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Resources for navigating difficult situations at MIT

Is a person or situation disrupting your work environment? There are many options for addressing such situations at MIT, both within the Biology Department and elsewhere on campus.


In any emergency, if you feel unsafe, or if you are concerned for someone else’s safety, call the MIT POLICE (617-253-1212 or x100 from a campus phone) and speak to them directly or ask to speak to the MIT Dean on Call.


If it is not an emergency, consider whom you will be comfortable talking with. There are many options, and finding someone with whom you are comfortable is important. If the person you contact first does not have the appropriate expertise, s/he can help direct you to other individuals or offices.

In all cases, think about what information you are willing to share and with whom. In general, concrete information is needed to drive action. The more information you are able to share, the more you can be informed about outcomes and be involved in problem resolution. As you explain your situation, be clear about what degree of confidentiality you would like to maintain.

Allegations of sexual misconduct carry mandatory reporting obligations, and the extent to which names are shared depends on the specific case and the wishes of the complainant. Concerns about the safety of an individual may compel action, even if the information that raised concerns was provided anonymously or in confidence.

A good strategy is to first consider the most local, immediate people, e.g., your advisor or supervisor, and then others in the department, members of the department leadership team (listed below), and others in support positions outside of the department. Keep talking to people until you find the right source of advice and support, as needed.

Considerations for choosing one person or office over another:

If you want to discuss your concerns and brainstorm about how to handle the situation, then a meeting with a faculty member might be most appropriate. Also, meeting with someone in your building-specific Human Resources office can be helpful. If you want MIT to take action, then a visit to the Title IX office or the Office of Student Conduct is likely more appropriate. If you are not sure, then it is usually best to start locally. The Student Resources website contains a list of campus resources (wellness and others).

Departmental options

Options outside the Department

There are many support services and offices at MIT. Note that some offices serve specific MIT populations.

Information about legal obligations

MIT employees (including faculty and staff) have an obligation to share information about possible Title IX incidents (e.g. gender discrimination including sexual assault/harassment, relationship violence, or stalking) with the Title IX Office. If a student discloses experiencing any of these issues to an MIT employee, that employee will need to notify the Title IX Coordinator. The Title IX office will follow-up with the student to offer reporting options, resources, and will use the information to track broader trends across the Institute. (bioREFS and iREFS do not have this obligation.)

Additional Resources

  • MIT Guidelines for raising complaints about harassment
  • MIT Police Form – Report sexual assault with no names attached
  • EthicsPoint – Make a fully anonymous report of a problematic situation at MIT; all reports handled by an outside contractor*

*All reports will be investigated, but because your report will be anonymous, you will not be told anything about the follow up and no one will be able to contact you to get additional information.