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Bias Incident Report

For in progress bias incidents, call AU Police at 202-885-3636.

Use the Care Network report form (also found on the myAU portal under Life@AU) to report a bias incident or express concern about a student. If you are reporting an act of bias, please review the following information.

What is an act of bias?

The act may consist of name calling, epithets, slurs, degrading language, graffiti, intimidation, coercion, or harassment directed toward the targeted person or group. Bias incidents often contribute to creating an unsafe or unwelcoming environment for victims and social identity groups. Acts qualify as bias acts even when delivered with humorous intent or presented as a joke or a prank. Examples of bias incidents may include:

  • A small group of students walking across campus late at night are singing/shouting songs. One song is a historical song that contains racist language and refers to lynching. Other students in the area hear these words.
  • Two students are going through the residence hall late at night writing on people's white boards. They write on every board on one side of the hall. On some boards they write curse words, on others they write racial slurs. The students do not know who lives in these rooms- they are writing randomly on all doors.
  • During class, a student made multiple statements about how she can't stand people with disabilities, often using a derogatory term to refer to them. Another student in the class has a learning disability and told the professor this was making him uncomfortable. The professor spoke with the student and set the expectation that using derogatory language to refer to people with disabilities was unacceptable in the class. Though the student initially refrained from using derogatory language after this conversation, a few weeks later the student returned to making similar derogatory statements in class discussions.

What is discrimination?

Discrimination occurs when an individual suffers an adverse employment, academic, or other decision based on an individual's Protected Bases (see "Who is protected" below).

Who is protected from bias and discrimination?

A bias incident is an act targeted at a person, group, or property expressing bias or hostility on the basis of: race, color, national origin, religion, sex, age, sexual orientation, disability, marital status, personal appearance, gender identity and expression, family responsibilities, political affiliation, source of income, veteran status, an individual's genetic information or any other bases under federal or local law (collectively "Protected Bases").

How will the university respond to bias and discrimination?

Prohibited conduct, motivated by bias, will be addressed through the Student Conduct Code if committed by a student. Acts of bias and discrimination committed by faculty or staff will be addressed as personnel matters by Academic Affairs or Human Resources, respectively. Other bias incidents will generally be addressed through educational interventions. Note that not all acts of bias violate the Student Conduct Code. American University's Discrimination and Sexual Harassment Policy and Procedures defines the steps the university will take to resolve discrimination complaints. In situations where the accused may be personally identified, privacy laws and confidentiality of employee records may prevent the University from disclosing specific details about the resolution of a complaint.

Questions about this form or AU procedures for addressing bias incidents may be addressed to the Office of the Dean of Students (202-885-3300 or, Dean of Academic Affairs (202-885-2125 or, or the Office of Human Resources (202-885-2607 or

Care Network

The Care Network report form is also the place to notify the Dean of Students Office about students of concern. Faculty, staff and peers frequently observe signs of students in distress. You can play an important role by identifying students in distress and helping them to receive the assistance they need.

More About Care Network

Building an Inclusive Campus

American University is committed to ensuring that we are a community where people of all identities and experiences are understood, appreciated, and fully included.

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