COVID-19 Bias and Discrimination

During COVID-19, identity-based bias and discrimination has continued while also appearing in new and different formats.

View this information as a flyer (PDF)

What is Bias?

Bias is personal, unreasoned judgment or attitude that inclines an individual to treat someone negatively because of their real or perceived protected characteristic (from the Office of Diversity, Equity, & Community Engagement).

What is Discrimination?

Unlawful discrimination is the adverse treatment of an individual based on a protected characteristic, rather than individual merit (from the Office of Diversity, Equity, & Community Engagement).

Discriminatory harassment is any unwelcome conduct based on a protected characteristic where such conduct creates a hostile environment (from the Code of Student Conduct).


Bias is a comprehensive term - unlawful discrimination and discriminatory harassment are smaller categories of behaviors that can create a violation of university policy.


What is a Protected Characteristic?

Protected characteristics include age, color, disability, gender, gender identity or expression, genetic information, marital or familial status, national origin, pregnancy, race, religion, sex, sexual orientation, veteran status, and/or other characteristics protected by applicable law (from the Equal Opportunity, Nondiscrimination, Anti-Harassment and Non-Retaliation Policy).

Bias and Discrimination Can Occur:

  • On- and off-campus
    • Verbal
    • Written
    • Images
    • Physical
  • In classroom environments
    • Discussion boards
    • Assignments
    • Grading
  • Through virtual channels
    • Social media
    • Texting
    • Email

Reporting Incidents of Bias & Discrimination

It is important to note that you have the option to report incidents anonymously, and every report is handled with care and trust. Not all reports result in a formal conduct process.

Experiencing Bias or Discrimination?

Contact the Office of Diversity Equity, & Community Engagement (ODECE)

Submit an online report to the Bias Incident Response Team

Students: 202-994-7434

Faculty: 202-994-5884

Staff: 202-994-9656

If a case should receive formal conduct follow-up, ODECE can refer to the appropriate offices.

Experiencing Sexual or Gender-Based Harassment?

Contact the Title IX Office

Submit an online report to the Title IX Office


A member of the team will follow up. You may have the option for informal resolution or a formal disciplinary process.

Interested in Pursuing a Formal Conduct Process?

Contact the Office of Student Rights & Responsibilities

Submit an online report through the public incident report form


[email protected]

A member of the team will follow up. You may have the option for informal resolution or a formal disciplinary process


Student Health Center - CAPS (confidential)

Office of Advocacy and Support (confidential)

International Services Office

Sexual Assault Response & Consultation Team


Multicultural Student Services Center

GW Listens Hotline

If the incident is an emergency or medical attention is required, call 911 immediately or report it directly to the George Washington University Emergency Services at 202-994-6111.