Collective Standards of Conduct and Values

The Duke University English Department is committed to open expression in both its teaching and research missions. An exchange of ideas can be open only within a climate of respect. This means, in part, an environment respectful of all, irrespective of race, gender, sexual orientation, religious affiliation, or other points of difference. Cultivating such respect requires confronting the legacies of racism, misogyny, homophobia, antisemitism, and other forms of bias. We are committed to countering bias and fostering diversity in our department, because we understand how much we gain from collective work, particularly when we differ in opinion or position. We recognize that assumptions and long-cherished beliefs can and should be challenged, and we pledge ourselves to considering controversial topics from multiple points of view. We value free, open, and respectful discussion.

Some behaviors that threaten free, open, and respectful discussions fall under the category of discriminatory behaviors that violate federal law, including assault, sexual harassment, research misconduct, and asset misappropriation. In these cases, any faculty member, staff member, or graduate student who becomes aware of such a complaint is legally required to notify University administrators. Departmental officers can help faculty, staff, and graduate students to locate the proper administrator; please see as well the resources linked below.

Other behaviors that threaten free, open, and respectful discussions do not fall under the category of federally-specified discriminatory behaviors. In these cases, faculty members are encouraged to contact the chair, who will work with faculty on possible solutions. Faculty should also feel free to contact the following offices directly: the university’s Office for Institutional Equity, the Ombudsperson unit, and the dean of humanities. Staff are encouraged to contact the business manager and/or chair. Graduate students are encouraged to contact the Director of Graduate Studies (DGS), who will work with the graduate student on possible solutions. In the case of graduate students, should a departmental solution not be possible or effective, the issue will be referred to the Trinity Dean of Graduate Studies. Graduate students are also encouraged to consult the “Grievances” section in the graduate program expectations document and the Graduate School’s website on reporting.

We encourage all departmental faculty, staff, and graduate students to consult the following documents, which outline Duke University’s values and legal obligations, and detail mechanisms for discussing grievances: