This Code of Conduct is intended to set clear expectations of professional behavior of individuals participating in an AOS virtual event to ensure that all participants feel safe and welcome, and to ensure the event is a positive experience for all.  

AOS welcomes everyone to its virtual events and celebrates diversity in all its forms.  The Society is dedicated to providing an inclusive environment that is collaborative, supportive, and engaging for everyone involved, and that is free of discrimination, harassment, and retaliation. We expect all participants to help in our mission by being respectful and considerate of each other, providing supportive critique, and embracing the multitude of opinions offered by participants. 

AOS virtual events are intended to foster effective, open and honest communications and to promote equality of opportunity and treatment for all participants. It is imperative that participants conduct themselves professionally toward all, engage in courteous and respectful interactions, and recognize the intellectual property of others participating in the event. All forms of communication among virtual event participants fall under the jurisdiction of this Code of Conduct. These include public and private communications in virtual breakout rooms, via electronic chat functions (e.g., Q/A box, Zoom Chat), emails, texts (including via platforms such as Signal, Slack, and Whatsapp), social media, phone calls, and other forms of written, verbal, and non-verbal (including visual) communication. In addition, communication, as described above, occurring after the virtual event, but pertaining to content from the event and/or where contact information of an event participant was procured during the event may also fall under the purview of this Code of Conduct. 

Expectations of Participants

Harassment between participants in an AOS virtual event will not be tolerated in any form. Harassment includes any communication or behavior towards another participant that involves offensive gestures, verbal and written comments, posts on the internet and social media, deliberate intimidation, stalking, harassing photography or recording, sustained disruption of talks or other events, inappropriate electronic contact, microaggressions, bullying, and unwelcome attention. It is possible to engage in harassment without the intention of doing so. Participants asked to stop any harassing behavior by anyone are expected to comply immediately, regardless of their intent.

The recording of AOS virtual events is strictly prohibited. This includes recording events via videos and/or making audio recordings. Those wishing to take screen-captures and/or share information from the conference via social media must adhere to the AOS Social Media Policy. Violations of the AOS Social Media Policy are considered violations of the Code of Conduct and will be handled via the same process. 

Bad faith reporting under this Code of Conduct will be considered itself a violation of the Code, where bad faith reporting is defined as intentionally false and/or malicious reporting of Code of Conduct violations against another attendee.

Individuals who are currently sanctioned for sexual assault or harassment by an adjudicating institution (e.g., a university or professional society) should not register for AOS virtual events. AOS may, at its discretion, revoke event participation of pre-registered individuals known to be sanctioned. Appeals may be requested in the case of advance registration.

Reporting an Incident

Any event participant covered by this Code of Conduct who believes that they have been subjected to harassment, notices that someone else is being harassed, or has any other concerns about an individual’s behavior that interferes with the intent of the virtual event, should report the incident immediately.  We ask that individuals report breaches of this Code to the AOS Professional Ethics Committee to AOS Safe Space.

Jeffrey Brawn, chair 
Kristen Covino
Katie Dugger
Jeanne Fair
Robert Fleischer
Jennifer Walsh

If you would prefer that an individual member of the committee specifically address your question or issue, please put their name in the subject line (e.g., ATTN: Name) in an email addressed to: PEC@Americanornithology.org.

Disciplinary Action

Individuals found to have engaged in behavior prohibited by this Code, as well as those making allegations of a breach of the Code in bad faith, will be subject to disciplinary action as determined by the AOS Executive Committee. The AOS Executive Committee may take any action they deem appropriate ranging from a verbal warning or ejection/prohibition from the specific activity in question (e.g., workshop, symposia or even the entire conference), banning them from future AOS virtual events, conferences or meetings, revoking membership in the Society, and /or to the reporting of misconduct to their employer and research funders. 

Retaliation Is Prohibited

AOS will not tolerate any form of retaliation – including seeking to violate the confidentiality of a reporting individual – against individuals who file a complaint or assist in an investigation, nor any individuals suspected of doing so. Retaliation is a serious violation of the Code and, like any breach of the Code itself, will be subject to disciplinary action.

Questions & Appeal

Any questions regarding this Code of Conduct should be directed to the Professional Ethics Committee at PEC@Americanornithology.org. In the event that an individual involved in any reported incident is dissatisfied with the disciplinary action, they may appeal to a panel appointed by the AOS Ethics Committee.