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September 19, 2019

WCC meeting minutes

In attendance: Mak Saito, Annette Govindarajan, Jake Gebbie, Christine Charette, Dina Pandya, Chrissy Hernandez, Kathi Benjamin


  • replace ~ ½ of current members; other half continue to serve for an additional year. Please send an email within the next 2 weeks to Annette and Mak with your intentions.
  • Process for student and postdoc member selection – check with Meg and email students/postodocs for suggestions
  • Process for staff – check with department chairs and Kathi; check with CDI for additional suggestions

 Committee on Diversity and Inclusion (CDI):

  • Mak and Annette with input from others developed a charge for new committee that was approved by Staff Council and the Director; the CDI will be independent of and have equal status to the WCC; and will include inclusion as well as diversity
  • Joel Llopiz and Gwyneth Packard are co-chairs and are in the process of selecting their committee members
  • Dina – will remove link to defunct Diversity Committee
  • The WCC and CDI have distinct charges, but have overlapping interests. It would be a good idea for the chairs of the WCC, CDI, and others (e.g., GLOW, Women’s committee) to meet to discuss plans and ways of working together

 Workplace Climate Survey:

  • Important to plan ahead so that the survey can be budgeted. Aim to have a budget by June 2020 if it will be invoiced in 2021. The survey was on the HR budget last time.
  • Some initial questions – should the survey be internal or externally run; if external, should we go with Rankin and Associates again. Look into other options and get budget estimates
  • May need an independent survey committee (like last time) – that could include WCC members but others as well. Members should be aware that it is a relatively big time commitment.
  • Consider scheduling a meeting later this year dedicated to survey planning

DDVPR meeting:

  • Annette and Mak will meet with Rick Murray in October to discuss the WCC and related issues
  • Rick is chair of TOS ethics committee (the oceanography society) and at NSF, and is well versed in bystander intervention
  • Topics to include in the meeting: - CommuniTeas, including plans for the next Tea; the importance of hiring and retaining women and diversity on all career tracks; dissolution of TSEC, and changes to tech staff ladder
  • Please send an email to Mak and Annette with additional suggestions for the meeting


  • Discussion about the timing of job ads - do the ads get looked at for language that may unintentionally turn people away? Discussion at staff council about this particular topic. Specific words that can prevent people from applying.

CommuniTea planning:

  • Aim for the next Tea in the fall – possibly early November, before Thanksgiving
  • Email Mak and Annette if you are interested in helping out on the Tea subcommittee
  • Topic – making a flatter culture. Many examples, including denigrating someone’s job descriptions; show respect across (and within) different job titles/levels.
  • Given that there’s a lot of interest in this topic, we might expect a very large turnout; use additional rooms in Clark for breakout groups if needed and put together the synthesis afterwards if short for time
  • Consider buying infrastructure (Tea urn etc) and engaging with facilities

Ombudsperson Information

  • Many requests over the last several years for an ombudsperson. We should be responsive to this need
  • Conducted fact-finding and drafted an information sheet
  • Annette and Mak – obtained some information from the MIT ombudsperson office
  • Was there an exit interview with Rauss, WHOI’s last ombudsperson?
  • There are efforts in conflict resolution happening now in other venues in the institution: department chairs and admin dedicate time to this, HR is also more involved in conflict resolution now than in the past and may be helpful on many issues, but some people in institution may feel uncomfortable going to HR or their department chair.
  • ESAP – counseling service – currently looking for a replacement vendor
  • Form a small group to follow up on initial fact-finding, organize another meeting MIT Ombudsperson and WHOI representatives.