Composed by the Members of the SoE Ethics & Advocacy Committee:
Kelly Bannister, Meaghan Efford, Cissy Fowler, Robbie Hart, Joyce LeCompte-Mastenbrook, Letitia McCune, Armando Medinaceli, Kali Wade, Sarah Walshaw

The SoE Ethics and Advocacy Committee composed a “Code of Conduct for Meetings and Events held by the Society of Ethnobiology” (SoE or “Society” hereafter). The Code of Conduct is intended as a separate and complementary policy to the Society’s Code of Ethics . The Code of Conduct outlines expected behaviours for meetings and events held by the Society to foster a sense of well-being and safety for all participants as they come together to share and exchange. The new policy responds to recent issues in other society meetings and is intended to proactively forestall problems that could arise in the future. It is inspired by similar Codes developed by other societies and organizations.

A working draft was brought forward for initial feedback from participants of the Society’s annual conference in May 2019. This version incorporates feedback received at the conference and was voted on and subsequently adopted by the Society’s membership in August 2020. The goal is to implement the Code of Conduct for conferences, meetings and events beginning in 2020.

ADOPTED Code of Conduct for Meetings and Events Held by the Society of Ethnobiology

1. Purpose:

SoE is committed to ensuring its conferences, meetings, and events foster thoughtful and productive exchanges of information and ideas in a safe and inclusive setting that is free from harassment, discrimination, or violence of any kind. All meeting participants are to be treated with respect and consideration. We encourage members to be mindful of their behavior and reflective on their interactions with others. Registration for Society meetings and events is considered explicit agreement to abide by this Code of Conduct.

2. Scope of Policy:

This Code of Conduct applies to all SoE members in their interactions with other members and with non-members during participation in all conferences, meetings and events associated with the Society. This Code of Conduct applies to all in-person and virtual meetings and events hosted or organized by SoE as well as to the Society’s social media. It also applies to all physical and virtual spaces where SoE business occurs. The policy covers member conduct at both formal (e.g., conference sessions, films, field trips, workshops) and informal (e.g., planned social activities, lunches, banquets) events organized by the Society.

3. Conduct at Meetings and Events:

SoE is devoted to creating a welcoming community where everyone can thrive in their ethnobiological pursuits. The Society intends that conferences, meetings and events are fora where individuals may share their experiences and beliefs while they respect the perspectives and values of others. The Society will strive to hold meetings and events in inclusive spaces by choosing venues that do not discriminate based on gender, sexual orientation, disabilities, marital choices, health, epistemological backgrounds and approaches, or other personal choices of participants. Members are encouraged to be welcoming and hospitable to Elders, students, new members, and caregivers.

Diversity and Inclusion
Diversity and inclusion are vital components of a healthy Society that are expressed through acceptance and appreciation when engaging across differences. Conference attendees are encouraged to view diversity as beneficial. People from all nationalities and ethnicities, from all points along the gender and sexual orientation spectra, and from within the full variety of physical and mental abilities, shall be treated with inherent dignity and respect.

Respectful discourse
At conferences, meetings and events, the Society hosts ethnobiologists whose theoretical or applied work occurs along the full range of natural sciences, social sciences, arts, and humanities. The Society values epistemic equity. Empathetic listening, healthy debates, and constructive criticism generate better science, scholarship, and practice. Meeting spaces are for attendees to thoughtfully engage each other with generous spirits and nonviolent communication aimed toward improving our collective scientific and scholarly methods and understandings, and inspiring one another towards new ideas and insights. A mindful approach to all interactions is encouraged, such as being aware of our positionality relative to those of our colleagues. This includes showing the highest form of respect to Indigenous and Traditional Peoples who attend SoE meetings, to those who are absent but spoken of at the meetings, to those upon whose lands the events are held, and/or to those who resided on the land prior to colonization.

Harassment in any form is prohibited at SoE meetings. Harassment constitutes acts or statements that detract from a person’s wellbeing, including sexual harassment, gender-based harassment, sexual orientation-based harassment, age-based discrimination, and other forms such as bullying, insults, or hate speech. Sexual harassment in the form of unwanted behavior of a sexual nature, whether physical, verbal or electronic, is unacceptable and may be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. Clear and unambiguous consent is necessary before encounters of a physical or sexual nature, without exception. To deploy speech with sexual content, requires prior consent from every participant affected. The Society’s protocol for managing harassment concerns is described below under Section 4 (Reporting Misconduct).

Integrity in Sharing
Acknowledgements and Disclosures–Attendees in the Society’s meeting places owe their respect to all other attendees, research collaborators, co-authors, advisors, and partners. Conference presenters are urged to acknowledge and speak respectfully of the humans and nonhumans who reside in ethnobiology study areas. Presentations should include acknowledgements of research collaborators and participants, and credit sources of knowledge and information, both published and unpublished. Presenters may consider providing advance notice and including a disclaimer at the onset if their work is related to a sensitive topic, such as death, the deceased, the dying, or human remains, as certain topics can be alarming to unaware audiences or offensive in specific cultural contexts.

Permission and Consent–Presenters should include only materials for which they have copyright permission, or prior consent to include from all persons who are portrayed narratively, textually, and visually in oral presentations and posters when the source of the material is not subject to copyright laws. Presenters are encouraged to reflect upon and share the process they used to obtain consent from non-copyrighted sources, which may or may not be part of formal research ethics review processes. The Society encourages members to describe their participation in Indigenous and Traditional ethics review processes, when relevant and appropriate.

Sharing online–Attendees are encouraged to share their meeting experiences online, however, attendees should not record or transmit content from oral or poster presentations without the explicit permission of the presenter. To encourage a safe and inviting space for diverse voices and perspectives, the following guidelines are offered for respectful social media conversations about meetings and events:

  • Be clear that the content you post only represents your own thoughts, not those of SoE.
  • the use of the Society's social media hashtags or handles (#SoEthnobio, @SofEthnobiology, and others created for meetings, etc) connects you to the Society's digital space, and so falls under this Code of Conduct. The Society recommends that you include "All views are my own" in your personal social media profile descriptions and/or posts.
  • Act in a professional and constructive manner and be respectful of others' opinions, especially regarding sensitive, controversial or passionate topics.
  • Ensure content is adequately and appropriately attributed.
  • Share images or content of posters or presentations only when there is explicit permission from the presenters. When in doubt if the content should be shared online, refrain from doing so.
  • Take the initiative to learn about, use and abide by any system for indicating permission to share that is put in place for conferences, meetings and events (e.g., a green “Thumbs up” icon was used at the 2019 SoE conference)

4. Reporting Misconduct at a Conference

Should a conference attendee become aware of discrimination or harassment or have a related concern, they are encouraged to complete the Code of Conduct reporting form [this form will be available on the SoE website in the “Ethics” tab and in the set of conference webpages] or directly contact one or more members of the Conduct Support Team consisting of the Society’s President (, Vice President (, and Conference Coordinator ( The Ethics and Advocacy Committee provides resources and advice to the Conduct Support Team. Bystanders who witness or become aware of conduct violations are encouraged to intervene by contacting the Conduct Support Team. Conference attendees who feel immediate threats to their safety or witness an emergency situation should contact local emergency services or on-site security. The Code of Conduct prohibits false reporting. Retaliation against any person for making a report is also prohibited.

5. Society Response to Reports of Violations

The Society shall take all reports seriously. The Society will respect confidentiality requests and will honor them within legal parameters.

Upon receiving a report, the Society will proceed in a timely manner. In the case of new incidences or accusations, the Society will proceed with the goal of fairness to all parties, which may require time to gather full information and follow appropriate processes. In the case of known offenders whose offenses are officially on record, the Society will respond swiftly with the goal of maximizing the safety and wellbeing of event participants. The Conduct Support Team may remove violators from the conference without a refund and ban attendance at future conferences, meetings and events. When further investigation is necessary, the Conduct Support Team or the Society’s Board may refer the case to authorities in the meeting venue, local law enforcement, legal authorities, or other appropriate entities.

No person who has been sanctioned for discrimination, assault, or harassment will be permitted to attend Society conferences, meetings or events. After five years, those with such records can petition the Society Board of Directors for reconsideration on a case-by-case basis. Individuals who wish to appeal this rule may do so prior to an event. Failure of known offenders to self-exclude from the Society’s conferences, meetings and events will justify immediate expulsion by the Conduct Support Team or the Society’s Board once the record is verified, with no possibility of refund.

6. A Living Code of Conduct

The SoE Ethics and Advocacy Committee are committed to receiving ongoing feedback and suggestions to ensure this Code of Conduct is a living document that meets the needs of the Society and members. There will be opportunities to revisit this code in the future at Annual General meetings, and by emailing the President ( .