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Human Resources

Vassar College

The following guidelines establish standards for employees participating in Vassar Employee Resource Groups. This policy also specifies the requirements for creating a recognized ERG. 

ERG Charter. Employees seeking to form an ERG must submit an application (go.vassar.edu/ERG/apply) for review by HR. The group must have a minimum of one facilitator and two members, and work together to develop a group charter that outlines how the group will foster a community of support, encourage respect, and broaden cultural awareness on campus.

  • Name and Focus. The name of an ERG should reflect its mission or characteristics of the membership but also reflect inclusivity so that it is clear that fellow employees who are allies are welcome to join. 
  • Mission Statement. The Mission Statement must be consistent with the College’s core values. It should also articulate the focus and values of the group, why the group is necessary, and how the group’s activities are intended to help build fellowship and community among its members and other employees.
  • Goals. Specific and concrete goals should be formulated that address the following questions: (1) What will the ERG do? (2) How does the ERG hope to accomplish these goals? 
  • List of members. The charter will identify leaders and maintain a current list of members and any office they hold in the group.

Membership. Membership and participation in all ERGs are open to all staff, faculty, and administrators, whether or not they share the characteristics in the ERG. Members who are allies should, however, be willing to center the voices and needs of the ERG members who do share the characteristics of the focus of the group.

Responsibilities. Once an ERG is established, the ERG is responsible for creating a charter that outlines the purpose of the ERG and the leadership structure. The charter will be shared with HR and can be regularly updated as members join the group. ERGs are responsible for working closely with HR for ongoing guidance and support. ERG leadership is responsible for (a) setting meetings and activities including frequency, location, purpose, and content; (b) developing and maintaining a contact list for members; and (c) facilitating communication among members via the established email list (all ERGs should request a Google Group to streamline communications). All Google Groups will be equipped with a message board that is visible to group members and the ability for interested parties to request to join. Vassar cannot provide lists of names or contact information based on identity groups.

Regular Meetings. In addition to scheduling events or activities, ERGs should meet regularly to support members, manage ERG business, and plan for the year, etc. Members are expected to attend as their professional and personal schedules allow, but regular attendance is highly encouraged. ERG members are required to secure their supervisor’s or manager’s approval before attending ERG meetings during their scheduled work hours. Supervisors shall approve the employee’s requested time for ERG participation unless the department's operational needs cannot be readily met without the employee’s attendance during the requested time. Supervisors will not unreasonably withhold permission to attend ERG meetings. The college will not pay overtime for participation in activities outside of work hours. Supervisors should balance the ERG member’s work schedule with participating in ERG meetings and activities to avoid overtime. Supervisors retain the right to deny an ERG member’s request to participate in a meeting or activity that will result in overtime. 

College Resources. ERGs approved by HR will be eligible to access specific college resources, such as financial support based upon number of members, meeting space, and training. ERG leadership is allowed expenditures up to $30 per member, per semester, to defray costs associated with meetings and events. The ERG leader or a treasure must have a P-Card and is responsible for receiving expenditures and charging them to the ERG program in  Workday for no more than the budgeted amount, which will be routed to HR for approval. The group must not exceed the budget amount of $30 per member, per semester. Minor overages must be adjusted by the group in the next semesters expenditures. Repeated overages may result in dissolution of the group or, in cases of gross misuse, disciplinary action.

Adherence to College Policy. ERGs, as do employees, are expected to comply with state and federal law and college policies, including policies prohibiting discrimination based on an individual’s actual or perceived race, color, religion or religious belief, citizenship status, sex, marital status, disability, pregnancy, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, national origin, military status or affiliation, predisposing genetic information/characteristics, familial status, domestic violence victim status, age, other characteristic protected by law, or participation in activities protected by law. Additionally, the college is not able to provide ERG leadership with names or contact information for employees based on any demographic or identifying data the college has recorded.

Addressing Individual Member Concerns. ERGs are not intended to replace college governance committees, and/or labor/management structures and systems. ERGs may not encourage or allow group members to speak on behalf of, advocate for, or otherwise represent other employees in any matters related to the terms and conditions of employment for the members of the ERG. If an individual ERG member would like to raise a concern about the terms or conditions of employment, the member should contact their supervisor, Human Resources, Dean of the Faculty Office, or other appropriate office or officer.

Prohibited Activities. ERGs shall not engage in the following activities:

  • Engage in any activity inconsistent with Vassar College’s mission;
  • Attempt to engage the college in negotiations between the ERG and the college related to the terms and conditions of employment for the members of the ERG;
  • Exclude employees from participating in meetings or activities based on the employee’s membership in a protected class or based on not sharing the characteristics of the focus of the ERG;
  • Engage in political activities, make political or legislative endorsements, or promote candidates for public office;
  • Engage in fundraising activities, either internally or externally, without advanced approval; and
  • Make direct charitable contributions.
  • Misuse or overspend allocated funds.

Engaging in any of the above activities may result in immediate dissolution of the group.

Dissolving an ERG. The college reserves the right to dissolve an ERG if the group's leadership requests that the group be dissolved; if the group is found to be out of compliance with the college’s guidelines, policies, or rules; or if there is insufficient interest. Dissolution of the group will be documented in writing by HR and communicated to the group’s leadership.