DNP Allies Program
This is a description of the DNP Allies program valid for its initial three-year period. This document includes the goals of the program, the general operation of the program, and the details of the function, recruitment, and training of Allies. This document was prepared by the DNP ad-hoc Committee on Harassment Prevention: R. Gilman, R. Janssens, F. Nunes (chair), W. Rogers, R. Springer, and S. Yennello.
Goals of the DNP Allies Program
The DNP is committed to providing an inclusive space where physicists can exchange ideas and share their interests in nuclear physics, regardless of the origin, color, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity etc, of the scientist. Unfortunately, an inclusive environment for all is not easy to achieve because we all carry our personal biases and are not always aware of those behaviors that make others feel unwelcome. Contrary to what many prefer to believe, harassment happens regularly1, whether intended or unintended, and can have a strong impact on the careers of the targeted individuals2. By harassment we mean any behavior that negatively targets a person because of their country of origin, color, gender, sexual orientation, religion, etc. The Allies program aims to address this problem by helping reduce harassment incidences at DNP meetings and by providing an avenue for those targeted to address the issues in a timely fashion, reducing the impact harassment may have on the field of nuclear physics.
The concept of Allies is not new and, in physics alone, we already have some Allies programs in place3,4. The DNP Allies program draws together a selected group of DNP members, who are willing to be banners of the DNP’s commitment to inclusiveness. These members are appropriately trained to be effective in helping those who feel harassed. The APS also sends a representative to all its division meetings. That person is not part of the nuclear community, but serves as a point of contact for harassment reporting. The DNP Allies are members of the nuclear physics community and, as such, provide a lower threshold for those who feel harassed.
How Does the Program Work?
The DNP Allies program operates at the DNP fall meeting. The DNP meeting webpage has a link to the DNP Allies website, where a brief description of the program is provided along with a list of the active Allies (the website contains the information in this document, with photos of allies). Immediately before the meeting, these Allies undergo training so they can serve during the meeting. In the opening remarks of the meeting, the chair of the DNP announces the DNP Allies program and the Allies, explaining their function and how they can be identified. These Allies participate in the events of the DNP meeting wearing an orange scarf/armband. They are on alert for anyone who may be feeling uncomfortable, and their physical presence alone signals the desire of the DNP to make our meetings more welcoming and inclusive. Allies are available to talk to participants who believe they have experienced harassment, as well as to provide guidance on multiple options for handling the situation. In particular, Allies can help the targets identify whether their situation requires additional action, such as involving the APS representative who can determine whether further investigation is warranted. Allies are also willing to serve as escorts for participants who feel unsafe. Note that Allies are not intended to be involved in potentially dangerous situations requiring 911 assistance, and are not expected to provide legal advice. Shortly after the DNP meeting, Allies share their experiences during a conference call, maintaining confidentiality of the individuals involved, and report back to the DNP Executive Committee.
Who Manages the Allies Program?
The chair of the DNP appoints a DNP member, willing to serve as an Ally, to manage the Allies program. This appointment should be valid for three years. The DNP Allies Program Manager is responsible for communicating with the Allies, the consultants who provide the training, and the DNP Executive Committee.
Who Becomes an Ally?
For the first Allies program in Fall 2017, Allies were drawn from the DNP ad-hoc Committee on Harassment Prevention. In addition, DNP members who have been identified by the current Allies as showing a strong commitment to promoting an inclusive environment in nuclear physics are asked to respond to a questionnaire prepared by the ad-hoc Committee. After that initial screening, a 30 min Skype interview is conducted. A subset of these DNP members is then selected to participate in training at the next DNP meeting.
An invitation is sent out several months prior to the DNP meeting to those members that were selected, and those who agree to serve as Allies are asked to participate in a preliminary conference call, chaired by the Allies Program Manager, with the aim of explaining the overall context, the DNP Allies program, as well as providing general information about the training session.
There were 5 Allies at the first meeting (Pittsburg 2017), and we expect to grow this number during the 3-year trial period.
How Do We Train our Allies?
In order for the Allies program to be successful, it is critical that Allies be equipped with the right tools. For this reason, the APS has agreed to provide support for training our Allies. Any Ally serving in a given DNP meeting must undergo training at that meeting. Training takes place the morning before the start of the DNP meeting (afternoon preceding the first plenary session if the meeting starts in the morning), and is facilitated by an independent consultant hired by the APS for this specific purpose. The DNP Allies Program Manager communicates with this consultant well in advance in order to provide input about the types of issues one might expect, thus enabling the training session to be tailored to our needs. Allies may be asked to review materials prior to the face-to-face training session.