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April 7, 2020

WCC meeting minutes

Meeting conducted via zoom

Present: Annette, Mak , Kathi, Andrew, Simon, Adam, Dina, Jessica, Christine, Chris, Chrissy, Sheri, Anna, Veta

Introduction of new members, review of charge and recent activities

CommuniTeas, ombuds fact-finding, diversity committee, public lectures

Stommel quote in Fuglister room (update by Jake/Jessica)

  • Contact Amy Bower, propose/remove poster

Coronavirus-related impacts

  • People are affected differently - e.g., those with childcare responsibilities; students and postdocs who are away from home, those whose work requires being in the lab or field
  • Types of impacts - short term - 1) on work - cessation of lab, field programs; canceled meetings/conferences; canceled cruises; difficulty working from home with children; 2) stress, anxiety, mental health; 3) social isolation; 4) financial - e.g., spouse/partner with lower income or job loss
  • Long term impacts - 1) professional development - time-sensitive projects and grants, tenure timelines, career slowdowns that affect some people disproportionately; leaks in “pipeline”; job loss for tech staff? 2) financial impact to institution and future grants
  • Updates from Kathi/Chris Response team: many challenges: isolation, research, children/schooling, elderly parents. Employee student assistance program came online (MIT uses), HR news and knowledge in WHOI Headlines. Deadlines? Connecting supervisors and employees, people not left out. Encourage meetings
  • Seeing heads of the institution could be useful
  • Technical challenges?
  • Special concerns for students, have been self organizing communities, slack workspace, virtual happy hours.
  • Share Ideas about how to keep morale up. Technical staff groups also need to be supported
  • How to share ideas - breakout ideas at teas, something online?
  • Resources of practical information, what’s open, grocery pickup service etc.
  • Slack channels: useful for groups, channels for parents ways to connect with other people
  • Postdoc channel has a slack, has parenting and grocery tabs, has been picking up.
  • WHOI-wide slack?
  • Commercials for AA, domestic violence. New KGA could be discussed at town hall.
  • Jabber?
  • Gender equity issues are likely important now. Leaky pipeline problem. Promotion processes being discussed. Career safety nets?
  • Special emergencies codes for education/homeschool needs
  • Long-term equity issues. What does delay in tenure clock, promotion mean? How is covid affecting individual people and long term implications.
  • Response team focused on safety and financial issues during the first few weeks. Already transitioning to these kinds of issues now.
  • Concerns if project numbers will run out.
  • Cruises are cancelled, loss of overtime pay for some
  • Response committee looking at how to support technical staff
  • No cost extensions, both for external and internal funds, would be helpful
  • Change to BCBS plan, any COVID cost covered.


  • Online interactions
    • Zoom Teas? - can reach out to people who are feeling isolated
  • Support networks, mentoring (tech staff - AOPE, MCG)
  • ESAP
  • Supervisor guidance (similar to that distributed to students/postdocs)
  • Grant extensions
  • Annual review process, promotion and tenure process
  • Memo to Staff Council urging equity considerations
  • Reduce meeting burdens
  • Institution-wide town hall? Record; get questions in advance; reassure people