What is BERT?

The University of San Francisco's Bias Education and Resource Team (BERT) is a University-wide team that works to provide support and resources around acts of bias to those individuals who have witnessed, or themselves become a target of, an act of bias. It is a collaborative effort between the Offices of Student Life, Diversity Engagement and Community Outreach and Human Resources. The fundamental role of BERT is to provide affected individuals and communities a safe space to have their voices heard, to provide opportunities for education to mitigate or prevent similar occurrences in the future, and to ensure a comprehensive and timely response to bias incidents.  Collectively, this will lead to positive change for both the individual and the campus climate.

BERT is intended to educate the USF community and support those who experience bias and harassment.  BERT is a support and resource campus entity, not a governing body. Actions taken by BERT in pursuit of these goals will be grounded in the University's mission and values as a Jesuit Catholic institution committed to equity and social justice. BERT will not violate rights to freedom of expression; it strives to foster respectful and humanizing free expression of ideas, beliefs and opinions.

What does the Bias Education and Resource Team do? 

Response Team: The resource team will be made up of the Dean of Students and a designee who will oversee and coordinate the assignment and process of incoming BERT reports and Process Advocates when applicable. This group will be managed by the Office of the Dean of Students.

Process Advocates: Process Advocates will serve as part of the resource team. Membership is by recommendation only and the group will be made from students, staff, faculty who will be trained by members of both the resource and response teams.

Education Team: The role of this team is to serve as clearing house of resources and programming around events and media (print & online) for the university. The goal of the team is to assist with communications and publications around incidents of bias in the community and to serve as a resource to the BERT response team, administrators, and campus community.

In overview:

  • Create Process Advocate Procedures and Training Manual
  • Provide educational resources to support in fact finding on needed cases
  • Assess BERT cases for trends and needed campus responses
  • Work with VPs and Communication on campus communications as needed

What Happens When a Report is Submitted?

When an impacted party and/or a witness submits a report through the Maxient system, here is the general practice for the report (which is reviewed by the Office of the Dean of Students):

  1. If the BERT report involves ONLY faculty and/or staff the report is sent to Human Resources.
  2. If the report involves a faculty and/or staff member as the alleged individual the report is forwarded to Human Resources.
  3. All incident reports involving students as the impacted, witness, or alleged party will be processed through the Office of the Dean of Students.
  4. If the impacted party and/or witness requests a Process Advocate, the Office of the Dean of Students will assign one to the individual(s)