Mathematical Sciences Research Institute

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MSRI Collegiality Statement *

*This statement is modeled after the UC Berkeley Department of Mathematics Statement on Collegiality, Respect, and Sensitivity

MSRI is committed to fostering an atmosphere of respect, collegiality, and sensitivity. The study of mathematics is challenging, often emotionally as well as intellectually; even mildly inappropriate behavior can have highly detrimental effects on one’s ability to focus. MSRI strives to provide a welcoming and supportive environment for all, regardless of other characteristics that are irrelevant to the pursuit of mathematics. In most situations, simple common sense and good judgment should suffice as guidance, but we appreciate that some questions of appropriate behavior can be more complex and subtle. Instead of focusing on this fine line, we encourage staff and members to strive for their actions in all contexts to be genuinely respectful and supportive, rather than merely appropriate.

Discriminatory or harassing behavior will not be tolerated. If you think you have experienced or witnessed discrimination or harassment of any kind, or if you feel uncomfortable with the way you are being treated, we urge you to bring this to our attention. Any program member or staff whom you trust is an appropriate contact person, in particular the Operations Manager, Arthur Bosse, or the Deputy Director, Hélène Barcelo may be contacted in person (located in Suite 100) or by e-mail (anonymously, if you wish) at abosse@msri.org or hbarcelo@msri.org. When bringing concerns forward about discrimination or harassment, we will treat these with discretion, respecting the privacy of individuals insofar as possible,but in some cases, policy or law may require us to contact the appropriate authority. Upon reporting an incident, it may not be obvious to the reporter that serious actions are being taken. As this is a confidential process, MSRI will discreetly gather information and pursue the best remedy for the situation.

The following are some guidelines for what we expect from our participants:

  • Collegiality incorporates mutual respect for similarities and differences--in background,expertise, judgments, and assigned responsibilities--and establishes mutual trust between colleagues.
  • Central to collegiality is welcoming diversity and actively sponsoring diverse opinions.
  • Aggressively challenging or questioning the competency of a colleague or putting others down with demeaning comments creates an unwelcome and unproductive setting.
  • Subtle and overt comments that promote bias and stereotypes about mathematical abilities are not conducive to a collegial atmosphere.
  • If the organizer(s) of a program component (talk, seminar, etc.) believe that a participant would disrupt either the atmosphere or the ability of others to participate, it is the organizers duty to act to address the situation. Such action may involve excluding the participant causing the disruption. In such cases, the organizer will promptly notify MSRI’s administration of their action so that the matter can be reviewed.