Senate Minutes – 02.10.15

For questions or clarifications, please contact Senator Amelia Fong at

  1. Presentation by Jessica Wilde on the Bias Report and Support System
    1. Run out of the Center of Diversity and Inclusion (change happened in Fall 2014)
    2. Provides a central streamlined process of reporting incidents of hate, bias, or discrimination involving students
      1. Support
      2. Refer
  • Inform the larger community
    1. Publish a report quarterly on the BRSS website that shows statistics of the type of incident, and so on
  1. What is a bias incident?
    1. Any discriminatory or hurtful act that appears to be motivated or is perceived by the victim to be motivated by race, ethnicity, religion, age, national origin, sex, disability, gender identity and so on
  2. Members: LaTanya Buck, Shruti Desai, Dirk Killen, Laura Sandoval, Michael toney, Jessica Smith
  3. Ways to submit a report?
    1. Online reporting form (all/majority of reports are filed through this manner)
    2. Calling BRSS
  • Submitting a paper report
  1. Scheduling an in-person intake meeting
  1. What happens after a report gets submitted
    1. The person submitting the report has the option to submit it for information only or for support and referral
      1. For information only: will not be contacted by a member of the BRSS team, the team will follow up and when possible track the trends across time
      2. For support and referral: cannot remain anonymous. A BRSS team member will contact the person to schedule an in-person meeting. During the meeting the team member will listen and support the individual. They will also help the individual walk through campus resources. A follow up will also be conducted
    2. How will reports be used?
      1. Freely available
      2. Received 85 reports within the first semester of opening (scale, UT had 94 reports)
  • With the release of each report LaTanya Buck will meet the Vice Chancellor of Students and someone in the med school to analyze trends in the information
  1. Confidentiality
    1. The University strives to protect to the greatest extent possible the confidentiality of the persons reporting to the BRSS as well as those involved
  2. Contact for more information
  3. Questions?
    1. What is your extent of working with the student population?
      1. Had an undergraduate student member on the team, but she resigned for personal reasons
      2. She recommended not to have an undergraduate student on the team because of the amount of confidential information
      3. Thought that students would want to talk to another student, but all reporters chose to talk to employees
      4. Frequently makes presentations to students
      5. Follow up question: have students talk about the results of quarterly reports?
        1. Cannot release any more information than what’s on the report
        2. Students discussing the results would mostly be rehashing the statistics there, no new information
      6. Is the report released anywhere else the BRSS website? Would it be a good idea to get the information out to the student population out, besides that one avenue?
        1. People are always free to link to the report
        2. Technical and logistical standpoint: easier to house the report on one platform
        3. Okay with student groups/individuals sharing the report on different platforms
        4. Follow up question: reaching out to StudLife to get students more aware about the results?
          1. Have not reached out to StudLife, articles have been written about the BRSS
  • Length of the BRSS form is very extensive, this could lead to some students not wanting to file their report. Would a phone application be more viable? Or could the form length be shortened?
    1. That’s the first time we’ve heard that feedback. Something we can look at
    2. Most of the fields aren’t required
    3. We air on the side of collecting as much information as possible
    4. STL Students in Solidarity demands of having a phone application: specifically for incidents of police bias
    5. When creating the site we intentionally made the site mobile friendly so that people can fill up the report online
  1. All executive officers of Student Union get a summary Judicial report from Tamara King, would something similar be possible from the BRSS?
    1. That’s something that can be done
    2. Wouldn’t contain any more information for confidentiality’s sake
    3. Giving Student Union exec reports went so far back, before the existence of the web
      1. Follow up
      2. Not sure if Tamara has these on her website
    4. Can even be an email to campus/student leaders
    5. Transitioning to a semester basis for releasing reports to better align themselves with the way students think about the semester
  2. Students in Solidarity demands for special training of WUPD officers? Would the training be a good recommendation?
    1. Up to WUPD to engage in that training
    2. Have training about fair and impartial practices
    3. Have seen some activity of police bias around the BRSS
  3. What is the most prevalent type of report filed?
    1. Don’t have an annual report, considering creating
    2. Issues around race and gender are the most prevalent
      1. Not to minimize the other reports
    3. A number of reports that take place in the classroom setting jumps out as a trend
    4. Most incidents are filed as micro aggressions or problematic verbal comments
  • Have there been any follow up judicial actions?
    1. Not involved in the judicial process
    2. A reporter can be referred a judicial process, so it is up to them
  • How many of the 85 reports were anonymous?
    1. Vast majority were
    2. Filed in a way where the team cannot follow up to see what the next actions would be
  1. Is there any Title IX protection through the BRSS?
    1. Everybody is following Title IX (training conducted)
    2. Reporting obligation if something rises to a Title IX offense, reported to the Title IX coordinator
    3. Confidentiality is at the core
    4. Follow up: is that information publicized to students reporting on the BRSS website?
      1. People file for information only because they don’t feel that it is necessary to meet with a team member
      2. Very informative even though they are anonymous, aggregate demonstrates a trend/problem that lead to powerful recommendation to the administration
      3. Sometimes people in certain academic departments that are small don’t want to be identified
    5. What is being done for outreach?
      1. Try and get in front of as many people as possible
      2. Make a big push during orientation, a lot of information coming at people at that point of time
      3. New system and trying the figure out which groups to target
      4. RA’s receive training about the BRSS
      5. Could be doing more in terms of outreach
        1. Ideas about what groups would be good to target?
      6. A lot has been going on with the Center and system being new. Additional staffing would help
    6. One of the Students in Solidarity demands is to integrate the restorative justice system, would you consider that?
      1. Restorative Justice has always been part of the BRSS
      2. Underwent a lot of training, one of which was done through the Restorative Justice program out of Reslife
      3. Molly that is the point person for that is working with LaTanya
  • Does the online form record IP addresses?
    1. Not tracked at all
    2. That is why the paper option is available, in case people are hesitant about that
    3. Follow up: should that be clarified on the website?
  • There has been a lot of discussion lately on platforms on Yik Yak, not necessarily reported because it does not target an individual, is there anything being done by the BRSS?
    1. Not sure what steps have been taken by the CDI
    2. On their radar and very aware of the situation
    3. LaTanya would be better to know more about specific actions taken
  • Who is BRSS for?
    1. Faculty and staff can report if it involves a student
  1. Could there be a third option for reporting? (i.e a way for someone to change the status of their report, to access their report again and possibly say that this instance has happened again)
    1. Technologically no way to file a report and access it again
    2. Can only do so if you put it behind a WUSTL key, compromising the person’s identity
    3. Usually if a person wants to report a repeated offence of an incident another report is filed
    4. BRSS would track if an incident is repeated, in the same setting or by the same offender
  • Suggestion for getting the BRSS system out there: there are a lot of discussions on campus about different identities, the BRSS could be at the start/end to encourage students to feel free to report incidents of bias or to go to the website to learn more about the BRSS/CDI
    1. Hoping to add more to orientation programs
    2. Use one of the vignettes to talk about the BRSS in the “Our Names, Our Stories”
  • Suggestion: pre-orientation counselors receive training, BRSS can come and give a presentation and tell them to relay that information to freshmen
  1. Project updates
    1. Acaff
      1. Uma: emailed Jen Smith and Connie. Going to stop in and talk to Eric about Campus Voices
      2. Nicole: came up with a list of administrators and going to email them to gauge interest and see if the program can be started this semester. Will come up with a proposal
        1. Is it just administrators or administrators and professors?
          1. Bigger disconnect between higher up administrators and students
          2. Available resources to meet with your professors
        2. WUSTL University Council is the main administrator body for WashU
        3. SU can pay for the lunches
  • Jace: work on card access to different buildings. Going to contact the facilities director and campus card services. Thinking about expanding hours or increasing access to some buildings
  1. Amelia: met the curator of the Kemper. Going to contact Arni and Art Council to see if they’re on board
  2. Mike: getting a ROTC minor, going to talk to Jen Smith
  1. UI
    1. Anish: working on booking of dance performance spaces
    2. Natalie: trying to figure out who runs the facilities booking systems
  • Bo: photographed places that might need bike racks, forward those to facilities manager
  1. Caroline: painting of T-Shirts during finals week, entrepreneurial aspect of possibly selling that
  2. Ryan and Kabir: hand out donuts to get feedback
    1. Can be done whenever
    2. SU is tabling during happy hour on the 19th February for elections, can promote running for elections
    3. Senate can get funding (tax free)
  3. CServe
    1. Gaby: STS is on board working on getting printers in Holmes. Need to find who runs the space
    2. Scott: met with Reslife, bringing in more and more people
      1. Proposed system: 7 main things, will bring to the next meeting
  • Rahul: contacted Laura and is going to get a list, contact student groups and see who is interested and liaise with Nadeem
  1. Sih: working on WFF with Amelia, put on some sort of event for them like a catered breakfast
  2. Stella and Nik: work on part-time tuition for seniors
  3. Stella: for people that are living in St. Louis if they are taking through UCollege during the day, part-time, you only get 15 credits when you transfer to a full-time student in Arts and Sciences
    1. Used to let you transfer all of your AP credits