The University continues to be open and transparent in its communication related to the bias incidents. Click here to learn more about the University’s Bias Incident Response Team.

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BIRT Incident Log

Date Nature of Incident Location
9/16/17 A racist note was written on a dry erase board on a student’s door. Scanlon Hall
9/17/17 A racist note was written on a dry erase board on a student’s door. New Hall
9/18/17 A racist and sexist note was written on a dry erase board on a student’s door. New Hall
9/19/17 A racist note was written on a student’s door. New Hall
9/20/17 A sexist verbal comment was overheard in a campus apartment. Landsdowne Hall
9/20/17 A racist slur was written on elevator doors. Scanlon Hall
9/21/17 Post-it notes with racist language were left on a student’s door. Lammers Hall
9/21/17 An alleged, intimidating verbal remark was reported by a student. Commuter Lot
9/21/17 A racist note was slipped under a student’s door. Scanlon Hall
9/21/17 A racist note was written on a T-shirt. Scanlon Hall
9/22/17 A racist note was slipped under a student’s door. Lammers Hall
9/23/17 A racist note was slipped under a student’s door. New Hall
9/30/17 A racist note was written and posted on a bathroom door. New Hall
10/1/17 A racist note was carved on a toilet paper dispenser. Courtney Hall
10/11/17 A racist note was slipped under a student’s door. Lammers Hall
10/29/17 Sexist, anti-Semitic, and racist references were written on residence hall walls. Davis Hall
11/4/17 Racist and anti-Semitic references were written on residence hall walls. Scanlon Hall
11/7/17 A student reported a physical assault with racist language directed at her. Between Bates & Wilson Halls
11/16/17 A racist note was slipped under a student’s door and anti-Semitic references were written on residence hall walls. Scanlon Hall
11/16/17 A racist note was left in the mailbox of a member of the Residential Life professional staff.  Scanlon Hall
11/16/17 A sexist note was slipped under a student’s door. Scanlon Hall
11/29/17 A racist note was left in an inbox next to the door of a member of the Residential Life professional staff. Scanlon Hall 
12/3/17 A threatening, racist, and anti-Semitic message was found. Scanlon Hall

Summary of Response

Response to the individual incidents listed in the log above includes an immediate response from the Bias Incident Response Team (prior to Oct. 29, Student Life staff responded), the Department of Public Safety and Residential Life staff. A report is filed and the incident is investigated. The affected students are connected with necessary resources and are offered further support services, academic assistance, counseling, and supplemental safety measures if/as needed.

The Westfield State University Police works with the Massachusetts State Police to gather and process evidence, if applicable. In cases involving graffiti or vandalism, following documentation, those bias and hate messages are removed and the surfaces are cleaned.

The University's response to the series of incidents has varied, reinforcing a call to unity, guided by Westfield State's mission and values of inclusion and empathy.

Action has included:

  • establishing the university’s Bias Incident Response Team (BIRT);
  • messages from the President via email to students and faculty/staff and via mail to parents;
  • the establishment of Emergency Operation Center when incidents were at a peak;
  • a monetary reward offered for information leading to prosecution of those responsible;
  • a designated hotline for anyone having information on the incidents;
  • University-wide forums led by students, faculty or administration;
  • Presidential and BIRT meetings with staff and student in residence halls;
  • BIRT meetings with leaders of faith-and heritage-based clubs and other student groups;
  • Presidential meetings and with the Student Government Association and other student groups;
  • Presidential discussions with the faculty and staff;
  • residence hall-based “Many Owls, One Nest” workshops and a healing event in Davis Hall;
  • University-wide inclusion programming, including the Division of Academic Affairs’ “Higher Ed/Higher Ground” lecture series;
  • a plan to install cameras throughout campus with a focus on the residence halls;
  • increased Public Safety staff, and activity;
  • increased Counseling Center staff and services; and  
  • around-the-clock, residence hall-based security.

To learn more about the university’s response to recent bias and hate incidents, visit #WestfieldStateIKnow