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Defining Bias

Bias comes in multiple forms. Unfortunately, we all have bias and may or may not be aware of how it is expressed. To improve understanding of bias and how it presents itself, below we define bias, a bias incident, and provide categories of bias.

What is Bias?

A bias incident is any form of prejudice or favoritism, directed towards or against any individual, group, department, or program, which results in unfair treatment, outcomes, or disparate impact.

What is a Bias Incident?

The Clery Act defines a bias incident as an incident or act performed based on a negative opinion or attitude toward a group of persons based on race, ethnicity, national origin, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, religion, and disability.

Categories of Bias


An individual or systemic limitation of access to resources, opportunities, products or services.


Prejudice against or hatred towards Jewish individuals, Jews as a people, Jewish ethnicity, culture, clothing, institutions, and/or religion/religious teachings.


Any type of prejudice, perceived inability, or preferences based on disability.


The act of limiting or removing a voice, perspective, or presence within a group or setting; communications that subtly exclude, negate or nullify the thoughts, feelings or experiential reality of an individual or group.


A “hate incident” is motivated by an individual or individuals' bias, stereotyping, or lack of tolerance for difference. Racial epithets or other targeted and historic terms meant to degrade, dehumanize, or devalue are forms of explicit and stated bias. Though hate speech is offensive, it is protected speech under the 1st amendment rights of the constitution.


Unequal treatment based on socio-economic status, job classification, citizenship status, race, gender, sexual orientation, age, or title.


The act of being passed over; not being seen or acknowledged for perspective, voice, experience, or contribution.


Prejudice against or hatred towards Southwest Asians and North Africans (SWANA), which includes Palestinian individuals, as a people, ethnicity, culture, clothing, institutions, and/or religion/religious teachings.


The implicit or explicit act of constant verbal, behavioral, or environmental slights, whether intentional or unintentional, that communicate hostile, derogatory, or negative attitudes towards individuals or groups.


  1. Unfair or unequal due process
  2. A lack of transparency in actions
  3. Limitations in the opportunity to voice your concerns


Acts performed based on a negative opinion, perception, or attitude towards a group based on their religious or non-religious beliefs, practices, clothing or traditions.


The act of chilling, censoring, or quieting the voice or perspective of an individual or group.

* This is not an exhaustive list.