What is a hate crime?

Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Hate Crime Overview

Congress has defined 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 liberties1.

Bias conduct and hate crimes both involve behavior that is motivated by bias. However, it is important to note the distinction between the two. Hate crimes include a definable crime, such as: threats of violence, property damage, personal injury and other illegal conduct. A hate crime is an infraction of the law and will be addressed accordingly.

The Department of Public Safety (DPS) reviews each bias report. If it is determined that the act rises to the level of a hate crime, DPS officially informs the police for criminal investigation purposes. DPS may also investigate the incident for administrative purposes. During the investigation process, any incident that is determined to be a violation of College policy, such as harassment, will be adjudicated by the Office of Student Rights and Responsibilities.

Please report hate crimes to the Department of Public Safety at 717.337.6911. These crimes will also be reported to the Gettysburg Police department for investigation and possible prosecution.