Hate Crimes & Bias-Related Incidents

In addition to the university’s non-discrimination policies, members of our community should also be free from acts of hate crimes and bias incidents based on race, color, national origin, sex, gender identity, gender expression, sexual orientation, disability, age, religion, height, weight, marital status and veteran status.

According to the U.S. Department of Justice, a 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, national origin, gender, physical or mental disability, or sexual orientation.” Within the State of Michigan, a person is guilty of ethnic intimidation if that person maliciously threatens or physically contacts a person with intent to intimidate, harass or damage the property of that person because of that person’s race, color, religion, gender or national origin.

The University of Michigan also recognizes additional categories of potential bias, such as sex, gender identity, gender expression, age, height, weight, marital status and veteran status. Some possible examples of hate crimes include painting racial slurs on the side of a campus building, assaulting another person because of perceived national origin, or throwing a rock through someone’s window while yelling derogatory comments about the person’s religion.

Bias-related incidents are non-criminal activities based on race, color, national origin, sex, gender identity, gender expression, sexual orientation, disability, age, religion, height, weight, marital status and veteran status. Some examples of possible bias-related incidents include writing a racial epithet in erasable marker on someone’s dry-erase board, making fun of another person because of the person’s language or accent, or making insulting comments about someone’s traditional manner of dress or geographic origin.

Hate crimes and bias-related incidents are not necessarily discrimination. Unlawful discrimination refers to specific conduct prohibited by law that unfairly treats people differently because of their race, color, national origin, age, marital status, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, disability, religion, height, weight, or veteran status. An example of unlawful discrimination would be to deny membership into a group because a person is Muslim.

Bias is a preconceived negative opinion or attitude about a group of people who possess common physical characteristics or cultural experiences. A possible example of a bias-related incident would be writing racist or homophobic graffiti in a public area. Unlawful discrimination often results from bias. Bias-related incidents, however, do not always result in unfair treatment that violates nondiscrimination laws.

The university encourages students, faculty and staff to report hate crimes and bias-related incidents. In an emergency, dial 9-1-1 to be connected to the Department of Public Safety (on campus) or Ann Arbor Police Department (off campus). If you believe you have experienced a hate crime, you may report it directly to the Department of Public Safety (on-campus) at (734) 763-1131 or the Ann Arbor Police (off-campus) at (734) 994-2911. If you believe you have experienced a bias-related incident or are not sure you have experienced a hate crime and would like to discuss the incident, please call (734) 615-BIAS (2427). Faculty and staff who call the number will be connected to the Office of Institutional Equity; students will be connected to the Dean of Students Office. Staff from these offices will offer support and begin to discuss next steps with callers.

The university provides additional information about hate crimes and bias-related incidents at  www.urespect.umich.edu.