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
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
- 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
- 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
Yes. The BERT committee will work with individuals to consider and address retaliation
Will BERT provide educational programs and activities?
Yes. A variety of programs and activities will be listed on this BERT webpage and
periodically communicated to the University community. It is hoped that all members
of our community will engage, contribute and participate.