Creating the Extraordinary Student Experience

The Program

Open Doors Mission

Open Doors is a 4-hour training broken down into three conceptual modules, each teaching a unique aspect of responding to bias.

The intent of this program is to create a safer and more welcoming environment which acknowledges that acts of bias occur at our University and which helps individuals and communities heal from, and become more resilient to, acts of discrimination and bias. By agreeing to become an Open Doors Partner, the participant agrees to undergo training and to serve as a resource for people seeking help in reporting acts of bias.

After the training sessions a participant will receive resource materials about bias and diversity and an Open Doors Insignia to denote that she/he has completed the bias training and is an Open Doors Partner. The Open Doors Insignia is a symbol to all people who have experienced an act of bias that you are an understanding, supportive, and trustworthy individual. Witnesses or victims of bias will know that they can come to you as an ally for help, advice, or just to talk with someone who is supportive of their well-being.

The Open Doors Insignia also means that biased and discriminatory comments and actions will not be tolerated; they will be addressed in an educational and informative manner. The message that the Open Doors program will send out is one of understanding, non-judgment, and knowledge of the concerned parties' needs and experiences. It is symbolic of the willingness and commitment on the part of a community to provide an atmosphere of unqualified acceptance and assistance.

What are The Modules?

Open Doors is a 4-hour training broken down into 2 conceptual parts, each teaching unique aspects of responding to bias.

Part 1: Understanding: WHAT IS BIAS and HOW DO I INTERRUPT IT?

This is an introduction into what bias is, what it looks like, and how it overlaps with/differs from stereotyping, racial profiling, hate crimes, and sexual violence. This module uses media clips and real-life examples to illustrate bias in its many forms. This Module also shows participants to think about bias in terms of intent, impact and consequence and to file a report to the Bias Assessment & Response Team.

This is an experiential exercise in recognizing bias and intervening to reduce and/or prevent it. We give examples of how confronting bias looks and considerations about personal safety when interrupting bias.

Part 2: Awareness and Action: SHARING IDENTITIES/EMPATHETIC LISTENING and WORKING WITH PEOPLE IN DISTRESS

This is an exercise in empathetic listening. Our belief is that there are restorative powers in listening to a person's story and opportunities for empowerment. Additionally, we ask participants to share parts of their identities/stories and consider the impact that a bias incident might have on that part of their identity.

This training further helps participants recognize signs of persons in distress and gives participants information about referrals for service in the event that students need more than someone to listen and validate their stories. We do not ask our participants to be therapists or crisis intervention experts: we do ask them to be able to recognize the signs of a person in distress and work with that person to get them to the help they need. Completing Part 2 allows people to certify as Open Doors Partners. 

Open Doors Objectives

  1. To identify a network of allies who are concerned, empathetic, and knowledgeable about issues of diversity and discrimination.
  2. To provide evidence of the support of all people who have experienced bias and their allies within the Ohio State community by posting a sign as tangible evidence of that support.
  3. To reduce the fear of reporting and feelings of hurt created by an act of bias within the Ohio State community.
  4. To assist all students in achieving their educational goals by creating an environment in which they can heal and be themselves.

Open Doors Expectations

Your main role as an Open Doors Partner is visibility. You are expected to post your Open Doors Insignia in a visible area. This should also be an area which is under your control. For example, if you share an office, you should not hang the sticker on your office door, but rather on your own desk or personal space, in order not to falsely include non-Open Doors Partners who may not feel comfortable or are not trained in that role.

Members of the Open Doors network are also expected to:

  • Be supportive and visible to students who are dealing with acts of bias.
  • Be open and affirming to people from all walks of life.
  • Maintain students' and staffs' confidentiality and requests for privacy.

What is Not Expected of an Open Doors Partner

  • The Open Doors Program is not intended as a therapeutic support group for students. Open Doors Partners are not expected to provide counseling for the students as there are very supportive and knowledgeable counselors on campus through Counseling and Consultation Service (CCS) (614-292-5766).
  • The Open Doors Program does not prepare you to be a member of the Bias Assessment and Response Team's Response or Advisory Committees. It is important that Open Doors Partners set boundaries with the students that are supportive and affirming but are appropriate for the goals of the program.
  • You are not expected to be an expert on all diversity and bias issues. Know your limits and refer a student who has needs you cannot provide rather than guessing at answers.
  • Occasionally people might not understand what your role is as an Open Doors Participant and might challenge you. Don't feel like you must debate with these individuals. You are an Open Doors Partner who serves as a resource to students and not as a spokesperson who needs to justify the program or defend issues pertaining to bias and discrimination.
  • This Open Doors Modules and Carmen Website are designed to provide you with some basic information about diversity and bias issues and community resources on and around campus. The information will cover most of the common questions or situations that will arise as a result of you being an Open Doors Partner. If you are uncomfortable with a question or issue, please call the Multicultural Center at 614-688-8449.

Shared Understandings

  1. Discussing feelings is important to understanding the issues of difference and diversity. We hope to create a sense of safety so that feelings can be shared.
  2. We assume everyone is present because they care about ending all forms of oppression. We may act in ways that are oppressive though that is not our intent. Unfortunately, whether we intend it or not, it has the same effect.
  3. We assume that there are multiple paths toward change. Many different groups and individuals taking small steps together chip away at oppression and build toward a vision of celebrating diversity.
  4. We assume that learning accurate information, ending the system of oppression, and creating a celebratory and diverse community is a long-term process. Today we are taking another step.
  5. We all learned oppressive, discriminatory beliefs. We did not ask to be taught them. But we now have the opportunity to take responsibility for them.

A Global Work Force

Open Doors sets the stage for participation in a global workforce. Issues like bias, hate, and transforming institutional climates don't just apply to university campuses. They apply to any workplace or profession you decide to go into. As an Open Doors Partner, you have taken a crucial first step towards developing a skill set that will give you an edge as you enter a global workplace.