Code of Conduct
Rubin Observatory enforces the AURA Harassment and Code of Conduct Policy. Harassment and unprofessional conduct (including the use of offensive language) of any kind is not permitted at any time and should be reported per the instructions in the Reporting section of this page.
Rubin Observatory adheres to the following principles in order to provide a learning environment that produces rigor and excellence:
- Be Kind
Acting with and encouraging kindness strengthens individuals, relationships, and communities.
An inclusive, collaborative environment is best achieved when there is mutual trust, based upon honest behavior, throughout the community.
Inclusive environments foster excellence by challenging us to consider a variety of viewpoints and approaches. We honor alternate viewpoints as opportunities for discussion and learning, and therefore treat others with respect, even if we disagree.
In a diverse community, differences between people are recognized and acknowledged as assets. Our community is stronger, more creative, and more innovative because it is fueled by a broad range of ideas and perspectives.
Rubin recognizes the importance of actively including and encouraging involvement from all corners; diversity is only a benefit if all members feel empowered to participate. Quoting from the AAS guidelines: "Scientists should work to provide an environment that encourages the free expression and exchange of scientific ideas. They should promote equality of opportunity and fair treatment for all their colleagues, regardless of gender, race, ethnic and national origin, religion, age, marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, disability, veteran status, etc. Scientific ability must be respected wherever it is found."
Guidelines given to presenters encourage them to use color palettes and fonts that are suitable for color-blind and dyslexic participants. Dedicated Slack channels and social platforms with a dedicated hashtag will help people to follow essential parts of the discussions; this meeting's hashtag is #rubin2023. Participants are advised to be mindful and respectful of cultural differences between participants. People come from many countries with very different cultural backgrounds and languages, it is every participant’s duty to make sure everybody feels welcome in our community.
The Rubin 2023 organizers firmly reject all kinds of abusive behavior. The organizers have worked towards providing a welcoming, safe environment that encourages the free expression and exchange of ideas of all the participants. Every attendee is expected to make their individual contribution towards a respectful and inclusive meeting climate. Any discriminatory behavior against colleagues on any basis, such as gender, gender identity, race, ethnic background, national origin (including Indigenous Peoples), religion, political affiliation, age, marital status, sexual orientation, disabilities, or any other reason will not be tolerated during any Rubin Observatory event.
Reporting bullying, harassment, or aggression at Rubin 2023
The Rubin 2023 Organizing Committee has appointed Andrew Connolly (ajc at astro dot washington dot edu), John Franklin Crenshaw (jfc20 at uw dot edu) and Alysha Shugart ( ashugart at lsst dot org) to act as the designated contact people for reporting instances of bullying, harassment, or aggression.
The contact person is able to advise participants on how to deal with hostile situations and incidents. In the case that an event is reported, and with the approval of the reporting person, the designated contact person will approach the offending person(s) to discuss how their behavior is causing distress to other participants and remind them of the code of conduct applicable to all participants. If more serious measures are needed, the designated contact person should inform the reporting person(s) of the procedure to follow in these cases.
Should a participant witness events of bullying, harassment, or aggression, the recommendation is to contact the person who suffered the abuse to show support, ask how they are doing, and possibly suggest for them to talk to one of the designated contact people. The decision to approach the contact person should, however, ultimately be left to the person who suffered the abuse.
Principles of Engagement
The following are a few basic social rules, adapted from those of the Recurse Center. These rules make explicit certain norms of social behavior that help uphold our values stated in the Code of Conduct above, as well as the ethical guidelines we endorse. If you mess up on any of the below, don’t panic: we all make mistakes sometimes. Apologize, reflect, move forward. If someone points out that you have engaged in this behavior, it can be tempting to become defensive—but instead, apologize, reflect a moment, and move on.
- No -isms
We explicitly ban racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, and other kinds of bias— whether these behaviors are overt or subtle. Subtle -isms can be particularly tricky, as they are often unconscious behaviors we engage in by mistake, and are sometimes caused by conflicting norms between cultures. To use an example from Recurse, saying "It's so easy my grandmother could do it" is a subtle -ism. Refrain from equating any category of people to a specific behavior.
- Raise All Voices
During sessions and discussions, pay attention to who is contributing. Chairs are encouraged to be conscious of their biases and avoid preferentially selecting some people and/or paying attention to only some parts of the room. Discreetly invite contributions from quieter members of the group, making sure you are not embarrassing them or drawing undesirable attention (ask "what do junior people think" or "people from smaller colleges" for example) and be conscientious of not dominating the conversation. We understand that it can be exciting to discuss a new idea, but always strive to listen (rather than just wait your turn to speak).
- Take time to explain and do not belittle others
In an environment where participants have different backgrounds and knowledge, it is very important that people feel comfortable saying “I don’t know” or “I don’t understand.” Therefore, please do not act surprised when someone says they don’t know something, whether it is regarding a technical or non-technical subject (e.g. “What?! I can’t believe you don’t know what X is!”). Quoting from Recurse: "Feigning surprise has absolutely no social or educational benefit—instead, take time to explain so that all can follow and participate in the conversation.
- Choose constructive, rather than demeaning reactions
It is important to respect others' contributions. Positive and constructive reactions encourage discourse, while demeaning reactions discourage it. If you receive demeaning reactions during the course of the meeting, you should feel free to bring it up directly with the person, or if it’s more comfortable, point out the behavior to the meeting organizers or one of the designated contacts mentioned in the reporting section above.
Thank you to Lucianne Walkowicz and Federica Bianco for contributing resource documents and language to this policy.