As part of its effort to advance an inclusive and diverse campus culture, The University of Texas at Austin has developed a Campus Climate Response Team (CCRT) that will serve as a university-wide strategy resource team to address bias incidents which may affect campus climate. As part of this new initiative, an online incident reporting form that can be accessed by faculty, staff, students, contractors and visitors to campus also has been developed.
At the request of President Bill Powers and as a result of the final report of the Campus Climate Response Workgroup, the CCRT is made up of staff members from the Division of Diversity and Community Engagement, the Division of Student Affairs and University Operations. The team reports to Gregory J. Vincent, vice president for diversity and community engagement. Team members will be involved in finding ways to educate the campus community about campus climate issues and help determine appropriate responses to campus climate issues which arise.
The University of Texas at Austin joins comparable institutions of higher education to establish an online reporting system and response team. The Ohio State University, University of Illinois, and Indiana University are other large universities which have both a reporting system and team.
Vincent said, “Just increasing numbers of students, faculty and staff from populations historically underserved or marginalized on campus is not enough to create an inclusive, open campus. More important are the experiences that students, faculty and staff have on campus.”
Vincent explained actions motivated by bias or prejudice are harmful to the progress the university has made. “The incidents to be reported to the CCRT are not necessarily incidents that would be considered hate crimes or involve criminal activity. The type of incidents to be reported to the team could run the gamut from graffiti regarding race, religion, sexual orientation or gender identity to a student organization hosting a party with a racist theme.”
After an incident is reported, the CCRT will evaluate the incident as to what type of follow-up should occur. The response could include
- mediation for impacted students, staff and faculty;
- support and information to the targeted students, staff and faculty or to the persons who initiated the incident;
- identifying and connecting with appropriate support services;
- coordinating activities with other campus-wide identities, especially those involved with crisis management; or
- educational programming and resources for the community.
Please contact Ryan A. Miller at 471-7295 for additional information about the CCRT and the online reporting system.