Code of Conduct

Making community spaces, meetings and events productive and enjoyable for everyone

As part of our commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion in STEM, the ARC Network and AWIS are dedicated to making all community spaces, meetings and events productive and enjoyable for everyone, regardless of identity — including sex; gender, gender identity, and expression; sexual orientation; (dis)ability; health conditions; marital, domestic, or parental status; physical appearance; body size; race; ethnicity; color; nationality; religion; age; and more.

Participation in ARC Network initiatives, along with registration for any meetings or events indicates that you are willing to abide by this Code of Conduct. While there are some areas of this Code of Conduct that detail unacceptable and prohibited behavior, the overall goal is to create guidelines that are more than a set of inflexible rules. Instead, we hope that they will help us all move toward our vision of co-creating safe(r), respectful, equitable, and inclusive spaces that honor the worth and dignity of all participants. This means creating an environment where a range of views can be accommodated, even if this means we hear views with which we do not agree. Key aspects of the Code of Conduct include the following:

  1. Meeting Norms and Expectations
  2. Unacceptable Behavior
  3. Consequences and Reporting Unacceptable Behavior

Meeting Norms and Expectations

1. Be considerate in your comments and be open to feedback. In particular, if you’re asked to stop engaging in a particular behavior or line of commentary, please respect the boundary that has been requested.

2. Be an active listener. Pay attention to verbal and non-verbal communication and try to fully understand meaning. Active listening can help reduce conflict even in moments of disagreement.

3. Avoid interrupting others and monitor your level of participation by balancing speaking and listening. Be aware if you’re dominating the conversation, and invite others in to share the conversational space.

4. Limit your own assumptions and ask clarifying questions as needed.

5. Be respectful of and open to others’ ideas and build on them where you can. There may be times when you need to challenge what another conference participant is saying. In this case, please be sure to phrase your remarks so that it is clear you are challenging the view, not the person. It is important to not shut anyone down, and instead view the conference as an opportunity to learn new viewpoints and create opportunities to collaborate.

6. Pay attention to your language. Respect the language other participants use to talk about themselves. Read this guide on inclusive language as an example.

7. Always use a microphone when presenting or speaking during Q&A. Even if you think your voice is enough for others to hear, we have colleagues with hearing impairments among us. Using the microphone will ensure that everyone can hear you.

8. Self-Care: We encourage you to take time out from the formal conference sessions whenever you need to. You can also leave sessions at any time without explanation.

9. Social Media: While all participants have agreed to have photos taken throughout the meeting, ask permission before you share a photo of or tag other participants on social media. Remain respectful in your speech and language choices (see items 5 and 6) on social media as well.

Unacceptable Behavior

This conference has a no tolerance policy for discriminatory, harassing, or bullying language or behavior. This includes:

  1. Unwanted physical or verbal conduct
  2. Unwelcome comments about body, appearance, accent, or dress
  3. Derogatory comments or actions
  4. Threatening retaliation after a negative response to such conduct
  5. Threatening, humiliating, or intimidating behaviors

Raising concerns

All participants may raise concerns with other participants during the conference if they feel that this Code of Conduct is not being followed. However, there is no expectation that participants will do this if they would rather not or do not feel safe in doing so. AWIS staff will be wearing badges to let you know who they are throughout the meeting. If at any time you are concerned about behavior that is inconsistent with the code of conduct, please reach out to AWIS staff in the following ways:

  1. Find the closest AWIS staff member for support and to share your concerns.
  2. Send an email to arc@equityinstem.org with the phrase ‘Code of Conduct’ in the subject line.
  3. Send a text message to or call Christin McGrath, event coordinator, at 202-316-4867.

Any participants asked to stop any behavior inconsistent with this Code of Conduct are expected to comply, and support will be offered for resolution, including removal from the meeting if necessary.

In addition, as an NSF-funded event, participants may also view the NSF policy and reporting procedures for harassment and discrimination here:

If you notice any further ways in which the conference could be made more inclusive or you have suggestions for this Code of Conduct, please either raise this with the organizing team at arc@equityinstem.org with the phrase ‘Code of Conduct’ in the subject line.