Initial Steps

Initial Steps

Here are some first steps you can take if you think that an Institute policy may have been violated.

Talk About It

You may want to talk to someone not connected to the situation about the circumstances and your feelings. Within the Institute, you can talk through your concerns with people listed in Resources.

Write About It

Often, writing can be a helpful tool to clarify relevant information and organize your thoughts. Writing your account of the incident, how you feel about it, and what you think should happen next can also help you decide how you want to address the situation.

To begin, just write down whatever comes to mind about what happened and then separate these notes into three sections, covering the facts (the conduct and the context), the impact on you, and the remedy you are seeking:

  • Facts. Write down the facts about the conduct. If you are not sure whether a statement is factual, you can say, "I believe that this happened,” or “I think this was the case." Include dates and times, even if only approximate. Also include a short description of the context, identifying the key people and their positions.
  • Impact. Write how the facts you just outlined affect your work or educational environment. For example: "I am afraid to speak up at meetings" or "I was not able to work effectively for the following two weeks."
  • Remedy: Think this through clearly and write down what you would like to see as a remedy. For example: "I want my relationship with this person to be on a purely professional basis from now on" or "I would like the opportunity to present on my work at the next staff meeting."

After your initial steps, you may wish to review informal options for addressing the problem.