The UTSA Campus Climate Team (CCT) has launched a website to report bias incidents on campus. A bias incident is an act that targets individuals and groups on the basis of protected characteristics such as race, color, ethnicity, national origin, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, disability, age, religion or political views and affiliations.
The website, launched April 4, lists reports of recent bias incidents on campus. As of this article’s printing, four reports are listed; the most recent bias incident was reported on April 5 and is currently being investigated by UTSA PD. The first bias incident recorded on the CCT website was from March 27, when a poster was found in the Sombrilla from the David Horowitz Center, a conservative foundation. The foundation hosts Jihad Watch, a blog directed by author Robert B. Spencer, a known figure in the “counter-jihad” movement, a political current guided by a common belief that the Western world is being subjected to “takeover” by Muslims, as defined by the Democracy and Security Journal.
The CCT reports incidents that occur on campus in violation of the university’s freedom of expression policies. Registered student organizations can distribute or post materials expressing opinions, but individuals or organizations not affiliated with the university cannot. The CCT is also responsible for removing the reported materials.
The CCT formed shortly after a national white supremacist group, Patriot Front, hung a banner from the then-named Student Union (formerly University Center) bridge on Nov. 15, 2017. A poster from the group was found posted in the McKinney Humanities Building on April 3, 2018, according to the CCT website.
On February 15, a flyer advertising the launch of a magazine called “No Whites Allowed” was removed.
“It was not approved or authorized by the university and was not affiliated with any campus organization or event,” Joe Izbrand, associate vice president for communications and marketing, said in an interview with college news website Campus Reform, in March. “It was immediately removed.”
In an email announcing the website’s launch, UTSA President Taylor Eighmy said not every bias incident will be made public.
“We do not wish to make a practice of announcing these incidents each time they occur,” Eighmy said. “This only serves to bolster efforts by these outside groups to draw attention to themselves.”
Christi Fish, executive director of communications, said every bias incident that is approved will be recorded on the website and investigated by the university.
“If multiple people report the same incident, the incident will be logged once,” Fish said. “In situations where an incident has the potential to impact the broader campus community, the university will proactively share it via social media, email and other channels.”
Fish also said that UTSA PD will be pursuing repeated offenders, like Patriot Front, who violate the university policy.
The CCT website will also allow students to report “interpersonal” bias incidents that occur at UTSA, whether personally experienced or witnessed. Students can contact the Student Ombudsperson, the Office of Equal Opportunity Services, the Department of Title IX Services or the Behavioral Concerns Assistance Team.
The CCT website can be accessed at http://www.utsa.edu/campusclimate/