Faculty of Science's Fall Term Update on courses, labs, tutorials, exams, research and fieldwork

Action plan to follow review of Psychology, Neuroscience & Behavior Department

An external review of the Department of Psychology, Neuroscience & Behavior initiated in response to sexual harassment and violence allegations has identified systemic and cultural issues that will be now be addressed to safeguard students, faculty and staff.

The review, initiated by President David Farrar and conducted by the Canadian law firm of Rubin Thomlinson, interviewed and surveyed 149 faculty, staff, postdoctoral fellows, graduate and undergraduate students and alumni. Key recommendations based on the review include:
  • Training for faculty and staff with a trauma-informed approach to be undertaken early in 2021.
  • Training for students on sexual harassment and the resources and supports available.
  • Working with the PNB Chair to identify Department members to work with the Dean’s Office to recommend limits and restrictions on alcohol consumption at Department social events and gatherings. This group will also plan ways to educate stakeholders about existing University policies and codes of conduct.
  • Additional equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI) expertise from outside the Department will be made available to help ensure that any future concerns are dealt with expeditiously and appropriately.
  • Increased Department oversight and accountability, as recommended, particularly with regard to EDI-related issues. This requires immediate and comprehensive discussion between the Department and University leadership and will include shared accountability for addressing the review recommendations.
  • A renewed commitment to transparency with participants of the review, as well as a commitment to helping the Department build on its research and teaching strengths.
While the Department review is now complete, investigations into specific allegations under McMaster’s Sexual Violence and Discrimination and Harassment policies are ongoing.

“I would like to thank everyone who participated in the review and were candid about their experiences both positive and negative," Dean Maureen MacDonald said in the summary report. "This was not an easy process for anyone involved but the review provides a fresh starting point and I hope that everyone embraces that opportunity.”
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