Non-Discrimination and Anti-Harassment Policy


This conference has a zero tolerance policy for harassment of any kind. All attendees have the right to a space free of all forms of discrimination, harassment and retaliation.

Harassment includes epithets, slurs, or negative stereotyping; threatening, intimidating or hostile acts; denigrating jokes and display or circulation of written or graphic material that denigrates or shows hostility or aversion toward an individual or group. It also includes any unwelcome contact or discussion of a sexual nature, unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, verbal or physical harassment of a sexual nature, and obscene or sexist remarks.

Often these incidents can take the form of “microaggressions,” which are one of the most pervasive and damaging forms of harassment. Microaggressions are the everyday verbal, nonverbal, and environmental slights, snubs, or insults, whether intentional or unintentional, which communicate hostile, derogatory, or negative messages to target individuals based upon their marginalized group membership. For example, commenting on a woman’s appearance rather than her work is a microaggression; telling someone of colour that they “speak such good English” is another example. Exclusion from a group can be a common nonverbal form of microaggression. Often, microaggressions can be couched in the form of a “compliment,” (e.g. “you’re too attractive to be a scientist”) which causes additional stress to the target when trying to decide how to respond. Targets of microaggressions must spend time decoding the insult (“This person just implied that I don’t belong in science”), wondering whether it was intentional (“Did this person mean it in the way I took it? Should that affect my response?”), and deciding whether to speak up and risk being branded as “oversensitive” by the perpetrator or others in the group (“All s/he did was pay you a compliment! Why are you overreacting?”) or ignore the comment and feel like they should have said something (“Why didn’t I stand up for myself? Does s/he now think that’s an ok thing to say to me?”). Over time, these comments can take a great toll on mental and emotional health, and the target’s feeling of belonging in science and academia.

Seeking help

If you see, hear, or otherwise experience any harassing behavior while you are attending this conference, or just need to talk to someone, you may contact the conference chairperson, Davide DelVento, who will be onsite. If you prefer, feel free to contact Carolyn Brinkworth (; 626-345-8322). No-one will be faulted for making a report in good faith about suspected harassment. The committee’s response to the harassment will be based on discussion and agreement with the person being harassed, with action taken accordingly. This can range from the group or individual perpetrating the harassment being asked to stop, to their exclusion from the rest of the meeting without compensation.