Under Massachusetts law, hate crimes are crimes that are motivated by or against a person or group on the basis of: race, color, religion, sexual orientation, disability, ethnic/national origin. Hate crimes encompasses not only violence against people or groups, but also crimes against property, like arson or vandalism, particularly those directed against community centers or houses of worship.
Hate crimes can occur in any of the following ways:
- Intimidating or threatening behavior putting a person in fear of imminent physical harm (assault, threats to commit certain crimes); or
- A physical attack (assault and battery, as well as other violent crimes such as murder, manslaughter, and rape); or
- Damage to property (arson, vandalism)
Bias Incident at Mount Holyoke
A bias incident at Mount Holyoke is an act of bigotry, harassment, or intimidation that occurs on the Mount Holyoke College campus that is directed at a member or group of the Mount Holyoke community because of that individual’s or group’s actual or perceived age, color, creed, disability, ethnicity, gender, gender identity/presentation, marital status, national origin, race, religion, sexual orientation, social class, veteran status, or any combination of these or related factors. In a bias incident the perpetrator may be known or unknown.
(adapted from Cornell University)
Note that there are broader categories utilized here than what we have in the MHC “Statement of Non-Discrimination.” The “Statement of Non-Discrimination” only focuses on categories that are protected by law, while our bias incident definition covers categories that are not covered by law, but that are covered under our college policies.
Hostile or hateful speech or other discriminatory behavior may be considered a bias incident, but under certain conditions may also be a hate crime.
The person or group against whom a bias incident or hate crime is directed this may or may not be the same as the reporting party. We recommend using one of these terms rather than ‘victim’.