Paleontological Society Ethics and Inclusion:
The Paleontological Society (the “Society”) strives to provide an environment that encourages the free expression and exchange of scientific ideas. In pursuit of that environment, the Society is committed to equality, both in opportunity and in treatment, for all of its members. We believe that one of our strengths as a Society rests in our diverse membership, and that such diversity is integral to the advancement of our Society, and to the continued rigor and ingenuity of paleontological research. The Society will not discriminate in its activities or services on the basis of race, color, national or ethnic origin, immigration status, religion, age, marital status, parental status, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, socioeconomic background, educational background, disability, or military service or veteran status. The Society will strive to ensure that all Society sponsored meetings and functions are conducted in a professional manner in which all participants are treated with dignity and respect.
Code of Conduct
The Ethics Committee is responsible for investigating reported allegations of miosconduct and will determine which allegations are substantial and thereby require investigation. The chair of the Ethics Committee will coordinate the Society’s investigations of misconduct. The Ethics Committee reports to the Council of the Paleontological Society, which has the final authority to determine what action(s) will be taken if an allegation of misconduct is substantiated.
In advance of potential submission of an allegation, members of the Ethics Committee will also be available to speak about alleged misconduct and the investigation process, but written documentation will be required to initiate an investigation.
If a participant in Society activities would like to speak with a member of the Ethics Committee about potential Code of Conduct violations and/or about the reporting process, they may send an email to a committee member or to [email protected] and request a conversation.
Ethics Committee [email protected]
- Arnie Miller, [email protected]
- Dena Smith, [email protected]
- Phoebe Cohen, [email protected]
- Paul Koch, [email protected]
- Seth Finnegan, [email protected]
- Brenda Hunda, [email protected]
- Kristopher Kusnerik, [email protected]
Submit an Allegation Report
If one is subject to or witnesses prohibited behavior, they should notify either a member of the Ethics Committee (see below), a Society member with a designated leadership position (e.g., President, field trip leader, etc.), an individual holding such a position at an affiliate meeting where the incident occurred, or an individual holding such positions at institutions where the incident occurred. Society members acting in leadership positions, whether for an established term (e.g., elected officials, committee members, etc.) or temporarily (e.g., field trip leaders, session organizers, etc.) are required to report any incidences of prohibited behavior that they directly witness or have reported to them to the Ethics Committee to ensure that all parties involved receive appropriate consideration and follow-up.
Anyone subject to or witnessing behavior that constitutes an immediate or serious threat to public or individual safety or a criminal act should contact local law enforcement. Those witnessing a potential criminal act should also take actions necessary to maintain their own personal safety.
Allegations of misconduct by Paleontological Society members or event attendees must be submitted in writing either directly to any member of the Paleontological Society Council, a member of the Ethics Committee, or directly to the email address of the Ethics Committee, [email protected] in order for an investigation to be opened. Allegations may also be submitted in writing to:
Chair of Ethics Committee
The Paleontological Society
9650 Rockville Pike
Bethesda, MD 20814, USA
In advance of potential submission of an allegation, members of the Ethics Committee will also be available to speak about alleged misconduct and the investigation process, but written documentation will be required to initiate an investigation. All documents and information pertaining to such allegations should be treated with the highest degree of confidentiality by those involved in the investigation process insofar as said confidentiality would not reasonably interfere with law enforcement related to such an incident or result in physical, professional, or psychological harm to any party during the course of the investigation or outside of the scope of any sanctions, should they be applied. Individuals involved in a reported incident of alleged misconduct, including victims, witnesses, and those alleged to have engaged in prohibited behavior(s), will not engage in retaliatory behavior during or after the reporting process. Engaging in retaliatory behavior will be deemed a breach of these guidelines. If allegations pertain to criminal activity or pose a reasonable risk to public safety, the allegation(s) will be reported to the appropriate authorities.
Candidates and nominees for volunteer governance positions (Council and committee members), authors of manuscripts in Paleontological Society journals, and nominees or applicants for grants and awards are expected to meet all of the expectations outlined in this Code of Conduct and will be required to submit a professional conduct self-disclosure form.
The Paleontological Society is committed to safe and inclusive events and meetings for all attendees. The Code of Conduct applies to all members of the Society and to all participants in Society and Society-sponsored events.
In this spirit, the Paleontological Society is implementing “This IS PS” (Inclusive and Safe Paleontological Society) to help ensure adherence to the Code of Conduct at Society-sponsored events. If you are the subject of or witness prohibited behavior at a Society-sponsored event, immediately notify any member of the This IS PS team. Team members can be identified by buttons with the This IS PS logo.
- The This IS PS team comprises Society member-leaders who have been trained to receive and give reports of any incidences of prohibited behavior at Society-sponsored events.
- This IS PS liaisons will listen respectfully without assumptions or judgment.
- This IS PS liaisons will confidentially report incidents to the Society Ethics Committee to ensure that all parties involved receive appropriate consideration and follow-up.
- Anyone subject to or witnessing behavior that constitutes an immediate or serious threat to public safety or a criminal act should contact 911. Those witnessing a potential criminal act should also take actions necessary to maintain their own personal safety.
Those who violate the Paleontological Society’s Code of Conduct at an event may be asked to leave the meeting immediately, without refund.
Possible sanctions for Violation of Code of Conduct
In determining an appropriate sanction for a violation of Society Code of Conduct, factors that may be considered include, but are not limited to:
- The seriousness, severity, persistence, or pervasiveness of the prohibited conduct;
- The nature of the prohibited conduct;
- The impact on the complainant and/or Society community;
- The respondent’s past disciplinary record with the Society;
- Whether the respondent has accepted responsibility for the prohibited conduct;
- The maintenance of a safe, nondiscriminatory and respectful environment conducive to learning; and/or
- Any other mitigating, aggravating, or compelling factors that the Society ethics committee determines to be relevant and admissible.
Committee on Diversity and Inclusion:
As part of ongoing efforts by The Paleontological Society to increase diversity and inclusion in paleontology, a Committee on Diversity and Inclusion was created and tasked with developing a portfolio of activities and resources to ensure a safe and inclusive environment for Paleontological Society members. Towards this end, the Diversity and Inclusion committee has focused on the following:
1) Revision of the Code of Conduct – including mechanisms for reporting allegations, development of an ethics committee and recommendations for sanctions
2) Activities that foster and support a community of scholars that is diverse and inclusive – including bystander intervention training for council and community members, upcoming events that will be hosted at meetings and online to support community and provide training, an awards program that will honor PS members who have demonstrated an outstanding commitment to diversity and inclusion.
3) Recruitment and Retention through the growth of mentoring and support networks – including attendance and participation in the National Association of Black Geoscientists Annual Conference and the Society for the Advancement of Chicanos and Native Americans Annual Conference, the development of a travel awards program to support the travel and meeting participation of members who are often the most vulnerable and most likely to leave paleontology and science
(including groups underrepresented in paleontology, in a career transition (between undergrad and grad, grad to post-doc, post-doc to position), or in adjunct, teaching, museum, or part-time positions), and the development of mentoring and leadership training opportunities for members
With much more to come…
We’d love to hear from you.
Contact the Diversity and Inclusion Committee: [email protected]