The posts here often discuss conceptual issues, ideas and empirical insights, and opportunities for learning and communication that can promote the science, education, and community engagement of the Baltimore Ecosystem Study. This post is a little different, but it points to an equally important ingredient for success of a collaborative, productive, and engaged project: the avoidance of sexual harassment and discrimination. Given that diversity of various sorts, including the kinds mentioned in the policy, is important for the success of science, education, and application, a policy that is aimed at protecting the participants in BES from sexual harassment is also important.
Why are we promulgating a policy now? A growing body of research has documented that sexual harassment, assault, and rape are unfortunately a part of the field research experience. Action is necessary on the part of individuals and institutions to change the culture and the reality behind this sad situation. Here’s a news article that gives some background: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/07/140716141308.htm
The Project Management Committee was stimulated to go on record with an anti-harassment policy for BES. All participants in BES, from young students to senior leaders deserve a comfortable, open, and non-discriminatory work environment — whether it’s in the classroom, the lab, the field, or the office. This means that everybody involved BES –whether officially paid by BES funds or not –must understand what sexual harassment is in order to avoid engaging in harassing behaviors, and to be able to seek recourse if it does occur.
It is important for all to understand that intent is not the definition of harassing behavior — effect is. Unintentional harassment is still harassment. The policy gives examples of things that can be perceived as harassment, and which must therefore be avoided.
Here is the entire text of the policy: