University of Vermont

Division of Student Affairs
Think. Care. Act.
Health and Safety

Bias Incidents & Hate Crimes

Bias incidents and/or hate crimes involve behavior that is motivated by bigotry and prejudice regarding a person's real or perceived race, religion, sexual orientation, ethnicity, national origin, ancestry, gender, age, disability, or gender identity and/or expression. Bias incidents include actions that are motivated by bias, but that do not meet the necessary elements required to prove a crime. Hate crimes are criminal acts motivated by bigotry or prejudice regarding a person's real or perceived membership in a particular class or group. A hate crime is a bias incident that involves violation of a criminal statute. All hate crimes are bias incidents, but not all bias incidents are hate crimes.

When working with a student who has experienced a bias incident or hate crime:


  1. When possible, see the student in private.
  2. Let the student know that you believe her/him.
  3. Be aware that the student may be experiencing a wide range of emotions including shame, anger, fear, and denial.
  4. Advise the student to contact UVM Police Services (656-3473) if they are concerned about personal safety, or if they wish to report a hate crime.
  5. Advise the student that they can seek counseling services through Counseling and Psychiatry Services (656-3340).
  6. Advise the student that they can report the incident to the Affirmative Action and Equal Opportunity office for investigation (656-3368)


  1. Try to explain or get caught up in the differences between “bias incident” and “hate crime.” The distinction is immaterial to the feelings a student may be experiencing about the incident.
  2. Minimize the situation.
  3. Express personal biases.

Last modified August 18 2014 12:01 PM