Administration and students come together to create the Bias Response Advocacy Club

Photo submitted to The Simpsonian

If you or someone you know is facing negative bias, complete the form through the QR code above, or through this link:

by Nick Gordon, Staff Reporter

Simpson College students recently started a new organization called the Bias Response Advocacy Club. The club’s focus will be on taking action against all forms of bias on campus. 

The Dean of Students and the advisor for the club, Matt Hansen, explained what the club represents from the administrative side.

“The bias response subcommittee was really looking at if an incident occurs on campus and if a student wants to report it, how do they? How do we protect them? How do we follow up on it?” Hansen said.

Students part of the group serve as advocates for support, help report things they see and encourage students to speak up when they see or experience bias.

“If a student experiences or sees bias, then the student group will be there to provide support, advocate for them, and guide them through the process,” Hansen said. 

The club will also make use of a bias response form that will be available for students to fill out when they have something to report.

“This was about making sure we have a system in place to support our community if something occurred. We did not have this type of [bias response] form to report things previously when other institutions had, so we wanted to move in that direction,” 

“We hope to unveil it this month so it’s ready to go,” Hansen said. “We will do a QR code and some marketing posters to get it out to the public. It will be on SC Connect, where any student or community member can fill it out.”

The Bias Response Advocacy Club President, Nina Ortiz, explained what she and other members of the group will attempt to accomplish with this new club.

“It will mainly be focused on educating students or faculty and staff about any bias or discrimination that is happening on campus,” Ortiz said. 

There are a number of ways to experience bias as a college student, from your peers or even from your professors.

“It can be because of race, ethnicity, class, sexual orientation or gender, it doesn’t have to be just due to skin color,” Ortiz said. 

She felt passionate about bringing these issues to light as a member of the Latina culture and community, but also as someone from out of state who found out how different it is in Iowa.

“Coming up here has definitely been a culture shock coming from a very diverse community to here where it is not as diverse,” she said. “I think this can be a way to educate people about diversity.”

Meetings for the organization are still in the planning stages as 26 members have many different schedules, but a Zoom call will be set up for those who cannot attend in person. If you would like to be a part of this club, contact Ortiz or her co-president Wendy Soto for more information.

The form will be published on SCConnect soon, but if you experience negative bias in any form, contact the group leaders or their faculty ambassadors Dean of Students Matt Hansen, Associate Director for Multicultural and International Affairs Tisha Carter-Smith, and Vice President for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Keyah Levy.