This policy is focused on conduct, non-discrimination, and harassment at SPA events or during SPA- sponsored activities, and with SPA-related on-line communications and interactions as part of SPA-related programs and offerings. A separate policy focused on conduct, non-discrimination, and harassment within the SPA workplace.

Value Statement

SPA is committed to providing a safe, productive, and welcoming environment for all individuals who participate in its meetings, events, and programs, based on the full range of dimensions of diversity, including but not limited to: ability, age, body size, educational status, ethnicity, family responsibilities, gender identity, gender expression, immigrant status, marital status, national origin, place of residence or business, political affiliation, race, traits historically associated with race, religion, sex, sexual orientation, pregnancy (including childbirth, lactation and related medical conditions), socioeconomic status, and veteran status (“personal characteristics”).

Policy Statement

SPA events and programs are meant to allow for the collegial exchange of ideas and discussion of issues related to the SPA community. Civil discourse that includes and acknowledges a diversity of opinions and experiences is vital. SPA prohibits discrimination and harassment at any time, including during its events, programs, governance activities, and within publications and online learning communities.

All participants in SPA meetings, events, and programs are expected to:

  • Be respectful
  • Listen actively
  • Be collaborative
  • Respect diversity, including communication differences
  • Respect privacy of participants
  • Ask for consent for audio-visual recordings, quotes, or photography
  • Act with honesty in their professional relationships and refrain from taking credit for the work of others without specific acknowledgement and authorization;
  • Be aware of language diversity
  • Handle disagreement constructively
  • Act fairly, honestly, and in good faith with other participants

Abiding by these guidelines helps ensure that all individuals have a positive experience.

Discrimination, harassment, and efforts that harm, intimidate, or coerce people (i.e. bullying) are prohibited, as is the promoting or encouraging of such behavior in any SPA or SPA-managed meeting or activity, including the annual convention, workshops, SPA publications, and social media. Harassment also includes deliberate intimidation, stalking, following, harassing photography or recording, sustained disruption of talks or other events, unwelcome physical contact or sexual attention, or any other conduct that has the purpose or effect of creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive environment. It is a violation of this policy to retaliate against an individual for reporting bullying, discrimination or harassment or to intentionally file a false report of bullying, discrimination, or harassment.

Scope and Coverage of this Policy

This Policy applies to SPA members, volunteers1, leaders, staff,2 vendors, exhibitors, contractors, exhibitors, sponsors and service providers (“SPA Participants”) at SPA-sponsored events or with respect to SPA-related business, events, or online interactions and/or learning communities. It concerns actions by and toward SPA Participants in relation to SPA-sponsored activities, interactions, presentations, communications, meetings, and events. This may also apply to the external and/or online conduct of SPA Participants if and when SPA determines that the conduct substantially affects SPA business, leadership interests, values, or standing in the higher education community.

This code of conduct applies to every individual at the meeting, whether attendee, speaker, facilitator, guest, SPA staff, contractor or other. It applies to all SPA meetings and related events, including those sponsored by organizations other than SPA that are held in conjunction with SPA events, on public or private platforms.

This Policy encompasses situations that SPA, in its discretion, interprets as involving discrimination or harassment, including: any good faith complaint about a violation of this Policy; any situation that presents a threat to the health, welfare, or safety of a member or any other person(s) connected with a SPA activity; and/or any situation that disrupts Society business.

Reporting Process and Review

If you are being subjected to, or notice that someone else is being subjected to, behavior that violates this Code of Conduct, please contact the SPA Executive Director. If the complaint pertains to the Executive Director, please reach out to SPA President. All complaints will be treated seriously and responded to promptly. All reports are kept confidential to the extent possible.

If possible, provide the following information:

  • Identifying information (name/badge number, appearance) of the participant who violated the Code of Conduct
  • The behavior that was in violation
  • The location and approximate time of the behavior
  • The circumstances surrounding the incident
  • Other people involved in or witnessing the incident

Staff are trained on how to deal with the incident and how to further proceed with the situation. Staff will take steps to assist the targets and witnesses of Code of Conduct violations to feel safe for the duration of the event. These may include providing an escort, finding accommodation at a different hotel, or changing travel plans. Staff will NOT contact venue security or local law enforcement unless requested to do so by the target of the Code of Conduct violation.

After gathering information, the Executive Director works with the President to determine if the complaint warrants further investigation. If the President believes that the complaint warrants attention and the complainant would like to file a formal report, a review will be conducted by a SPA Review Committee, comprised of three board members specifically appointed at the time that the formal report is submitted. Reviews include a discussion to hear from both the reporting party and the responding party so that they can make their positions and points heard and provide evidence. SPA reserves the right to seek information it deems relevant.


In matters involving serious allegations of misconduct or any other conduct involving a potential threat to safety, the SPA Executive Director may exercise discretion to immediately and temporarily suspend or otherwise limit an individual’s participation in the SPA activity, pending further investigation.

If a violation has occurred, the SPA Review Committee can impose sanctions ranging from educational and rehabilitative, to corrective and punitive, including temporary or permanent suspension of any status with SPA. Sanctions can include, but are not limited to, loss of membership, loss of leadership position and/or eligibility, loss of privilege to be present at SPA events without warning or refund, and notification of the person’s home institution, employer, or company. Violation of an interim suspension under this procedure is grounds for indefinite suspension or termination of status, such as membership or vendor eligibility.

Anyone subjected to a determination of a violation and/or a sanction has seven days from the date of notice to notify the SPA Executive Director of any desire to appeal it. The appeals process includes the responding party personally, the SPA Executive Director, personally, or the ED’s designee(s), the SPA Executive Committee of the SPA Board of Trustees, and the SPA Review Committee.

Appeals are conducted, by the SPA Review Committee’s discretion, either by conference call or an in-person meeting. The Committee may arrange for legal representation to be present to manage and oversee the procedures.

1 Conduct requirements are also set forth in the SPA Volunteer Commitments.

2 SPA employees are covered by this policy and the SPA Workplace Policy on Conduct, Non-Discrimination, Harassment, and Retaliation in the SPA Personnel Practices Manual