Diversity directives at NotA

NotA is a platform for a diverse set of people to voice their opinion about systemic issues surrounding academia. An academic society constitutes people from various sections of society, and we shall constantly strive to provide an environment where everyone is welcome to participate and contribute to our efforts, with the collective aim of making NotA an open and inclusive community. 

In our attempt to form an open, diverse and inclusive environment, we have laid down some preliminary measures that will help us build a community that is supportive of everyone and strives to grow together. Moreover, to incorporate diverse opinions, we have made this a living document that will be regularly updated. Your feedback on this is constantly encouraged. Drop us an email if you have any queries, suggestions, contradictory opinions or you think what we have mentioned below is hurtful to you in any manner; we look forward to addressing these concerns and issues.

Diversity Directives at NotA

Following are some of the directives we have formed for this collective to build an open, diverse and an inclusive NotA community,

  1.  Measures to seek out participants and contributors:
    The Collective will take proactive measures to invite and retain participants, contributors and editors from diverse backgrounds regardless of their age, experience, gender, caste, language, sexual orientation, culture, ethnicity, religion, health or disability, neurodivergence, geographical location and socioeconomic status. In this regard, we would like to take the following concrete steps:
    1. Positive Discrimination: 
      While we will proactively reach out to, for contributions to the magazine, and seek people from various backgrounds, we will positively discriminate towards members that belong to underrepresented communities, in an effort to platform their voices on issues in academia. We understand and acknowledge that as an editorial team, we may collectively share certain privileges and overlook the various internal biases we may hold. While correcting for biases that may exist in The Collective is one reason why contributions and the participation of diverse communities is important to us, the foremost objective is to continuously move towards making an inclusive work atmosphere at NotA in the spirit of equality and justice – be it in soliciting articles and testimonials or adding new members to our collective.
    2. No tokenism:
      Members are invited to write or become an editorial member primarily based based on their opinions and experiences. We recognize that there are a multitude of experiences within any community, and so the people we invite will not be treated as tokenistic representatives of their communities. Every member at NotA will be a part of this venture equally.
    3. No pigeonholing:
      We recognise that one danger of positive discrimination lies in categorizing people to contribute only based on their identities, after they have joined the collective. However, we ensure that we shall take steps such that no member at NotA shall face this sort of discrimination.
  2. Measures for community building
    1. Openness and Criticism:
      We encourage members of various communities or disciplines as well as people with opinions different than ours to participate and contribute. We can assure you that we are open to criticism and change and have a willingness to accept our blind-spots. It is equally important for contributors to feel a sense of belonging and not feel alienated or excluded in any manner. 
      To encourage debate, we are resolved to consider any criticism of the articles that we publish. We will value your criticism as any other article and would be happy to host it on our platform. While sending the criticism, please note that we as editors take sole responsibility for publishing the article.
    2. Sensitivity and Tolerance:
      Our intention through our work is not to cause harm verbally or otherwise in any manner. However, if you feel that our work has the potential to cause harm in any manner, please get back to us. We understand certain issues can be sensitive and it is our intention to bring them to notice without causing harm. At any point, either during the editorial process or the joining process, the editorial team shall consider that not everyone will have the same level of expertise and people may need more time to assimilate/learn/get comfortable etc. The editorial team shall recognize that there is a diversity of learning mechanisms and as a community we shall be sensitive to this.
  3. Monthly audits and improvements
    While we have a detailed policy for expansion; after a new member of the editorial team completes a month, we will take their feedback on our structure, work environment and content; regardless of whether they stay or leave. Additionally, an audit including the contributions of all the editors will also occur every 3 months. Based on their contributions, the stay of all members is extended or ended. 
    The purpose of the audit shall be to (i) engage with criticism of the Collective’s activities (articles, the editorial process, attitudes and opinions expressed during meetings, etc.) from within and without, and (ii) to engage in self-criticism. The audit itself will consist of three parts:
    1. The Coordinating Editor will present an overview of the activities engaged in by the Collective (articles published, testimonials solicited and carried, etc.) along with a discussion of the timelines for each piece. The goal of this presentation and subsequent discussion will be to determine if the day-to-day activities of the Collective can be made more efficient, whether the processes in place require modification, and so on. This part of the audit will also collate data on how many articles/testimonials have been solicited and edited by each member of the Editorial Team.
    2. The Editorial Team will meet to discuss the activities engaged in by the Collective, and evaluate the Collective’s performance, identify areas where more work is required, and so on.
    3. An airing of grievances is the final part of the audit. Here, members of the Collective are encouraged to share their annoyances, both minor and major, with the intention of resolving any differences between members of the Collective, so as to ensure that no conflicts are carried over and that they are resolved as soon as possible.
    4. All feedback we receive via the website will be reviewed in our internal audits, and we will review our response to your feedback.