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Bias incident reporting made easier

One of activist group Black Action Movement 2.0's (BAM 2.0) initial demands has been met with a new tool on the myMiami homepage that allows students to easily report bias and discrimination incidents.

"We demand Incident Reporting Forms to be more accessible and visible to students, faculty and staff," read the seventh demand on BAM 2.0's April 3 list.

The list of demands went into greater detail relating to this demand, including setting an April 13 deadline for its implementation and specifying that the link on the myMiami page to the Office of Equity and Equal Opportunity be spelled out rather than simply listed by its acronym, OEEO.

Outgoing Dean of Students Mike Curme coordinated with Miami's IT services to get OEEO spelled out within 24 hours of the statement's release. He then continued to work with IT, BAM 2.0 and other offices to make the incident reporting forms easier to access.

The resulting button, which went live on the MyMiami page on April 27, can be found in the Quick Tools section of the homepage with the links to Canvas, BannerWeb and other important sites for students.

Curme considered putting the link on the the page for the Office of Diversity Affairs, the Women's Center or the Dean of Students, but ultimately decided the myMiami page was most accessible and visible to all Miami students and faculty.

"We want to give students the opportunity to speak up," Curme said. "And if it's possible to respond, we will."

Clicking the tool leads the user to a page on the Miami Diversity and Inclusion website with a link to the bias incident reporting form. The page also contains links to EthicsPoint and a place for faculty to report concerns about students, and has resources for reporting sexual assault, harassment and discrimination and hate crimes.

"There is a lot of overlap between tools," Curme said. "We want to give students options."

The bias incident reporting form, which requires a Miami UniqueID to access, allows a person to describe in detail an incident pertaining to his or herself or to another group or person. The form asks for the date, time, location, type -- such as verbal or written comment -- and basis -- such as race, gender or disability -- of the incident.

The person making the report can then indicate how he or she would like the university to follow up on the incident, and choose from a variety of agencies and offices to be notified.

"The university would like to be aware of these incidents," Curme said. "We want to make it so everyone feels comfortable here."

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Because BAM 2.0 spurred these changes, Curme and other administrators updated them throughout the process while working together on other matters pertaining to the movement.

This resulted in a finished product both BAM 2.0 and Curme are satisfied with.

"I would say we are pleased with the changes we have seen," said Josiah Collins, spokesperson for BAM 2.0. "Having that link easily accessible on the MyMiami page is the kind of transparency we're looking for. BAM really played a role in giving administration an expectation for what we were looking for and they did a great job meeting the demand and getting the job done."

Vice President of Student Affairs Jayne Brownell is also heading the development of a website to post running updates on the university's progress with BAM 2.0.

Although the site is still in its early stages, once completed it will help keep the public informed as the administration continues to work with BAM 2.0 towards satisfying their other demands.