RESPECT is the University’s bias response team. It comprises students, faculty, administrators, and staff who voluntarily serve to provide direct support to any individual impacted by prejudice-based aggression. This may include providing assistance with reporting bias, guidance through the investigative process, and access to safety and support resources. When appropriate, it may also include facilitating restorative conversations between affected parties to promote healing and learning outcomes.
RESPECT also monitors the campus climate and tracks data on bias reports. By identifying patterns in the data, RESPECT is equipped to proactively decrease the prevalence of future occurrences. This may be achieved through trainings, workshops, speakers, community forums, and other educational programming to openly engage students, faculty, administrators, and staff in conversations about social justice, equity, and inclusion.
Please direct any questions about RESPECT to Keaton Wong, Director of Equal Opportunity, Compliance, and Title IX at 718-990-2660; [email protected].
The RESPECT Bias Response Team consists of faculty, staff, and students who have volunteered their time to assist the university in addressing incidents of bias that affect the individual and/or community.
The RESPECT Bias Response Team has completed over 30 hours of training to help prepare them for their role. These trainings consisted of social justice education, restorative justice education, bias response, and hands-on practice. The committee will continue to meet on a regular basis to continue education, proactively on prevention methods, and to support and respond to individual and community needs.
If you have questions for the RESPECT Bias Response Team, please contact [email protected].
The RESPECT Bias Response Team has three main roles when it comes to bias response: respond to affected individuals, respond to the community, and assist with prevention. Below are examples of how we will fulfill these roles.
Individuals who report issues of bias go through an intake an assessment process with the Office of Human Resources, Equal Opportunity & Compliance (EOC) Office. They will be able to (1) talk about the details of the incident, (2) provided resources, which include connecting to someone on RESPECT, and given the option about which process to choose.
If an individual chooses the restorative process, here are the steps of that process.
Individual or group incidents may grow into community incidents. When community incidents arise, the RESPECT Bias Response Team will be there to assess the impact, address the harm, and assist in community healing.
If an incident occurs, here are the steps of that process.
The Office of Equal Opportunity & Compliance (EOC) will compile and analyze data on trends/concerning patterns.
At St. John’s, the RESPECT Bias Response Team uses restorative justice values and practices to assist in addressing incidents of bias and/or community issues.
Restorative justice is a collaborative decision-making process that includes victims, offenders, and others who are seeking to hold offenders accountable by having them (a) accept and acknowledge responsibility for their offenses, (b) to the best of their ability, repair the harm they caused to victims and communities, and (c) work to reduce the risk of re-offense by building positive social ties to the community.
Restorative processes help educate community members about the need for civic commitment and build student capacity for evaluating the impact of their behavior on the community. The restorative values of repairing harm, reintegration, and community building is central to the process.
Restorative circles are a useful practice in the restorative justice process that uses authentic dialogue to promote understanding, build community, and accountability. These dialogues take place with participants sitting in circle, so they are sometimes called circle dialogues or community circles.
Restorative justice conferences are a structured meeting between offenders, victims, and both parties’ family and friends, in which they deal with the consequences of the wrongdoing and decide how best to repair the harm. Neither a counseling nor a meditation process, conferencing is a victim-sensitive, straightforward problem-solving method that demonstrates how citizens can resolve their own problems when provided with a constructive forum to do so.
A restorative conference can be used in lieu of traditional disciplinary or justice processes. Participation in conferences is voluntary. Offenders and victims may choose to participate in a conference. Here, offenders may choose to repair the harm they have caused. Conferences often hold offenders accountable while providing them with an opportunity to discard the “offender” label and reintegrate into their community.
The beginning of a conference includes storytelling by the offender and each of the harmed parties. The storytelling in a restorative justice process is designed to explore the harm caused by an offense.
At St. John’s, RESPECT members have been trained on how to facilitate restorative justice circles and conferences. Our goal is always to assist in addressing individual and/or community harm and to help understand the needs of those affected by the incident.
If you have been impacted by bias, below are some on campus and off campus safety and wellness resources that can help you move forward from your experience.
St. John's University Department of Public Safety
New York City Police Department – Call 911
Center for Counseling & Consultation
The STEVE Fund is dedicated to the mental health and emotional well-being of students of color. Text STEVE to 741741 to connect with a trained and culturally competent crisis counselor for free, 24/7.
For St. John's Employees and their family members, the Employee Assistance Program (EAP) offers free confidential services and resources. Call the 24-hour helpline at (800) 833-8707 or visit www.myccaonline.com (company code "STJOHNS").
Click here to fill out the 2021 RESPECT Application Form.