Maintaining an Environment of Respect Aboard Ships (MERAS)

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Maintaining an Environment of Respect Aboard Ships (MERAS) Committee 

The Maintaining an Environment of Respect Aboard Ships Committee (MERAS) works to facilitate an environment of respect onboard vessels of the U.S. Academic Research Fleet (ARF) and to cultivate and preserve a culture of inclusion, regardless of age, gender identity, sexual orientation, disability, race, religion, nationality, or socio-economic background. The committee provides recommendations to the UNOLS community regarding resources and practices to identify and overcome related workplace barriers in the ARF and assists the UNOLS Council, funding agencies, and the ARF operators in formulation of new policies as needed. Examples of scope, drawn from prior activities, include, but are not limited to making pregnancy and nursing policies of ship operating institutions readily available to users of the ARF, assisting in development of a video to improve civility and eliminate bullying and harassment associated with shipboard research at sea and ashore, and recommending new cruise planning document policies concerning gender expression, support, and safety.

The Pregnancy, Privacy, and Harassment Committee started in 2015 as an ad-hoc Council subcommittee charged with researching existing policies and practices aboard the vessels of the US Academic Research Fleet (ARF) regarding protected personal information, medical history forms, participation at sea for pregnant and provisions for nursing women, and other issues as identified. The committee remained busy and transitioned to a special committee (MERAS) in 2017 as the members worked with the funding agencies to create the Shipboard Civility Module II Video. Due to the continuing importance of the committee's charge, it was converted to a UNOLS standing committee after the 2019 UNOLS election.

The UNOLS office contacts for MERAS:  Alice Doyle.

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