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Code of Conduct for the 2024 National School Public Relations Association Seminar

All Seminar registrants, guests, speakers, organizers, volunteers, partners, vendors and staff will observe the following Code of Conduct:

NSPRA’s National Seminar is a safe, welcoming and productive environment that fosters open dialogue and the expression of ideas. NSPRA is dedicated to providing a harassment-free conference experience for everyone, regardless of gender, sexual orientation, gender identity/expression, physical or mental ability, disability, age, physical appearance, race, ethnicity, religion, political affiliation, nationality, or any other protected characteristics.

Seminar attendees are expected to conduct themselves with integrity, courtesy and respect for others and to maintain the highest level of professionalism at all Seminar programs and events including those sponsored by organizations other than NSPRA and informal interactions between and among Seminar attendees at other venues. All attendees, guests, speakers, organizers, volunteers, partners, vendors and staff at all Seminar events and Seminar-adjacent events, are required to observe the following Code of Conduct. 

Expected Behavior

All attendees are expected to treat others with respect and consideration, follow venue rules and alert staff to any violations of this Code of Conduct, dangerous situations or any participant in distress. Seminar attendees shall:

  • Express differences in ideas and opinions productively, free of personal attacks.
  • Consider the impact of their own communications and communication style, as words can easily be interpreted as aggressive or negative, even if this is not what they intended.
  • Abide by all venue rules and policies.
  • Presume goodwill in the absence of evidence to the contrary and alert the specific individuals if their comments or conduct are unwelcome.
  • Respect and maintain one another's personal space unless an individual specifically invites physical contact.
  • Be an ally—speak up, reach out to the affected individual or notify staff when there is unacceptable behavior that affects another.
  • Alert staff or security to any dangerous situations or if anyone is in distress. 

Behavior Violating Code of Conduct

NSPRA will not tolerate any form of harassment, discrimination or abuse in connection with events and activities at the National Seminar, whether officially sponsored by NSPRA or not. Prohibited conduct includes but is not limited to:

  • Speech, gestures or behaviors that are known to be or should reasonably be expected to be personally offensive, abusive or derogatory.
  • Harmful or harassing verbal or written comments related to or motivated by another’s gender, sexual orientation, race, religion, national origin, gender identity, disability or other protected characteristic.
  • Verbal or physical intimidation, threats, stalking or bullying. 
  • Sustained or repeated disruption of events, including sustained interruption, yelling at or threatening speakers or attendees.
  • Severe or pervasive speech or conduct, based on a protected classification, that creates a hostile environment for guests, speakers, organizers, volunteers, partners, vendors or staff.
  • Sexual assault or physical harassment, including unwelcome touching or groping, or inappropriate, unnecessary, and unwarranted physical contact.
  • Virtual or in-person stalking or unwelcome following, including but not limited to sending inappropriate direct messages through the Seminar app.
  • Real or implied threat of physical harm.
  • Unprofessional use of nudity and/or sexual images or profanity in public spaces or in presentations.
  • Retaliation against anyone for raising a complaint under this Code of Conduct or participating in an investigation.

Reporting a Violation

If you believe you have been subjected to or have witnessed behavior that violates the NSPRA Code of Conduct, please contact the NSPRA Executive Director (by emailing concern@nspra.org or calling 703-863-8025). If this incident involves bodily harm or present danger, immediately contact venue security staff or call 911. Reporters of violations will not be expected to discuss the incident with the offending party, but you will be asked to fill out a report, ideally within one week of the incident, using the form provided below. All complaints for which sufficient information is provided will be treated confidentially, seriously and addressed promptly.

Internal Process of Investigation

Tier 1 – Complaints including unwanted advances, single instances of harassment (excluding physical and sexual assault) and disrespectful behavior will be investigated and resolved by NSPRA staff. At a minimum, this process will entail:

  • Reviewing the submitted complaint using the official report form.
  • Interviewing the complaint reporter and/or identified target to gather all information.
  • Interviewing the alleged violator of conduct.
  • Resolving the alleged violation of conduct by requesting the violator apologize to the reporter or target (unless reporter or target does not want interaction).
  • Issuing additional consequences, if needed, as outlined below.

Tier 2 – Complaints that are elevated to venue security and/or local police and are resolved on site by security staff and/or local police.

  • Issuing consequences, if needed, as outlined below.

Tier 3 – Complaints including physical assault, sexual assault, multiple instances of harassment and unruly behavior will be investigated and resolved by a third party hired by NSPRA for this task. At a minimum, this process will entail:

  • Reviewing the submitted complaint using the official report form.
  • Interviewing the reporter and/or identified target(s) to gather all information.
  • Interviewing the alleged violator of conduct.
  • Resolving the alleged violation of conduct by issuing consequences, if needed, as outlined below.

NSPRA will share the outcome of any investigation to those who have reported an alleged violation of this Code of Conduct.

Consequences

NSPRA, in its sole discretion, may bar those who violate this code from continued participation in or attendance at some or all NSPRA events and activities (in-person and virtual) without refund of fees paid. In some cases, and where appropriate, NSPRA may also bar violators from future NSPRA events and activities. In extreme circumstances, NSPRA may revoke the violator’s association membership without refund of fees paid and may notify the individual’s employer for serious misconduct as determined by NSPRA in its sole discretion.

False Reporting

Knowingly making a false accusation of harassment, discrimination, or retaliation, or knowingly providing false information in the course of an investigation of a report, may be grounds for appropriate disciplinary action. A complaint made in good faith, even if found to be unsubstantiated, will not be considered a false accusation.

Retaliation

Retaliation against an individual for reporting harassment or discrimination or for participating in an investigation of a claim of harassment or discrimination is a serious violation and is strictly prohibited. Acts of retaliation should be reported immediately and will be promptly addressed.

 

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