Sociology, Community & Environmental Sociology Climate Committee

Composition: Sociology Chair, Director of Graduate Studies, one senior Sociology faculty, one senior CES faculty, Dept. administrator, Graduate advisor. Sr. faculty will serve two-year (renewable) terms to facilitate continuity. In appointing the committee, the chair will make efforts to reflect the diversity of the department.

Purpose: To receive and act upon (as appropriate) concerns or complaints about the departmental climate, broadly defined. Individual students (graduate or undergraduate), faculty, staff, postdocs, or others affiliated with the department can report directly to any one (or more) member(s) of the committee. All reports will be shared in regular meetings with the full committee. The frequency of meetings is to be determined.

Objective: The goal of this committee is to provide a clearly defined, transparent mechanism for addressing issues or incidents that negatively impact department climate.

Purview: Concerns or complaints that cannot be resolved by other established pathways (e.g., discussion between student(s) and instructor, reporting to DGS, dept. chair, graduate advisor, undergraduate advisor, or training directors.)

Procedure:

  1. Committee member(s) receive report/complaint.
  2. Report/complaint is shared with the full committee.
  3. Committee determines if there is reporting responsibility (e.g., to Deans or Title IX, etc.).
  4. If reporting is mandatory, climate committee representative makes report. If reporting is not mandatory, climate committee provides information on reporting procedure (resources for reporting bias, harassment, assault are here).
  5. If complainant does not wish to file a report, committee discusses appropriate good-faith response (that is consistent with University policies/regulations), reports to chair, informs complainant, chair implements response.

Appeals: Any action that involves a sanction against another member of the community (e.g., student removal from a class/brownbag, restriction on TA opportunities) can be appealed to the committee (or to the chair).

Protections: Complainants' request for confidentiality and anonymity will be honored to the extent allowed by university policy and law. Deliberations internal to the department will always respect complainants' requests for confidentiality/anonymity. In cases that involve mandatory reporting (e.g., to the Title IX office or to the Dean of Students), the committee cannot guarantee confidentiality/anonymity.

Record keeping: To ensure that committee activities and actions are recorded as precedents, anonymized summaries of complaints, actions, and resolutions will be placed in the chair's folder. No names will be included in these records to protect the privacy of individuals involved.

Collaboration: The committee will confer with the SGSA climate committee (and other leadership as necessary) to ensure that graduate students are apprised of efforts to address climate issues. This will also provide an additional pathway for students to report concerns.

Outreach: In addition to responding to reports/complaints, the committee will take proactive steps to support a positive department climate. This includes providing text for inclusion in all syllabi and slides for presentation on first class days.

Examples of grievances:

  • Discrimination based on gender, race/ethnicity, religion, disability, gender identity, or political views
  • Sexual harassment
  • Sexual violence
  • Power harassment