Policies and Definitions

Hate Crime

The Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office defines hate crimes as traditional crimes that are motivated by the offender’s bias toward the victim because the victim is a member of a protected group.

Under the primary Massachusetts hate crime statute, M.G.L c. 265, § 39, there are three elements of hate crimes:

  • Underlying Criminal Offense: The offender committed an assault or a battery upon the victim or damaged the victim’s property.
  • Offender’s Intent: The offender acted with the intent to intimidate the victim.
  • Victim’s Protected Characteristic: The offender targeted the victim because of the victim’s race, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, gender identity, or disability.

More broadly, a hate crime is any a criminal offense that manifests evidence that the victim was intentionally selected because of the perpetrator’s bias against the victim. Although there are many possible categories of bias, under the Clery Act, MIT’s annual security report only includes the following categories of hate crimes: race, religion, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, ethnicity, national origin, and disability.

See the Handbook for Campus Safety and Security Reporting, pages 3–25.

Bias Incident

A bias incident is an offense—including physical harm, harassment, or damage to property—against a person or property that is motivated, in whole or in part, by bias against a group or a group’s characteristics, including race, color, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, disability, age, genetic information, veteran status, or national or ethnic origin.

For purposes of these procedures, a bias incident includes without limitation a hate crime.

Although MIT does not have a formal “bias incident policy,” in most cases acts constituting a bias incident will violate other MIT policies.


In order to create a respectful, welcoming, and productive community, the Institute is committed to providing a living, working, and learning environment that is free from harassment. Harassment is defined as unwelcome conduct of a verbal, nonverbal or physical nature that is sufficiently severe or pervasive to create a work or academic environment that a reasonable person would consider intimidating, hostile or abusive and that adversely affects an individual’s educational, work, or living environment.  

Harassment that is based on an individual’s race, color, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, disability, age, genetic information, veteran status, or national or ethnic origin is a violation of MIT policy.

MIT’s full harassment policy can be found here.

MIT Statement of Nondiscrimination

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology is committed to the principle of equal opportunity in education and employment. 

The Institute does not discriminate against individuals on the basis of race, color, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, disability, age, genetic information, veteran status, ancestry, or national or ethnic origin in the administration of its educational policies, admissions policies, employment policies, scholarship and loan programs, and other Institute administered programs and activities, but may favor US citizens or residents in admissions and financial aid.

Freedom of Expression 

Freedom of expression is essential to the mission of a university. So is freedom from unreasonable and disruptive offense. Members of this educational community are encouraged to avoid putting these essential elements of our university to a balancing test.

These response procedures are not intended to interfere with legitimate freedom of expression. MIT reaffirms its educational mission and recognizes the importance of protecting the freedom afforded to every community member to lawfully express their views in speech, writing, and through electronic communications.

For additional information, about freedom expression, please review the Mind and Hand Book, Section II (8). 

Although this webpage is intended to accurately state MIT policy and definitions, both are subject to change without notice.  In the event of any discrepancy, the provisions of MIT policy will prevail over information listed on this webpage.

Relevant MIT Policies

9.3 Policy on Racist Conduct 

9.4 Policy on Harassment (including Sexual Harassment, Sexual Misconduct, Gender-Based Harassment, and Stalking)

9.5 Policy on Retaliation

9.7 Complaint Resolution Policies and Procedures (for employees)

MIT Mind and Hand Book Policies

Complaint and Disciplinary Procedures

Policy on Retaliation 

Policy on Sexual Misconduct 

Policy on Harassment

Policy on Freedom of Expression