The National Center for Women and Information Technology (“NCWIT“) has adopted this Code of Conduct (the “Code”) in order to establish and maintain high standards of ethical conduct and professionalism among its participants. An NCWIT participant is anyone who interacts with NCWIT, its programs, activities, communities, or events. NCWIT participants include but are not limited to alliance members, award applicants, award recipients, sponsors, educational institutions that contract with NCWIT, partners, funders, volunteers, and the organizations and individuals that take part in NCWIT programs and campaigns. This Code represents a commitment by NCWIT participants to follow the ethical standards and best practices evidenced by this Code at all times. The principles set forth in this Code do not cover every situation encountered by an NCWIT participant, but are representative of the spirit with which a participant should make decisions. If a conflict exists between the Code and the law, the law prevails. This Code applies to all interactions among participants in the NCWIT community, including interactions at in-person or virtual events, on social media, at ancillary events and unofficial social gatherings, among committees or other bodies associated with NCWIT, and all actions of NCWIT participants with the public in any setting. In order to maintain a relationship with NCWIT, all NCWIT participants are required to be familiar with and comply with this Code. Failure to abide by the Code may result in disciplinary action, such as dismissal from NCWIT programs, activities, communities, and events, in NCWIT’s sole discretion.
1. EXPECTED BEHAVIOR
NCWIT values equality, tolerance, and respect for others and is committed to fostering a setting that embraces diversity and provides a safe, welcoming environment for all. All NCWIT participants shall:
a. Behave with common courtesy and civility, conduct themselves in an ethical and appropriate manner, exercise consideration and respect in speech and actions, engage in fair, open-minded, and principled interactions, act in good faith, and be personally accountable for individual actions.
b. Comply with all laws and regulations.
c. Act in accordance with this Code and NCWIT’s mission statement.
d. Refrain from demeaning, discriminatory, or harassing behavior or speech.
e. Respect the privacy of others and honor confidentiality: participants may collect and/or exchange personal information about themselves or, with permission, another person. At all times, participants shall maintain the privacy and integrity of personally identifiable information (PII) describing or identifying another person. NCWIT participants shall protect PII and related information from duplication, publication, unauthorized access, accidental disclosures or use. Participants shall respect the confidentiality of any private, non-public information, including any PII describing or identifying another person, that may have been provided to the NCWIT participant by NCWIT or another NCWIT participant.
f. Deter wrongdoing and encourage adherence by other NCWIT participants to this Code.
g. Use social media responsibly: NCWIT encourages professionalism and honesty in social media and other communications. Although NCWIT encourages use of social media to get the word out and bring attention to NCWIT, the use of social media also presents certain risks and carries with it certain responsibilities. Each NCWIT participant is personally responsible for what that participant communicatesin social media. Anything published might beavailable to be read by the public for an indefinite period of time. NCWIT participants must use good judgmentwhen posting on social mediaand should keep in mind thatanythingsaidby them will reflect onNCWITregardless of the intention to reflect on NCWIT. NCWIT participants shall strive to beaccuratein their communications about NCWIT.
h. Alert NCWIT staff ofviolations of this Code, including violations that mayseem inconsequential.
2. UNACCEPTABLE BEHAVIOR
NCWIT prohibits participants from engaging in unacceptable behavior and harmful conduct, which include but are not limited to:
a. Abuse: action directed at an individual that interferes substantially with that person’s participation or causes that person to fear for their personal safety. This includes real or implied threats, intimidation, stalking, or following, bullying, and other types of abuse.
b. Harassment: any conduct that is offensive, unwelcome, sexual, or discriminatory in nature. Harassment impairs morale and interferes with the effectiveness, values, and mission of NCWIT, and can occur when there is no deliberate intention to offend. Examples of harassment include but are not limited to inappropriate touching of a person’s body, degrading or humiliating comments about a person’s appearance, unwelcome attention or contact, sustained disruption of presentations, physical assault, the distribution of sexually explicit images or messages, and any conduct that discriminates or denigrates a person on the basis of race, gender, color, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, ancestry or national origin, age, physical or mental disability, creed, religion or religious beliefs, veteran status, marital status, source of income, family status, physical appearance, body size, political affiliate, or political philosophy.
c. Violation of Intellectual Property Rights: conduct that is a violation of a third party’s intellectual property rights including copyrights, trademarks, patents, trade secrets and the terms of license agreements, unauthorized duplication of materials; and, taking credit for another person’s ideas or work even in cases where the work has not been explicitly protected by copyright, patent, trademark, or any other intellectual property protection.
d. Misrepresentation: statements made on behalf of NCWIT without the express prior written consent of NCWIT.
e. Political Influence: use, connect or otherwise reference their affiliation with NCWIT if taking a position in favor of or in opposition to any candidate for public office or political campaign activity.
f. Retaliation: any adverse or negative action perpetrated against any NCWIT participant who: (i) makes a good faith report of known or suspected acts of misconduct or other violations of this Code; (ii) is the victim of harassment or discrimination; or (iii) cooperates in any investigation. This does not mean, however, that if the alleged harasser participates in the investigation as a witness, they are protected from discipline if such action is warranted.
3. HOW TO REPORT UNACCEPTABLE BEHAVIOR
Anyone who becomes aware of any violation of this Code or any other ethical concern should promptly contact [email protected] and law enforcement, if appropriate. Be as detailed as possible in your report. NCWIT takes all such notifications seriously and is committed to investigating complaints received. There may be situations where NCWIT notifies law enforcement of unacceptable behavior. NCWIT will strive to maintain the confidentiality of information revealed in the investigation to the extent possible, however, certain information may have to be disclosed for an effective investigation to occur. If you feel that you have been falsely or unfairly accused of violating this Code you should notify [email protected] with a description of the grievance so it can be investigated.
There may be situations (such as those involving Title IX issues in the United States and venue- or employer-specific policies) where an on-site person who is informed of harassment will be under an obligation to file a report with an individual or organization outside of NCWIT.
4. CONSEQUENCES OF UNACCEPTABLE BEHAVIOR
If, after investigation, NCWIT determines that a violation of the Code occurred, NCWIT will take immediate corrective action that NCWIT deems appropriate in its sole discretion, up to and including dismissal from NCWIT programs, activities, communities, and events, and, in the event of criminal conduct or other serious violations of the law, notification of appropriate governmental authorities. Appropriate sanctions will also be taken toward any individual who knowingly makes a false allegation of unacceptable behavior.
5. WARNINGS AND DISCLOSURES
NCWIT assumes no liability or responsibility for the actions of any participant.
NCWIT is not responsible for protecting the safety of participants in NCWIT activities. Any individual who feels his/her safety is at risk due to harassment or for any other reason is encouraged to take appropriate steps, including contacting law enforcement, if necessary, to ensure personal safety.
NCWIT may, in its sole discretion, permit interested third parties to observe NCWIT events and groups on social media platforms for a limited time for the purpose of advancing the goals of NCWIT. Any observers will be required to act in accordance with this Code and to meet other conditions mandated by NCWIT in its sole discretion.
revised January 2021