Definitions of Bias Acts and Hate Crimes


According to New York State Penal Law § 485.05, a person commits a hate crime when he or she commits a specified criminal offense and either intentionally commits the act or intentionally selects the person against whom the offense is committed in whole or in substantial part because of a belief or perception regarding the race, color, national origin, ancestry, gender, religion, religious practice, age, disability, or sexual orientation of a person, regardless of whether the belief or perception is correct.

A bias act is conduct that adversely and unfairly targets an individual or group based on the social identity categories of national origin, ethnicity, race, age, religion, gender, gender identity & expression, sexual orientation, disability, veteran status, color, creed, marital status or any combination of these characteristics. The perpetrators may be known or unknown and the act may be verbal, written or physical and occur on the SUNY Oneonta campus or within an area that affects the campus community. Activity protected by the First Amendment will not constitute bias acts.

Information about the College’s response to bias acts and hate crimes can be found at and is disseminated through the Office of Human Resources, the Office of Student Diversity and Advocacy, the Office of Community Standards, and the University Police Department. Anyone who believes that she/he has been the victim of a hate crime or bias act is encouraged to seek assistance at any of those offices.