According to the Multicultural Center, a bias incident is conduct, language or expression motivated by bias on a persons' actual or perceived race, color, ability, ethnicity, gender, gender identity and expression, national origin, religion, sexual orientation and veteran status. It differs from a hate crime in that no criminal activity is involved.
If students feel like they are a victim of a bias incident on campus, they can report it on an app.
The B3-Ball State app, developed by the university's information technology department, was created specifically to educate students on what bias is and how to report it by providing resources and contact information.
“It is beneficial because it contains information on what defines a bias incident,” said Lizzie Ford, a junior psychology major and Student Government Association member. “The app informs students how to report a bias incident and can be be accessed from anywhere on campus.”
According to the Multicultural Center, bias incidents are a singular or perpetual action and/or language that limits or threatens the ability of an individual to work, study or participate in the campus environment.
Some examples of bias-related incidents, according to the Multicultural Center, include but are not limited to:
- Offensive graffiti, images or drawings
- Use of ethnic, racial or other slur to identify someone
- Imitating or mocking someone with any kind of disability
- Imitating or mocking someone's cultural norm or practice
B3 stays true to campus’ commitment to diversity and inclusion, and it also includes additional campus resources in the convenient app.
Key features include: definitions of bias, hate crimes, freedom of speech, microaggressions, protected classes and discrimination. According to the app store, the app also provides guidance on responding to bias incidents.
B3 instantly connects victims and witnesses to a number of on-campus resources that can provide necessary assistance. Contact information for both the University Police Department and the Multicultural Center is available within the app.
Under the “How To Report” tab in the application, students have access to a bias reporting form. This form allows students to take the next step towards ending bias on campus.
“It is very easy to use and understand,” Ford said.
The bias reporting form gives students the option to report any incident anonymously or provide contact information if necessary. The form asks for victims to provide information regarding the location of the incident, the motivation behind the incident, whether physical evidence exists and a short description on what took place.
The “Why It Matters” tab of the app provides the following statement: “We want to create an environment where all students can learn and thrive in a community of equity, respect, inclusion and safety.”
The B3 application has been available since Aug. 2016, but it hasn’t received very much attention.
“Students haven’t downloaded it because they aren’t aware it exists,” Ford said. “Actually that’s why Optic, the SGA slate I’m a part of, is trying to create diversity quicklinks for Benny Link in order to spread the word about diversity resources on campus.”
The B3-Ball State app is free and compatible with the iPhone, iPad and iPod touch.