RMCLAS Code of Conduct

RMCLAS Code of Conduct

Recommendations of ad hoc Committee on Sexual Harassment and Discrimination March 2019

Committee Members

Monica Rankin, University of Texas at Dallas (Chair, ex oficio)

Jake Frederick, Lawrence University

Ryan Kashinipour, Northern Arizona University

Renata Keller, University of Nevada-Reno

Kim Morse, Washburn University

Statement on Harassment

A member and participant at RMCLAS deserves the professional respect and support necessary for professional growth and advancement. Such respect precludes unequal treatment based on any nonprofessional criteria. In particular, it precludes any harassment or discrimination, which is unethical, unprofessional, and threatening to intellectual freedom. Harassment includes all behavior that prevents or impairs an individual’s full enjoyment of educational rights, benefits, environment, or opportunities, such as generalized pejorative remarks or behavior or the use of professional authority to emphasize inappropriately the personal identity of an individual. Sexual harassment, which includes inappropriate requests for sexual favors, unwanted sexual advances, and sexual assaults, violates professional standards and is completely unacceptable.

Code of Conduct

  1. Membership in RMCLAS and attendance at annual meetings imply acknowledgement of the Code of Conduct and willingness to abide by the regulations therein.
  2. RMCLAS recognizes its duty to ensure that members and participants are not harassed/and or bullied.  RMCLAS maintains a zero-tolerance policy on any form of harassment and bullying.
    • Bullying may be characterized as
      • Offensive, insulting, intimidating, or malicious behavior targeted at another person or persons;
      • An abuse or misuse of power intended to undermine, humiliate, denigrate, or injure the person or persons toward whom such behavior is targeted.
    • Harassment may be defined as, but is not limited to:
      • Unwanted conduct affecting the dignity of people or individuals.  It may be related to age, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, race, disability, religion, nationality, citizenship, or any personal characteristic of the individual, and may be persistent or isolated.
    • Unwanted conduct may be but is not limited to behavior that is belittling, demeaning, and/or offensive. The key is that the actions or comments are experienced as demeaning and unacceptable by the recipient.
    • While all forms of harassment and/or bullying are abhorrent, RMCLAS condemns in particular all forms of sexual harassment.
  3. RMCLAS recognizes that members and conference participants who feel that they have been the victims of bullying and/or harassment as defined in this code of conduct are entitled to pursue their complaint in a safe and non-threatening environment.  RMCLAS recognizes that there is a difference between victimization through bullying and/or harassment and legitimate, justifiable, and appropriate constructive criticism. Nothing in this document should be construed as a limitation on the ability of RMCLAS members and conference participants to constructively evaluate and critique one another’s work.
  4. RMCLAS is committed to ensuring that complaints brought under this procedure shall not lead to the victimization or harassment of any individual.
    • RMCLAS prefers to avoid escalating disputes when seeking to resolve cases of an alleged breach of this policy.
    • The procedures for addressing grievances (detailed below) aim to resolve complaints through consultation, whenever possible.  At the same time, RMCLAS recognizes that punitive measures may be required to address some violations.
    • RMCLAS is also committed to ensuring that those who are part of the Conduct Committee and Investigative Committee are not subject to retaliation and/or harassment by respondents or third parties.
  5. RMCLAS ensures that procedures are in place to address allegations of bullying and/or harassment. Such procedures provide for
    • Timely handling of such allegations;
    • Fair and impartial handling of such allegations; and
    • Fair, impartial, and sensitive treatment of all parties affected by such allegations.

Addressing Grievances

  1. The Executive Committee will identify in advance of the conference three RMCLAS members who will be in-attendance at the conference to serve as the on-site Conduct Committee.  These RMCLAS members cannot be members of the Executive Committee, and they must be senior faculty at their home institutions. The Executive Committee should work to ensure diversity representation on the membership of  the Conduct Committee. The names and contact information of the team will be published in the conference program.  The harassment report team members agree to continue service for one year, from the commencement of one RMCLAS  conference until the day before the conference in the subsequent year.  RMCLAS is aware that complainants may not feel able to pursue any course of action while still at the conference. Therefore, the harassment report team remains available to receive complaints and provide appropriate support for a year during and after the conclusion of the conference.
  2. Anyone may report a suspected violation of the Code of Conduct to the Conduct Committee. However, the Conduct Committee can only file a formal report with the Executive Committee with the consent and cooperation of the individual(s) who directly experienced the behavior.
  3. Upon notification of a possible violation of the Code of Conduct, a member of the Conduct Committee may support a complainant in the following ways:
    • Facilitate an informal resolution of the conflict if appropriate.
    • Facilitate the reporting procedure and, if appropriate, outline the resources that are available (e.g. escort complainant to a safe place, call security, contact law enforcement) and provide support while complainant utilizes these resources.
    • Accept a written account of the incident and deliver a formal report to the Executive Committee for further action.  The written report should include the name and signature of the complainant, the name of the respondent, the nature of the conduct about which the complaint is made (including, if possible, time, dates, and location), and the names of any witnesses.
    • The Conduct Committee is not empowered to investigate claims nor is the Conduct Committee or Executive Committee empowered to provide legal advice to any individuals involved with the situation.  The Conduct Committee is empowered to advise the Executive Committee of necessary actions in urgent circumstances.
  4. Upon receipt of a report from the Conduct Committee, the Executive Committee will determine if further investigation is necessary.  If investigation is necessary, the Executive Committee will appoint an arm’s length Investigative Committee to complete investigations. The Executive Committee will make a final determination based on the reports of the Conduct Committee and Investigative Committee. The respondent will be allowed to provide his/her perspective on the events involved in the complaint before the Executive Committee determines final action, except in extreme circumstances. If a report is received after the conclusion of the conference, the Executive Committee will deliberate as appropriate using electronic means.
  5. If upon conclusion of investigations the Executive Committee determines a violation has occurred, sanctions may include but are not limited to:
    • A letter of reprimand from the Executive Committee to the respondent.
    • Suspension of membership and/or conference attendance for a time period determined by the Executive Committee.
    • A letter of censure to the respondent’s home institution.
    • Permanent expulsion from RMCLAS.
  6. Reporting a violation of the Code of Conduct to the Conduct Committee does not obligate the complainant to pursue any further action. Information shared with the Conduct Committee is confidential UNLESS the individual reporting requests subsequent action that involves others, in which case it will become necessary to share this information. This, however, will be at the discretion of the individual making the report. Depending upon the severity and nature of the report, and in compliance with local, state and federal law, the Executive Committee may be compelled to contact law enforcement.