The short version

If you have a question about the code of conduct or wish to report misconduct, please email the International Council of RSE Associations (the Council) at [email protected], the rotating chair of the next Council meeting, or any member of the Council.

Be kind to others. Do not insult or put down others. Behave professionally. Remember that harassment and sexist, racist, or exclusionary jokes are not appropriate for the International Council of RSE Associations.

All communication should be appropriate for a professional audience including people of many different backgrounds. Sexual language and imagery are not appropriate.

The International Council of RSE Associations is dedicated to providing a harassment-free community for everyone, regardless of age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and parenthood, race, religion or belief (or lack thereof), gender identity and expression, sex, sexual orientation, technical choices, experience level or any other dimension of diversity. We do not tolerate harassment of community members in any form.

Thank you for helping make this a welcoming, friendly community for all.

About the Code of Conduct

The International Council of RSE Associations (the Council) provides a formal open forum for established national and multinational RSE associations to talk and coordinate regularly, and thus sustain international collaboration. We are committed to creating a welcoming and supportive environment for all of our members. All participants in our events and communications are expected to show respect and courtesy to others.

This Code of Conduct should be honoured by everyone who participates in the International Council of RSE Associations, as member, guest, or in another role. It should be honoured in all Council activities, by anyone claiming affiliation with the Council, and especially when someone is representing the Council in any role (including as an event volunteer, organiser or speaker).

This Code of Conduct outlines our behaviour expectations as members of the Council in all Council activities, both offline and online. Everyone’s participation is contingent upon following these guidelines in all activities associated with the Council including but not limited to:

  • Council meetings
  • Email lists and online forums like Slack, Twitter, GitHub, and LinkedIn
  • Representing the Council at public events

As a relatively small organization, the Council itself is responsible for enforcing the Code of Conduct and all reports about misconduct will be dealt with promptly and in accordance with the Enforcement* *Manual (see below).

Behaviours that are disrespectful to our members or events’ attendees and sponsors, or intimidate, exclude or cause discomfort to others will not be tolerated. We do not tolerate discrimination or harassment based on characteristics that include, but are not limited to, age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and parenthood, race, religion or belief (or lack thereof), gender identity and expression, sex, sexual orientation, technical choices, experience level or any other dimension of diversity.

The Council is responsible for the enforcement of this Code of Conduct and for dealing with misconduct or violations to this policy. Council members are expected to assist with the enforcement of the Code of Conduct in their respective capacities. By participating, individuals indicate their acceptance of the procedures by which the Council resolves any Code of Conduct incidents, which might include storage and processing of their personal information.

Expected behaviour

All participants in our events and communications are expected to show respect and courtesy to others and all interactions should be professional, both online and in-person.

The following kinds of behaviours in all Council events and platforms are encouraged:

  • Focusing on what is best for the community
  • Showing courtesy and respect towards every member of the community
  • Being respectful of different viewpoints and experiences
  • Gracefully accepting constructive criticism
  • Using welcoming and inclusive language
  • Adhering to the Code of Conduct
  • Being direct, but professional
  • Asking for consent and respecting people’s boundaries
  • Being aware of the dynamics of power and privilege (be mindful of how much time and space you are taking up)

Unacceptable behaviour

Examples of unacceptable behaviour include:

  • Publication of private communication without consent
  • Excessive swearing
  • Improper gestures
  • Use of stereotypes
  • Incitement to violence, suicide or self-harm
  • Sustained disruptions of talks, workshops events or communications
  • The display of violent images
  • Causing someone to fear for their safety through stalking, following, intimidation, or threatening
  • Unwelcome and repeated flirtations, propositions, advances, or other sexual attention – including gratuitous or off-topic sexual images or behaviour
  • Non-consensual or unwelcome physical contact
  • Sexist, racist, homophobic, transphobic, ableist, or exclusionary jokes
  • Continuing to initiate interaction with someone after being explicitly asked to stop
  • Offensive, insulting, derogatory, or degrading remarks
  • Demands for sexual favours in exchange for favourable or preferential treatment
  • Advocating for, or encouraging any of the above behaviours

Consequences of Unacceptable Behaviour

Participants who are asked to stop any inappropriate behaviour are expected to comply immediately. This applies to any event or platform, either online or in-person. If an event participant engages in behaviour that violates this code of conduct, the organizers may warn the offender, ask them to leave the event or platform (without refund), or engage the Council to investigate the Code of Conduct violation and impose appropriate sanctions.

Incident reporting guidelines

If you believe that someone is violating the Code of Conduct, please report this in a timely manner. Code of Conduct violations reduce the value of the community for everyone. The Council takes reports of misconduct very seriously and is committed to preserving and maintaining the welcoming nature of our community.

All reports will be kept confidential.

Any violations to the Code of Conduct during Council events should be immediately reported to the event host, organiser or the designated incident person/people. The people handling the incident report should also make a direct report to the Council by emailing the rotating chair of the next Council meeting. If you are uncomfortable emailing this rotating chair, incidents can also be reported directly to any Council member.

If the violation occurs in an online space, reports should be emailed directly to the rotating chair of the next meeting or any other Council member.

The person to whom a report is made is hereafter referred to as "the Contact".

All reports will be reviewed by the Council and will be kept confidential to the extent possible in a small group.

In your report, please do your best to include:

  • Your contact information
  • Identifying information of the reported person
  • The behaviour associated with the Code of Conduct violation
  • If possible, where the Code of Conduct violation happened
  • The approximate time of the behaviour (if different than the time the report was made)
  • The circumstances surrounding the incident
  • Other people involved or that witnessed the incident
  • If there is a publicly available record (i.e. email thread, Slack messages, Twitter threads)
  • If you believe this is an ongoing situation, please let us know
  • Any additional helpful information

What to do if someone is in immediate danger?

If you believe someone is in immediate danger, please ask a Council member to contact appropriate emergency responders. All event organizers should, before the event, determine who would be appropriate to contact in case of an incident and make sure this information is available at all times over the duration of the event in question.

Once the incident has been resolved, we ask that it be reported to the Council in the same way as all other incidents.

Enforcement manual

The following section details the enforcement manual followed by the Council. It is used when we respond to an issue to make sure we are consistent and fair on every instance. Enforcement of the Code of Conduct should be respectful and not include any harassing behaviours.

All responses to reports of conduct violations will be managed by the Council itself.. To write to the Council and for the current membership, see

How will the Council respond to reports?

When a report is sent to the Council, a member will reply to the report to confirm receipt within 24 hours. If a report does not contain enough information, the Council will attempt to obtain all relevant data before acting, including contacting any individuals involved to get a comprehensive account of events. Once a report has been filed, one of the Council members will be assigned as the main acting member responsible for any communications with the involved individual(s).

The Council is also empowered to act if any of its members becomes aware of ongoing behaviour that, taken as a whole over a long time period, is disrupting or harassing. Such behaviour might not be “over the line” in any single incident, and thus may not generate a report.

Immediate response

The initial response to an incident is very important. Depending on the severity and details of the incident, an immediate response may be required.

In situations involving immediate danger or involving a threat to anyone’s safety, any member of the Council may – and should – act immediately to protect the safety of the individual(s) in such a situation. This can include contacting law enforcement or crisis resources.

If a Council member acts before reviewing the situation within the Council, , they must inform the other Council members as soon as possible, and report their actions to the Council for review within 24 hours.

Ongoing incidents

If the action is ongoing, whether in person or online, any Council member may act immediately and employ any available means to diffuse the situation including bans and blocks. In situations where an individual Council member acts immediately, they must inform the other Council members as soon as possible, and report their actions to the Council for review within 24 hours.

Less-urgent situations

Once a report is filed, the Council will review the incident and determine, to the best of their ability:

  • Whether this is an ongoing situation
  • Whether there is a threat to anyone’s safety
  • What happened
  • Whether this event constitutes a code of conduct violation
  • Who, if anyone, was the bad actor
  • Whether any communications should be made to the wider community

This information will be collected in writing, and whenever possible the Council’s deliberations will be recorded and retained (e.g., email discussions, recorded voice conversations, etc).

The Council should aim to have a resolution agreed upon within one week. In the event that a resolution can’t be determined in that time, the Council will respond to the reporter(s) with an update and the projected timeline for resolution.


The Council must agree on a resolution by consensus of all members investigating the report in question.

Possible outcomes may include:

  • Taking no further action (if it is determined that there was no violation).
  • A private reprimand from the Council to the individual(s) involved. In this case, the Contact will deliver that reprimand to the individual(s) over email, cc’ing the Council.
  • Ending a talk that violates the Code of Conduct early
  • A public announcement of an incident, ideally in the same venue that the violation occurred.
  • Immediately ending any event volunteer responsibilities and privileges the individual(s) hold(s).
  • An imposed suspension from the Council platforms. The Contact will communicate this suspension to the individual(s). They’ll be asked to take this suspension voluntarily, but if they don’t agree then a temporary ban may be imposed to enforce this suspension.
  • A permanent or temporary ban from some or all Council spaces.
  • Assistance to the complainant with a report to other bodies, for example, institutional offices or appropriate law enforcement agencies.

Once a resolution is agreed upon, but before it is enacted, the Council will contact the original reporter and any other affected parties and explain the proposed resolution. The Council will ask if this resolution is acceptable, and must note feedback for the record. However, the Council is not required to act on this feedback.

Conflicts of interest

In the event of any conflict of interest (a Council member, their family member, or someone with whom the Council member has a close academic, employment, or personal relationship is involved in a complaint), the Council member must immediately notify the other members, and recuse themselves if necessary.


We would like to thank the individuals, communities, and projects whose work significantly contributed to this Code of Conduct: