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Reporting Bias & Hate Concerns
In August 2020, the Division of Extension launched a Call to Action to underscore its commitment to inclusivity and anti-racism work. This institutional effort outlined nine strategic initiatives that align with three thematic areas: 1) Professional capacity building and organizational development, 2) workplace safety, inclusion, and accountability, and 3) 21st century workforce needs. For more information on Extension’s priorities and initiatives connected to the Call to Action, please visit the following webpage. Initiative #6 called for the creation of a reporting system where Division of Extension colleagues can report bias & hate issues, concerns, and incidents.
Rationale for Initiative #6:
All Extension employees and volunteers have a right to a safe and inclusive workplace. Likewise, the Division of Extension leadership has a responsibility to ensure that all employees’ right to a safe and inclusive workplace is respected and honored. This initiative creates a mechanism by which employees and volunteers can share concerns that compromise our commitment to working and providing programming in a safe and inclusive environment.
Incidents and concerns of bias or hate affecting a person or group negatively impacts the quality of workplace and programming environments. The Division of Extension takes such incidents seriously and will respond appropriately to reported or observed incidents of bias or hate.
The Bias & Hate Incident Reporting Platform (Reporting Platform) is available at the following address: https://blogs.extension.wisc.edu/oaic/bias-and-hate-concerns-reporting/. Any person connected to Division of Extension can access the form and make a report. The Reporting Platform is not password protected.
The Reporting Platform has a two-fold purpose. First, it provides Extension employees and volunteers with a formal mechanism to report issues that undermine our Division’s commitment to promoting a safe and inclusive environment for all employees, volunteers, and participants. Second, it is intended assure employees that all issues, concerns, and incidents reported through the platform will be addressed in a timely fashion and in a manner that is appropriate for each situation or circumstances.
Scope of reporting issues, concerns, and incidents:
The Reporting Platform can be used to report issues and incidents of concern that may occur in the workplace or in spaces where Extension carries out its educational programs and activities. This Reporting Platform is likely to be used in three broad ways:
- Reporting incidents and concerns related to bias and hate which may include, but are not limited to, problematic or degrading language, slurs, microaggressions, harassment, or other scenarios that adversely impact workplace relations and employee well-being.
- The identification of epithets, graffiti, symbols, or other instances observed by employees and volunteers in spaces where Extension programming occurs.
- Guidance and support for situations that may concern the Division of Extension’s compliance with University policy or our institutional obligations as mandated reporters. Depending on the circumstances, Administrative Response Team (ART) may determine that a referral or a consultation with a corresponding campus unit (e.g., UW-Madison’s Office of Compliance) is needed to appropriately address and respond to the situation.
What employees and volunteers can expect from making a report:
Employees can expect…
- Their concerns to be heard in a safe and confidential manner
- Timely follow-up from a representative of the ART
- Response measures, actions, and resources that are appropriate for the situation and circumstances
What type of information does the Reporting Platform ask?
The Reporting Platform asks for information and factual details about the circumstances that relate to the Employee’s or volunteer’s issues and concerns. The questions and requested information provide the ART with initial context and background for review. The Reporting Platform also allows reporters to upload supporting documentation (e.g., photos, emails, video, other documents, etc.).
Who has access to the information submitted in a report?
All information shared through the Reporting Platform is considered sensitive and will remain confidential to the extent to which our institutional reporting obligations and responsibilities allow. Representatives of the ART and the platform developer are the only persons with initial access to information stored in the Reporting Platform. The ART may share relevant information as requested by the Dean and Associate Dean for Policy, Operations, and Stakeholder Engagement. Similarly, they may share relevant information with employee supervisors and appropriate campus units to effectively respond to an incident.
How are reports used?
Reports allow ART to address specific concerns of employees and volunteers on a case-by-case basis. Reports also allow Extension leadership to monitor any patterns of concerns that may emerge over time. This will allow us to proactively plan for and respond to any additional support needs for resources and training.
Who is on the Administrative Response Team?
The ART is comprised of representatives from Extension Human Resources, the Office of Access, Inclusion, and Compliance (OAIC), and Assistant Deans.
What is the process once a report is submitted?
- Division of employee or volunteer submits a report
- Reporters have the option to either submit anonymously or provide their contact information
- ART representatives receive notification that a report has been submitted
- ART reviews the submitted report within 7-10 business days
- Following its review, ART will determine the appropriate steps to address the issue or, if needed, seek additional information from the reporter
- In certain circumstances, a representative of the ART may contact the reporter to provide an update on any actions taken to address the concerns included in their report
What type of responses might the ART provide?
- Follow-up discussion with affected person(s)
- Discussion with person or groups to which the report corresponds
- Referrals to resources offered through Extension and UW-Madison campus
- If appropriate, referrals to appropriate units for further investigation into the concern (e.g., Human Resources, UW-Madison Office of Compliance, etc.)
Retaliation is prohibited in the workplace
Retaliation is defined as adverse action taken against an individual in response to, motivated by, or in connection with an individual’s complaint, participation in an investigation or information gathering process of such a complaint and/or opposition of certain behavior, actions, and/or statements that may violate workplace rules. Individuals who have made complaints and allegations about behavior, actions, and/or statements as being in violation of workplace rules are protected against retaliation.
NOTE: Retaliation against an individual for reporting a concern is prohibited. If you feel that you are being retaliated against for making a complaint or report, please contact Extension HR (email@example.com) or the Office of Access, Inclusion, and Compliance (firstname.lastname@example.org) directly.