ESA Meetings Code of Conduct for Events

Revised 10/31/2017

ESA meetings, open to ESA members and those interested in ecology, are among the most respected meetings of ecologists in the scientific community. ESA values the diversity of views, expertise, opinions, backgrounds, and experiences reflected among all attendees, and is committed to providing a safe, productive and welcoming environment for all meeting participants and ESA staff.  ESA recognizes that there are areas of science that are controversial. ESA meetings and events can serve as an effective forum to consider and debate science-relevant viewpoints in an orderly, respectful, and fair manner. This Code of Conduct is important to promoting diversity and creating an inclusive, supportive, and collaborative environment for all peoples.

All participants – including, but not limited to, attendees, speakers, volunteers, exhibitors, ESA staff, members of the media, and service providers – are expected to abide by this ESA Meetings Code of Conduct and by the ESA Scientific Integrity and Professional Ethics Policy. This Code of Conduct applies in all venues, including ancillary events and social gatherings, whether officially sponsored by ESA or not.

Expected Behavior

  • Treat all participants, attendees, ESA staff, and vendors with kindness, respect and consideration, valuing a diversity of views and opinions (including those you may not share).
  • Communicate openly with respect for other participants, critiquing ideas rather than individuals.
  • Refrain from demeaning, discriminatory, or harassing behavior and speech directed toward other attendees, participants, ESA staff and suppliers/vendors.
  • Be mindful of your surroundings and of your fellow participants. Alert ESA staff if you notice a dangerous situation or someone in distress.
  • Respect the rules and policies of the meeting venue, hotels, ESA-contracted facility, or any other venue.

Unacceptable Behavior

  • Harassment, intimidation or discrimination in any form. Harassment includes speech or behavior that is not welcome or is personally offensive. Behavior that is acceptable to one person may not be acceptable to another, so use discretion to be sure respect is communicated. Harassment intended in a joking manner still constitutes unacceptable behavior. If the recipient feels like something is harassment, it is harassment, regardless of intent.
  • Physical or verbal abuse of any attendee, speaker, volunteer, exhibitor, ESA staff member, service provider or other meeting guest
  • Examples of unacceptable behavior include, but are not limited to, unwelcome or offensive verbal comments related to age, appearance or body size, employment or military status, ethnicity, gender identity and expression, individual lifestyle, marital status, national origin, physical or cognitive ability, political affiliation, sexual orientation, race, or religion. Harassment can also include the use of sexual and/or discriminatory images in public spaces or in presentations; deliberate intimidation; stalking; following; harassing photography or recording; sustained disruption of talks or other events; bullying behavior; inappropriate physical contact; and unwanted sexual attention.
  • Recording or taking photographs of another individual’s oral presentation or poster without the explicit permission of that individual and of ESA
  • Disruption of talks at oral or poster session or activities in the exhibit hall or at other events organized by ESA at the meeting venue, hotels, or other ESA-contracted facilities
  • Retaliation against participants for reporting unacceptable behavior. Like harassment or discrimination, retaliation will be subject to consequences.

Reporting Unacceptable Behavior

  • Anyone experiencing or witnessing behavior that constitutes an immediate or serious threat to public safety at any time should contact local law enforcement (by calling 911) and immediately notifying facility security without delay.
  • If you are not in immediate danger but feel that you are the subject of unacceptable behavior, have witnessed any such behavior, or have other concerns, please notify an ESA staff member (as soon as possible)  who can work with appropriate ESA leadership to resolve the situation.  All reports will be treated seriously and responded to promptly.
  • To report incidents of any sort during or following an ESA event, please contact ESA at
  • Once ESA is notified staff will discuss the details first with the individual filing the complaint, then any witnesses who have been identified, and then the alleged offender before determining an appropriate course of action. Confidentiality will be maintained to the extent that it does not compromise the rights of others.


  • Anyone requested to stop unacceptable behavior is expected to comply immediately.
  • ESA staff (or their designee) or security may take any action deemed necessary and appropriate, including immediate removal from the meeting without warning or refund.
  • ESA reserves the right to prohibit attendance at any future meeting.
  • Other consequences as set forth in the ESA Scientific Integrity and Professional Ethics Policy, as applicable.
  • Requests to appeal consequences may be made after the meeting to the Executive Director who will start the formal appeal process with the Professional Ethics and Appeals Committee.

For any questions about this policy, please contact ESA Executive Director at or 202-833-8773.