Sexual Harassment and Discrimination Policy

The mission of Gordon Research Conferences (“GRC”) is to provide an international forum for the presentation and discussion of frontier research in science and engineering. A fundamental premise of any GRC conference is that all persons who are presenting, attending or otherwise involved with the conference will at all times engage with one another in a professional manner and with appropriate respect. If these standards are not observed during the conference, whether in the course of presentations, poster sessions, meals or other social interactions, the GRC Board believes the community of scientists and engineers at the conference will be adversely impacted. 

These expected standards of professionalism and respect do not allow for the occurrence of discrimination or harassment based on sex, gender, race, ethnicity, national origin, age, disability, or other commonly protected classification (“Prohibited Behavior”) at or in connection with a GRC conference.  In order to assure each member of every GRC community that Prohibited Behavior is not tolerated, the GRC Board has adopted a Conference Conduct Policy addressing the minimum requirements of professionalism and respect at its conferences.   Additionally, the GRC Board now adopts the following policy to address circumstances in which an institution of appropriate authority has made a verifiable determination that a scientist or engineer was found to have engaged in Prohibited Behavior:

It is the policy of GRC that if a scientist’s or engineer’s primary employer, an institution affiliated with the individual’s primary employer, a court or administrative agency or other tribunal of competent jurisdiction, a governmental agency or authority with jurisdiction over scientific research of the individual or funding of the same, or a nationally recognized professional organization widely accepted by the scientific or engineering community of which the individual is a member, formally makes or declares a verifiable finding that the individual has engaged in Prohibited Behavior, a finding from which no further appeals may be taken under the finding institution’s procedures, the individual shall be banned from attending any GRC or Gordon Research Seminar (“GRS”) for a period of five years from the date of the finding, subject to appeal for good cause shown to the GRC Executive Committee (whose determination as to good cause shall be conclusive and binding).  In the event a scientist or engineer is found by GRC to have engaged in Prohibited Behavior at a GRC or GRS as outlined in its Conference Conduct Policy, the GRC Executive Committee may, in its sole discretion, institute the same ban. 

The ban shall apply to any scientist or engineer who seeks to participate or is invited by the Chair(s) of a conference, and also shall apply to the Chair(s) and the Vice Chair(s) themselves.  If a finding is made or declared by an institution of appropriate authority but an appeal by the individual charged with Prohibited Behavior is pending, admission to or speaking at the meeting shall be determined by the GRC Executive Committee, in its sole discretion.

For purposes of this policy, the definition of harassment or harassing behavior includes without limitation the use of epithets or slurs, derogatory jokes or comments, ‎and repeated attempts to make contact with another individual who has indicated that the contact is unwelcome.  Sexual harassment includes ‎without limitation unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, sexual assault and other unwelcome verbal or physical ‎conduct of a sexual nature.

This policy also recognizes that GRC lacks investigatory authority sufficient to address mere allegations of Prohibited Behavior at another institution in the absence of a verifiable determination by that institution. 

Each conferee applicant shall, as part of his, her or their registration to attend a conference, certify that he, she or they have not been found by an institution of appropriate authority to have engaged in any Prohibited Behavior during the previous five years. If GRC determines that a conferee applicant misrepresented his, her or their status as being free of any such finding, that applicant will be banned from attending any GRC or GRS for a period of 10 years from the date of such determination. Upon expiration of the applicable period of banned attendance, the scientist or engineer will be permitted to register, attend, present and speak at GRCs and GRSs as determined by the applicable Chair, unless the GRC Executive Committee determines, in its sole discretion, that the circumstances resulting in the ban were egregious.

This policy is effective as of November 1, 2023.


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