Office of Diversity & Inclusion

Hate Crimes

The purpose of this webpage is to provide resources and tools for individuals who may have experienced, observed, or have questions about hate crimes/incidents.

What is a hate crime?

According to the California Penal Code, hate crimes are defined as "a criminal act committed, in whole or in part, because of one or more of the following actual or perceived characteristics of the victim":

  • Disability
  • Gender
  • Nationality
  • Race or ethnicity
  • Religion
  • Sexual orientation
  • Association with a person or group with one or more of these actual or perceived characteristics

It is important to be able to differentiate between hate incidents and hate crimes.

A hate incident is an action or behavior that is motivated by hate, but is protected by the First Amendment Right to freedom of speech. Examples of hate incidents can include: name calling, epithets, distribution of hate material in public places, and the display of offensive hate-motivated material on one's own property. The freedoms guaranteed by the U.S. constitution, such as the freedom of speech, allow hateful rhetoric as long as it does not interfere with the civil rights of others. If this type of behavior escalates to threats or criminal activity against a person or property, then it would be classified as a hate crime.

A hate crime is a criminal act, or attempted criminal act committed against a person or his/her property because the person is, or is perceived to be, a member of a protected class.

If these hate crimes are not reported to law enforcement, the perpetrators will continue to act on their beliefs and continue to pose a threat to society.

  • Verbal or written threats
  • Physical assault or attempted assault
  • Vandalism or property damage, including graffiti

The following are indicators that a hate crime may have been committed:

  • Perception by the victim that he/she was selected by the perpetrator because of his/her membership in a protected class.
  • Written or oral comments by the perpetrator that may indicate a bias.
  • Date of incident coincides with a day that is of significance to the victim's protected class.
  • Differences between the race or religion, for example, of the victim and the perpetrator.
  • Organized hate group activity in the area.

You have certain rights under the California Constitution's Victims' Bill of Rights. For example, you may be entitled to information about the prosecution of the perpetrator, and you may have the right to present a victim impact statement at the time of sentencing. You may also be entitled to restitution for any loss, damage, or injury that you incurred.

What can I do to broaden my knowledge?

  • Reading articles that discuss pertinent issues in different cultures.
  • Attend campus lectures and workshops, visit museums, and participate in cultural events.
  • Volunteering at an on-campus, local or national event.
  • Taking a University course on a specific cultural concern.
  • It is to be expected that there will be disagreements with others that should be articulated.  In the spirit of open debate, it is also expected that you will remain respectful of others' points of view.
  • Remember to listen. In some cases, that is all someone wants you to do.
  • Learning also occurs outside the classroom. Be open to and respectful of what you can learn from others. Don't prejudge or dismiss other points of view.
  • Challenge your own assumptions about people, and feel free to question others' assumptions. Test your ideas and engage others' ideas.
  • Take the lead in trying to make others feel included and valued in the community.
  • Speak up when people say offensive or hurtful things.  As Martin Luther King, Jr. once noted, "In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends."  Your silence might be interpreted as an agreement with the offending remarks.
  • Communicate. If you have offended someone, talk to him/her. Try to understand that person's perspective and why the comment was perceived to be offensive.
  • Urge anyone who feels personally attacked to report the incident to University Police 

Services Available to Victims

Report a Hate Crime or Incident

If you suspect you or someone you know is a victim of a hate crime or hate/bias incident you should report it to the University Police at 530-898-5555 and the CSU, Chico Police Department(opens in new window).

Contact the Office of Diversity & Inclusion for help.