Ombuds: Conduct


The Section aims to operate in the best interest of TWS and its membership through its policies and procedures. Professional conduct is expected of all Section members, of any individual representing the Section, and of all participants in Section-sponsored activities. We define professional conduct broadly to include respectful and ethical treatment of others.  The Section is dedicated to ensuring the opportunity for active, equal participation in all Section functions or sponsored activities by all members and participants, regardless of gender, race, national origin, ethnicity, age, physical appearance, disability, or sexual orientation. Discrimination and harassment are prohibited by the Section; no individual should feel harassed, threatened, or unsafe at any Section-sponsored activity. Concerns or allegations of misconduct or harassment should be directed to the Office of the Ombudsperson ( or reported online here. Course of action for alleged misconduct may be found here. We note that Section policies for professional conduct will evolve over time. The most recent version of these policies will be posted on the Section’s Ombudspersons website and notifications of updates to the policy will be emailed to all Section members. All Section members and participants in Section-sponsored activities are expected to follow the most recent version of Section Professional Conduct policies.


Sexual Harassment 

Sexual harassment refers to unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature; such behavior debilitates morale and interferes with effective discourse, and therefore will not be tolerated. When unwelcome, behaviors that may constitute sexual harassment include, but are not limited to: sexual flirtations, advances, or propositions; verbal comments or physical actions of a sexual nature; sexually degrading words used to describe an individual; a display of sexually suggestive objects or pictures; sexually explicit jokes; and unnecessary or inappropriate touching. Behavior that is acceptable to one person may not be acceptable to another, so one must use discretion to ensure that words and actions communicate respect for others. This is especially important for those in positions of seniority, as those in more junior positions may be reluctant to express their objections or discomfort regarding unwelcome behavior.


Harassment of any participant (attendee, speaker, volunteer, exhibitor, staff member, service provider, organizer, or meeting guest) will not be tolerated. Unacceptable behavior includes (but is not limited to) unwanted verbal attention, unwanted touching, intimidation, stalking, shaming, or bullying (to intimidate, humiliate, frighten, or threaten someone with abusive words or actions). Harassment presented in a joking manner is still harassment and constitutes unacceptable behavior. Retaliation for reporting harassment is also unacceptable, as is reporting an incident in bad faith.

General Guidelines

  • Unprofessional conduct by any Section member or meeting attendant will not be tolerated and is subject to disciplinary action. Unacceptable behavior includes, but is not limited to, unwanted verbal attention, unwanted touching, intimidation, stalking, shaming or bullying in person or through social media outlets (see additional definitions above), or other disruptive behavior including sustained disruption of talks, events, or meetings. If you experience such behavior, depending on the context and if you feel comfortable, you should let the offender know and tell him/her to stop and/or seek help from bystanders. Participants asked to stop any harassing behavior are expected to comply immediately. Concerns may also be presented to the Ombudspersons in person (contact information above) or reported online here. Note that persistent offensive or unwelcome behavior may constitute harassment and that harassment presented in a joking manner is still harassment and both would be subject to disciplinary action.
  • Scientific presentations are expected to adhere to Section standards of professional conduct and should not include inappropriate and/or graphic images or language that include (but are not limited to) pornography, demeaning or degrading images or language, or depictions of violence.
  • Established professionals and all Sectionleaders should recognize that they hold positions of power, formal or informal, over students and aspiring professionals. These individuals are expected to lead by example regarding our high standards of professional and personal conduct.
  • All Section members are potential bystanders to unprofessional or unwelcome behavior. Bystander intervention can prevent, divert, or mitigate harassment. Do not look the other way. See the Resources page for additional information about bystander intervention and training.