UConn Releases Bias Incident Statistics 2021-2022

Alan T. Busby Suites on the UConn Storrs campus, March 28, 2022. Busby has been vandalized over anti-black racism.

Associate Vice President and Dean of Students at the University of Connecticut, Eleanor JB Daugherty, provided an update on biased referrals received during the 2021-2022 academic year in an email last Thursday afternoon.

“During the 2021-2022 academic year, 124 bias-related referrals were shared with the University. Some of these references revealed multiple incidents, some resulted in code violations. The majority of referrals resulted from community conversations led by the Dean of Student’s Office or the Residential Life Department. We used those moments to provide honest reflections on our university and to rededicate ourselves to improving it,” Daugherty wrote.

According to UConn policy, a bias incident is described as “an incident that negatively targets, intimidates, or threatens an individual or group because of race, ethnicity, ancestry, national origin, religion, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, age, physical, mental and intellectual disabilities, and past/present history of mental health issues. limited thereto, graffiti or images that harass or intimidate individuals or groups because of the above characteristics.

The majority of bias incidents (51) were described as “offensive verbal comments”. Others included writing insults (14), “other” (12), property damage/graffiti (11), vandalism (10), email/web messages (10), offensive social media posts ( 9), offensive comments in class (9) and offensive visual representations (7).

Daughtery pondered what this data from the 2021-2022 academic year might mean.

“What should we make of this? Is UConn a community that values ​​free speech? Absolutely. That’s why we are able to learn and discover as research university. Some have suggested in these community conversations that maybe our sense of humor is lacking,” Daughtery said in her email. “Can we just not take a joke? Of course we can But is it funny?Is it funny or necessary to belittle and remind others of historic oppression through offensive words and actions?Can we instead embrace the privilege of free speech and the desire to take care of all members of our community? Can we learn more from each other rather than push each other away with actions that I know many of us regret in hindsight?

Daughtery also shared why she thinks it’s so important to regularly address incidents of bias on campus.

“Such incidents of hurtful speech and actions undermine our commitment to building an inclusive and caring community. Such words and actions can hurt people and make them feel isolated at UConn. This not only makes it more difficult to reach their full potential at UConn, but also limits what we as a group are able to achieve together. We are committed to making UConn a better place to live, learn and work by addressing all incidents of bias that negatively impact the climate on our campus,” Daughtery wrote.

The email ended with Daughtery announcing several initiatives aimed at reducing bias on campus.

“We are delighted to launch the UConn Faith and Expression Challenge This year. The Bias Action Group formed last year will meet next week. Other engagement opportunities can be found on the Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Justice @UConn website,” Daughtery wrote.

**Any on-campus student who feels they have been the victim of an incident of bias may submit a form on the UConn website. It is monitored Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and every report submitted is reviewed by the Office of Community Standards and the UConn Police Department. The website reminds students to call 911 if it is an emergency requiring immediate attention.**