Student Handbook

APPENDIX E: COMMUNITY AND EQUITY COMMITTEE (CEC)

The Community and Equity Committee (CEC) shall consist of two faculty members and two graduate students elected to two year terms. The election cycle is staggered so that in one year, one new faculty representatives and one new graduate student representative are elected. Faculty members and graduate students confidentially self-nominate themselves to the committee or nominate other faculty and/or graduate students whom they believe are most fit for the position. All nominated individuals have the option to accept or decline their nomination. All the accepted nominations are put to a vote through a secure online ballot, with faculty voting on faculty members and students voting on student members.

The primary function of the CEC is to (a) provide confidential advice and guidance on university resources for department members who have a complaint about an experience at Rutgers (b) organize periodic department workshops dedicated to conversations regarding equity, diversity and inclusion (c) work with the department chair to organize periodic trainings designed to reduce bias in the classroom and workplace and (d) update and maintain the Diversity and Inclusion section of the department website. This committee receives a budget to organize workshops.

CEC Resources for Conflicts, Grievances and Restoration

The CEC’s goal is to build a department where all members feel safe, supported, valued, and able to carry out their work and their lives to the best of their abilities. As in any workplace or community, conflicts between people or grievances with others occur. When that happens, an individual or individuals might require assistance in addressing, remedying, or remediating the situation.

The following is meant only to guide decision making when conflict or grievances occur. It is not a substitute for professional counseling, professional mediation, or legal advice. Below, you’ll find resources for finding such services.

Departmental Resources:

Community and Equity Committee Members- Confidential* Discussion

CEC members are available for confidential discussions upon request. If the situation is very serious and CEC members cannot provide appropriate assistance, individuals should look to university-affiliated services. These offices have trained staff that may be better equipped to handle the situation (see below for a list of offices and services).

Discussions with a CEC member can serve to help the individual figure out the best course of action, whether that means taking no action, finding a way to address the issue with the person who they identify as creating the situation, asking for mediation, asking for remediation or restoration, or making use of other University resources. The meeting can be used to understand what restoration might look like for the individual. These meetings can also be used for any issues involving a CEC member.

The CEC member may take notes during the discussion but they will not be shared. Discussions are completely confidential (they will not be shared with anyone) unless *a) the individual would like the committee member to involve someone else at Rutgers, or *b) an individual raises an issue that falls into the domain where the committee members are mandated to report the issue to the University under Title IX (behaviors involving physical violence, stalking, or repeated harassment of a potentially criminal or pervasive nature).

For issues involving another department member, CEC members will discuss possible next steps including:

  1. Communicating directly to the person against whom the individual has the complaint. The CEC member can discuss whether and how to best communicate with the person. Communication can involve different options (e.g. a face-to-face meeting, a phone call, an email, a conversation with the person). If the individual would like mediation, this could include informal processes within the department or using other university resources for mediation.
  2. If a complaint can’t be resolved by communicating directly to the person against whom the individual has a complaint or if that option is not optimal, the individual can speak with department administrators. An undergraduate student can seek help from the Undergraduate Director, a graduate student can seek help from the Graduate Program Director, and a faculty member or staff can consult the Department Chair.
  3. If complaints by an undergraduate or graduate student cannot be resolved by the relevant program director, the student can approach the Department Chair. If the complaint pertains to the Department Chair, the individual should be referred to the relevant Dean.

Note that: (1) A graduate student complaint would be handled by the School of Graduate Studies (SGS) Dean ; (2) an undergraduate complaint would be handled by the office of the Undergraduate (UG) Dean ; and (3) a faculty complaint would be handled by the School of Arts and Sciences (SAS) SBS Area Dean.

If the options provided above are not satisfactory or if an individual does not feel comfortable pursuing those options, they may seek out resources available from the university.

University-wide Resources:

  1. Deans: SAS; School of Graduate Studies Dean
  2. Office of the Ombudsperson for students
  3. Title IX Office
  4. Help from a Union: There are about 28 unions at Rutgers, representing faculty, instructional staff, student employees, and staff. For staff, see here for a list of collective agreements. For faculty, post-docs, and other instructional staff, see here for a list of contracts. For teaching assistants and graduate assistants, see here.
  5. Violence Prevention and Victim Assistance
  6. Office of Employment Equity
  7. Mental health and counseling services:
    1. Graduate students: Rutgers offers counseling services for graduate students. For information on what the School of Graduate Studies offers for problem resolution, click here.
    2. Faculty and Staff: Rutgers offers employee counseling and health benefits may also cover mental health services.
    3. Undergraduates: Rutgers offers counseling and other services, as well as student health resources

*CEC Members Endia Hayes, Ashley Hollingshead, Amanda Kaplan, Eleanor LaPointe, Norah MacKendrick, Jess Poling, Hana Shepherd, and Arlene Stein made contributions to this document.

 

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