Resources to Prevent and Respond to Discrimination and 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.

For Those in Need of Help:

Some campus resources are non-confidential and are required to report incidents of harassment to the Office of Prevention of Harassment and Discrimination (OPHD). Other resources are confidential and are not required to report.  

All faculty members and graduate students in a supervisory capacity (GSIs; research advisors) are “responsible employees” and therefore have a legal requirement to report violations of Title IX policy to OPHD. 

If you wish confidentiality, please ask before confiding.

  • Sexual Violence and Sexual Harassment Advisor. UC Berkeley is committed to ongoing efforts in prevention, response, and support for survivors and communities. Our approach builds on a foundation laid by student leaders and activists, campus practitioners and administrators, as well as the many caring and committed members of our community.
  • The Confidential Care Advocate [For 24 hour hotline (510) 643-2005; for scheduling appointments (510) 642-1988] is confidential. Confidental Care Advocates are exactly that: they serve as your “right hand” and as an entry point for exploring all your options in a caring, confidential, and non-judgmental manner. They are social workers who serve students, faculty, and staff, helping to implement solutions (a.k.a. “accommodations”) in a discreet way. 
  • The Social Services branch of the Tang Center [(510) 642-6074; (855) 817-5667 after-hours emergency] is confidential. Tang Center therapists provide emotional counseling to survivors of sexual harassment and violence. Note that Tang Center doctors also provide medical help but are required to report violent injuries. 
  • The UC Police Department [911 or (510) 642-3333]. UCPD has extensive training in handling sexual assault cases and will treat survivors with respect and sensitivity. Officers will ensure that survivors receive medical care. Charges can be filed with UCPD, but the decision to file charges does not have to be made immediately; reporting is typically non-confidential.
  • The Office of the Prevention of Harassment and Discrimination (OPHD) [(510) 643-7985] responds to reports of harassment, either through “alternative resolution” involving simple and discreet actions at the Department level (often involving the Department Chair), or through more extensive “formal investigations” that can lead to disciplinary action by the University administration. Although OPHD is a non-confidential “office of record” — meaning they record all information they are provided — that information is shared only on a need-to-know basis.
  • The Gender Equity Resource Center provides resource referrals for sexual violence, harassment, gender transition, hate crimes, and hostile environments. Like all the other non-confidential offices listed here, they hold privacy sacred but are obligated to report incidents of harassment as mandated by law. 
  • Astronomy Climate Advisors: We serve as pointers within the Berkeley Astronomy Department to on-campus resources. We can also help to devise solutions to climate problems within the Department that do not necessarily involve formal investigations. Please note that if you share details of an incident that violates University policy under Title IX, Climate Advisors are subject to “responsible employee” rules and do not have confidential status. That said, like the other non-confidential resources linked here, we are committed to keeping information private to the extent possible.
    Faculty: Eugene Chiang, Chair (T.R.A.I.L. certified), Jessica Lu, Dan Weisz, Gibor Basri
    Staff: Maria Kies (T.R.A.I.L. certified)
    Postdocs: Marta Bryan (T.R.A.I.L. certified), Ben Margalit (T.R.A.I.L. certified)
    Graduate Students: Andy Mayo (T.R.A.I.L. certified), Caleb Harada (T.R.A.I.L. certified)
    Undergraduates: Fira Fatmasiefa (T.R.A.I.L. certified), Christian Ramos
    Click here for the complete description of the roles of Climate Advisors and our protocol for helping people .
  • 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 box can only be opened when both the Postdoc Climate Advisor and the Graduate Student Climate Advisor are simultaneously present with their keys. These two individuals are responsible for checking the box every 2nd and 4th Monday of the month, and exercising their collective good judgment to decide on the necessary next steps (which can mean forwarding the note to relevant parties; e.g., the Head Undergraduate Advisor if the note concerns undergraduate student conflicts). Unless requested otherwise, notes are automatically cc’d to the Department Chair. Notes reporting harassment, discrimination, or assault are by necessity forwarded to OPHD.

For Those Looking to Help a Student:

If You are a Student who has been Charged with Violating the Code of Student Conduct:

  • Respondent Services, a branch of the Student Affairs Case Management team, provides information and referrals to students who have been charged with student conduct violations. Respondent Services does not provide legal counsel.

If You are a Faculty or Staff Member who has been Accused of Harassment:

  • Contact Employee Relations of Central Human Resources at (510) 642-7053, option 3.
  • OPHD [(510) 643-7985] can also be contacted, either by you or by someone of your behalf, for guidance.

If You are in Need of More Generic Conflict Resolution:

  • The Ombuds Offices provide confidential guidance on resolving conflicts. “What is said in the Cottage [of the Ombuds Offices], stays in the Cottage”: communications to the Ombuds offices do not place the University “on notice.” Ombuds officers help people think through their options and help devise strategies to de-escalate and resolve conflict in an impartial manner. 
    • The Student Ombuds Office serves Undergraduates, Graduate students, and Postdocs.
    • The Staff Ombuds Office serves Staff, Non-Senate academics, and Faculty who perform management functions, including Deans, Chairs, and Directors (unfortunately, not all faculty can be directly served; many faculty-faculty conflicts are handled by the Academic Senate).

Acknowledgements: J. Cohn, R. Trainor, M. Graham, M. Veale. See also Ryan Trainor’s notes on Astronomy’s January 22 2016 meeting with Title IX’s Case Management Team for more information on the above offices and how they inter-relate. 

Please  email the Department Chair if you see errors in this webpage.