Bias Education & Response Team

If you are here to report a bias incident, please proceed directly to the reporting form.

The Bias Education & Response Team (BERT) is a group that consists of faculty, staff and administrators and this team will work to address the impact of bias that occurs within the Lesley University community among students and employees. BERT will also educate the campus community about bias, in addition to the institutional policies, protocols, 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 to addressing the impact bias incidents can have on the well-being and success of students, staff, and faculty, and other employees.

BERT is a group that helps to coordinate a system for addressing the impact of bias, how it is reported 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 in place to resolve alleged violations of Lesley University policies regarding discrimination, harassment, sexual misconduct, or violations of criminal law. In actuality, the purpose of the BERT is about awareness, growth and education – 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 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.

Purpose

A Bias Education & Response Team (BERT) is critical to our ongoing efforts to establish a community where individuals of all identities 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:

  • 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 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:

Our programs reflect this commitment:

If you are here to report a bias incident, please proceed directly to the reporting form.

Definitions

  • Bias

    Bias is a preformed negative opinion or attitude toward a group of persons based upon the group’s characteristics or a perception that the person or group has one or more characteristics, including but not limited to their race, gender, gender identity, religion, sexual orientation, ethnicity, national origin, age, veteran or military status, membership in Uniformed Services, or disability.  Bias may lead to discrimination, harassment, hate crimes, or other forms of misconduct subject to disciplinary action.

    A bias incident at Lesley means an action committed against a person or group that is motivated in whole or in part by bias.

  • Discrimination

    Discrimination under the University’s policy means treating individuals or groups less favorably in the terms or conditions of their employment or education on the basis of their membership in one or more of the following categories: race, ethnicity, color, religion, gender, national origin or ancestry, age, physical or mental disability, pregnancy or parental status, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, genetic information, veteran or military status, membership in Uniformed Services, and all other categories protected by applicable state and federal laws (together, “protected categories”).  For more information about discrimination, please see the University’s Discrimination, Harassment, and Sexual Violence Policy.

  • Harassment

    Harassment under the University’s policy is verbal, physical, or other conduct such as threats, physical force, slurs, bullying, cyber bullying, stalking, discriminatory treatment, or other conduct related to an individual's membership in one or more of the protected categories that has the purpose or effect of:

    • Causing a reasonable person to feel humiliated or intimidated;
    • Unreasonably impeding or interfering with academic status, academic performance, education, work status, or work performance;
    • Unreasonably creating an intimidating, offensive, or hostile environment in the residential hall, learning environments such as the classroom, work environment, or cyber environment;
    • Interfering substantially with an individual's participation in the University community; and/or
    • Causing a reasonable person to fear for his or her safety or the safety of others or suffer substantial emotional distress.

    For more information about harassment, please see the University’s Discrimination, Harassment, and Sexual Violence Policy.

  • Hate Crime

    Under federal law, a hate crime is a criminal offense committed against a person or property that is motivated, in whole or in part, by bias. Under Massachusetts law, a hate crime is a crime against person or property with the intent to intimidate such person because of such person’s race, color, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, or disability.

    All hate crimes are bias incidents but not all bias incidents are hate crimes.  Examples of bias incidents that fall short of hate crimes:

    • Comments that express harmful stereotypes about the above categories, e.g., racial jokes.
    • Graffiti on a dorm room white board that expresses bias against the above categories, e.g., sexist or racist language or images. (Note: If the act of graffiti is criminal vandalism or property damage, it may constitute a hate crime.)
    • T-shirts promoting a campus party with language and imagery that objectify women.
  • Sexual harassment

    Sexual harassment is a type of harassment and a form of discrimination based on gender, defined as unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and all other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature when:

    • Submission to or rejection of such conduct is made, either explicitly or implicitly, a term or condition of an individual's academic advancement, employment, or participation in Lesley's programs or activities;
    • Submission to or rejection of such conduct by an individual is used as a basis for academic or employment decisions affecting such individual, or decisions affecting such individual's participation in Lesley's programs or activities; or
    • Such conduct has the purpose or effect of creating a hostile environment – that is, unreasonably interfering with an individual's work, academic performance, education, or participation in Lesley's programs or activities.

     

    For more information about sexual harassment, please see the University’s Discrimination, Harassment, and Sexual Violence Policy.

How to Report a Bias Incident

Students may report suspected bias incidents and all employees must report suspected bias incidents in one of the following ways:

File a complaint through our website.

Contact the Bias Education & Response Team (BERT) at reports@lesley.edu or any of the people below:

Amarildo "Lilu" Barbosa
Interim Chief Diversity Officer &
Director of Multicultural Affairs & Student Inclusion
13 Mellen Street, Cambridge
Email: abarbosa@lesley.edu

Ms. Marylou Batt
Vice President of Administration
815 Somerville Avenue, Somerville
617.349.8564
Email: marylou.batt@lesley.edu

Ms. Jane Joyce
Director of Human Resources
815 Somerville Avenue, Somerville
617.349.8785
Email: ajoyce5@lesley.edu
Email: hr@lesley.edu

Dr. Nathaniel G. Mays
Dean of Student Life and Academic Development &
Interim Title IX Coordinator
11 Mellen Street, Cambridge
617.349.8539617.894.2765 (cell)
Email: nmays@lesley.edu
Email: dsa@lesley.edu

Public Safety Office
34 Mellen Street, Cambridge
617.349.8888
Email: publicsafetysupervisors@live.lesley.edu

U.S. Postal Mailing Address for Lesley University:
29 Everett Street
Cambridge, MA 02138

What Happens When a Bias Incident is Reported

When a bias incident is reported, the Chief Diversity Officer, Title IX Coordinator, Dean of Students, and Director of Human Resources discuss the report no later than 36 hours after receipt of the report, absent extenuating circumstances.

They will determine whether the report reflects a possible bias incident, discrimination, harassment, sexual violence, or a hate crime. They will promptly refer the matter to the corresponding Lesley official. For example, the Chief Diversity Officer or a member of the Bias Education & Response Team will respond to reports of bias incidents, and the Title IX Coordinator will respond to reports of sexual harassment. Reports of crimes and of ongoing threats to safety will be forwarded to Public Safety.

See a Flowchart of Our BERT Process.

Follow up on reported incidents of bias will be done in a timely manner. As part of our process, the Bias Education & Response Team will:

  • Acknowledge receipt of incident, if not anonymous
  • Assess the incident
  • Communicate with the reporting party, if not anonymous
  • Determine responsive actions (i.e. referrals, education, notifications)
  • Notify the Coordinator(s) of Bias Education & Response Team of responsive actions taken

Additionally, the Bias Education & Response Team members will also:

  • Develop and deliver programs and educational opportunities for the Lesley community to minimize or reduce the opportunities for bias incidents to occur.
  • Provide resources and support to those affected by bias incidents.
  • Make referrals to campus offices and resources, as needed.
  • Refer the matter to the Chief Diversity Officer, Title IX Coordinator, Dean of Students, and Director of Human Resources if the Bias Education & Response Team member believes that it reflects possible discrimination, harassment, sexual violence, or a hate crime.

Investigations of alleged discrimination, harassment, sexual violence, and hate crimes will follow the Community Standards of Conduct, Discrimination, Harassment, and Sexual Violence Policy, and Discrimination and Harassment Complaint Resolution Procedures, as appropriate.

Lesley University Bias Response Team                                          

The Bias Education and Response Team members are:

BERT Training Coordinators

  • Amarildo “Lilu” Barbosa, Interim Chief Diversity Officer & Director of Multicultural Affairs & Student Inclusion
  • Maritsa Barros, Director of Urban Scholars Initiative
  • Amanda Wager, Assistant Professor, Graduate School of Education

BERT Policy Investigation

  • Jane Joyce, Director of Human Resources
  • Nathaniel Mays, Dean of Students

BERT Responders

  • Felecia Bumpus, Assistant Dean of Student Life and Director of Student Activities
  • Jennifer Castro, Assistant Director of Urban Scholars Initiative
  • Patricia Crain de Galarce, Associate Dean of Graduate School of Education
  • Alexander Cuff, Professional Academic Advisor, Lesley Art + Design
  • Diana Direiter, Associate Dean of College of Liberal Arts & Sciences
  • Bwann Gwann, Executive Assistant to Dean of College of Liberal Arts & Sciences
  • Randi Korn, Special Assistant for Retention and Student Success
  • Kristina Lamour-Sansone, Associate Dean of Lesley Art + Design
  • Dalia Llera, Professor, Graduate School of Arts & Social Sciences
  • Angela Mittiga, Assistant Director of Advising & Mentoring, Lesley Art + Design
  • Amy Rutstein-Riley, Dean of Faculty, Office of the Provost
  • Valeria Shinas, Associate Dean Graduate School of Education
  • Deborah Spragg, Assistant Professor, Graduate School of Arts & Social Sciences
  • Julie Stanwood, Assistant Dean of Academic Affairs, Lesley Art + Design
  • Sandra Walker, Associate Dean of Graduate School of Arts & Social Sciences
  • Nicole Weber, Program Director, Graduate School of Education