Developing A Sacred, Respectful Community At HUC-JIR

HUC-JIR is in the process of implementing a holistic plan of strategic and operational change to strengthen and support a sacred, respectful community of academic inquiry and spiritual exploration. Our goal is to create a stronger, more equitable future with a commitment to ensure HUC-JIR is a place of which we can all be proud.

Overview

This important work to strengthen our scared and respectful community follows an independent investigation commissioned by HUC-JIR that found credible allegations of discrimination, harassment, and other forms of misconduct that had occurred over decades within our institution.

Our work to shape a culture that is consistent with our highest Jewish values and educational mission is closely connected to our ongoing strategic planning and the report completed by the Presidential Task Force of Safe and Respectful Environments. Please read this progress report for an overview of our efforts.


Our Expectations & Policies

A foundational component of creating the kind of culture to which we aspire is making clear to our community the expectations we have for everyone and the policies and practices that guide our related behaviors. Through the ongoing action plan, we will create britot which will communicate in detail our collective expectations.

Our current policies can be found on the policies webpage.

Please note specifically our Code of Ethics, information about Title IX (regarding sexual misconduct), and our non-discrimination policy.

These policies are located in the National Student Academic, Employee, and Faculty Handbooks, in addition to our website.


Accountability

To ensure a sacred and respectful environment we must do more than simply set expectations. We also need to establish a process of accountability to one another. We recognize that too often in the past unacceptable behaviors were allowed to continue due to fear of retaliation, explicit or implicit.  Therefore, our behaviors and commitments to each other must be backed up by accountability, which requires that all feel free to report any instance of behavior that violates our community standards of practice.

Within each policy, we list the clear steps an individual can take to file a formal complaint of a violation of one of these policies and the process through which HUC-JIR will investigate and adjudicate reports brought forward.

Beyond these general guidelines, it is important that every individual in our community knows there are multiple pathways to report specific forms of misconduct – which can be done confidentially and anonymously, if one chooses.

Students:

You may contact the Student Support Help Desk to make a report or formal complaint.  If you would like to make an anonymous report, you may use the External i-Sight system. Additionally, you can direct any questions to Rabbi Andrew Goodman, Director of Student Support, at agoodman@huc.edu.

Employees:

To make a report or complaint, please contact Nicole Jones, Global Director of Human Resources, at njones@huc.edu. If you would like to make an anonymous report, you may use the External i-Sight system.

Title IX:

Title IX prohibits discrimination based on sex and gender in educational institutions, programs, and activities. To report violations of Title IX, contact us by email at titleix@huc.edu or by phone at 844-317-HELP (4357). Callers may choose to remain anonymous.

With Title IX reports, we will maintain privacy to the greatest extent possible, and information disclosed will be relayed only as necessary to investigate and/or seek a resolution and to notify the Title IX Coordinator, who is responsible for tracking patterns and spotting systemic issues.


Presidential Task Force on Safe and Respectful Environments

Convened in January 2020, the Presidential Task Force on Safe and Respectful Environments was charged with ensuring that HUC maintains and strengthens safe and respectful environments for all who work, study, and connect with our institution, both on our campuses and in the field.

Composed of faculty, students, and alumni representing the full diversity of our community, the Task Force issued a report in February 2021 outlining key recommendations to make HUC a more respectful, inclusive, and responsive institution.

The Task Force was the first step in HUC-JIR’s ongoing efforts to ensure a sacred, respectful environment for our entire community. Key deliverables that came out of the task force include: appointing a Director of Student Support, creating online learning programs to deepen our community’s understanding of race, identity, and our roles in civil society, and renaming the Board of Overseers as the Board of Advisors to eliminate the use of a term with racist associations.

Task Force Members

HUC’s Presidential Taskforce on Safe and Respectful Environments has concluded its work.

Task Force Members
Rabbi Rachel R. Adler, Ph.D.
Faculty
Max Antman
Student
Rabbi Talia Avnon-Beveniste
Faculty
Ze’evi Berman
Student
Gordon Dale, Ph.D.
Faculty
Rabbi Stanley Davids, D.D.
Alum
Hannah Elkin, MAJE
Student
Richard Feldman, Ph.D
Co-Chair
Libby Fisher
Student
Lisa B. Frankel, RJE, MARE
Staff
Rabbi Andrew Goodman
Staff
Spencer Hirsch, MSOL
Alum
Becky Jaye
Student
Angele Osborne
Staff
Rabbi Haim O. Rechnitzer, Ph.D.
Faculty
Hattie Richardson-Pearson (z"l)
Staff
Rabbi Dvora E. Weisberg, Ph.D.
Co-Chair; Faculty
Rabbi Cantor Alison Wissot
Alum

Morgan Lewis Investigation

Our HUC community is inspired and driven forward by our shared values of inclusion, respect, pluralism, diversity, equality, and academic excellence. Together, we strive to foster, maintain and continually strengthen a culture of safety and respect in our workplace by promoting professionalism and an environment that stands for integrity, kindness, transparency, empowerment, trust, and appreciation.

In April 2021, after allegations about past sexual harassment, gender bias, and mistreatment in the HUC-JIR community surfaced, the Board of Governors retained the law firm Morgan Lewis to investigate the allegations and assist the College-Institute in determining a way forward. After a multi-month investigation that included interviews with 170 courageous members of our community who came forward to share their stories, Morgan Lewis issued a report of their findings and recommendations in November 2021.

The HUC-JIR Administration presented the Board with an action plan to address the report’s recommendations in December 2021, and have been working to strengthen the College-Institution’s culture of safety, accountability, and respect in the months since.

Read our progress to date here. (As of December 31, 2022)

Read the Morgan Lewis report: View Here


Updates

Click here to view more updates and announcements.