Reporting & Safety

The Nicholas School is committed to providing our community members with a variety of ways to express concerns about diversity, equity, and inclusion in the School and report unprofessional behaviors among community members.

Reporting Unprofessional Behaviors: The Coffee Conversation Corps

If any member of the Nicholas School community has experienced unprofessional behavior by another Nicholas School community member, including faculty, staff, or students, please use this form to submit a report. If the behavior you would like to report falls under University definitions of harrassment or discrimination, please refer to University-level reporting resources below.

Overview. The NSOE Coffee Conversation Corps aims to improve inclusivity and workplace quality by promoting a positive and safe work culture among faculty, staff, and students. Specifically, the Coffee Conversation Corps trains Duke faculty and staff to become Peer Messengers to help their colleagues uphold Duke’s core values (Excellence, Safety, Integrity, Diversity and Teamwork) in their day-to-day behaviors. When unprofessional behavior is reported, instead of seeking immediate punitive actions, Peer Messengers foster improved professionalism through awareness, understanding and support. Programs like the NSOE Coffee Conversation Corps report enormous success!

Incidents that constitute a violation of Duke Policy must be reported to the appropriate offices, such as Human Resources the Office of Institutional Equity (see below for more information). Thus, the Coffee Conversation Corps cannot be considered a completely confidential resource for resolving unprofessional behavior. If you have questions about whether a situation can be kept confidential we invite you to reach out to the AD of DEI to learn more about the process.

How do we define unprofessional behavior? Unprofessional behavior is any behavior counter to Duke University or Nicholas School of the Environment policies, standards of conduct, or values, including behavior that is disruptive, intimidating, inappropriate, illegal, or creates a decreased sense of inclusivity and belonging in the school. 

How are incidents reported and tracked? Incidents of unprofessional behavior can be reported on this form or by contacting Dr. Nicki Cagle directly (nicolette.cagle@duke.edu). A record of reported incidents is kept by the Associate Dean of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. 

For what kinds of incidents will a Peer Messenger be utilized? Peer Messengers provide support and guidance around behavior that is reported to be disruptive to colleagues or learners. More serious behaviors are referred to NSOE leadership or the Duke University Office of Institutional Equity – serious behaviors include harrassment and discrimination, which are defined below. 

Reporting Harassment & Discrimination

According to Duke University’s resources, “Duke’s Policy on Prohibited Discrimination, Harassment, and Related Misconduct applies to all operations of the university and protects all members of the Duke community. This policy prohibits discrimination and harassment based on any of these protected characteristics (also known as protected status): age, color, disability, gender, gender expression, gender identity, genetic information, national origin, race, religion, sex (including pregnancy), sexual orientation, and veteran status.”

What is harassment? “A type of discrimination that occurs when unwelcome verbal, visual, physical, electronic, or other conduct, based on an individual’s or group’s protected status or characteristic, is sufficiently serious to significantly interfere with that individual’s or group’s ability to participate in or benefit from Duke programs or activities or their terms and conditions of employment.”

What is discrimination? “When an individual or group is subjected to an adverse action based upon a protected status or characteristic. Discrimination can occur in either an employment or an educational context. Discrimination also includes failing to provide reasonable accommodations to a qualified person with a disability or failing to reasonably accommodate an employee’s religious beliefs or practices, as required by state and federal law.”

What reporting resources are available to students? If you experience unprofessional behavior, please read about the Reporting Unprofessional Behavior resources above. If your experience falls into the category of harassment that interferes with your ability to participate in Duke activities or discrimination, please use the resources below.

Please note that if you report incidents of sexual misconduct, even anonymously, faculty and staff are obligated to make a report to either the Office of Student Conduct or the Office of Institutional Equity, depending on the case. The only exception to this policy is for when you have used the “confidential” resources listed above.

What reporting resources are available to staff and postdoctoral appointees? If you experience unprofessional behavior, please read about the Reporting Unprofessional Behavior resources above. If your experience falls into the category of harassment that interferes with your ability to participate in Duke activities or discrimination, please use the resources below.

What reporting resources are available to faculty? If you experience unprofessional behavior, please read about the Reporting Unprofessional Behavior resources above. If your experience falls into the category of harassment that interferes with your ability to participate in Duke activities or discrimination, please use the resources below.

Please note that in June 2022, the Duke University Office of the President released the following announcement about the Faculty Ombudsperson role:

“Last month, we announced the creation of a new Office of the Ombuds, to be led by a university-wide ombudsperson. While the search for that position continues, we are pleased that Ada Gregory, Associate Director at the Kenan Institute for Ethics and former university ombudsperson for students, will serve as the interim ombudsperson for Duke faculty beginning July 1, 2022. For Ada’s contact information and to learn more about the university ombuds office, please visit the Duke Ombuds Office website.

Paul Manos, current university faculty ombudsperson, and Laura Svetkey, current School of Medicine faculty ombudsperson, will conclude their service on June 30, 2022. We are thankful to both Paul and Laura for providing invaluable guidance to Duke faculty.

The search for the university-wide ombudsperson is expected to conclude in the fall. The search committee is accepting nominations for the position. Nominations and comments about the position can be submitted via email at DukeOmbuds@SpencerStuart.com.”

Additional Resources for Faculty

Looking for resources to report sexual harassment or misconduct? Please visit this page.