HarvardWIT+ Community Agreements

These community agreements guide HarvardWIT+ events and discussions, and we ask all participants to keep these agreements in mind when engaging at our events.

Why we use "agreements" vs. "norms": We use the term "agreements" intentionally because “norms” makes assumptions about what we consider to be appropriate and not appropriate, and then also leads one to think about, who’s normal are you using? At HarvardWIT+, we want to be intentional about making these decisions as a community and to ensure that this is a living document that will actively incorporate feedback from all of you.  

If you have any other suggestions to be added to our community agreements, please email us at harvardwit@abcd.harvard.edu. Please feel free to use and/or share, we just ask that you credit WIT+ and link back to this webpage. 

Icon of a speech bubble with the word "oops!" in itUse the oops/ouch method to address and acknowledge offensive language and discomfort if/when it comes up

The oops/ouch method is a practice used to address unintentionally harmful, offensive, or derogatory comments during difficult conversations. We ask participants in our events to actively make a choice to address these mistakes when they come up.  

  • Ouch: when you hear someone say something that could be perceived as hurtful, say ouch!  
  • Oops: when someone tells you that you may have said something hurtful or demeaning, say oops!

We encourage participants to acknowledge what happened, apologize, and then adjust your future actions so it does not occur again. If you aren't sure why something you said may have been hurtful, you can also ask the person giving you this feedback for further education and resources.


Icon of a person's head with several connections into it and a gearBe open to learning and engage with new ideas

This agreement is inspired by Harvard’s DIB Call to Action #5: to cultivate bonds and bridges that enable all to grow with and learn from one another. We can build a stronger community when we approach the issues of DIB with curiosity and creativity, especially when we have conversations that may make us uncomfortable


Icon of a lockConfidentiality - take the lessons, leave the details

During our meetings, if someone shares information that makes them, others, a department, center or team personally identifiable, you are welcome to share the lessons learned, but we ask you to leave out any information that might identify a person or department. We typically do not record our events and strive to keep any comments or feedback as anonymized as possible. 


Image of a stopwatchW.A.I.T.—Why Am I Talking?

We want everyone to feel comfortable contributing and sharing ideas. If you notice you have commented several times while others haven’t, maybe pause a bit longer to give others a chance to respond. We also ask for all your comments to be on topic and relevant to our presenter’s discussion.  


Icon of a space astronautMake Space, Take Space to help balance the perspectives in the room

Consider the diversity of perspectives shared within the room and ensure there’s an equal balance of allies and marginalized genders sharing their thoughts and experiences. WIT+ is a space created originally for marginalized genders, and though we invite people of all genders to take part in our programming, we aim to amplify the stories and experiences of those who are typically not heard from in the IT community.  


Icon of a person with a blackboard conducting a presentation Understand and attend to impact

“Assume best intent” is a concept that gets referenced a lot when working to maintain healthy workplace relationships. While it’s generally true that everyone is doing their best given the circumstances and constraints they are operating under, good intentions are not enough to prevent harmful behaviors that are rooted in systemic discrimination and unconscious bias. We want to create a space where we are addressing impact and power imbalances that may exist, and where we are also prioritizing the experiences of marginalized people in our community.  


Icon of woman with glasses and suitWe are NOT all experts – we are all learning together

HarvardWIT+ is an all volunteer, staff-led employee resource group. While some of us have some knowledge and expertise in various fields, we are on a learning journey with all of you to create a more inclusive culture at Harvard.