Event Ethics Policy

4S should be a harassment-free environment for everyone, regardless of gender identity and expression, sexual orientation, disability, physical appearance, body size, race, age, religion, class, or indigeneity. We do not tolerate harassment of participants in any form. If you wish to report a violation of the Event Ethics Policy, please email meeting@4sonline.org.

The Event Ethics Policy aims to support inclusive behavior at 4S events. The policy does not seek to limit scholarly inquiry and debate. The purpose of this policy is to protect scholarly inquiry and debate by establishing protocols that discourage harassment, prejudice, and aggression. Towards this, the policy calls for the enactment of a policy through which 4S event participants can report and seek response to violations of the policy, including incidences of harassment.

Harassment includes, but is not limited to:

  • Unwelcome comments regarding a person’s lifestyle choices and practices
  • Deliberate intimidation or antagonism
  • Exclusionary jokes or comments
  • Unwelcome sexual attention or physical contact
  • Sustained disruption of meetings, events, or online discussion
  • Continued one-on-one communication after requests to cease
  • Comments that reinforce social structures of domination (related to gender, gender identity and expression, sexual orientation, disability, physical appearance, body size, race, age, religion, class, indigeneity)
  • Unwelcome photography or surveillance
  • Threats of violence

4S will address reported problems as the conference unfolds. All problems reported to the Event Ethics Policy will be in confidence and restricted to members of relevant committees. After the conference, reports will be submitted to the full 4S Council with names redacted so that they can build on what is learned in future 4S organizing.

4S has limited capacity to respond to some problems and often can only give direction and provide supporting documentation for next steps with other institutional actors. Individuals experiencing harassment can also report incidents to appropriate offices at the home institution of the accused, with or without involvement of 4S Committees and Council.

Implementation of the Events Ethics Policy

The 2021 4S Program Co-Chairs will implement the Event Ethics Policy with the help of session chairs. Session chairs are responsible for and empowered to implement this policy in their sessions. Session chairs can ask someone to leave if their behavior is hostile or otherwise inappropriate and doesn’t change when asked. Session chairs who act on this policy should report details by email to the 4S Program Co-Chairs (meeting@4sonline.org), who have the authority to ask conference participants not to attend particular conference sessions or events in advance, or not to return to the conference at all. At the close of the conference, 4S Program Co-Chairs will share a record of reported problems with 4S Council Ethics Committee, which has the authority to make decisions about how people charged with violation of the Event Ethics Policy may participate in 4S and its events in the future.

Reports of inappropriate behavior will be considered confidential. Personal identity will only be shared with the 4S Program Co-Chairs, Conference Organizers, and the 4S’s Council Ethics Committee, with all members having agreed to strict non-disclosure of sensitive information. Details on the event without personal identifiers will be shared with 4S Council so that they are informed and can update relevant 4S policy as needed.

Points of Contact for 4S 2021

4S Program Co-Chairs: Michelle Murphy, Kim Tallbear, Patrick Keilty, and Beth Coleman

4S Conference Organizers: Vanbasten de Araújo, Olivia Doggett, Dawn Walker

4S Council Ethics Committee: Joan Fujimura

Email: meeting@4sonline.org

The 4S Events Ethics Policy in Action

The goal of the 4S Event Ethics Policy is to support inclusive behavior at 4S events.  To accomplish this, the policy needs to enroll all event participants in the shared work of making 4S events venues safe places to present f complex research findings, engage in heated discussions and network among diverse event participants. A key strength of 4S is its diversity and the Event Ethics Policy is intended to empower this.

4S is not without problems in its own operations and differences of perspective on how 4S events should be conducted should be expected.  To advance best-practice in inclusivity at 4S events, the Events Ethics Policy lays out the following 6 protocols for dealing with perceived problems:

1) In conference sessions, the lead responsibility for creating an inclusive environment rests with the session chair.  Problems can also be reported to the Program Co-Chairs by email. All session chairs and Program Co-Chairs have the authority to ask participants in a session to leave the session in order to immediately address what they deem to be inappropriate behavior. 4S asks all event participants to comply with requests to leave by the session chair.  Compliance with such a request does not signal agreement with the sanction but concurrence with the spirit of 4S’s Event Ethics Policy.  All concerns about event ethics — including perceptions of over-implementing of the 4S Event Ethics Policy– can be reported by email to the Program Co-Chairs, to be passed on to 4S Council.

2) Emails to the Program Co-Chairs should have URGENT in the subject line if immediate assistance is needed.  Feedback for later consideration can be sent to the same email address during and for two weeks following the conference.

3) Between conference sessions or at plenary sessions, receptions or other conference events, event participants can report problems by email to the Program Co-Chairs, members of which have the authority to ask people to leave if they deem their behavior inappropriate (after being asked to change it).

4) If participants experience problems away from the main platform or outside formally scheduled activities, they can still contact the Program Co-Chairs for assistance. Such feedback may not be available until the following day.

5) If event participants think that the Event Ethics Policy has been inappropriately implemented, feedback can be emailed to the Program Co-Chairs, who will pass on to the 4S Ethics Committee for consideration.  As stated above, all event participants are connected to comply with requests to leave a session of conference activity, recoinging that complying with such a request does not signal agreement with the sanction but concurrence with the spirit of 4S’s Event Ethics Policy.

6) After a 4S event ends, the Program Co-Chairs will submit reports to the 4S Council Ethics Committee, which will be responsible for 1) updating the Event Ethics policy to reflect lessons learned 2) document recommendations for future 4S events planning, and 3) deciding if behavior reported at a 4S events should be further investigated, possibly leading to a restriction on a person’s participation in 4S.

This statement borrows from statements approved by other scholarly societies, including the 4S 2019 Event Ethics Policy, Society for Classical Studies Meeting Harassment Statement, and the American Sociological Association’s Annual Meeting Anti-Harassment Policy.