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Hate Crimes on Campus: The Problem and Efforts To Confront It

NCJ Number
Stephen Wessler; Margaret Moss
Date Published
October 2001
28 pages
This monograph examines four aspects of the problem of bias, prejudice, and hate crimes on American college and university campuses.
First, the monograph examines the prevalence of hate crimes on campuses, who was targeted, what kinds of crime were committed, and the frequency and impact of bias incidents. It notes that even statistics based on a relatively small number of reporting schools indicate that hate crimes on campus were a significant problem. Hate crimes occurred relatively infrequently on most campuses, but bias incidents (acts of prejudice not accompanied by crimes) were far more common. Students consistently reported the widespread use of degrading language and slurs by other students directed toward people of color, women, homosexuals, Jews, and others who belong to groups that have traditionally been the target of bias, prejudice, and violence. Such an atmosphere poses the risk of escalation to stronger threats and ultimately to violence. Even in the absence of escalation, bias incidents can have a traumatic impact on students, staff, and faculty. Second, this monograph identifies common problems college communities had experienced in responding to hate crimes and provides recommendations for prompt, effective, and appropriate responses. Recommendations pertain to training for campus police officers, the reporting of hate crimes and serious bias incidents, and the dissemination of information on hate crimes and bias incidents to the campus community. Third, the monograph describes several promising efforts to respond to campus hate crimes and implement prevention programs. Finally, the monograph explains the difference between hate crime and bias incidents and discusses the factors police consider to determine whether a hate crime has been committed. 33 resources