Sample Policy

Duke University’s bias response advisory committee


Bias response teams (BRTs) have been the source of much controversy. On the one hand, a university needs to have mechanisms in place to respond to discrimination, hate, and bias to ensure an equitable learning environment for its students. On the other hand, bias response systems can all too easily become a kind of speech police that stifle open dialogue and freedom of expression. It is critical that these systems be designed carefully, avoiding both the perception and effect of chilling speech. Duke University’s Bias Response Advocacy Committee does a good job of balancing these considerations.

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What we like about this policy

  • Carefully defines what qualifies as a bias incident, an important step in preventing arbitrary and discriminatory enforcement.
  • Establishes the Bias Response Advisory Committee as a group that consults and makes recommendations to the Office of Student Conduct and the vice president for student affairs.
  • Does not grant authority to this body to investigate, interfere with, or punish students or faculty.

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