2019 MESA Summer School : August 12 - 16

Code of Conduct

The MESA Summer School is an interactive environment for listening and considering new ideas from a diverse group, with respect for all participants without regard to gender, gender identity or expression, race, color, national or ethnic origin, religion or religious belief, age, marital status, sexual orientation, disabilities, veteran status, or any other aspect of how we identify ourselves.  It is the policy of the MESA Summer School that all participants will enjoy an environment free from all forms of discrimination, harassment, and retaliation.


Definition of Sexual Harassment:

Sexual harassment refers to unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature. Behavior and language that are welcome/acceptable to one person may be unwelcome/offensive to another. Consequently, individuals must use discretion to ensure that their words and actions communicate respect for others. This is especially important for those in positions of authority since individuals with lower rank or status may be reluctant to express their objections or discomfort regarding unwelcome behavior.


Sexual harassment does not refer to occasional compliments of a socially acceptable nature. It refers to behavior that is not welcome, is personally offensive, debilitates morale, and therefore, interferes with work effectiveness. The following are examples of behavior that, when unwelcome, may constitute sexual harassment: 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; unnecessary touching.


Definition of Other Harassment:

Harassment on the basis of any other protected characteristic is also strictly prohibited. This conduct includes, but is not limited to the following: epithets, slurs, or negative stereotyping; threatening, intimidating, or hostile acts; denigrating jokes and display or circulation of written or graphic material that denigrates or shows hostility or aversion toward an individual or group.


Definition of Discrimination:

Discrimination refers to bias or prejudice resulting in denial of opportunity, or unfair treatment regarding selection, promotion, or transfer. Discrimination is practiced commonly on the grounds of age, disability, ethnicity, origin, political belief, race, religion, sex, etc. factors which are irrelevant to a person's competence or suitability.


Definition of Retaliation:

Retaliation refers to taking some action to negatively impact another based on them reporting an act of discrimination or harassment.


Reporting an Incident:

Violations of this code of conduct policy should be reported immediately to one of the four MESA Summer School Directors. All complaints will be treated seriously and be investigated promptly. Confidentiality will be honored to the extent permitted as long as the rights of others are not compromised.  Sanctions may range from verbal warning, to ejection from the Summer School without refund, to the notification of appropriate authorities. Retaliation for complaints of inappropriate conduct will not be tolerated.


Advice for reporting sexual or other forms of harassment is available on the website of the Committee on the Status of Women in Astronomy (CSWA).

Here is a summary of the more detailed information available on the CSWA website:


Write everything down (times, places, nature of the incident, and comments made). Save emails, notes, etc. Tell someone you trust. It is likely that you will have to write and sign an official letter of complaint, documenting the nature of the harassment and/or discrimination. Be as detailed as possible. Supporting documentation and statements from witnesses should be submitted with your letter.