Institutional Culture and Grievances at IFS
The IFS is committed to maintaining an environment that respects all persons, encourages and fosters appropriate conduct, and provides a clear and transparent complaint process when our policies or norms are violated. In conversation with its graduate students, the IFS has set up a standing Committee on Institutional Culture and Grievances (CICG) that will (a) foster an inclusive, hospitable culture, open to diversity, (b) attempt to resolve some conflicts involving IFS students; and (c) guide students regarding the proper channels of communication for reporting or addressing their concerns within NYU. GSAS encourages academic units within the university to develop such procedures in addition to and in line with GSAS-wide policies.
The CICG includes the following members:
- An M.A. student representative;
- Two representatives of the Ph.D. students from two of our three different doctoral tracks (Anthropology and French Studies, French and French Studies, History and French Studies);
- A faculty member from a department outside the IFS who will provide an external perspective, attend the IFS's annual town hall, and provide advice to students who seek it;
- The IFS program administrator;
- The IFS director of graduate studies;
- The IFS director.
Each September, the IFSSA will hold elections to elect the three student representatives to one-year terms. Student representatives may not be IFSSA co-presidents during their term on the CICG. Should no Ph.D. student in a given track be available, the IFS director will invite previous Ph.D. representatives to serve for a second year, or else include additional M.A. representatives.
The committee’s first responsibility is to foster an inclusive, hospitable culture, open to diversity. It will do so in three ways:
- Organizing an annual town hall, in the early fall, around shared values and intentions for our collective life in the academic year to come. Part of this conversation will be devoted to revisiting procedures in the handbook and presenting them to all M.A. and Ph.D. students. The conversation may end with action points for the CICG. The town hall will be organized by the entire committee, and facilitated by some of its members (students and faculty) and another IFS member if deemed necessary.
- Holding workshops and other events on various aspects of institutional culture during the academic year. The IFS will allocate a $750 budget.
- Creating a framework that will introduce visiting professors to the IFS’s culture.
The committee’s second responsibility is to guide students with complaints toward the best outcomes. Students wishing to share a grievance can go to any committee member, who will guide them toward the best outcome (see the various possibilities below). If a student CICG member is approached, they should direct the student with a complaint toward a faculty CICG member, who will make the final determination in a manner that protects confidentiality. GSAS has determined that it is ultimately the faculty’s responsibility to set policy, manage student concerns that are brought to the committee, show complainants avenues they may not have contemplated, and provide referrals. The IFS program administrator can receive information about grievances because they are typically authorized to access personnel information. The program administrator can also be involved in resolving non-academic cases (such as a conflict between two students, or between a staff member and a student), but not academic ones.
The CICG member will recommend one of the following options:
(A) Students must address complaints alleging discrimination, harassment, retaliation, or sexual assault by a specific individual to Title IX or the Office of Equal Opportunity(OEO), which will maintain the confidentiality of the complainant (212-998-6807 or firstname.lastname@example.org). OEO is responsible for advancing and monitoring the University's equal employment opportunity and affirmative action policies, procedures, and programs. It is also responsible for administering the University's Non-Discrimination and Anti-Harassment Policy and Complaint Procedures for Employees. The allegations above are governed by NYU’s Non-Discrimination and Anti-Harassment Policy and Complaint Procedures for Students. Allegations of discrimination, harassment, retaliation, or sexual assault against NYU employees (including students acting in their capacity as NYU employees) are governed by NYU’s Non-Discrimination and Anti-Harassment Policy and Complaint Procedures for Employees. NYU students and employees are also governed by NYU’s Sexual Misconduct, Relationship Violence, and Stalking Policy. IFS graduate students are encouraged to familiarize themselves with the policies noted above.
Any CICG member (student, staff, faculty) who receives information about an OEO/Title IX offense (discrimination, harassment, retaliation, or sexual assault) has an obligation to report it to OEO, unless the complainant does so themselves. If the complainant does not report it, the recipient of the information is obliged to report it even if that person is a student.
(B) If the complaint does not fall within the domain of OEO, students may discuss it with the IFS Director, or DGS, or external faculty member, or IFS administrator. Alone or in consultation with other non-student members of the committee (provided this does not cause a conflict of interest or breach the student’s wishes for confidentiality), the latter may, in some situations, propose a response to the complaint. In other situations, they will provide guidance on the next step. The CICG will not discuss individual complaints as a group.
(C) If a student feels that their grievance cannot be resolved within the IFS, they may address it to the Assistant Dean for Student Affairs in GSAS.
The CICG cannot adjudicate conflicts, a task that requires external, professional intervention (such as through NYU’s Office of Global Inclusion, Diversity, and Strategic Innovation, which is dedicated to developing and implementing strategies that advance inclusion, diversity, belonging, equity, and innovation across the entire NYU community). The CICG may, however, propose responsive dialogues (such as short conversations) in answer to incidents pertaining to collective, structural issues within the IFS. These dialogues would be co-facilitated by CICG members and an external facilitator from the Office of Global Inclusion.