Statement on Diversity

These principles of community for the University of California, Berkeley, are rooted in a mission of teaching, research and public service and are fully upheld by the astronomy department. They reflect our passion for critical inquiry, debate, discovery and innovation, and our deep commitment to contributing to a better world. Every member of the UC Berkeley community has a role in sustaining a safe, caring and humane environment in which these values can thrive.

  • We place honesty and integrity in our teaching, learning, research and administration at the highest level.
  • We recognize the intrinsic relationship between diversity and excellence in all our endeavors.
  • We affirm the dignity of all individuals and strive to uphold a just community in which discrimination and hate are not tolerated.
  • We are committed to ensuring freedom of expression and dialogue that elicits the full spectrum of views held by our varied communities.
  • We respect the differences as well as the commonalities that bring us together and call for civility and respect in our personal interactions.
  • We believe that active participation and leadership in addressing the most pressing issues facing our local and global communities are central to our educational mission.
  • We embrace open and equitable access to opportunities for learning and development as our obligation and goal.

For more information, visit UC Berkeley's Division of Equity, Inclusion & Diversity page.

Astronomy Climate Advisors

Definition of "climate": Current attitudes, behaviors, and standards concerning the access for, inclusion of, and level of respect for individual and group needs, abilities, and potential.

The mission of the Astronomy Climate Advisors is to help devise and implement solutions to climate problems not necessarily involving formal investigations, and to serve as pointers to campus resources for conflict resolution and emotional and mental health.

Any member of the Astronomy Department can come to any Climate Advisor for help. We have come, individually and collectively, to the assistance of faculty members, staff, postdocs, graduate students, and undergraduates facing a variety of interpersonal problems. Our goal is to create and sustain an environment where everyone in Campbell Hall can do their best work. Information given to one Climate Advisor is shared with another Climate Advisor only on an as-need basis.

Although we will do our best to keep the information reported to us private, Climate Advisors are non-confidential: violations of the Title IX policy protecting University members against harassment, discrimination, and assault that are reported to us will necessarily be forwarded to the Office for the Prevention of

Harassment and Discrimination (OPHD). The general rule is that if anyone wishes confidentiality, they should ask before confiding.

The current Climate Advisors are:

Faculty: Gibor Basri, Eugene Chiang, Jessica Lu

Staff: Lochland Trotter

Postdoc: Tanmoy Laskar

Graduate Student: Melanie Veale, Kara Kundert

Undergraduate: Sara Gutierrez, Hayley Williams 

Anonymous Drop Box

An Anonymous Drop Box is available to anyone wishing to pass along a written (presumably anonymous, but it need not be) comment about anything related to the Astronomy Department (e.g., suggestions for improvement, or a sensitive issue). It is a black metal box hanging on the wall just outside the Remote Observing Room (Campbell 155).

The dropbox is intended to complement the Climate Advising system by providing an anonymous means of reporting. Anonymity is occasionally desired by students (undergrads + grads) or anyone with a supervisor. Note, however, that anonymity can also limit how effective the Department's response can be.

The box can only be opened with two keys, both of which must be present at the same time to unlock the box. One key is held by Graduate Student Climate Advisor Kara Kundert, and the other key is held by Postdoc Climate Advisor Tanmoy Laskar. Both Advisors have to be simultaneously present to open the box; they are entrusted with checking its contents every other week (2nd and 4th Mondays of every month) and exercising their collective good judgment on how to proceed with the information they find. They may forward the note to relevant parties; e.g., if the note concerns undergraduate student conflict, then the Head Undergraduate Advisor may be informed. Unless the note requests otherwise, every note is cc'd to the Department Chair. Notes reporting harassment, discrimination, or assault are by necessity forwarded to OPHD.

Reporting Harassment

The Department of Astronomy is committed to providing support to anyone who has experienced any form of harassment or discrimination that impedes on one's right to a safe work environment. We have compiled a list of department and campus resources that are available to anyone looking for assistance with reporting any form of harassment. 

Proposals for UC Policy Changes 

On Oct 19 2015, members of the Astronomy faculty sent a letter to Vice Provost Broughton and Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost Steele proposing a number of changes as to how the campus can prosecute sexual harassment cases. On Oct 22 2015, this letter was also communicated to Academic Senate Chair Hermalin and Vice Chair Powell. The letter is currently available here.

Department Climate Surveys

Current Survey

In Spring 2016, a survey was circulated specifically to residents of Campbell Hall covering issues of sexual harassment; discrimination along the lines of gender, race, ethnicity, and disability; and supervisor relations. Results of that survey, including the executive summary and follow-up actions, can be downloaded HERE

Past Surveys

The 2015 survey was sent to department members and alumni to inquire about the current department climate.  The survey summary describes response percentages and findings. The survey's response comments on these findings and outlines courses of action.

Responses to the University's Title IX Investigation

The following letters were written in October 2015 by the UC Berkeley Astronomy Department community in response to the University's Title IX investigation of Geoff Marcy.