Anti-bias button on webpage provides easy access to report discrimination
One of Minot State University’s efforts to fight discrimination is the Anti-bias Button on its Diversity Council webpage.
Annette Mennem, director of the Native American Center and co-chair of the Diversity Council, explained the mission of the council as well as the function of Anti-bias Button.
“The Diversity Council is directly underneath the president. It was formed by the former president and carried on by this present president,” Mennem said. “Our mission is to address any issue on campus surrounded around diversity both positive or negative sides.”
The Anti-bias Button first appeared in 2014. The function is focused on not only students but also faculty and staff because anyone could be a victim.
Mennem explained that if an issue arises, which is not of a direct emergency or concern, the reporter should click on the button. Then, the reporter will be directed to a Title IX form, an anonymous tips form, or the student complaint and anti-discrimination form.
“Let’s say I want to report a concern or something I observe or someone puts the bias on me; I know it, and I feel it,” Mennem explained when discussing why someone would use the button.
That bias may come from anyone on campus and doesn’t have to happen in person.
“Social media is a free platform where people express their opinions. We have the right of freedom of speech, but our right should not step on others’ rights. We also have the right to feel secure and safe,” Mennem said.
When an individual fills out and submits the form, it goes directly to Mennem. She then involves the people she needs to form her own team, depending on the issue, to make an action plan to address, research, and resolve the issue.
“If individualism isn’t considered, if we may not do anything or not take any further action, it could compound … to bring a severe issue for the university, so this Anti-bias Button is an avenue for someone to report,” Mennem said.
One of the things people are most concerned about is confidentiality of the person who submits a report.
The first question Mennem asks is, “Do you feel comfortable reporting this?”
If the answer is no, she will work to resolve the issue without mentioning the reporter’s name.