Next Steps: Follow-up to the All MCB Town Hall Meeting

18 June 2020

Dear Faculty, Staff, Students, and Postdocs in the MCB Department,

In response to concerns that we heard from you at the Departmental Town Hall Meeting, we are taking the following short-term steps with ongoing planning for additional steps.

1.  MCB is developing a system for anonymous reporting of incidents of racial or other discrimination, and to handle issues of sexual violence, sexual or other forms of harassment, intimidation, or abuses of power.  A working group will identify a trusted, neutral person (or group of people) to bring these issues to the attention of the appropriate individuals, either within or beyond the department in accordance with any directives of the reporting individual.

2. The MCB co-chairs sent a letter to the Chancellor yesterday condemning acts of police violence and racially biased policing, requesting changes to the public safety practices, such as additional police training in de-escalation, and increases in accountability and funding reallocations to promote alternative means to protect the campus occupants.  It is important going forward that all the campus community members have confidence that the UCPD is here to protect and serve all members of the campus as guardians of our community without prejudice. You will no doubt have seen the email sent this morning by Chancellor Christ announcing a process of reimagining UCPD.

3. In conjunction with faculty in the IB and PMB departments, MCB will participate in an open forum, most likely a panel discussion with previously submitted questions with faculty, the UCPD police chief, and Vice Chancellor for Administration, Marc Fisher.

4. The Department is working with the campus and the Dean of Biological Sciences to reactivate and improve systems for the safety of individuals working in labs at night or early mornings, and transportation to and from campus.  Furthermore, each building/floor is encouraged to set up a means of communication (e.g., a Slack channel) to allow people to coordinate arrivals and departures for safe commuting to and from campus.  Additionally, we have been told that something akin to BearWalks is in the works to escort people from the buildings at night, but the details have not been finalized.

We ask everyone to please follow the guidelines for the reopening of the lab buildings. Most importantly, only people that feel comfortable coming back to campus should.  There is to be no coercion under any circumstances for anyone to return.  If someone experiences or witnesses violations of the return to campus policies, the anonymous reporting system described under item #1, above will be available soon. Beyond that, additional reporting channels for incidents can be reported to either your building research restart committee, the Department Chairs, or the Vice Chancellor for Research.

MCB Co-Chairs,
David Drubin & Donald Rio