Bias Education & Response Team
The Bias Education & Response Team (BERT) is a group of faculty and staff on campus that seek to engage community members in educational and developmental conversations through a restorative justice approach as a part of addressing the impact and harms resulting from bias. Through our work, BERT will also educate the campus community about restorative justice, which is central to our work, as well as key institutional policies, protocols, concepts and resources related to bias.
While we aspire to a community where people of all identities feel welcome and supported, we understand and recognize that there may exist moments where some do not feel this way as a result of experiences they have had related to their identity(ies). In response, Lesley University has committed to establishing a systematic approach for responding to the harm and impact bias incidents can have on the well-being and success of students, staff, and faculty, and other employees.
BERT helps to coordinate a system for addressing the impact of bias, how it is communicated to the university, how it is tracked, as well as training for our team members to effectively follow up with community members. It is important to note that the work of BERT does not replace or alter any of the existing protocols currently in place to resolve alleged violations of Lesley University policies regarding discrimination, harassment, sexual misconduct, or any violations of criminal law. In actuality, the purpose of the BERT is about awareness, growth, education, community and restoration of relationships – and to increase awareness on critical issues and create opportunities for learning and dialogue on such issues.
If a university policy is violated, steps will be taken in accordance with those policies. As it stands, BERT functions as an entity to respond to communicated incidents of bias impacting Lesley community members and this is done via timely, consistent, and effective support to all parties that have been directly or indirectly impacted.
Within BERT, we find Restorative Justice to be critical to our ongoing efforts to establish a community where individuals of all identities feel heard, supported and can participate equally and fully in the academic, extracurricular and social experiences offered by the university. At Lesley University, the work of BERT will fulfill the following:
- Create opportunities when responding to harm in a manner that considers pathways and needs for rebuilding trust and relationships
- Strengthen our understanding of the current campus climate, which is foundational to the work of building a community where all people are affirmed, supported and respected.
- Add to a systematic process for providing education on bias and responding to bias- in a manner that is timely, consistent and effective when bias is reported.
- Create easier access for reporting for all community members.
- Establish an ability to track and develop a better understanding of bias incidents (i.e. what is happening; how often; patterns; trends)
- Create opportunities for organizational learning for the university on matters related to bias
- Provide insight and information that will inform our institutional practices, bias education work and development activities for BERT members.
Lesley University is committed to supporting the dignity and respect of every individual on our campus. We expect members of the community to respect each other by embracing our core values of inquiry, diversity, community, and citizenship. All students and employees have the right to participate fully and equally in Lesley University’s academic programs, social and extracurricular programs and activities, and employment in a manner that is free from discrimination, harassment, and retaliation.
Our policies reflect this commitment:
- Community Standards of Conduct
- Discrimination, Harassment, and Sexual Violence Policy
- Equal Opportunity and Inclusion Policy
- Unequal Consensual Relationships Policy
- Discrimination and Harassment Complaint Resolution Procedures