Bias Response Line Delivers First Report, Two Semesters Late


Screenshot by Jemima

The Bias Response Line report is now available to the public.

Alex Domb and Sayer Devlin

NYU’s Bias Response Line — launched in 2016 — released its first report Tuesday detailing the contents of 187 reports of bias the BRL received in its pilot phase. Incidents of bias relating to race, color and ethnicity made up 31 percent of all the reports.

Between fall 2016 and fall 2017, the number of reports increased by 68 percent, which the report attributes to a marketing campaign launched in fall 2016. Students have filed 82 percent of the reports, while the group most frequently alleged of biased behavior was faculty, making up 31 percent of all alleged offenders.

The report analyzed cases received between spring 2016 and mid-Jan. 2018, categorizing the reports by time period, who reported an incident of bias, who incidents of bias were alleged against and the type of bias reported. The names of all individuals involved in the complaints were kept anonymous.

The report comes nearly a year later than the date President Andrew Hamilton originally promised it would be released. For the past two years, the program has been heavily promoted as an outlet for bias complaints at NYU, especially during orientation.

Senior Vice President of Global Inclusion, Diversity and Strategic Innovation Lisa Coleman said that despite the tardiness of the report, she was still pleased with the BRL.

“Given my initial overview, I think the BRL is functioning well and fulfilling an important new function on our campus,” Coleman said in an email to WSN. “It is an important tool and we hope that it is useful to students, but it is very important to remember that it is a tool that allows us to gather information and then have the appropriate area follow-up and that it in and of itself simply generates a report.”

Recently, Psychology Professor Edgar Coons told the New York Post that he was not disciplined for a BRL report filed against him for alleged transphobia; yet CAS Human Resources Director Shabana Master and Coleman said that corrective actions have been taken although they were unable to divulge further details due to reasons of confidentiality.

“The confidentiality of individual employee or student records is a longstanding practice at NYU,” Coleman said. “That practice exists out of policies and procedures developed to respect individual privacy, not out of a wish to obscure outcomes or a lack of concern about the issues reported to the BRL, but to protect and ensure that individuals’ (and or a group’s) privacy is maintained for a number of reasons, including retaliation [and] harassment.”

Email Sayer Devlin and Alex Domb at [email protected]