policy prohibits discrimination against and harassment of any student, employee, applicant for employment, third party, or community member on the basis of race; color; national or ethnic origin; age; religion; disability; sex; sexual orientation; gender; gender identity and expression, including a transgender identity; genetics; veteran status; retaliation; and any other characteristic protected under applicable federal or state law.

We rely on you and every community member to help maintain a supportive academic, residential, and professional environment for our diverse population. The Office of the Dean of Student Affairs has a reporting system for incidents of bias, intolerance, discrimination, and/or hate at Tufts.

If you feel you have been targeted on the basis of one or more of the identities outlined in our nondiscrimination policy, we encourage you to report the incident. Such incidents may, but do not always, include slurs, derogatory language, or negative images. Incidents may include chalking, graffiti, images, written messages, the defacement or alteration of signs, posters, and verbal epithets. They may involve violent acts.

Difference Between Bias, Intolerance, and Discrimination Incidents and Hate Crime Incidents

A bias incident involves an act of intolerance or discrimination that does not involve physical violence or other criminal conduct directed against a person, group, or property. The act singles an individual or group out on the basis of one or more of the identities defined within our Tufts nondiscrimination policy.

Bias incidents may specifically include use of slurs or epithets and bias-fueled jokes. They may occur as a party theme that demeans a specific group or groups.If you are the target of such an incident, you may feel threatened, offended, or intimidated.

Examples of bias incidents include

  • Verbal harassment
  • Bullying
  • Taunting
  • Intimidation

Hate crime incidents are motivated by and express these same biases, but these acts reach the legal threshold of a criminal offense.

Examples of hate crimes include, but are not limited to

  • Assault, sexual assault
  • Battery
  • Criminal damage to property
Make a Report

We take any report of bias, intolerance, discrimination, and/or hate seriously.  If you feel that you have been targeted, have questions about whether or not you have been the victim of an incident of hate, bias, discrimination or intolerance, or if you know of a situation that may constitute such an incident, please report it as quickly as possible in  one of the two following ways.

1) Report an Incident Online

Community members may report an incident online via SIS. Students should select "Student Living" from their homepage, select "WebCenter" from the dropdown, and then select "Bias Incident." We take every reported incident seriously and apply the processes outlined below.

2) File a Police Report with Tufts University Police Department

If this is an emergency, please call the TUPD emergency line at 617-627-6911

The Tufts University Police Department (TUPD) will determine which Tufts department should handle your report. In many cases, the Office of Equal Opportunity (OEO), the Dean of Students Office, or Human Resources handles reports of bias, though other  offices could be involved, depending on the nature of the incident, its location, and the parties involved. What happens next will depend on these factors.

The police report may prompt the Office of the Dean of Student Affairs’ process for Incidents of Bias, Intolerance, Discrimination, and/or Hate or it might mean that one of the other offices mentioned will reach out to you. If the latter is the case, the Office of the Dean of Student Affairs will remain a resource for you. You can contact them directly at any time.  

Next Steps After Reporting

Your report may go to one or more of the following offices: the Office of Equal Opportunity (OEO), the Dean of Students Affairs Office (DOSA), Human Resources (HR), or the School Deans within AS&E. Unless you make an anonymous report, we can not guarantee you confidentiality but we will work diligently to protect your privacy.

In general, the DOSA office is involved with incidents that include AS&E students on the Medford campus, though there are some exceptions. For example, the Office of Equal Opportunity (OEO) may respond to a report of sexual misconduct.

If the Dean of Students Affairs Office receives your report, the Associate Dean of Students consults with the Administrative Contact Team (ACT). The ACT is comprised of a representative from the Office of the President, the Offices of the Deans of Arts and Science, the Dean of Student Affairs Office, and the Group of Six.

The ACT takes the following steps with each report it receives

  1. Determine whether or not the incident targets one or more protected group(s) as defined by Tufts’ nondiscrimination policy
  2. Determine whether or not the incident qualifies as an act of bias, intolerance, discrimination, and/or hate, or if the incident -- even if offensive -- constitutes language, symbols, or behavior(s) permissible as free speech or academic freedom.
  3. Determine the appropriate office to involve: OEO, DOSA, HR or another office.
  4. If DOSA office is responding to the report and identifying information is available, the office will initiate contact with the submitting party or parties to provide support and gather more information if necessary.
  5. Determine whether or not the incident meets the criteria to be placed on the list of Reported Incidents of Bias, Intolerance, Discrimination, and/or Hate. More often than not, the ACT will include any incident that could reasonably be seen to target a person or community based on one or more protected identities within Tufts’ nondiscrimination policy
Difference Between Reporting an Incident and Filing an Official Complaint

A report documents an incident, whether or not disciplinary action can be taken. A report can have an identified reporter and can identify the parties involved. A report can also be anonymous and describe an incident without identifying involved parties. Reporting an incident through the appropriate options will lead to an evaluation, but will not necessarily trigger a formal complaint.

A complaint documents an incident, but it also initiates an official case and investigation which can result in disciplinary action. A complaint/case is often predicated on a report, but a report is not in and of itself a complaint. Complaints are usually filed by an identified complainant, though on certain occasions they can be filed anonymously, by a third party, or on behalf of the University. A complaint must identify the person(s) or organization(s) against whom the complaint is being filed.  No disciplinary action can be taken without this information.

If your aim in submitting an incident is to pursue sanctions and disciplinary action, we encourage you to reach out to the Office of Equal Opportunity or the Office of the Dean of Student Affairs to file a complaint or learn more about what filing a complaint entails.

List of Reported Incidents of Bias, Intolerance, Discrimination and Hate

Among other things, the Administrative Contact Team (ACT) will review your report and  determine if the incident constitutes bias, intolerance, discrimination, and/or hate and whether to include it on the list of Reported Incidents of Bias, Intolerance, Discrimination, and/or Hate.

Purpose of the List

The list of Reported Incidents of Bias, Intolerance, Discrimination, and/or Hate is a way for the Tufts community to register individual bias incidents and monitor the campus climate. It is also a way for the Administrative Contact Team, Office of the Dean of Student Affairs, and Office of Equal Opportunity to report back to the community on the university’s official response to reported incidents. 

Because we can only respond to reported incidents, we may not fully understand the scope of experiences to which members of targeted groups are subjected. We urge all members of the Tufts community to report any incidents and suggest ways to improve the usefulness of the list of Reported Incidents of Bias, Intolerance, Discrimination, and/or Hate.

Who Can See the List

The list is intended to apprise members of the Tufts community about incidents on campus and the responses to those incidents.  Therefore, it is not made available to the general public. The list is made available to any student, faculty, or staff member via the Student Affairs website which requires a Tufts UTLN and password.

Information Included on the List

Reports are edited for confidentiality and to ensure that the language conforms to protocols developed by the Administrative Contact Team (for example, the elimination of certain epithets). As much as possible, the original language of the report of an incident will be preserved. This list does not include reports of material that appears in student publications or reports of incidents that occur in classes. If a report leads to an investigation and disciplinary action, outcomes may also be edited to protect your and other individual’s privacy.

Why Some Reports Are Not Included

A report will not be included if the Administrative Contact Team determines that it describes an incident that is permissible under the university's policies on free expression (for example, an act of political speech). Even if our evaluation finds a reported incident to be permissible under policy or law and therefore cannot include it, we recognize and acknowledge that some permissible language and behavior can still be painful when expressed.

Freedom of expression and inquiry are fundamental to the academic enterprise. While Tufts takes seriously, and will follow up on any claim of discrimination or the creation of a hostile environment, the list of reported incidents does not include material that appears in campus media, or reports of incidents that occur in classes. Similarly, for confidentiality reasons, incidents involving University employees are not included on the list of Reported Incidents of Bias, Intolerance, Discrimination, and/or Hate.

If Your Report is Not Included

Reported incidents that do not appear on the list can still be turned into formal complaints.

If an incident occurs in a class, for example, it can be reported to the Administrative Contact Team and may, but not always, result in action taken by the Dean of Student Affairs Office or the Office of Equal Opportunity even if that incident cannot be reported out to the community.

If your aim in reporting an incident is to pursue sanctions and disciplinary action, we encourage you to reach out to the Office of Equal Opportunity or the Office of the Dean of Student Affairs to either file a complaint or learn more about what filing a complaint entails.