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February 28, 2018 

WCC Meeting Notes:

In attendance: Sheri White, Sarah Das, Chrissy Hernandez, Adam Subhas, Dina Pandya, Mak Saito, Annette Govindarajan, Christine Charette, Kathi Benjamin, Chris Land

NSF policy - We discussed the new NSF policy on harassment. The policy has been discussed at staff council and distributed by the department chairs. The policy is still in a draft stage, with the opportunity to ask questions/provide feedback. One concern is a possible “chilling effect”, where students/postdocs/staff are discouraged to report harassment out of fear that they will lose their funding if the PI is placed on leave. Note the policy applies to all grant personnel, not just PI’s. We discussed how it is important to focus on education and prevention. Information on the policy, and the impacts of a supervisor’s actions on supervisees, could be incorporated into the upcoming harassment training. However, the committee felt it is important that WHOI maintain a positive and respectful workplace environment independent of the policy.

Harassment training - Kathi updated the committee on training implementation through the LIMS system. It may be useful to let committee members do training before it gets rolled out to the general community. We also discussed including feedback questions at the end of the survey.

Bathrooms - A committee is in place to develop gender neutral bathrooms and implementation is being reviewed by Staff Council. We discussed how this could be a sensitive issue.

Tiny Teas - The Women’s Committee is interested in holding Tiny Teas in conjunction with the WCC and JP students. Some topics of interest could be - bystander intervention, “chilling effect”, reporting conduct, and how to deal with difficult issues effectively before they get out of control.

Tip of the week for WHOI Headlines

Come up with a list of positive suggestions for a respectful workplace

Action Items

  • Training - Kathi – look into whether the survey feedback questions can be incorporated at the end of the training. Annette and Mak - draft harassment survey feedback questions and send to the committee for feedback.
  • Tiny teas – Dina and Chrissy will coordinate with the Women’s committee on a plan for future teas
  • Tip of the Week – Adam will start a google doc for the group to contribute suggestions for WHOI Headlines