SUNY Potsdam forms Bias Response Team to battle discrimination
In an effort to ensure SUNY Potsdam continues to provide an open and positive community atmosphere for all students, faculty, staff and community members, the College has formed a Bias Response Team to address any reports of harassment or discrimination.
The Bias Response Team is a sub-committee of the larger Diversity in Action Coalition that is charged with making SUNY Potsdam’s commitment to inclusion, civility, justice and diversity clear through action.
The team consists of trained faculty and staff familiar with the SUNY Potsdam procedures and processes who can serve as advocates for those who believe they have experienced harassment or discrimination. These members serve as a visible and accessible contact for students, staff and faculty.
SUNY Potsdam Affirmative Action Officer Dr. Susan Stebbins noted students who experience these types of negative interactions often don’t know who to turn to or what to do about it.
“They are upset and need to talk to someone who will take the incident seriously and understand their feelings,” Dr. Stebbins said. “Having people across the campus who will listen, take the incident seriously and inform the students about further options they have is important. It ensures the student knows that something is being done about the incident, and ensures that the people who engage in harassing or discriminating behavior are put on notice the behavior is inappropriate and if it continues, there will be further consequences.”
Two trainings have been held during the fall semester and more people are signed up for the first training next semester.
Dr. Stebbins notes the effort has been successful because more students are coming to her office to report incidents.
“Given the increased numbers of students I've had coming to me since the first training, I would say it is working,” she said. “All the students were referred to me by other faculty.”
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