Query from a reader:
I am a graduate student in the process of organizing our first ‘climate meeting’ to discuss issues specific to under-represented groups in the department, as well as general congeniality and respect among all students and faculty. I am new to this and want the meeting to be as productive as possible. I would love concrete suggestions from anyone who has done this kind of thing in the past. For instance, how can we share information about people to avoid (if there are any) without fear of retribution? How can we encourage those who feel marginalized or excluded to say so without feeling further excluded? These are very sensitive issues and in a profession where so much depends on reputation, we need a system for anonymously and/or safely expressing concerns. If we hit upon any good strategies at the meeting, I will be happy to share them (and indicate if any seemingly good strategies turned out to be problematic). Thanks!