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Syracuse University’s anti-bias protocol precedes and ensures compliance with legislation recently signed into law
Syracuse University’s anti-bias protocol precedes and ensures compliance with legislation recently signed into lawSeptember 26, 2003Edward Byrnesedbyrnes@syr.edu
As the New York State Legislature prepared a new anti-bias bill, Syracuse University administrators worked to make sure they were ready. By the time Gov. George E. Pataki signed the bill, which requires all colleges and universities in New York to educate and inform incoming students about the Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 2000 and how bias crimes can be prevented on their campuses, SU was already in compliance.
“We have known about this legislation for a few years and had anticipated it as a critical component of our students’ education,” says SU Dean of Students Anastasia L. Urtz, who helped craft the language of the state legislation. “We created an educational tool dealing with diversity issues and our Protocol for Responding to Bias-Related Incidents, so when the law passed, we were ahead of the game.”
SU’s protocol includes the Team Against Bias (TAB), a trained crisis response team that, among other activities, holds open forums and encourages group dialogue. TAB went into action recently when a nonstudent, walking along Comstock Avenue with a group of students, was physically assaulted by an as-yet unidentified individual, allegedly on the basis of the victim’s sexual orientation.
In a statement issued by his office, Gov. Pataki said, “This important new law will help reinforce the message that hate crimes will not be tolerated in New York State – This legislation will build upon our historic Hate Crimes Prevention Act by requiring colleges and universities to educate and inform incoming students about ways to prevent bias crimes from occurring on college campuses.”