SMBE Values Statement and Code of Conduct
I. Values Statement:
Our goal as a society is to foster a rich, interactive climate for sharing, discussing, and furthering scientific knowledge. In doing so, we welcome individuals with diverse perspectives and cultural backgrounds. We believe that, as a scientific society, we benefit from a strong commitment to community-building. Membership in a society inherently evokes the notion of belonging or inclusion, and we strive to make this society one where members are encouraged and able to participate, regardless of stage or background. Furthermore, these values are not limited to our membership but form the basis of our goals for outreach to members of the scientific community and society at large.
How do we implement these values at SMBE?
● Be mindful of how what one says may be perceived by others and accepting of the divergence between intent and impact.
● Welcome and value the diverse backgrounds, identities, expectations, experiences, and perspectives of our community, including ones that may depart from the “traditions” or “norms” of those historically holding powerful positions in a given field.
● Recognize that a diverse community, including the intersection of identities, strengthens and improves our research by broadening our perspectives and approaches.
● Work to identify and correct biases in all of our Society's activities through acknowledgment, action, and transparency.
● Acknowledge and address the ways in which biology, and evolutionary biology in particular, has historically been used to justify and promote discriminatory practices.
● Break down the barriers between experts and non-experts, among scientists at different stages, and promote inclusion across subdisciplines.
II. Application of the Code:
SMBE is dedicated to providing a safe, hospitable, and productive environment for all members. Accordingly, SMBE prohibits all forms of discrimination and harassment (including among members, volunteers, and staff) in all Society activities, including events (online or in person), journal correspondence, social media, etc). Behaviour that undermines the integrity of intellectual discourse is an impediment to scientific progress and will not be tolerated.
Accordingly, the Code of Conduct applies to all members of SMBE, including members, volunteers, staff, vendors, and to all participants in all Society activities, including events (online or in person), journal correspondence, social media, etc):
SMBE membership and/or participation in its virtual and in-person meetings, conferences, and events constitutes an agreement to adhere to the Code of Conduct. These policies cover member conduct in all professional and educational settings and related environments and in relation to both members and non-members. These settings may include, but are not limited to:
● Any professional workplace, networking event, or activity;
● Conferences, meetings, discussion panels, and other activities at SMBE-affiliated or sponsored meetings, in-person and virtual;
● Oversight and adjudication of written and verbal communications;
● Educational environments, including formal and informal educational spaces, transport vehicles, and housing associated with them;
● Informal spaces where there are social activities with SMBE members;
● Informal and professional social networking sites and online platforms both affiliated and not affiliated with SMBE.
III. Expected Behavior:
Members and participants in all professional, social and educational settings covered by the Code of Conduct shall:
● Treat all members, participants, attendees, staff, and vendors with respect and consideration, valuing a diversity of views and opinions.
● Treat others with dignity and respect, regardless of their own or another’s race, color, national or ethnic origin, immigration status, religion, age, marital status, parental status, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, physical appearance, body size, socioeconomic background, educational background, disability, military service or veteran status, or other descriptive category/individual characteristic will not be tolerated.
● Neither harass nor request nor accept inappropriate favor from students, employees, or colleagues.
● Give fair and equitable consideration to all members, volunteers, staff, vendors, and to all participants in all Society activities, regardless of their race, color, national or ethnic origin, immigration status, religion, age, marital status, parental status, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, socioeconomic background, educational background, disability, military service or veteran status, or other descriptive category/individual characteristic.
● Communicate openly with respect for others, critiquing ideas rather than individuals. Members shall avoid personal attacks directed toward other SMBE members, participants, attendees, staff, and vendors.
● Not attempt to injure the reputation of or professional opportunities for others by false, biased, or undocumented claims.
● Not practice, incite, encourage, or condone prohibited behavior, as listed in section V below, including but not limited to harassment in any form.
● Respect the rules and policies of the meeting/event venue, as well as any other applicable meeting or generally applicable codes of conduct in SMBE co-sponsored meetings and events. Meeting or event attendees found to be in violation may be asked to leave the event and associated hotel accommodations without warning or refund and at cost to the attendee.
IV. Prohibited Behavior:
Behaviors that are prohibited and which may result in consequences when a violation of the Code of Conduct is found include:
● Harassment in any form, including sexual harassment, denigrating jokes, stereotyping, or a recurring pattern of microinvalidations, microassaults, microaggressions, and microinsults;
● Physical abuse or intimidation, including disregard for another’s safety;
● Verbal or written abuse or intimidation (in-person or remotely), including but not limited to: harmful or negative comments related to race, color, national or ethnic origin, immigration status, religion, age, marital status, parental status, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, physical appearance, body size, socioeconomic background, level of education, disability, or veteran status;
● Violating the previously communicated (verbally or nonverbally) physical, emotional, and sexual boundaries of others through the continuation of otherwise prohibited behaviors or through verbal or written comments founded on any personal aspect of another individual;
● Photographing, recording, or video-taping of others and/or the dissemination or distribution of photographs, recordings and video-tapings of others without their consent;
● Violating the broadcasting policy by engaging in the following prohibited behaviors
○ Disrespectful communication that does not support the communication and discussion of science;
○ Directly reproducing visual materials (e.g., no posting of photos of slides or posters) unless permission is obtained from the presenter or if they have already made this information freely available in an open-source forum.
○ Copying or taking screenshots of session recordings, Q&A, or session chat activity taking place in the virtual space without express permission; and
○ Sharing presentations, postings, and messages which contain promotional materials, special offers, job offers, product announcements, or a solicitation for services that have not been expressly approved through a partnership agreement.
● Display or distribution of images or recordings involving provocative behavior, bigotry, nudity, sexual activities, or physical force against oneself, another person, or a community, including inappropriate use of nudity and/or sexual images in public spaces or in presentations;
● Intentional, unwelcome physical behaviors (in-person or remotely), including but not limited to stalking, physical contact, and aggressive or intimidating displays and/or body language;
● Threats (implied or real) of physical, emotional, professional, or financial harm, including threatening or stalking any attendee, speaker, volunteer, exhibitor, SMBE staff member, service provider, or other meeting guest;
● Ethical violations as defined in Section I above;
● Retaliatory behavior during or after the reporting process by any individuals involved in a potential violation of the Code of Ethics and Member Conduct, including the reporting party/target/victim, witnesses, and those reported to have engaged in prohibited behavior(s); and
● Any other behaviors that may reasonably be assumed to have the effect of creating, contributing to, or maintaining an environment that is hostile toward or damaging to a person or group.
V. Reporting Process:
Any SMBE member or anyone participating in an SMBE-sponsored event can report harmful behavior or a potential violation of this code to the Safe Behavior Officer at firstname.lastname@example.org, or in person to Stephen Wright or by email to SMBE council leadership at email@example.com.
When responding to a report, SMBE will prioritize respecting each person’s safety and confidentiality while also protecting the SMBE environment. SMBE’s SMBE Council has contracted with an external Safe SMBE Officer to offer confidential reporting to SMBE participants who feel uncomfortable making an internal complaint. The reporting party’s identity will be kept confidential if they so wish, until and unless there comes a time that disclosure is needed to address the problem, and they agree to the disclosure of their identity.
There is no absolute deadline or statute of limitations for reporting potential violations to SMBE (including for violations that occurred prior to the establishment of this code). Reporting parties are encouraged to come forward at any time so that any harm to reporting parties may be addressed and that a safe and inclusive environment for all members can be maintained.
SMBE will ensure the timely investigation of reported allegations. A report initiated in writing to the Safe SMBE Officer will be acknowledged and reviewed in a timely manner. At the reporting party’s request and if appropriate, the Safe SMBE Officer will initiate a preliminary investigation and will recommend to the SC whether to continue with a full investigation.
Consequences for a violation of the code may include, but are not limited to:
● a verbal or written request to cease and desist conduct in violation of the code
● removal of messages and solicitations in violation of the Virtual Conduct Policy and banning the sources of those solicitations.
● removal from a conference, a meeting, a room, or an event, virtual or in-person, without warning or refund; or a ban on future attendance at conferences or events
● limiting rights to participate in SMBE activities, committees, or leadership for a specified time, including specified remedial actions.
● suspending members from SMBE leadership or membership for a designated time or with conditions for participation, up to and including expulsion from SMBE membership.
Procedures for reviewing cases of potential violations by Members and Participants will follow those outlined in the current version of the “Procedures for Reviewing Reported Violations of the Code of Conduct.”
Revised 5 July 2023