Inclusivity and Bias at Le Moyne


Le Moyne College has developed and is still seeking to develop new policies and updates in regards to inclusivity and bias incident reporting in the fall this year.

President Linda LeMura sent an email to all students and staff members of Le Moyne in wake of the incident involving Syracuse University fraternity, Theta Tau, during the spring of 2018. Members of the fraternity, including a Le Moyne student, were caught on camera using extremely graphic and racist language, as the video went viral.

The incident made national news headlines and shocked the Le Moyne Community since one of their students was a member of the fraternity.

Junior Communications major Mia Franko was especially shaken by the Theta Tau incident. “It almost didn’t seem real because you hear about these things and they feel so far away, but it was just two miles down the road with a kid we go to school with. The fact that he was a Le Moyne student really bothered me because I always thought Le Moyne students were better than that.”

As a result, President LeMura conducted an email promising a number of changes in regards to inclusivity and bias incident reporting.

One change that has already occurred this school year is that incoming freshmen and new students took an online co-curricular course in diversity and inclusion. These students will not be granted permission to enroll in spring 2019 classes without completion of the course.

Also, since August 1, 2018, all members of search committees for all positions at the Le Moyne have been required to complete a bias incident on-line training that is offered to all employees.

Karin Botto, Assistant Vice President for Human Resources and Organization Development, was asked to develop a bias incident reporting policy for faculty and staff to complement the one in place for students.

“We are in the process of conducting that research now through benchmarking other colleges and universities in the Jesuit network as well as local schools and reviewing the student policy and process,” Botto says. “Ultimately the goal is for all members of the College community to have a process for reporting bias-related incidents so the situation can be addressed. Policies like these enable the College to follow a process in pursuit of the right conclusions and actions consistent with our core values and sense of justice while protecting the rights and dignity of those involved.”

Director of Inclusion Excellence and Global Education, Bennie Williams, hopes to improve the visibility of bias incident reporting to students. This fall Williams and his team are planning on reaching out to students via email, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram with videos, and posters to give students awareness of what bias incident reporting is, present the process in how to report these incidents, and show the
process that comes afterward.

Most importantly, Williams wants to show students that they have the power to stand up for themselves if
they feel mistreated because of their ethnicity, race, religion, gender, age, disability, or sexual orientation. “I don’t think we’ll ever get to a situation where there will be no bias incidents, but I would like to be in a situation where students feel that the college will support them if something like that happens.”