B.E.R.T.

Introduction

Rutgers University Newark is a community of respect, openness, understanding, and civility. We continually “practice” community by sharing our experiences, listening carefully to others, and debating ideas in civil, generous, and constructive ways. However, there are times when the actions and behaviors of community members impact others negatively. The Bias Education Response Team was established to respond to these actions and behaviors with resources, support, and actions. While Rutgers University Newark values open expression and vigorous debate in the context of civility and mutual respect for diverse individuals and communities, bias incidents directly impact our ability to know, trust, support, and learn from one another.

What is B.E.R.T.?

The Bias Education and Response Team at Rutgers University - Newark envisions a safe, affirming, and inclusive community for all students, faculty, and staff to learn and work together in alignment with the University's commitment to champion diversity of thought, experience, and identity. B.E.R.T. focuses on restorative justice and education in order to transform the campus climate by promoting positive changes and facilitating difficult dialogue for a more inclusive campus.

Mission:

B.E.R.T. exists to provide support-related resources to individuals who have experienced a bias incident; to act as an intermediate facilitator for intergroup dialogues; and to design programs, events, and education workshops to aid in the prevention and elimination of bias incidents.

What is a Bias Incident?

Bias Incident – A “Bias Incident” is defined an act – either verbal, written, physical, or psychological that threatens or harms a person or group on the basis of actual or perceived race, religion, color, sex, age, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, national origin, ancestry, disability, marital status, civil union status, domestic partnership status, atypical heredity or cellular blood trait, military service or veteran status.

Bias incidents include, but are not limited to, name-calling, stereotyping, belittling, or excluding others based on their identity. Some, but not all, bias incidents may rise to the level of discriminatory harassment, sexual misconduct, or other violations of policy or law.

Why is BERT needed?

Some actions and situations may not violate law or policy but, nonetheless, fail to support our vision of a community of respect, openness, understanding, and civility. BERT not only provides assistance to students filing a report, it keeps records of bias incidents to ensure members of the community have appropriate access to information related to these incidents. BERT also serves as a liaison to members of the community who may not know where or how to seek appropriate resources.

Why should bias incidents be reported?

Reporting a bias incident helps to ensure our community addresses issues that impact our ability to cultivate the trust and cultural humility that are essential components of community building and learning at Rutgers University Newark. Reporting bias incidents also ensures that members of our community receive necessary support resources. Finally, this information provides the university with a record of current issues on campus and enables the community to track trends.