Policy and procedures on bias-related incidents of discrimination and harassment

See also: Bias Matters Response Team (formerly known as the Racial Misconduct Response Team)

Statement of Policy

To fulfill our commitment to provide equal opportunity in education and employment, Goshen College provides an environment that supports racial harmony and cross cultural communication.

Goshen College does not condone and will not tolerate inappropriate conduct toward any individual based on a person’s skin color, ethnicity, or national origin.

This policy ensures the understanding that racial misconduct is unacceptable and prohibited. All members of the campus community are encouraged to reflect upon the issue of racial misconduct as it directly affects the lives and conducts of others.

Such racial misconduct includes but is not limited to inappropriate racial comments, slurs, jokes, pictures, objects, threats, physical assaults, intimidation, unequal application of policies, and unequal or biased grading. This encompasses offensiveness and misconduct that does not reach the level of racism, and misconduct that is sufficiently severe and pervasive that it rises to the level of racial harassment or discrimination.

Talking Points on the Policy Statement

  • As explained in the Goshen College Mission Statement and the Commitment to Community Standards, Goshen College is a Christian institution dedicated to fostering a spirit of hospitality recognizing all persons as children of God. In line with this understanding, which expresses our commitment to a quality campus life for every member of our community, Goshen College affirms its commitment to providing equal opportunities in education and employment.
  • Goshen College is intentional in creating an educational community that values the racial/ethnic diversity of all its community members.
  • Toward this commitment, and in compliance with applicable laws, Goshen College strives to provide an environment free of inappropriate treatment of individuals because of race, ethnicity, or national origin. This policy applies to students, teaching and administrative faculty, staff, and all others, including visitors, vendors, guests, prospective students, and members of the public.
  • Conduct on the part of any member of the college community that inappropriately introduces race or ethnicity into a teaching, learning or working relationship will not be tolerated. As is the case in all other community standards responses processes, the care of each individual involved is at the forefront of the review and response process.
  • Outside contractors, vendors, and others who do business with the College or enter College premises are expected to comply with this policy and ensure that their agents comply with this policy; the College will take appropriate action if they fail to do so. The College, for example, may suspend or terminate a contract if the contractor fails to correct a racial misconduct problem that appropriate college officials have brought to its attention. Furthermore, the College, if it determines that a contractor has failed to take appropriate action or has shown a tolerance for any activity which in the belief of the College constitutes racial misconduct, may bar the contractor from holding future contracts with the College.

Examples of Racial Misconduct

  • unwelcome comments and conduct with racial connotation(s) or subject matter that are demeaning to an ethnic group or people of a particular skin color or group
  • offensive and vulgar jokes, name-calling, ridicule or mockery, insults or put-downs, stereotyping based on a person’s skin color, ethnicity, or national origin, physical gestures or enactments, or displaying racist photographs or objects;
  • unwelcome requests or demands for favorable treatment due to one’s skin color, ethnicity, or national origin;
  • Suggestions or express/implied communications that race will affect decisions regarding such matters as employment, work assignment or status, academic standing, grades, receipt of financial aid, or letters of recommendation, or receipt of a Goshen College benefit or service;
  • the actual use of race, ethnicity, or national origin to affect decisions regarding such matters as employment, work assignment or status, academic standing, grades, receipt of financial aid, or letters of recommendation, or receipt of a Goshen College benefit or service;
  • physical assaults or threats and intimidation
  • denial or obstruction of access to services
  • unequal application of college policies
  • any other racial misconduct that substantially or unreasonably interferes with an individual’s work or academic performance.

Goshen College Procedures for Addressing Complaints of Racial Misconduct, Including Racial Harassment and Discrimination

This provides a complaint procedure for any member of the Goshen College community to make a complaint of racial misconduct and describes the process by which the College will respond to the complaint, including referral of individuals to appropriate resources, impartial investigation, determination of whether the complaint is substantiated, and imposition of consequences when appropriate.

In addition to the procedure provided in this document, Goshen College will take steps to prevent racial misconduct by:

  • Integrating into Goshen College’s curriculum, staff training, and community programming initiatives designed to promote racial equality and prevent racial misconduct, and
  • Explore issues, events, and attitudes relating to racial equality and racial misconduct at Goshen College.
  • The Goshen College Center for Intercultural and International Education, and Campus Ministries are points of support. Communication with these staff will not lead to formal institutional response unless the student requests such action.

Reporting Racial Misconduct

1.  Reporting racial misconduct by a student

If someone experiences racial misconduct from a student, complaints for formal institutional action need to be directed to the Bias Matters Response Team (formerly known as the Racial Misconduct Response Team). Response team members include:

Richard Aguirre

Community Impact Coordinator

David Lind

Professor of Sociology

Kelsey McLane

Good Library Services Specialist

Regina Shands-Stoltzfus

Assistant Professor of Peace
Justice and Conflict Studies

Rustin Nyce

Head Track & Field
Cross Country Coach
& Assistant Athletic Director

Joanne Gallardo

Campus Pastor

Other resources for support include:

2.  Reporting possible racial misconduct by an employee, outside contractor, or visitor:

a) Students shall report alleged racial misconduct by a faculty member, staff member, outside contractor, or visitor to one of the members of the Response Team. The following procedures shall apply according to the status of the person accused of racial misconduct:

  • Employee–The Director of Human Resources shall collaborate with the investigation if an employee is accused, or the Vice President for Finance will be informed if the Director of Human Resources is the person accused. The Vice President for Finance, direct supervisor and the Vice President responsible for the employee’s department will be notified. The investigation will be led by the Director of Human Resources, assisted by a member of the Response Team. The Director of Human Resources shall report the findings and recommended action to the employee’s supervisor and appropriate Vice President, who will make the final decision.
  • Campus visitor or outside contractor—the Dean of Students shall be informed of the report if a campus visitor or outside contractor is accused, and shall inform the Vice President for Finance of the alleged misconduct.

b) Employees

  • Employees shall report alleged racial misconduct by another employee, outside contractor, or visitor to the Director of Human Resources, or the Vice President for Finance if the Director of Human Resources is the person accused. Reports will be managed as outlined in the Employee Handbook. The Director of Human Resources or designee will conduct an investigation, and recommendations on disciplinary action or sanctions, if any, of an employee will be forwarded for review and approval by the supervisor and appropriate Vice President of the employee. The Vice President for Finance is responsible to review and approve any recommended actions against a campus visitor or independent contractor. If an employee is the respondent and believes the disciplinary action taken did not properly follow stated college policy or procedure, he/she may use the Grievance Policy to have the process steps or application of the decision reviewed.
  • If an employee alleges a student has committed racial misconduct, he/she shall report it to the Director of Human Resources or designee who will conduct an investigation and decide whether disciplinary action is appropriate.

 Goshen College will promptly and equitably address any complaints of racial misconduct by:

  1. advising the person reporting the alleged inappropriate conduct (“the complainant”) about available College and community resources;
  2. assisting the complainant in accessing college and community resources, including campus and local law enforcement authorities, when such assistance is requested;
  3. making reasonable changes in living, working, or academic arrangements as appropriate;
  4. carrying out a prompt and thorough investigation;
  5. treating all complaints as confidential to the extent consistent with conducting a thorough investigation;
  6. taking disciplinary or other corrective action where appropriate; and
  7. advising both the complainant and the person about whose conduct the complaint is made (“the respondent”) of the outcome of the investigation.

Responsibilities of the Racial Misconduct Response Team

The Response Team has the following responsibilities:

  1. To receive all complaints regarding racial misconduct by a student;
  2. To assure that each complainant and respondent is provided information regarding campus resources and to assist the complainant and respondent in accessing those resources, if requested;
  3. To assure that each complainant receives information on how to contact campus and local law enforcement authorities, if appropriate, and to assist the complainant in contacting law enforcement authorities, if requested;
  4. To assure that arrangements are made for appropriate changes to the academic, employment, or living circumstances of complainants and respondents pending investigation of a complaint of racial misconduct, if appropriate;
  5. To investigate reports of racial misconduct in a prompt and equitable manner;
  6. To determine whether or not a complaint is substantiated; and
  7. To issue any appropriate consequences, including disciplinary action, and to inform the complainant and respondent of those consequences.

No other individual or entity may engage in an investigation of a complaint of racial misconduct by a student on behalf of Goshen College. The Response Team will keep confidential reports of racial misconduct and information obtained in the investigations to the extent consistent with completing a thorough investigation.


Threats, other forms of intimidation, and retaliation against a complainant or any other party involved in implementing the college racial misconduct policy are violations of the policy and may be grounds for disciplinary action.

Disciplinary Actions

Sanctions for racial misconduct may take different forms depending on the severity of the offense. In those situations where it is determined, following a thorough investigation, that a violation of this policy has occurred, appropriate action will be taken. Consequences may include but are not limited to the following:

  • verbal reprimands
  • written reprimands and warnings
  • monitoring or restriction of campus access, benefits, or services
  • mandatory counseling and/or training
  • suspension
  • separation from the college

In those instances where a violation is found, documentation of the violation and the disciplinary action will be placed in the respondent’s official Goshen College file.

Cases involving students heard and decisions made by the Response Team are shared with the Dean of Students. Any decision made by the Response Team can be appealed to the Dean of Students in writing within 72 hours of communication from the Response Team. The appeal ruling is final.

Intentionally Dishonest Complaints of Racial Misconduct

Lack of corroborating evidence should not discourage complainants from reporting racial misconduct to Goshen College. However, charges found to have been intentionally dishonest or made maliciously without regard for truth may be subject to disciplinary action.

Report Racial Misconduct »