Skip to main content

Statement of Philosophy

Gettysburg College is committed to creating an environment of open intellectual inquiry and a free and open exchange of ideas. The College is equally committed to the worth and dignity of all people and a diverse and inclusive learning environment. These values must be balanced with one another to create an environment that allows for personal freedom of expression, and provides a climate that is safe, respectful, and intellectually stimulating. The College acknowledges that not everyone will agree with how the tension between these values is expressed or addressed, however discourse and exchange will be strongly encouraged.

On the one side of this tension, we seek to ensure the right to freedom of expression. The Commitment to Freedom of Expression and Civil Discourse policy (link) offers guidance regarding the time, place and manner of expression on campus. The policy also ensures the rights of students to express opinions even when they may be construed as offensive, disagreeable or insensitive, especially when the expression of those opinions occurs in the context of intellectual debate and discourse and the exploration or critique of social, political and cultural ideas, norms and beliefs.

On the other side of this tension, Gettysburg College is committed to providing an educational environment free of discrimination and harassment. The College provides equal opportunity to all programs and offerings, regardless of a student’s race, ethnicity, color, religion, national origin, disability, veteran status, marital/familial status, possession of a General Education Development Certificate (GED) as compared to a high school diploma, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, sex, age, or genetic information. Conduct violating the College’s policies on discrimination or harassment, or that violates Hate Crime laws, will be investigated by the appropriate authorities and sanctioned accordingly.

The College is committed to addressing bias conduct. Acts of bias may occur in our community in spite of our proactive efforts. This policy will define bias, provide a reporting procedure for complainants of bias, and suggest resources to victims of bias. Students who report a bias incident may be contacted for clarifying information and can expect to have a discussion about the College’s response and the suitable options for resolution. When bias incidents are reported, education to prevent recurrence and repairing the harm caused may be the most appropriate institutional response.  Egregious forms of bias will result in more severe sanctions from the College.  


Definitions of Prohibited Conduct

Bias conduct: Threatening, degrading, abusive, or hostile acts including conduct, expression, or speech which are motivated, in whole or in part, based on an individual’s or group’s actual or perceived race, ethnicity, color, religion, national origin, disability, veteran status, marital/familial status, possession of a General Education Development Certificate (GED) as compared to a high school diploma, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, sex, age, or genetic information. Acts that unreasonably interfere with another student’s academic, residential, or social engagement will be considered more egregious.

Hate crimes: Expressions of hatred for some group, especially in circumstances in which the communication is likely to provoke violence. The FBI defines a hate crime as a “criminal offense against a person or property motivated in whole or in part by an offender’s bias against a race, religion, disability, ethnic origin or sexual orientation.” Hate itself is not a crime—and the FBI is mindful of protecting freedom of speech and other civil liberties. The College prohibits hate crimes. All hate crimes will be reported to the Gettysburg Police Department. All hate crimes are classified as bias conduct.

Procedures to Report Bias Conduct

Gettysburg College prohibits the behaviors and conduct described above. Please report any bias conduct immediately to Public Safety at (717) 337-6911 or at www.gettysburg.edu/reportconcern. The following options are also available:

Reporting Person

Office

Phone Number

Student

Dean of Students

(717) 337-6921

Student Rights & Responsibilities

(717) 336-6907

Faculty

Provost’s Office

(717) 337-6822

Chief Diversity Officer

(717) 337-6375

Administrators and

Support Staff

Human Resources

(717) 337-6202

Chief Diversity Officer

(717) 337-6375

 

If you become the victim or target of a bias incident or witness any bias conduct, please do the following to document the incident the best you can:

  1. If the incident was verbal, be sure to immediately document what was said, where it was said and when it was said, and if known, the name of the individual(s) responsible and any witnesses.
  2. If you see a written slur or discover graffiti, do not erase the words or images. The Department of Public Safety and the Gettysburg Police will need to see it in order to document and photograph.

Gettysburg College encourages prompt reporting of bias conduct so an investigation of the alleged facts can be conducted to determine if College policy has been violated, including violations of the Student Code of Conduct or Employee Code of Conduct. All matters will be resolved in accordance with standard sanctions or job action outlined in the Handbook of Student Rights and Responsibilities or the Employee Handbook, respectively. Anyone found responsible is subject to College sanctions. In addition, the College may refer complaints to law enforcement authorities in order to determine whether an independent investigation for violation(s) of criminal law is warranted. 

Process for Investigating Reports of Bias Conduct

If you believe that you have been the target of bias (or have witnessed bias conduct) you may report the incident online, or contact one of the offices based on the procedures listed below. Students can report other students, faculty, staff, and administrators.

A. Investigation and Disciplinary Measures:

  1. Students: Reports of bias conduct will be handled by the Director of Student Rights and Responsibilities. 
  2. For faculty, administrators, and support staff the Vice Provost and/or the Co-Directors of Human Resources will handle the matter. Sanctions will be in accordance with the facts and circumstances of the individual case. [not included in Student handbook]
  3. In cases involving student allegations against faculty or staff and vice versa professionals from the College Life Office, the Office of Human Resources, and the Provost Office may work collaboratively to resolve the matter. Sanctions will be in accordance with the facts of the case and the proper resolution procedure for the respondent.  [not included in student handbook]

 

Summary of Bias Conduct for the Community

All reports of bias conduct will be included in an annual report. This report, which does not include names or specific information which could reveal the identity of complainants or respondents, is intended as a reference for the community to track the number and types of incidents on campus. The Gettysburg College Bias Awareness Resource Committee and Student Life Committee will receive a regular summary of bias incidents occurring on campus from the Vice President for College Life and Dean of Students.  In addition, these incidents may be shared with the broader community as appropriate.

Resources

Office of Diversity and Inclusion

Center for Public Service

Counseling Center

College Life

Human Resources

Public Safety

Office of Multicultural Engagement

Bias Awareness Resource Committee


Process to Report Bias Incidents

Report Info Only

  • Speak to someone in College Life about the incident.
  • Obtain resources to help with the incident.
  • Anonymous information counted in Bias Log.
Bias_report

Report and Discussion with Involved Parties

  • Speak to someone in College Life about the incident.
  • Obtain resources to help with the incident.
  • Have a meeting, mediation, or restorative conference with involved parties.
  • Anonymous information counted in Bias Log.
Bias_2

Report and Pursue Conduct Charges Against Respondent

  • Speak to someone in College Life about the incident.
  • Obtain resources to help with the incident.
  • Conduct charges filed against respondent.
  • Respondent attends a hearing with the College.
  • Reporting person informed of the hearing outcome.
  • Anonymous information counted in Bias log.
Bias_3

Report Bias Incidents at: 717-337-6907 or http://www.gettysburg.edu/about/offices/college_life/care/submit-a-concern/index.dot


Updated February 17, 2017 by Student Life Committee for immediate implementation.