ESA values the diversity of views, expertise, opinions, backgrounds, and experiences reflected among ESA members and the broader ecology community, and is committed to providing a safe, productive, and welcoming environment for all participants of ESA meetings and events. ESA meetings and events can serve as an effective forum to consider and debate science-relevant viewpoints in an orderly, respectful, and fair manner. This Code of Conduct is important to promoting diversity and creating an inclusive, supportive, and collaborative environment for all peoples.

All ESA meetings and events participants – including, but not limited to, attendees, speakers, volunteers, exhibitors, ESA staff, members of the media, vendors, and service providers (hereinafter “participants”) – are expected to abide by this ESA Code of Conduct and by the ESA Code of Ethics. This Code of Conduct applies in all venues, including ancillary events and social gatherings, and on-line forums and discussions associated with the ESA

Expected Behavior

  • Treat all participants with kindness, respect and consideration, valuing a diversity of views and opinions (including those you may not share).
  • Communicate openly, with respect for other participants, critiquing ideas rather than individuals.
  • Refrain from demeaning, discriminatory, or harassing behavior and speech directed toward other participants.
  • Be mindful of your surroundings and of your fellow participants. Alert ESA staff if you notice a dangerous situation or someone in distress.
  • Respect the rules and policies of the meeting venue, hotels, ESA-contracted facility, or any other venue.

Unacceptable Behavior

  • Harassment, intimidation, or discrimination in any form. Harassment includes speech or behavior that is not welcome or is personally offensive. Behavior that is acceptable to one person may not be acceptable to another, so use discretion to be certain respect is communicated. Harassment intended in joking manner still constitutes unacceptable behavior.
  • Examples of unacceptable behavior include, but are not limited to:
    • Physical or verbal abuse of any participant
    • Unwelcome or offensive verbal comments or exclusionary behavior related to age, appearance or body size, employment or military status, ethnicity, gender identity and expression, individual lifestyle, marital status, national origin, physical or cognitive ability, political affiliation, sexual orientation, race, or religion
    • Inappropriate physical contact
    • Unwanted sexual attention
    • Use of sexual or discriminatory images in public spaces or in presentations
    • Deliberate intimidation, stalking, or following
    • Harassing photography or recording, including taking photographs or recording of another individual’s oral presentation or poster without the explicit permission of that individual and of ESA
    • Sustained disruption of talks or other events
    • Bullying behavior
    • Retaliation for reporting unacceptable behavior

Immediate serious threat to public safety

  • Anyone experiencing or witnessing behavior that constitutes an immediate or serious threat to public safety at any time should contact local law enforcement (by calling 911) and immediately notifying facility security.

Reporting Unacceptable Behavior

  • If you are not in immediate danger but feel that you are the subject of unacceptable behavior, have witnessed any such behavior, or have other concerns, please notify an ESA staff member (as soon as possible) who can work with appropriate ESA leadership to resolve the situation. All reports will be treated seriously and responded to promptly.
  • To report incidents you can file a report online, call the incident hotline at (884)-641-4133 or email
  • Once ESA is notified staff will discuss the details first with the individual filing the complaint, then any witnesses who have been identified, and then the alleged offender before determining an appropriate course of action. Confidentiality will be maintained to the extent that it does not compromise the rights of others.


  • Anyone requested to stop unacceptable behavior is expected to comply immediately.
  • ESA staff (or their designee) or security may take any immediate action deemed necessary and appropriate, including removal from the meeting or event without warning or refund.
  • The matter may be referred to the ESA Professional Ethics and Appeals Committee for consideration of further consequences, which may include prohibition from attending future meetings and events.

For any questions about this policy, please email ESA or 202-833-8773.