When I began working for USM as the Director of Intercultural Student Engagement, during the summer of 2020, creating a bias response team was one of the first projects I expressed interest in developing. The USM community, especially the students, wanted a transparent and structured system in place for their concerns to be addressed. Throughout the year, Dr. Idella Glenn (Associate Vice President of Equity, Inclusion & Community Impact), Sarah Holmes (Assistant Dean of Students & Deputy Title IX Coordinator), Erika Lamarre (Director of Community Standards & Mediation), and I constantly met with each other and various campus partners while also attending conferences, reading research, and pilot testing potential protocols to create USM's first Bias Response Team (BRT). We realized that the BRT had the potential to not only address our students' concerns but to inspire, educate, and connect our community. The BRT is a step forward and the real work begins now.
Sincerely, William M. Johnson, William M. Johnson Director of Intercultural Student Engagement
The Bias Response Team (BRT) aids in mitigating the effects of reported bias on USM's campuses, through mediations, resource referrals, and campus-wide collaboration. Based on a restorative justice model, the BRT provides a transparent and just reporting process for all USM students, to help improve the overall student experience. The BRT will also serve as a consulting resource for faculty, staff, and students, when requested, for best practices and guidance on navigating situations pertaining to diversity, equity, and inclusion.
Transparency All information that can be ethically shared with the members of either party will be released in a responsible manner. Veracity All information gathered will be reviewed through an objective lens to best provide an accurate and thorough understanding of the reported event and its surrounding contextual environment. Empathy/Humility Each member of the BRT will approach all inquiries and those impacted with empathy and humility, remaining open-minded and responsive throughout the process. Restorative Justice The BRT will always seek to provide resolutions centered around healing and understanding.