To receive and act upon (as appropriate) concerns or complaints about the departmental climate, broadly defined. Individual students (graduate or undergraduate), faculty, staff, postdocs, or others affiliated with the departments can report directly to any one (or more) member(s) of the committee. All reports will be shared in regular meetings with the full committee. The frequency of meetings is to be determined. Students who wish to communicate concerns anonymously to the Faculty-Staff Climate Committee are encouraged to reach out to the SGSA Culture & Climate Committee (email@example.com), which will share concerns with the Faculty-Staff Climate Committee with the student’s (or students’) permission.
The goal of this committee is to provide a clearly defined, easily accessible mechanism for addressing issues or incidents that negatively affect department climate.
The UW-Madison Department of Sociology and Department of Community & Environmental Sociology (hereafter the Joint Departments) have endorsed a set of Community Standards designed to promote professional development and improve climate.
2023-2024 members: Tina Hunter (chair), Marcy Carlson, Jennifer Dykema, Charlotte Frascona, Ted Gerber, Eric Grodsky, Randy Stoecker, Malliga Somasundaram.
Four tenured faculty, Department administrators from both C & E Sociology and Sociology, and the Graduate program advisor. Two of the four tenured faculty will be appointed by the department chairs (with executive committee approval required for appointment). One of these two appointed faculty will be from C&E Sociology. The remaining two tenured faculty will be chosen by the committee, in consultation with the department chair, from a list of four tenured faculty nominated by the Sociology Graduate Student Association (SGSA). Tenured faculty will serve two-year (renewable) terms to facilitate continuity. In appointing the committee, the chair should make efforts to reflect the diversity of the department. The chairs of Sociology and C&E Sociology will work in consultation with the committee or may be members of the committee. The chair of the Climate Committee will be elected once per year by its members.
Concerns or complaints that cannot be resolved by other established pathways (e.g., discussion between student(s) and instructor, reporting to DGS, dept. chair, graduate advisor, undergraduate advisor, or training directors.) The committee will take proactive steps to improve the climate and also respond to general climate issues that members are aware of. However, it will not intercede directly with a specific individual or proceed with sanctions against an individual unless a formal complaint is made and the complainant requests that the committee take action.
- Committee member(s) receive report/complaint.
- Report/complaint is shared with the full committee.
- Committee determines if there is reporting responsibility (e.g., to Deans or Title IX, etc.).
- If reporting is mandatory, climate committee representative makes report. If reporting is not mandatory, climate committee provides information on reporting procedure (resources for reporting bias, harassment, assault can be found here).
- If complainant does not wish to file a report, committee discusses appropriate good-faith response (that is consistent with University policies/regulations), reports to chair, informs complainant, chair implements response.
Any action that involves a sanction against another member of the community (e.g., student removal from a class/brownbag, restriction on TA opportunities) can be appealed to the committee (or to the chair).
Complainants’ request for confidentiality and anonymity will be honored to the extent allowed by university policy and law. Deliberations internal to the department will always respect complainants’ requests for confidentiality/anonymity. In cases that involve mandatory reporting (e.g., to the Title IX office or to the Dean of Students), the committee cannot guarantee confidentiality/anonymity.
Conflicts of interest
If a complaint is made to the committee that involves a member of the committee, that member will recuse themselves from all deliberations pertaining to the complaint. More broadly, if any committee member has a conflict of interest with a complaint, they will recuse themselves. Complaints may also be made individually to the Chair or Associate Chair of the Department of Sociology and complainants may request that they not be forwarded to the Climate Committee.
To ensure that committee activities and actions are recorded as precedents, anonymized summaries of complaints, actions, and resolutions will be placed in the chair’s folder. No names will be included in these records to protect the privacy of individuals involved.
The committee will confer with the SGSA Culture & Climate Committee (and other leadership as necessary) to ensure that graduate students are apprised of efforts to address climate issues. This collaboration will also provide an additional pathway for students to report concerns, as they may raise climate issues with the SGSA CCC whose members can share them anonymously with the Faculty-Staff Climate Committee if the student approves.
In addition to responding to reports/complaints, the committee will take proactive steps to develop and support a positive department climate.
Examples of grievances
- Discrimination based on gender, race/ethnicity, religion, disability, gender identity, or political views
- Sexual harassment
- Sexual violence
- Power harassment
- Climate concerns