Definitions of Bias and Hate

Hate crimes and bias incidents—What’s the difference? 

Hate crimes are criminal acts against a person or property in which the perpetrator chooses the victim because of the victim’s real or perceived race, religion, gender, ethnicity, national origin, sexual orientation, gender identity or disability. Examples of criminal acts that may be hate crimes include: assault, sexual assault, battery, misdemeanor theft, criminal trespass to residence, misdemeanor criminal damage to property, criminal trespass to vehicle, mob action or disorderly conduct, or harassment by telephone or through electronic communications. 

Bias incidents reflect a similar motivation but may not reach the legal threshold of criminality. Such incidents can include taunting, verbal harassment, bullying, intimidation, or the posting or circulating of demeaning jokes or documents. Although they are not considered hate crimes, these are serious incidents that can have long-lasting negative effects on both students and faculty.