Usage guide and example of a code of conduct for conferences and events

This usage guide and example Code of Conduct were prepared by the Committee for Prevention and Response to Harassment in February 2018.

The aim of a code of conduct for SSA conferences and events is to provide conference and event attendees (be they members of SSA or not) a clear indication that the SSA will not tolerate unacceptable behaviour or harassment of other conference/event attendees, and that action, which may include but not be limited to exclusion from the event or removal of Society membership, may be taken against offenders. The usage guide provides requirements and recommendations for how this Code should be modified for use at particular events and disseminated at those events. This example Code of Conduct below is based on the American Statistical Association’s Conduct Policy (available here), the useR!2018 conference (available here), and ACEMS (available here).

Usage Guide

Populating the Code of Conduct

Event organisers may populate and modify the example Code of Conduct as appropriate for their event. Key requirements of the Code are that it includes the list of unacceptable behaviours (additional behaviours may be added), includes names and contact details for at least two members of a response team from different institutions/employers, that it be clear that social events associated with the conference are covered by the Code, and that the consequences of violating the code be clearly stated.

Displaying and disseminating the Code of Conduct

The Code of Conduct must appear on the conference/meeting/event website, and must be communicated to event attendees via email prior to the commencement of the event. If a conference app is developed, it must also appear within the app; if a program or abstract book is being distributed to attendees, it must appear within the book. If no such book is being distributed, a one-page summary of the Code with contact details of the Response Team should be made available at the registration desk. Conference or event attendees should be reminded to familiarise themselves with the Code of Conduct during the opening remarks.

Example Code of Conduct (details to be completed by each event)

The organisers of [event name] are committed to providing a [conference/meeting/event] that is welcoming and safe for all participants, is free from unlawful discrimination and harassment, and where all participants are treated with dignity and respect. Harassment is unlawful under both federal and all Australian state anti-discrimination laws, and as such, people suspected of such misconduct may be reported to authorities. Adherence to this Code of Conduct is a requirement for all [conference/meeting/event] participants and sponsors, and covers all aspects of this [conference/meeting/event], including [conference sessions and breaks], all social events and all communication, including that via email or social media (including but not limited to Facebook and Twitter) associated with the [conference/meeting/event]. Unacceptable behaviour includes, but is not limited to:

  • Harassment, including verbal comments relating to gender, sexual orientation, disability, race, ethnicity, religion, age, national origin, gender identity or expression, or physical appearance.
  • Inappropriate and/or unwanted physical contact.
  • Unwelcome sexual attention, which can include inappropriate questions of a sexual nature, asking for sexual favours or repeatedly asking for dates or contact information.
  • Stalking or deliberate intimidation.
  • Unwanted photography or recording (if you are asked to stop photographing or recording someone, please do so; if someone indicates that they do not want to be photographed or recorded, do not record or photograph them).
  • Discriminatory or sexual images in public spaces.
  • Sustained or wilful disruption of talks or other events.
  • [Meeting organisers may add to this list as they see fit.].

To report violations of this Code of Conduct, alert a member of the Response Team (names and contact details listed below). Reports may be made by people subject to, or witnesses of, unacceptable behaviour.

Code of Conduct Response Team

[In this section list the names, email addresses, and if appropriate, telephone numbers, of people tasked with responding to reports of violations of the Code. At least two people must be listed, but ideally there will be several listed contacts, from a variety of institutions/workplaces, including both men and women. The list should include, but is not limited to, conference/meeting organisers. Ideally members of this response team will have some training in dealing with reports of harassment.]

For example:

  • Abba B Abbason, Senior Lecturer at Stats University. Email:…, Phone number:….

If an individual participates in unacceptable behaviour, the Response Team may take lawful action that they deem appropriate, including asking the individual to stop or removal of the individual from the [conference/event/meeting] without refund of registration and/or other applicable fees. Reports of unacceptable behaviour may be communicated to the Statistical Society of Australia, and individuals who participate in unacceptable behaviour may face consequences including being disallowed from attending future events. Individuals who are ejected will not be allowed to give any planned oral or poster presentations, and their place may be allocated to another attendee. The reason for the replacement presentation may also be announced (e.g., “Professor X has violated this event’s code of conduct and has been asked to leave and therefore will not be able to present today, in their place we will instead hear from …”). Violations may be reported to the individual’s employer or research funders. Statistical Society of Australia members may have their membership cancelled without refund of membership fees.

All efforts will be made to protect the anonymity of persons reporting violations. Persons reporting violations of the Code may request that their report remain confidential and that no further action be taken. However, if the Code of Conduct Response Team deems it necessary for the safety of event attendees, action will be taken, including referral of the report to the Statistical Society of Australia.

This Code of Conduct is designed to ensure that this event can be enjoyed by all participants. We hope you have an inspiring and enjoyable time.

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