Rutgers Astrophysics Group Statement on Discrimination and Harassment
1. We seek a professional environment at Rutgers and in the broader astronomical community, one that allows every person to work, interact, and learn free from discrimination or harassment based on sex, race, religion, color, national origin, ancestry, age, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, disability, or any other dimension of personal identity.
2. We take the problems of discrimination and harassment extremely seriously, and we will not tolerate inappropriate or unprofessional conduct from any member of our community.
3. We support anyone, but especially students and postdocs, in speaking out about unprofessional behavior, discrimination, or harassment that they have experienced or witnessed here at Rutgers or elsewhere. We encourage any member of our community to seek out any member of the Astronomy faculty if they wish to discuss these matters.
4. We support and seek to build robust institutional channels that take complaints seriously and investigate them fairly, with meaningful consequences if wrongdoing is found.
- Andrew Baker
- Alyson Brooks
- Matthew Buckley
- Eric Gawiser
- Jack Hughes
- Saurabh Jha
- Chuck Keeton
- Terry Matilsky
- Carlton (Tad) Pryor
- Jerry Sellwood
- Rachel Somerville
Members of the Rutgers astronomy group should familiarize themselves with University and Federal policies on discrimination and harassment. Those who have experienced or witnessed an act of discrimination or harassment should be aware of the resources that are available for them.
The Rutgers University policy on Discrimination and Harassment can be found here. In particular, it states
"Rutgers University prohibits discrimination and harassment based on sex, race, religion, color, national origin, ancestry, age, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, disability, genetic information, atypical hereditary cellular or blood trait, marital status, civil union status, domestic partnership status, military service, veteran status, or any other category protected by law. "
Members of the astronomy group should feel comfortable approaching any member of the faculty to discuss concerns or specific incidents of discrimination or harassment.
The process of discrimination and harassment complaints at Rutgers is outlined in this document.
Formal or informal resolution may be sought through the Office of Employment Equity (OEE). OEE can be contacted at 848-932-3973, and formal complains may be initiated beginning with this form or through an online incident report.
Sex discrimination in an educational context is prohibited by Federal law, specifically Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972. Contact information for officers responsible for Title IX complaince at Rutgers can be found here. At the Federal level, issues of discrimination and harassment in Universities falls under the pervue of the Office for Civil Rights (OCR). Information on the complaints process through OCR can be found here.
The American Astronomical Society's (AAS) anti-harassment policy for meetings and activities can be found here here. Advice on how to report incidents is found on the AAS Committee on the Status of Women in Astronomy website. In particular, we draw attention to the following:
"Write everything down (times, places, nature of the incident, and comments made). Save e-mails, notes, etc.. Tell someone you trust. It is likely that you will have to write and sign an official letter of complaint, documenting the nature of the harassment and/or discrimination. Be as detailed as possible. Supporting documentation and statements from witnesses should be submitted with your letter."
The 2009 “Report of the Yale University Women Faculty Forum Council on Sexual Misconduct at Yale” contains a useful discussion of how to respond to the problems of sexual assault and harassment on university campuses.
Members of the astrophysics group who wish to learn more about the issues of discrimination and harassment within the astrophysics community may find this compilation of links on astrobetter useful. There are also a number of support groups available on Facebook and other forms of social media (see, e.g., Astronomy Allies) dedicated to the discussion of these issues. Such support groups are explicitly moderated as "Safe Spaces", and users should bear in mind that, for many of their colleagues and peers, discussion of sexual, racial, or other forms of harassment and discrimination are not hypotheticals.