Code of Conduct for the ASPA Annual Conference
Instituted February 2019; updated March 2021
The ASPA Annual Conference is built on an important framework: Bringing together those committed to the public good is an important purpose that supports the Society’s mission of advancing excellence in public service. A freeflowing exchange of ideas and educational interchange are important and necessary for advancing the art, study, teaching and practice of public administration, as well effective professional development for those invested in our field.
In support of these goals, ASPA is committed to providing a safe, welcoming and inclusive environment for all conference participants. We also are committed to providing an environment that is free from harassment or discrimination in all its forms, including age, race, ethnicity, national origin, religion, language, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, disability, health, socioeconomic status, marital status, domestic status, parental status, physical appearance or body size. Such conduct is contrary to ASPA’s values and high standards of ethical practice. These standards include the principles of treating all persons with fairness, justice and equality; respecting individual differences, rights and freedoms; and promoting affirmative action and other initiatives to reduce unfairness, injustice and inequality in society.
Further, such conduct is contrary to ASPA’s Code of Ethics, which all members promise to support. Specifically, it violates the principles of promoting democratic participation; strengthening social equity; demonstrating personal integrity; and advancing professional excellence.
This Code of Conduct outlines the expectations by which all participants shall abide during the ASPA Annual Conference, conference-related activities, social events and other ASPA-sponsored events in which participants are gathered. It applies to all types of conference formats—that is, both in person and online. Participants include but are not limited to member and non-member attendees, speakers, public officials, staff, contractors, vendors, exhibitors, sponsors, awardees, guests and volunteers.
ASPA expects all participants to:
- Present themselves, interact and communicate in a professional and constructive manner, whether in person or virtually.
- Handle dissent or disagreement with courtesy, dignity and an open mind. Be respectful when providing written and verbal feedback.
- Be sensitive to and respectful of cultural contexts that vary among regions within the United States and abroad, reflecting ASPA’s global membership and reach.
- Wear their conference badge during all in-person, conference-related programming and present it upon request by staff or other event personnel.
- Be honest and truthful about any questionable behavior they witness on the part of any meeting participant when reporting it to ASPA staff or leadership. Report behavior as soon as possible after witnessing it.
- Be respectful of others when engaging in chat/message features and use such features appropriately. Use fellow attendees’ profile information in a respectful manner.
- Harassment, intimidation or discrimination in any form will not be tolerated.
- Harassment consists of a single or multiple persistent or pervasive acts that are demeaning, abusive, offensive or create a hostile professional environment. It may include unwelcome sexual solicitation, physical advances or verbal or non-verbal conduct that is sexual in nature; threatening, intimidating or hostile acts; circulation of written or graphic material denigrating or showing hostility toward an individual or group; or epithets, slurs or negative stereotyping based on group identity. Harassment may take place either in person or through digital channels, including online conference platforms and social media outlets.
- Sexual harassment includes, but is not limited to, unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature. Behavior and language that are welcome or acceptable to one person or culture may be unwelcome and offensive to another. Examples of behavior that, when unwelcome, constitute sexual harassment include sexual flirtations, advances, or propositions; verbal comments or physical actions of a sexual nature, including sexually degrading words used to describe an individual; making unwelcome comments about someone’s physical appearance; a display of sexually suggestive objects or pictures; sexually explicit jokes; unwanted touching; and persistent and unwelcome solicitation of emotional or physical intimacy. Sexual harassment may take place either in person or through digital channels, including online conference platforms and social media outlets.
- Verbally or physically abusive behavior toward others during the ASPA conference will not be tolerated. This behavior includes bullying, profanity directed toward others, property damage, deliberate intimidation or stalking, harassing photography or recording (including screenshots), physical assault, and real or implied threat of physical harm.
- Disruption of speakers, presenters or any individuals engaged in the public presentation of conference-related content, both in person and online. This includes video-teleconferencing hijacking, frequently referred to as “Zoom-bombing.”
- Inappropriate use of all written chat/commentary/messaging and fellow attendee profile information available within online venues will not be tolerated. Plagiarism of any messages posted in chat forums or messages is not acceptable and will be subject to ethics inquiries.
Consequences of Unacceptable Behavior
- Engaging in unacceptable behavior as described in this Code of Conduct
may result in being asked to leave the event and/or being barred from
future events, as well as having online access denied.
- Anyone requested to cease unacceptable behavior is expected to comply immediately. ASPA staff and contractors, hotel personnel or security may take any action deemed necessary and appropriate. If necessary, law enforcement will be engaged.
- Infractions of the Code of Conduct on the part of ASPA members may be referred to the ASPA Executive Committee and/or the Ethics and Standards Implementation Committee for review and resolution. As stated in the bylaws, the National Council may terminate membership or impose other sanctions on members following investigation and recommendation by the Ethics and Standards Implementation Committee for a serious violation of the Society’s Code of Ethics. Infractions of this Code of Conduct may be interpreted to also violate several tenets of the Code of Ethics, including but not limited to promoting democratic participation, strengthening social equity, demonstrating personal integrity and advancing professional excellence. In order to be acted upon in a timely fashion, infractions must be reported within 90 days of the occurrence in order for a review to take place.
Reporting Unacceptable Behavior
The safety and security of our attendees is our most important priority. If you are the subject of unacceptable or inappropriate behavior at the conference, notice that someone else is being harassed or have any other concerns, please notify an ASPA staff member immediately. Among their responsibilities, they will assist in contacting hotel/venue security or local law enforcement, provide escorts or otherwise assist those experiencing harassment to feel safe for the duration of the event. In the case of emergency, or if you cannot locate an ASPA staff member, please contact a hotel or venue staff member or security. We expect participants to be honest and truthful about any questionable behavior they witness on the part of any meeting participant when reporting it to ASPA staff or leadership. Please report behavior as soon as possible after experiencing or witnessing it so that ASPA can take prompt remedial action.
For in-person events, staff can be located at the event registration desk throughout operating hours, the ASPA membership booth during exhibit hall hours, and in all plenary sessions, Presidential Panels and officially sponsored receptions. Staff wear badges with a visible Staff ribbon. For online events, staff can be contacted firstname.lastname@example.org
Please refrain from reporting unacceptable behavior through social media channels, as ASPA’s channels are not monitored 24/7 and your report may not be seen in a timely fashion