Duquesne's Bias Education Response Team (BERT) is a multidisciplinary team that was founded to educate the campus community, to monitor and report on trends, and respond to bias incidents through restorative practices.

The purpose of BERT is to provide educational and restorative responses to bias incidents that occur within the campus community. It exists to engage people who act in biased ways, as well as the people affected by such behavior, and to help restore feelings of belonging.

Bias Education Response Team Members

Crystal McCormick Ware, Inaugural Chief Diversity Officer and Senior Advisor to the President for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion**
Co-Chairs
  • Tracie Ballock, Assistant University Librarian for Collections & Metadata Services, Gumberg Library
  • Quincy Stephenson, Director, Center for Excellence in Diversity and Student Inclusion
Ex-Officio Members
  • The Rev. Ray French, C.S.Sp., Senior Vice President for Mission & Identity**
  • Dr. Doug Frizzell, Senior Vice President for Student Life**
Working Committee
  • April Barton, Dean, Thomas R. Kline School of Law of Duquesne University
  • Dr. Kristine Blair, Dean, McAnulty College and Graduate School of LIberal Arts
  • The Rev. Bill Christy, C.S.Sp., University Chaplain
  • Dr. Luci-Jo DiMaggio, Director of Mission Animation*
  • Jennifer Fink, Senior Legal Counsel & Director of Risk Management
  • Dr. Valerie J. Harper, Director of Inclusive Excellence, Thomas R. Kline School of Law of Duquesne University
  • Dr. Jessica Mann, Assistant Vice President of Community Engagement
  • Dr. Mary Parish, Associate Director of Online Learning & Strategy*
  • Anne Sawa, Director of Student Conduct
  • Dr. Darlene Weaver, Associate Provost for Academic Affairs

    * indicates new member
    ** indicates new appointment

BERT Resources

Purpose

Duquesne University is an educational institution founded by the members of the Spiritan Congregation. Consistent with its mission, Duquesne is committed to creating an atmosphere free from discrimination and to fostering an inclusive campus environment for all members of the University community. Accordingly, Duquesne's Bias Education Response Team (BERT) is a multidisciplinary team that was founded to educate the campus community, to monitor and report on trends, and to address bias incidents through restorative practices.

Bias Incidents

The Bias Education Response Team (BERT) is available to assist individuals who have concerns about bias incidents. Bias incidents are conscious or unconscious actions committed against a person or group that impacts that person or group on the basis of that person or group's race, color, sex, sexual orientation, pregnancy, age, religion, national origin, marital status, genetic history, Veteran status, disability (visible or invisible), and/or any other category or characteristic otherwise protected by state or federal law.

Reporting a Bias Incident 

Reports regarding bias incidents may be made using BERT's online reporting form. A reporter may choose to make an anonymous report.

However, BERT's ability to provide support and resources may be limited without knowing the reporter's name.

After a Report is Received

When BERT receives a report about a bias incident, BERT will meet with the reporting person or group, as well as any other impacted individuals, to listen to their concerns and help to identify potential resources, options, and restorative support.

BERT may meet with the person(s) about whom the report is made, with their consent, to listen to their concerns and help to identify potential resources, options, and restorative support. BERT may also connect the person(s) about whom the report is made with educational opportunities.

Restorative support will be provided on an ongoing basis, as needed.

Educational and Supportive Resources

BERT serves as an educational and supportive resource to the University's community.

BERT does not conduct investigations or impose discipline.

BERT is not a sanctioning body and does not determine or implement sanctions or consequences.

BERT will monitor reporting trends and may recommend responsive and educational programming to some or all of the University's community.

Other Information

Religiously Affiliated Institution

Duquesne University is an educational institution operated in affiliation with the Roman Catholic Church in the United States and accordingly has certain Constitutional or statutory rights as a religiously-affiliated organization. In particular Duquesne reserves the right to specify as a qualification for employment the ability and willingness to support the values of Catholicism as set forth in the University's Mission Statement.

Legal or Policy Violations

If BERT receives a report about conduct that may be a legal or policy violation, BERT will refer the report to the appropriate University office.  If the reported conduct may be a violation of TAP 61, BERT is required to share the report with the University's Title IX Coordinator.

To the extent BERT refers the report to the appropriate University office for a legal or policy violation, BERT remains available to the reporting person, other impacted persons if applicable, and the person(s) about whom the report was made to assist with resources and restorative support.  

What is a bias incident?

Bias incidents are conscious or unconscious actions committed against a person or group that impacts that person or group on the basis of that person or group's race, color, sex, sexual orientation, pregnancy, age, religion, national origin, marital status, genetic history, Veteran status, disability (visible or invisible), and/or any other category or characteristic otherwise protected by state or federal law.

What if I have been impacted by a bias incident?

You are encouraged to report bias incidents to the Bias Education Response Team (BERT) using the online reporting form.

What if someone reports to me that they have been impacted by a bias incident?

Encourage them to share their report with BERT. BERT encourages all individuals who have witness or experienced a bias incident to report.

What happens after a report is made to BERT?

When a report is received, a group of BERT reviewers will review the report. Where the reported conduct may be a legal or policy violation, BERT will refer the report to the appropriate University office. In that case, BERT is available to the reporter for ongoing restorative support. Where the report is not referred to another University office, BERT reviewers will offer to meet with the reporter, as well as any other impacted individuals if applicable, to listen to their concerns and help to identify potential resources, options, and restorative support. BERT reviewers may meet with the person(s) about whom the report is made, with their consent, to listen to their concerns and help to identify potential resources, options, and restorative support. BERT may also connect the person(s) about whom the report is made with educational opportunities. If appropriate and agreed to by all parties, BERT reviewers may facilitate a dialogue or mediation between the parties. BERT does not conduct investigations or impose discipline.  BERT is not a sanctioning body and does not determine or implement sanctions or consequences.

Is my report kept confidential?

While every effort is taken to maintain confidentiality of reports/reporters, there may be instances, depending on the nature of the report, that it would be necessary to share identifying information with other departments such as Student Conduct or HR.

What is BERT?

Duquesne's Bias Education Response Team (BERT) is a multidisciplinary team that was founded to educate the campus community, to monitor and report on trends, and to address Bias Incidents through restorative practices.

What is the purpose of BERT?

The purpose of BERT is to provide educational and restorative responses to bias incidents that occur within the campus community. It exists to engage people who act in biased ways, as well as the people affected by such behavior, and to help restore feelings of belonging.

Is BERT a disciplinary body?

No, BERT has no disciplinary authority and does not adjudicate alleged bias-related incidents, though it can refer for conduct proceedings as appropriate.

What responsibilities does BERT have?

BERT is charged with the following responsibilities:

  • Assist in the development of a University policy on free speech on campus consistent with its status and identity as a private educational institution operated in affiliation with the Roman Catholic Church in the United States and the University's Spiritan Father founders
  • Receive and review reports of bias-related incidents and direct those reports to appropriate areas for response
  • Raise awareness of bias within our campus community through educational programming and activities
  • Provide support and guidance to those negatively impacted by bias-related incidents by connecting them with the appropriate campus resources

How does BERT define "bias"?

Bias incidents are conscious or unconscious actions committed against a person or group that impacts that person or group on the basis of that person or group's race, color, sex, sexual orientation, pregnancy, age, religion, national origin, marital status, genetic history, Veteran status, disability (visible or invisible), and/or any other category or characteristic otherwise protected by state or federal law.

What bias incidents should be reported to BERT?

Potential bias incidents can range from subtle one-time acts to overt, severe, and/or repeated occurrences. BERT encourages the reporting of all bias incidents, including those that occur in online or electronic communication.

How does someone report a bias incident to BERT?

Anyone can make a report of a bias incident. Reports regarding bias incident may be made using BERT's online reporting form.

Can I make an anonymous report?

A reporter may choose to make an anonymous report.

However, BERT's ability to provide support and resources may be limited without knowing the reporter's name.

How long do I have to report an incident of bias?

While there is no specific time limit for reporting a bias incident, it is important to submit a report as soon as possible after you believe an incident has occurred. It is much more effective to investigate and address issues promptly.

Once a bias incident is reported, what happens?

When a report is received, a group of BERT reviewers will review the report. Where the reported conduct may be a legal or policy violation, BERT will refer the report to the appropriate University office. In that case, BERT is available to the reporter for ongoing restorative support. Where the report is not referred to another University office, BERT reviewers will offer to meet with the reporter, as well as any other impacted individuals if applicable, to listen to their concerns and help to identify potential resources, options, and restorative support. BERT reviewers may meet with the person(s) about whom the report is made, with their consent, to listen to their concerns and help to identify potential resources, options, and restorative support.

BERT may also connect the person(s) about whom the report is made with educational opportunities.  If appropriate and agreed to by all parties, BERT reviewers may facilitate a dialogue or mediation between the parties.

BERT does not conduct investigations or impose discipline.

BERT is not a sanctioning body and does not determine or implement sanctions or consequences.

Do I report a bias incident through the BIas Incident Report form if the incident in question involves possible sexual harassment or misconduct?

Any incident involving possible sexual harassment or misconduct should be reported to the University's Title IX Coordinator and Director of Sexual Misconduct Prevention and Response. Reporters who need a confidential resource with whom to discuss sexual harassment or misconduct may contact:

On-campus confidential resources

  • Spiritan Campus Ministry 412.396.6020
  • University Counseling 412.396.6204
  • University Psychology Clinic 412.396.6562
  • Health Services 412.396.6562

Off-campus confidential resources

  • Pittsburgh Action Against Rape 24-hour helpline (1.866.END.RAPE)
  • Center for Victims of Violence and Crime 24-hour helpline (1.866.644.2882)
  • Resolve Crisis Network 24-hour helpline (1.888.7.YOU.CAN).

If BERT receives a report involving possible sexual harassment or misconduct, BERT is required to share the report with the University's Title IX Coordinator and Director of Sexual Misconduct Prevention and Response.

Should I still report a bias incident if I know or think someone else has reported the same incident?

Yes. BERT encourages all individuals who have witness or experienced a Bias Incident to report.  BERT values each individual's perspective about Bias Incidents and more information will help BERT respond appropriately to bias incidents.

Does BERT consider and address possible retaliation against individuals who make a report?

Yes. The BERT committee will work with individuals to consider and address retaliation issues.

Legal or Policy Will BERT provide educational programs and activities? 

Yes. A variety of programs and activities will be listed on the BERT website and periodically communicated to the University community. It is hoped that all members of our community will engage, contribute and participate.

Will BERT provide information about its activities and reported incidents?

BERT plans to provide general reporting data on its web page regarding numbers and types of incidents reported.