Bias Response

Click here for a list of offices designated to respond to hate crimes and other bias-motivated incidents.

SUNY Potsdam is a unique place to study, work and live. The college community is an environment where individuals can immerse themselves in a culturally diverse, pluralistic society. The campus community should take advantage of the wonderful opportunities available to learn about the various cultural groups represented here at SUNY Potsdam – developing an appreciation for their respective historical contributions, folklore, music, food, language, art and customs.

To ensure an environment where an individual can achieve his or her academic/career goals, the University Police Department has established policies and procedures to protect the entire college community from what has been termed “hate crime incidents”. The objective of this pamphlet is to define Hate crime and to explain the University Police Department’s hate crime related policies and procedures.

What is a hate crime?

NYS Penal Law 485.05: A person commits a hate crime when he or she commits a specified offense and either: (a) Intentionally selects the person against whom the offense is committed or intended to be committed in whole or in substantial part because of a belief or perception regarding the race, color, national origin, ancestry, gender, religion, religious practice, age, disability, or sexual orientation of a person, regardless of whether the belief or perception is correct, or (b) Intentionally commits the act or acts constituting the offense in whole or in substantial part because of a belief or perception regarding the race, color, national origin, ancestry, gender, religion, religious practice, age, disability or sexual orientation of a person, regardless of whether the belief or perception is correct.

What is the University Police Department’s stance on hate crime?

It is the policy of the University Police Department to ensure that the rights guaranteed by New York State Law and the U.S. Constitution are protected for all citizens, regardless of race, color, national origin, ancestry, gender, religion, religious practice, age, disability, or sexual orientation. When such rights are infringed upon by violence, threats, or other harassment, the University Police Department will use every necessary resource to identify the perpetrator(s), arrest them, and bring them to trial.

Bias-Motivated Incidents

  • Include Criminal and Non-Criminal conduct
  • Motivated by hatred, prejudice or bigotry
  • May be directed at: individuals, group of individuals, structured group, property, non-members who associate with or advocate on behalf of members of a structured group.

Bias‐motivated action is not necessarily a hate crime

  • Hate Speech
  • Displaying offensive materials on one’s own property
  • Distributing hate literature
  • Posting hate materials that do not cause property damage
(NYS Division of Criminal Justice Services (NYSDCJS) Crime Reporting Unit)

What can I do if I am a bias-related crime victim?

Immediately report the incident to the University Police Department and the Bias Response Team. Should you become a victim of a hate crime, remember that all materials such as graffiti should be preserved, documented, and reported immediately to the University Police Department. The University Police Department will conduct a thorough criminal investigation and work with the court system to prosecute offenders. All hate crimes are reported to the Division of Criminal Justice Services in Albany and are monitored independently.

What can I do to prevent hate crimes?

Differences among people, as well as their similarities, need to be discussed so that all can learn to appreciate uniqueness of every group. In this multi-cultural and multi-ethnic campus community, we hope that through educational programs we may be able to help you understand and combat negative racial attitudes, religious discrimination, and cultural intolerance.

Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Statement
SUNY Potsdam is an affirmative action/equal opportunity institution, which subscribes to all federal, state, and SUNY legal requirements. In affirming its commitment to equal opportunity for all individuals, SUNY Potsdam actively seeks faculty, staff and students without regard to race, ethnicity, creed, color, national origin, native language or dialect, sex, age, disability, marital status, or sexual orientation.

The Division of Student Affairs represents a collection of offices where a student can turn for assistance in a bias-related incident.