Iowa State University
INDEX A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

News Service

News Service:

Annette Hacker, manager,
(515) 294-3720

Office: (515) 294-4777

02-10-05

Contacts:

Loras Jaeger, Ames Police Chief and task force co-chair,
(515) 239-5131

Evie Myers, ISU Equal Opportunity and Diversity and
task force co-chair, (515) 294-6215

Susan Gwiasda, City of Ames, (515) 239-5204

Annette Hacker, ISU News Service, (515) 294-3720

'Breaking Down the Barriers' group improves outreach to community members affected by bias

AMES, Iowa -- An Ames/Iowa State University committee that works to improve multiculturalism and diversity in the community has new information to assist anyone involved in a bias incident.

Breaking Down the Barriers' brochure and survey form can help victims of prejudice or discrimination, or those who have witnessed such an incident, know what to do. People may informally and anonymously report an incident online at www.cityofames.org (click on "Living in Ames" to find "Bias Incident Form" on the pull-down menu). Printed copies of the bias incident survey also are available at more than 20 locations throughout the community, or people may call (515) 239-5101 to receive a copy. Completion of the bias incident survey is not considered a formal complaint; the reports are used for analytical purposes only.

The brochure and web site also provide contact information for six offices at which formal complaints may be filed. ISU students, faculty and staff may contact the Dean of Students Office, the Office of Equal Opportunity and Diversity, or the ISU Police Division. Citizens of the greater Ames community may contact the Ames Human Relations Commission, Ames Community School District, or the Ames Police Department.

The group defines a bias incident as any act of discrimination, harassment, violence or criminal offense which appears intentional, is motivated by prejudice or bias, and is committed against a person, group or property. These acts may be associated with negative feelings or beliefs about a person's race, ethnicity, skin color, ancestry, national origin, gender, age, class, political affiliation, sexual orientation, disability or religion.

"Ames is a welcoming place that encourages diversity," says Ames Police Chief Loras Jaeger, who co-chairs Breaking Down the Barriers. "Any event of bias or discrimination in the community goes against the positive environment we've created together. Should such an unfortunate incident occur, we want community members to know there are people who can help."

Breaking Down the Barriers was formed in 1997 to address minority recruitment and retention, consumer issues, employment and internship opportunities, mentoring, leadership development, law enforcement and academic services. Jaeger points to a number of important changes that have occurred as a result.

"The FACES (Families of Ames Celebrate Ethnicities) celebration has become a successful annual event. There's more dialogue. More businesses are offering goods and services that appeal to a multicultural audience. Iowa State has hosted its fifth annual multicultural leadership summit. And there are small changes that people may take for granted, like the BET and Telemundo cable networks available through Mediacom. The community didn't have those channels when the group started," Jaeger said.

Breaking Down the Barriers meets monthly. For more information, contact Jaeger at (515) 239-5131 or co-chair Evie Myers (515) 294-6215.

-30-

Quote

"Ames is a welcoming place that encourages diversity. Any event of bias or discrimination in the community goes against the positive environment we've created together. Should such an unfortunate incident occur, we want community members to know there are people who can help."

Loras Jaeger