American Association of Physics Teachers
Event Participation
Code of Conduct


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AAPT Event Participation Code of Conduct

1.   Introduction

The American Association of Physics Teachers (“AAPT”) is dedicated to providing a safe and productive experience at all AAPT sponsored events for all event participants, regardless of sex, race, color, personal appearance, national origin, religion, age, physical disability, mental disability, perceived disability, medical condition, ancestry, marital status, sexual orientation, or any other basis protected by federal or applicable state laws or local ordinances.  (See also AAPT’s Statement on Diversity in Physics Education.)  AAPT does not tolerate discrimination, or any form of unlawful harassment, and is committed to enforcing this Event Participation Code of Conduct (the “Code”) at all AAPT events.  As a professional society, the AAPT is committed to providing an atmosphere that encourages the free expression and exchange of scientific and educational ideas.  Furthermore, AAPT upholds the philosophy of equal opportunity for and treatment of all event participants and staff in any event venue, whether in person or online.  

2.   Scope of Code

AAPT requires compliance with the Code by all event participants, staff, guests, and vendors at all official AAPT conferences, meetings, meeting breakout sessions, tours, and social events as well as at all AAPT meeting-related events that are expressly sponsored or promoted by AAPT, whether held in public or private facilities (each may be referred to herein as an “Event” or collectively, as the “Events”). 

3.   Harassment Defined

Unlawful harassment includes verbal, physical, and visual conduct that creates an intimidating, offensive, or hostile environment.  Harassing conduct can take many forms and includes, but is not limited to, the following:  slurs, epithets, derogatory comments, insults, degrading or obscene words, jokes, demeaning statements, offensive gestures, or displaying derogatory or demeaning pictures, drawings, or cartoons based upon an individual’s sex, race, color, personal appearance, national origin, religion, age, physical disability, mental disability, perceived disability, medical condition, ancestry, marital status, sexual orientation, or any other basis protected by federal or applicable state laws or local ordinances.

Sexually harassing conduct in particular includes all of these prohibited actions, as well as other unwelcome conduct, such as unwanted sexual advances, whether or not the Event participant submits to the invitation; lewd propositions or innuendos; leering; making sexual gestures; making sexually suggestive or graphic comments or engaging in sexually-oriented conversation; sexually suggestive objects, graphics, pictures, or posters, whether physically displayed in the Event location or accessed over the Internet; making or using derogatory comments, epithets, slurs or jokes; the touching or display of one’s own body; or physical touching or assault, as well as impeding or blocking movements.

Sexually harassing conduct can be by a person of either the same or opposite sex.  It is unlawful for males to sexually harass females or other males, and for females to sexually harass males or other females.  Conduct that begins as consensual in nature may become harassment if one party withdraws his or her consent.  Sexual or other harassment prohibited by law is unacceptable and will not be tolerated.

The above is not a complete list of what may be deemed sexual or other unlawful harassment prohibited by law.  It is impossible to define every action or word that could be interpreted as harassment.  However, AAPT has a "zero tolerance" policy toward discrimination and all forms of unlawful harassment.  AAPT reserves the right to discipline Event participants who engage in any inappropriate conduct, even if it is not specifically referred to in this Code or is not actionable as sexual or any other form of harassment. 

4.   Prohibited Conduct

Prohibited conduct at AAPT Events includes, but is not limited to:

a.    harassment based on sex, race, color, personal appearance, national origin, religion, age, physical disability, mental disability, perceived disability, medical condition, ancestry, marital status, sexual orientation, or any other basis protected by federal or applicable state laws or local ordinances;

b.    demeaning comments or harassment about a person’s professional status or qualifications;

c.    sexual harassment, as defined in Section 3;

d.    abusive conduct that has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with another person’s ability to benefit from and enjoy or participate in the Event, including social events related to the Event and sponsored by AAPT;

e.    undue interruption of any Event, speaker, or session; and

f.    violence or threats of violence.

5.   Reporting an Incident

Event participants or other individuals who witness or experience inappropriate conduct at an Event, including but not limited to the prohibited conduct described above, should report such conduct immediately to Red Flag Reporting (see above).  Anyone experiencing or witnessing behavior that constitutes an immediate or serious threat to public safety at the Event is advised to locate a house phone and call and ask for security.  He or she is not required or expected to discuss the concern with the alleged offender.

AAPT cannot address claimed inappropriate conduct or harassment unless the claims are brought to the attention of AAPT leadership.  Event participants are encouraged to report any incidents as quickly as such participant feels safe doing so.  This will help AAPT decrease incidents of harassment by increasing awareness and allowing for appropriate action.

AAPT is committed to taking all reasonable steps to prevent harassment and prohibited conduct at its Events, and will make every reasonable effort to promptly and completely address and correct any prohibited conduct that may occur at an AAPT Event. 

The following guidelines for observers or targets of prohibited conduct are provided to help with an investigation.  AAPT will make every effort to maintain the confidentiality of any supporting documentation.

·    If possible, write everything down (times, places, nature of the incident, and comments made).

·    Save emails, notes, etc.

·    Be as detailed as possible.

AAPT can investigate situations that arise at AAPT Events and in AAPT-sponsored online communities provided in connection with such Events.  If an Event participant experiences inappropriate conduct or harassment at the participant’s own or another institution, at a place of work, at a research facility, or online but not via AAPT-sponsored channels (e.g., direct emails between parties) that individual should contact the individual at that location or the individual’s home institution who handles such issues, such as the Title IX Officer, Dean of Students, Human Resources Director, mental health counselor, etc.

6.   Investigation

AAPT will promptly and impartially investigate the facts and circumstances of any claim of inappropriate conduct or harassment at AAPT Events, but only with the approval and cooperation of the individual(s) who experienced harassment.  AAPT will make every effort to keep the reporting individual’s concerns confidential and will not deliberately share personal information other than to the investigator(s); however, confidentiality cannot be guaranteed (for example, although efforts will be made to reduce the chances, it may be possible to infer something about the person(s) involved based upon the situation under question). 

During an investigation, AAPT or a designated independent consultant subject to obligations of confidentiality, generally will do the following (as necessary) to make a determination as to appropriate action:

·    document the nature of the complaint;

·    interview the complainant;

·    conduct further interviews as necessary, such as with witnesses or, at an appropriate time, the   alleged offender;

·    document the AAPT’s findings regarding the complaint;

·     document recommended follow-up actions and remedies, if warranted; and

·    inform the complainant of AAPT’s findings.

A specific timeline for the investigation cannot be predicted in advance, as it may depend upon the nature of the allegations and the investigation process. Every effort will be made to act upon the investigation in a prompt and timely manner. Upon completion of the investigation, AAPT will take corrective measures against any person who has engaged in conduct in violation of this policy, if AAPT determines such measures are necessary.  

Notwithstanding, AAPT reserves the right, upon receipt of a complaint, if in AAPT’s sole reasonable discretion, the nature of such complaint requires the immediate removal of an individual in order to ensure that Event may proceed safely and without undue interruption, to remove an individual without undertaking an investigation as described herein. 

7.   Disciplinary Action

If AAPT determines that an individual has engaged in prohibited conduct, AAPT shall determine the appropriate action to be taken, which may include, but is not limited to:

·    private reprimand;

·    removal from the Event without warning or refund;

·    implementation of conditions upon attendance at future AAPT Events; or

·    restriction from attendance at future AAPT Events.

AAPT may, but is not required to, report any incident to proper authorities, including but not limited to law enforcement, if in AAPT’s sole discretion such reporting is advisable or necessary.  If AAPT determines that an individual has engaged in prohibited conduct at an AAPT Event, and such individual is an AAPT member, AAPT may consider suspension or termination of AAPT membership solely in compliance with any member disciplinary or termination procedures adopted by AAPT that provide the member, at a minimum, the rights of notice, a hearing, and a right to appeal any adverse decision.

8.   Retaliation Is Not Tolerated

Retaliation for complaints of inappropriate conduct or harassment are also considered harassment and will not be tolerated.  Retaliatory behavior in connection with AAPT Events will be investigated in a similar manner to initial complaints.

Adopted by the AAPT Board of Directors on July 10, 2016.