After learning and understanding more about equity, inclusion, and your positionality, the next step is to learn how to address your own biases and intervene when you encounter biased or exclusionary behaviors. These are valuable skills to protect yourself and others, which will prepare you to live and work in diverse communities during and after your degree. These skills are also valuable for building inclusive communities and environments where everyone feels that they belong, which is an essential skill regardless of your career path.

Steps You Can Take

Intervene in Your Own Biases

Although biases are common, it is important to take steps to understand and address your own biases. A key practice for addressing our own biases is being mindful of our initial thoughts and reactions to people. Since many of our biases are unconscious, they are most easily identified in these split-second reactions. Review the additional steps laid out in the American Bar Association’s article “Everyone is a Little Bit Biased in the section “Is it impossible to overcome our implicit biases?” Consider reading the book How to Be an Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi, which is easily accessible as an ebook through the UC Berkeley Library.


Become an Active Bystander

When you witness acts of bias, microaggressions, or violence against others, your silence can communicate tacit approval of this behavior. You can help others feel safe and included when you respond to these behaviors effectively. To learn how to best respond to microaggressions, consider reading this Inside Higher Ed piece, titled “Allies and Microaggressions.” UC Berkeley offers training through Bears That Care to help you become an active bystander and effectively and safely intervene when you witness potentially harmful or violent situations. Report hate crimes and hate-motivated incidents using the UC systemwide intolerance report form. Become familiar with the services and resources on conflict resolution and response to harm offered by the Restorative Justice Center of UC Berkeley. To learn more about the barriers to and opportunities for building inclusive communities, you can read articles featuring cutting-edge research and articles from the Othering & Belonging Institute.


Set Healthy Boundaries and Practice Self-Care

For students who are faced with inequalities and oppression, the emotional toll of daily existence and traumas can be significant. If you are a student of color, or from another marginalized identity or group, it can be particularly important to set healthy boundaries and tend to your own self-care. For example, the National Center for Faculty Development and Diversity’s “Core Skills” series includes webinars on The Art of Saying No and How to Manage Stress, Rejection, and the Haters in Your Midst. You can find resources tailored specifically to your identity or identities in the Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) list of Community-Specific Information and Services and identity-specific community groups through the Centers for Educational Justice & Community Engagement.

Some resources specifically for students of color include A Multi-Week Course to Facilitate Healing from Racial Trauma from the National Center for Faculty Diversity, and the Night Out/Night Off for Graduate Students of Color. Night Out/Night Off is a biannual event where grad students of color can come together, find joy and community, and enjoy art created “by people who look like us, with people that look like us.” Black students can find additional resources on the University Health Services (UHS)’ Black Lives Matter resource page

There are also many academic communities, conferences, and resources outside of Berkeley that might provide you with specialized support or community as you navigate academia and your future career. For example, Indigenous students in STEM may benefit from joining the American Indian Science and Engineering Society. Latinx students may want to access the resources and guidance offered in the book A Latinx Guide to Graduate School by Genevieve Negrón-Gonzales, which is available as an ebook through the University Library. Many students, and particularly those from underrepresented and marginalized groups and identities, can benefit from the guidance offered in the book A Field Guide to Grad School: Uncovering the Hidden Curriculum by Jessica McCrory Calarco. This book aims to make explicit the hidden norms and knowledge essential to navigating graduate school, and can also be accessed as an ebook through the Library.


Utilize the Resources Available Through UC Berkeley

The huge landscape of UC Berkeley includes many institutes, offices, departments, programs, and student groups whose work addresses issues of equity and inclusion. Utilizing and referring your peers to these relevant resources can be a key step in intervening in situations of bias, exclusion, and disadvantage. As a first step, consider subscribing to the Office for Graduate Diversity Newsletter, which provides updates on events and opportunities as they happen, including workshops, talks, and social events. Next, consider getting familiar with the many campus resources available to students. A nonexhaustive list of campus resources not discussed above includes:

Campus Resource Resource for: Resource Details
Office for Graduate Diversity All graduate students The office for Graduate Diversity’s “How We Help” page with guidance on surviving and thriving in graduate school, getting what you need from your research advisor, and more.
The Student Advocate’s Office All graduate students The Student Advocate’s Office provides free and confidential casework services for students navigating issues with the University, including financial aid and grievance concerns.
The Ombudsperson Office Graduate students with a concern or conflict The Ombudsperson Office is an impartial and confidential source of feedback and guidance when you have a complaint or need to resolve a conflict.
The Financial Aid and Scholarship Office Students facing a financial emergency This office offers short-term and interest-free loans for students facing unexpected expenses related to the cost of education. These loans are often approved automatically and can be deposited into your bank account within 3-5 business days.
Disabled Students Program (DSP) Disabled students DSP provides Accommodations, Auxiliary Services, and Support Services for disabled students.
American Indian Graduate Program (AIGP) Indigenous and Native American graduate students AIGP works to identify and eliminate barriers that might interfere with Indigenous students’ opportunities for academic success.
Queer Grads LGBTQ+ graduate students Queer Grads is a social and community group. Find many additional relevant groups and resources here.
UndocuGrad Program Undocumented graduate students UndocuGrad aims to meet the varied needs of undocumented graduate students by providing legal, financial, wellness, and other resources.