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American Association for Public Opinion Research

AAPOR Conduct Policy

I. Preamble
As a professional association, AAPOR fully supports and values our members having collegial interactions that yield interpersonal connections, as well as intellectual outcomes: discussions, differing viewpoints, and scientific debates. Our events and activities are held in the spirit of free inquiry and free expression, which is important and necessary for advancing the science and practice of public opinion research. We pride ourselves on our professionalism and our respect for others.

AAPOR’s membership is global. Our conferences, meetings, and activities bring together people from around the world, and from many different cultures. As such, we need to be sensitive to cultural contexts that vary not only among regions of the USA, but also among regions of the world. We must also be sensitive to legacies that have produced discriminatory and prejudicial beliefs and practices, which threaten AAPOR’s coveted inclusive environment.
AAPOR is committed to providing a safe and welcoming environment for everyone attending or associated with our events and activities including AAPOR members, guests, staff, vendors, exhibitors, contractors, as well as venue staff. We are committed to providing an environment that is free from harassment and discrimination, whether sexual or otherwise, based on age, race, ethnicity, national origin, religion, language, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, disability, health, socioeconomic status, marital status, domestic status, or parental status. Harassment and discrimination undermine the principle of equality and respect, and are serious forms of professional misconduct.  AAPOR members who violate this policy will be subject to discipline.

The following Policy outlines expectations, reporting, and procedures for everyone, members and non-members, who attends or participates in AAPOR events, activities, or operations.
II. Expected Conduct
AAPOR members, guests, staff, vendors, exhibitors, contractors, as well as venue staff are expected to treat each other in a professional manner and behave professionally while conducting or engaging in AAPOR business or participating in AAPOR activities.
All participants at AAPOR and AAPOR Regional Chapter meetings (including AAPOR members, guests, vendors, venue staff, etc.) are expected to abide by this Policy in all meeting venues including ancillary events as well as official and unofficial social gatherings. Our baseline expectation is for all participants to:
  • Follow the norms of professional respect that are necessary to promote the conditions for free academic interchange.
  • Be proactive in helping to mitigate or avoid any harm to any conference participant that you personally witness
  • Alert conference security personnel or law enforcement if you see a situation in which someone might be in imminent physical danger.
III. Unacceptable Conduct

What is prohibited? Harassment toward others while conducting or engaging in AAPOR business or participating in AAPOR activities will not be tolerated.
Definitions of Harassment: Harassment consists of a single or multiple persistent or pervasive acts which are demeaning, abusive, offensive, or create a hostile professional environment. Harassment may include sexual solicitation, physical advance, or verbal or non-verbal conduct that is sexual in nature; it may also include threatening, intimidating, or hostile acts; circulation of written or graphic material that denigrates or shows hostility toward an individual or group; epithets, slurs, or negative stereotyping based on group identity. Unprofessional behavior is not limited to face-to-face interactions. As such, it also includes written, electronic, and telephone communication. 
Sexual harassment refers 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. Personal or cultural acceptance is not a justification for any unwelcome form of behavior.  Sexual harassment does not refer to a welcomed compliment of a socially acceptable nature, but it does refer to any behavior that is not welcome.
The following are examples of behavior that, when unwelcome, constitute sexual harassment:
  • 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;
  • Persistent and unwelcome solicitation of emotional or physical intimacy, especially when accompanied by real or implied threat of professional or other type of harm.
Other Harassment. Harassment on the basis of any other protected characteristic is also prohibited. This conduct includes, but is not limited to prejudicial actions or comments related to actual or perceived gender, gender identity, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, ability, socioeconomic status, age, or religion that coerce others, foment broad hostility, or otherwise undermine professional equity or the principles of free academic exchange.
Verbally or physically abusive behavior toward others while conducting or engaging in AAPOR business or participating in AAPOR activities will not be tolerated. Examples of such behavior include, but are not limited to:
  • Bullying;
  • Intimidating, harassing, abusive, derogatory or demeaning speech or actions;
  • Directing profanity toward others;
  • Behavior that has the effect of humiliating others;
  • Mobbing (i.e., group bullying an individual);
  • Property damage;
  • Deliberate intimidation, stalking or following;
  • Harassing photography or recording;
  • Sustained disruption of talks or other events;
  • Physical assault;
  • Real or implied threat of physical harm;
  • Other unprofessional or inappropriate behavior.
IV. Procedures for Addressing Misconduct
A. Notice
If you believe that you are or have been subjected to harassment, speak up if you feel safe doing so. Communicate, in an effective form, to the person who you believe is acting inappropriately that their behavior is unwelcome. Explicitly identifying inappropriate behavior communicates 1) that one perceives the act as crossing a professional line, and 2) one does not wish it to continue. When the communication is in the presence of others, it also increases the likelihood of bystander intervention. Letting others know you believe you are receiving unwanted or unwarranted attention also creates the opportunity for an additional point of view to help clarify any misperceptions, as well as provide an additional witness when there is inappropriate conduct.   
If you witness potential harm, such as physical contact or hostile verbal behavior, to a conference participant, be proactive in helping to mitigate or avoid elevated harm among the actors. Alert conference security personnel or law enforcement if you see a situation in which someone might be in imminent physical danger or feel unsafe intervening yourself.
If you are or have been subjected to harassment and are not comfortable addressing the misconduct directly, if the behavior does not stop, or if you remain concerned about the incident, concerns should be outlined in the manner stated below.
B. Formal Reporting
  1. Submit a report via the online form which goes directly to an Ad Hoc Conduct Committee, consisting of AAPOR’s Executive Director[1], President, MCR Chair, Councilor-at-Large, Standards Chair, and a Diversity Committee representative. The form has the option to send to as many of the people on the committee as desired, in case one of the members of the committee is being accused or has another connection to the situation which could cause a conflict of interest. Should any member of the Ad Hoc Conduct Committee be the subject of a complaint, the person(s) will be replaced by another person in similar office (e.g., Past President, Associate MCR Chair, etc.). This Ad Hoc Committee will report through the Standards Committee.
  2. Instructions provided on what to report – e.g., (i) a statement describing the alleged action or violation, (ii) the date or dates when the alleged violation occurred, (iii) the AAPOR event/connection, (iv) the name(s) of the individual(s) alleged to be in violation, (v) any other witnesses to the event(s), and (vi) the name of the complainant along with his or her contact information, including telephone number, postal address, and e-mail address.
  3. Within 2 business days (or 24 hours during in-person events, like conference), Executive Director responds to reporter on behalf of the Conduct Committee with a message saying that the incident/issue will be investigated within 30 days. The complainant will be told to reach out directly to the Executive Director and/or President if 1) the person wants to discuss more quickly or 2) if they haven’t heard back within 2 business days.
C. Review Process
  1. Conduct Committee reviews written report. Committee reaches out to the person whose conduct is in question of the complaint and that person can provide their own written account of the incident.  The Committee may reach out to the reporter and/or any other named witnesses if needed.
Additional Resources
[1] Non-voting member.