Over the past several years WPI has been on a mission to infuse diversity, equity, and...Read Story
Making WPI a Place Where All Are Valued
As a part of its focused and purposeful work to develop a campus culture that rejects bias, prejudice, discrimination, and hateful acts, WPI has established the Bias Response Program (BRP) at the direction of President Laurie Leshin.
Committed to creating an equitable, inclusive, and anti-oppressive community where all are valued and respected as intrinsic members, the BRP fosters awareness and understanding of bias while addressing individual and community-wide bias incidents. As a university working toward identifying, mitigating, and preventing bias incidents in the community, BRP puts into action WPI’s stated commitment that bias is unacceptable.
The Bias Response Team (BRT) is co-chaired by Rame Hanna, director of diversity and inclusive excellence, and Casey Wall, assistant dean of students and director of residential services. Ten more staff and faculty members from across campus have also offered their time, knowledge, and expertise as team members. In addition, the Bias Advisory Council will provide recommendations to the president on community-wide incidents and their potential impacts.
“We care deeply about fostering a culture where all feel valued and respected.”
“When developing the program we wanted to take a proactive approach to prevent and help mitigate the recurrence of incidents of bias at WPI,” says Hanna. “With numerous reporting channels available, we felt it was critical to be able to serve as a resource that can help our community members better understand and navigate the options available to them.”
The team also serves as a resource and advocates for individuals who may not be comfortable pursuing formal reporting channels or who may report an incident that doesn’t rise to the level of a policy violation. The BRT isn’t a judicial group—its role is to act as a coordinated network of support to WPI’s formal reporting channels and to develop remedial approaches (e.g., educational, training, resource allocation) to bias incidents.
This initiative’s four cornerstones help blend diversity, equity, and inclusion into the full fabric of the institution:
- Response and Referral: Identify and respond to incidents of bias and help connect individuals to their options.
- Advocacy and Accountability: Provide resources and support to those impacted by a bias-related incident while also ensuring incidents are responded to promptly, effectively, and equitably.
- Data and Assessment: Assess data trends and patterns from reported incidents and use the information to share strategies to mitigate and reduce the recurrence of bias incidents on campus.
- Education and Impact: Use education to aid the development of a WPI community of individuals who demonstrate civility while advocating for themselves and other community members, and to advise on the potential impacts of critical incidents on campus and of world events.
“We care deeply about fostering a culture where all feel valued and respected,” Hanna says, “and hope BRP can also serve as a means of accountability to ensure incidents that are reported are equitably addressed.”