UConn releases 2021-2022 bias incident statistics

Alan T. Busby Suites on the UConn Storrs campus, March 28, 2022. Busby was vandalized with anti-black racism.

The University of Connecticut’s Associate Vice President and Dean of Students Eleanor JB Daugherty gave an update about bias referrals received during the 2021-2022 academic year in an email last Thursday afternoon. 

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

According to UConn’s policy, a bias incident is described as “an incident that negatively targets, intimidates or threatens an individual or group due to race, ethnicity, ancestry, national origin, religion, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, age, physical, mental and intellectual disabilities, as well as past/present history of mental disorders. This includes, but is not limited to, graffiti or images that harass or intimidate individuals or groups due to the above characteristics.” 

A majority of the bias incidents—51—were described as “offensive verbal comments”. Others included written slurs (14), “other” (12), property damage/graffiti (11), vandalism (10), email/internet messages (10), offensive social media posts (9), offensive classroom comments (9) and offensive visual representations (7). 

Daughtery reflected on what this data from the 2021-2022 academic year could mean. 

“What should we make of this?  Is UConn a community that values free speech? Absolutely. It is the reason we are able to learn and discover as a 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?  Sure, we can. But is it funny? Is it funny or necessary to demean and remind others of historical oppression through offensive words and actions?  Can we instead embrace the privilege of free speech and the desire to care for all members of our community? Can we learn more from one another rather than pushing each other away through actions that I know so many of us regret in hindsight?” 

Daughtery also addressed why she thinks it is so important to address bias incidents regularly on campus. 

“Such incidents of hurtful speech and action undermine our commitment to creating an inclusive and caring community. Such speech and actions can hurt people and make them feel isolated at UConn. This not only makes it harder to achieve 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 any and all bias incidents that negatively impact our campus climate,” Daughtery wrote. 

The email concluded with Daughtery announcing several initiatives aimed at decreasing bias on campus. 

“We are excited to launch the UConn Faith and Expression Challenge this year.  The Bias Action Group that was formed last year will meet next week. Additional opportunities for engagements can be found on the Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Justice @UConn website,” Daughtery wrote. 

**Any student on campus that feels they have been victim of a bias incident can submit a form on UConn’s website. It is monitored Monday – Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and each 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 that requires immediate attention.** 

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