Climate and Diversity

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Our Climate and Diversity Committee

Table of Contents

Committee Members
Anonymous Comment Form
Resources
Office Hours

The Cornell astronomy climate and diversity committee has been established to set up and maintain a system for promoting an environment in the Department which promotes collaboration, inclusion, mentorship and respect. The committee is responsible for organizing educational opportunities, and examining our reporting, admissions, and workplace processes.

One product of the committee is the Community Values Statement, based on extensive input from the Cornell astronomy community, adopted in February 2020.

We hold monthly meetings and all are welcome to join. Reach out to one of us for more information.

Committee Members

 

Anonymous Comment Form

If you would like to contact the committee anonymously you may do so using this form. This comment form should be used to bring concerns to the attention of the astronomy climate and diversity committee or make suggestions on how to improve the climate of the department and center. Comments will only be sent to the co-chairs of the Climate and Diversity Committee, Patricia E. de Castro Martinez and Catie Ball.

Resources

If you’re faculty, staff, post doc, undergrad, or a graduate student and feel like you need help or you’re unsure what to do about a problem, we recommend talking to one of these free and confidential Cornell resources. They will help determine what can be done and assist in navigating the many other specific resources we have on campus.

Within the department:

Note: While the resources listed below will respect your privacy to the best of their ability, Cornell Policy 6.4 mandates faculty and staff consult the Title IX Coordinator if they are made aware of possible gender-based harassment, sexual harassment, sexual assault, domestic and dating violence, stalking, sexual exploitation, or other forms of sexual misconduct. 

If you have experienced such a form of misconduct and wish to discuss it with the resources below, you are encouraged to do so, but also to be aware that the department member must consult with Title IX about any such information. This does not obligate you to pursue any further actions with the Title IX office, but they will contact you to make you aware of your rights and options (For more information see here).

If you would prefer to discuss your concerns or experiences with a confidential resource, see the next section which lists confidential resources.

Jonathan Lunine (Department Chair) Jonathan is willing to listen to anyone in the department about problems they are experiencing or concerns they have.
He can also help find solutions or direct you to other resources if this is what you want. As the department chair, Jonathan is also the best person within the department to contact regarding:

  • Concerns about faculty within the department
  • Concerns about the department climate in general

Mary Mulvanerton (Associate Director, Department Manager)
Mary is willing to listen to anyone in the department about problems they are experiencing or concerns they have. 
She can also help find solutions or direct you to other resources if this is what you want. As the department manager, Mary is also the best person within the department to contact regarding:

  • Procedures within the department

David Chernoff (Director of Graduate Studies)
David is willing to listen to anyone in the department about problems they are experiencing or concerns they have.
He can also help find solutions or direct you to other resources if this is what you want. As the director of graduate studies, David is also the best person within the department to contact regarding:

  • Graduate student special and first-year committees
  • Concerns about graduate studies; concerns of graduate students
  • Facilitating conversation between graduate students and faculty
  • Graduate student well-being

 

Outside the department: Confidential Resources


Note: the resources listed below are confidential resources that primarily offer support and advice, rather than intervention. If you want to report a violation of university policy, the two primary reporting avenues are listed in the next section. You can also seek advice from these confidential resources about where you can best find help within the university.


Cornell Ombudsman
Primarily able to help with:

  • Employment issues 
  • Tenure or reappointment 
  • Workplace disputes
  • Cornell policy 
  • Interpersonal conflict 
  • Ethics concerns
  • Graduate committees
  • Advisor/advisee issues


Cornell Victim Advocates
Primarily able to help with:

  • Sexual assault or rape
  • Violent/potentially violent relationships
  • Stalking or targeted vandalism
  • Harassment
  • Physical, emotional, or mental assault 
  • Bias-related incidents
  • Hazing
  • Related types of victimization

A full list of confidential resources is available here.

Outside the department: Reporting violations of University Policy

The Office of the Judicial Administrator handles violations of the Cornell Code of Conduct. This code of conduct applies to all individuals within our department.

This office handles violations of Cornell’s Policy 6.4. This is Cornell’s policy to ensure compliance with the federal law known as Title IX. Broadly, this policy prohibits:

  • Gender-based harassment
  • Sexual harassment
  • Sexual assault
  • Domestic and dating violence
  • Stalking
  • Sexual exploitation
  • Other forms of sexual misconduct

For more information about how these forms of misconduct are defined, see the list of policy documents here. Unfortunately as of June, 2020, there are no summaries available on the Title IX Office website.


Outside the department: Comprehensive list of additional resources

A comprehensive list of resources Cornell offers to cover crisis, mental, physical, social, intellectual, financial, and family help can be found here.

Office Hours

Members of the committee also hold office hours. We envision these hours as being a place where everyone can talk about issues they are facing, with someone who wants to help, and as a way to preserve connections within the astronomy community, even as we are in different places. We understand that working virtually might present students with unique challenges, and we want to be able to connect students with resources to solve those problems.

Some potential reasons you might use our virtual office hours:

  • You need to vent about something going on in the department in a safe, supportive, and confidential environment
  • Your professor in an astronomy class is not accommodating your COVID-related circumstances and you want to talk with someone about it
  • You want help figuring out who to talk to in the astronomy department in order to solve a problem related to classes or research
  • You want to feel more connected to the department by having a conversation with someone


Office hours are currently held over Zoom: Contact Catie Ball for meeting details.