The American Society for Virology (ASV) is committed to maintaining an environment that is free from all forms of discrimination and harassment. ASV will not tolerate discrimination or harassment of any kind at ASV-sponsored or -associated events.
1. Explanation of prohibited conduct
Harassment or discrimination is behavior that demeans, humiliates, or threatens an individual on the basis of their sex, gender, gender expression, sexual orientation, genetic information, race, color, ethnicity, ancestry, national origin, age, religion or lack thereof, disability, family status, pregnancy, height, weight, military or veteran status, or other legally protected characteristic. It is unwanted attention that is subjectively and objectively offensive, intimidating or disruptive to their well-being. Harassment may include but is not limited to crude behavior (such as offensive language, jokes, sounds, or gestures); dismissive or insulting modes of address; unwelcome attention (such as unwanted touching or repeated requests for dates); creating or distributing offensive objects, commentaries, written or electronic communications; creating an environment
that is unwelcoming or hostile; and coercion. It singles out some members of the community as acceptable targets and as unworthy of respect. Harassment and discrimination not only affect the individual; they also damage the virology community by discouraging participation in the Society and compromising the free exchange of ideas that is at the center of our mission. ASV meetings are professional, and the values of respect, equity, and non-discrimination should inform conduct everywhere at ASV events. All members should aspire to treat each member as having an equally valuable contribution to make.
2. Explanation of policy scope
This policy applies to all attendees and participants in Society activities including but not limited to faculty, senior scientists, research associates, postdoctoral associates, students, guests, staff, contractors, exhibitors, vendors, volunteers, and media representatives participating in professional or social events of an ASV meeting or other activity. This policy governs all aspects of an individual’s conduct, including use of telephone and electronic technology such as e-mail, social media, and the internet.
3. Statement about confidentiality
ASV will make every effort to maintain confidentiality in its response to any report of possible violations of this policy, except where doing so would i) compromise another person’s rights, ii) compromise ASV’s ability to conduct a thorough investigation, or iii) involve a possible criminal act. In such cases, ASV will limit disclosure only to that information necessary to ensure proper investigation and compliance with law enforcement procedures.
4. Reporting procedures
Reports of discriminating or harassing conduct should be made as soon as possible, preferably in writing, to any member of the ASV Executive Committee, which is defined by the ASV bylaws as consisting of the ASV President, immediate Past-President, President-Elect and SecretaryTreasurer. If the matter involves an ASV Executive Committee member, that individual will be recused from all subsequent steps of the ASV response. All allegations of discrimination and/or harassment will be quickly and discreetly addressed. If possible, a report should include details of the incident or incidents, names of individuals involved and names of any witnesses.
5. ASV response to complaints
The complaint will be referred to the ASV Executive Committee. Should any member of the Executive Committee be involved in the reported incident, or have a personal conflict of interest in the incident, they will be replaced with a current elected ASV Councilor. The initial evaluation will address whether there is sufficient information to pursue the claim further, whether the alleged behavior is serious in nature and meets the criteria identified in this policy, the wishes of the complainant with respect to the manner of resolution, and by what means it might be resolved.
Where appropriate, the ASV Executive Committee will initiate an investigation, which may be conducted by an external consultant. Upon completion of an investigation, a summary (excluding identifying information) will be provided to the ASV Council (excluding those who have a conflict of interest). Disciplinary actions recommended by the Executive Committee could range from, but are not limited to, a conversation with the person, a formal written warning, requirement of completion of training in anti-harassment/discrimination, barring attendance at the ASV annual meeting or specific workshops or sessions or revocation of ASV
membership. If there is a recommendation to revoke the person’s ASV membership, the Executive Council shall convene a hearing and vote of the ASV Council, in accordance with the ASV Bylaws, Article II, Section 5.
If the ASV Executive Committee becomes aware of any threats to or immediate concerns for the safety of any person, the ASV Executive Committee may remove an individual from an ASV event without undertaking an investigation as described above, if the ASV Executive Committee’s sole reasonable discretion is that the nature of such complaint requires the immediate removal of an individual in order to ensure that an ASV event may proceed safely and without undue interruption.
6. Prohibition on retaliation
It is a violation of this policy for any retaliatory action to be taken or threatened against an individual who in good faith reports or provides information about a possible violation of this policy or who in good faith participates in a related investigation or exercises any other right protected by the equal employment opportunity laws. In the event that an individual believes they have been retaliated against for such action, they should use the reporting procedures outlined in Section 4 of this policy to report the pertinent facts promptly. ASV will take appropriate action in the manner described in Section 5.
7. Additional considerations
ASV’s actions are independent of any type of formal report a complainant may file with other entities (e.g., conference site, employing institution, law enforcement) related to the incident. Individuals may have other rights to pursue legal and administrative remedies for discrimination or harassment that is prohibited by law or policy, in addition to or instead of proceeding under this policy. ASV encourages individuals who have experienced discrimination or harassment to seek assistance from all sources available to them.
Adopted by ASV Council October 15, 2018