Dear Campus Community,
I am pleased to share with you the launch of the Structural Equity and Bias Response Team, or SEBRT for short. This is the culmination of much research and work by the University’s Council on Equity, Inclusion, and Social Justice.
In support of our institutional commitment to advance inclusive success and to pursue justice and equity in our programming, policies and practices, we are creating a two-fold structure: The Bias Response Team coordinates prompt responses to bias incidents at the university and beyond, while the Structural Equity Team will use information about bias incidents to inform longer-term actions and recommendations that build and sustain a more equitable and just Western. A core team of staff serve on both the Bias Response and Structural Equity Teams, making necessary connections between individual acts of bias and institutional changes to decrease bias incidents and structural inequities.
The Bias Response Team coordinates responses to reported incidents of bias, supports targeted and impacted members of our community, and provides education about the impacts and history of bias activities to help prevent future occurrences. The Bias Response Team’s role is one of support and education; it does not replace existing processes to investigate alleged violations of policy or law, and it does not impose discipline or sanctions. You can learn more about the team, its work, and how to report an incident here.
The Structural Equity Team uses information about incidents that occur, together with deeper examinations of the conditions leading to specific incidents, to make recommendations to me and the senior leadership team aimed at limiting bias incidents, removing structural inequities in our policies and practices, and furthering inclusive success.
SEBRT will hold periodic open meetings with the University community to discuss its work and will create a publicly available annual report summarizing reported bias incidents, responsive actions taken by the Bias Response Team, and the Structural Equity Team’s recommendations.
This is a critical step in pursuit of our strategic plan goals and it supports our moral imperative to create an inclusive Western culture that welcomes and supports all.
My sincere gratitude goes to the members of the Council on Equity, Inclusion and Social Justice, and in particular the 2019-20 co-chairs Kevin Delucio, professor of Multicultural Psychology and Mental Health; and L.K. Langley, director, LGBTQ+ Western, for their work on this important initiative.