To provide graduate students, postdoctorals, and staff with a well-defined mechanism for conflict mediation, the Department of Chemistry has appointed two members of the faculty—Professors Tim Swager, and Mei Hong —as Department Mediators. The Department Mediators act as a resource for the chemistry community to assist with a wide range of problems that may arise in the course of their appointment to the department. One key role of the mediators is to offer advice to students, postdoctoral personnel, and staff who find themselves in conflict with other members of the department, including their faculty supervisors. Such conflicts with co-workers could include harassment, concerns over safety, and disagreements over authorship and over what constitutes an acceptable unit of work for publication or for the award of a degree. Although the mediators will help individuals deal with most problems locally, they are also well informed on the many services that MIT offers to members of the community who find themselves in distress. The mediators can maintain confidentiality in most matters, but in cases where they cannot, they can refer individuals to resources where confidentiality can be guaranteed.
Also available for conflict mediation are the Chemistry REFS (Resources for Easing Friction and Stress)—a group of chemistry graduate students trained and certified by MIT as mediators who specialize in conflict resolution. All REFS were trained through Conflict Resolution@MIT in accordance with Massachusetts General Laws, c. 233, sec. 23C. All interaction with the Department Mediators and REFS program is confidential and voluntary. Please visit the REFS website for a comprehensive description of the program and REFS contact information.