A Civil Environment

At the Dean’s Council meeting last week, it was announced that there has been a significant increase lately in uncivil behavior.  Rude exchanges, insults, even threats, seem to be on the rise at all levels in the School, and in all Departments, among both faculty and staff.  I’m sure that you’ll all agree that this kind of behavior is inappropriate, and  cannot be tolerated.

But I hope you’ll join me in trying to go a step further.  Let’s recognize that people make mistakes.  Constantly.  At some point, a colleague is going to say something intemperate to you.  Or a staff person will screw up your budget.  Or someone will yell at you for no reason. In each of these situations, assume that the person is facing some severe constraints of their own on their performance, and that while some constraints are known, some are also unknown.  Assume that the person does not make mistakes out of spite or incompetence.

My sense is that while there have been problems in the past, Health Services has been able to maintain a very cohesive and cooperative environment, with far fewer problems than many departments.  However, let’s try to do even better.

If a mistake happens, please turn the other cheek, and do not escalate the problem.  If the problem upsets you, please bring the matter to the attention of the Chair, the Dean, a Center Director, the MSO, or whomever else is appropriate.  Systematic mistakes can be corrected: escalating conflicts cannot.

Thanks for your help in keeping Health Services a caring, respectful environment.


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