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Mathematical Sciences Research Institute

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Collegiality at MSRI

To contact MSRI's ombudsperson, see below.


MSRI Collegiality Statement*

MSRI strives to provide a welcoming and supportive environment for all. Among the primary benefits of a stay at MSRI are meeting new mathematicians, and enjoying collaborations both with old friends and new colleagues. We ask you to help us by including new people from all backgrounds in your circles as much as possible. The senior people in the community can set a positive tone in this way.

MSRI is committed to fostering a community of respect, collegiality, and sensitivity. The study of mathematics is challenging, often emotionally as well as intellectually; even mildly uncollegial behavior can have highly detrimental effects on another’s ability to focus. 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. We encourage staff and members to be respectful and supportive of one another.

Here are some ways you can help foster collegiality at MSRI:

  • Reach out to people in the program whom you do not know, and actively build new connections
  • Encourage mutual respect for similarities and differences--in background, expertise, judgments, and assigned responsibilities, with the goal of establishing mutual trust between colleagues
  • Welcome diversity and encourage diverse opinions
  • Avoid demeaning others or aggressively challenging their competence or mathematical abilities
  • Refrain from promoting bias and stereotypes about race, nationality, religion, gender and sexual orientation, or other personal characteristics
  • Understand that behavior can have an adverse impact on others, even in the absence of malicious intent by the actor

If a participant's unprofessional or uncollegial behavior is disrupting the atmosphere of an event, or the ability of others to participate, it is the event organizers’ duty to act to address the situation. Such action may involve excluding the participant causing the disruption from that event.In such cases, the organizer must notify MSRI’s administration of their action promptly, so that the matter can be reviewed. If the Directorate or the organizers feel that a longer-term action (such as dismissal from a program) is necessary, such an action can only be taken by the MSRI Directorate.

Discriminatory, harassing, or bullying behavior will not be tolerated. If you think you have experienced or witnessed such behavior or if you do not feel comfortable with the way you are being treated, we urge you to contact the Operations Manager, Arthur Bosse, or the Deputy Director, Hélène Barcelo in person or by e-mail at abosse@msri.org or hbarcelo@msri.org. However, any staff member whom you trust would also be appropriate. We will treat these concerns with discretion; however, there are circumstances where, as MSRI staff, we must act, even if it is not your preference. If you prefer to speak confidentially with someone independent of MSRI management, you may contact our Ombudsperson by email at ombuds@msri.org or by calling 904-414-2996. If you prefer anonymity, you may use the portal established to facilitate anonymous contact with the ombudsperson at https://www.lighthouse-services.com/ombuds.

We invite you to view the complete Anti-Discrimination and Harassment Policy and Complaint Procedure here: https://www.msri.org/web/msri/about-msri/harassment_policy

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

Procedure for Resolving Issues of Collegiality

MSRI is committed to ensuring that all collegiality concerns are dealt with in a fair, impartial, thorough, and thoughtful manner. We will make all reasonable efforts to promptly initiate an inquiry into formal allegation(s) and conclude it in a timely fashion. Please note that the Ombudsperson is available as an informal option and contacting them will not necessarily trigger a formal inquiry.

MSRI will initiate an inquiry into incidents of non-collegial behavior, according to the following general guidelines:

  • The Operations Manager will speak with both sides of the conflict, and any witnesses identified by the parties, with the goals of:
    • Trying to understand what happened
    • Listening without passing judgment
    • Finding ideas on appropriate resolution
    • Finding ideas on how the situation could have been avoided or how the behavior can be prevented going forward
  • Either side may refuse to meet with the Operation Manager or to comment on some aspects of the inquiry. In such a case the inquiry will continue based on the other available information
  • Once the facts are gathered, the Operations Manager will meet with a member of the Directorate and other appointees (as deemed appropriate) to explain what happened, and discuss how best to respond and determine what action should be taken
  • The Operations Manager, together with a member of the Directorate, will meet with both parties to convey the decision about any action that will be taken
  • MSRI will follow-up with others who witnessed or were affected by the conduct

Please note that since the inquiry is a confidential process, while it is happening it may not be obvious to the reporter that serious actions are being taken. Should a preliminary inquiry demonstrate that the concern more appropriately falls under the anti-discrimination and harassment policy, the investigative procedure of that policy will be followed.


Public Feedback Period

MSRI invites feedback about our Collegiality Statement from the mathematical community. To submit comments by December 15, 2019, please use this anonymous form to suggest edits and changes. We will not be able to respond directly to you, but will collect all responses and will take them into consideration during the next revision process.



View the complete Anti-Discrimination and Harassment Policy and Complaint Procedure.


MSRI Ombudsperson

If you would like to speak about any conflict, concern or issue anonymously or confidentially, you may contact the MSRI Ombudsperson by email, phone, or through an anonymous portal. The Ombudsperson will listen, discuss options with you, and help you determine the next steps to take.