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Conference Policies

Code of Conduct
AZA is committed to providing a safe, productive, and welcoming environment for all meeting participants and AZA staff. Each and every participant, including attendees, speakers, volunteers, exhibitors, Association staff, service providers, is expected to understand and follow attendance policies. These expectations apply to all AZA meeting-related events, including those events held in conjunction with AZA conferences and events.

Personal Safety and Security
AZA works with venue staff to make sure meeting participants are safe. We ask that all attendees report any questionable activity to any AZA or venue security staff for immediate action. No concern is too small – if you see something, say something.
  • Be aware of your surroundings at all times.
  • Regardless of where you are, use the buddy system when walking to and from the conference location, networking event locations – especially during early or late hours.
  • Don’t wear your meeting badge on the street. Take it off as soon as you leave the venue.
  • Don’t carry a lot of cash or credit cards.
  • Don’t leave personal property unattended anywhere, anytime.
In an emergency, you should ask any AZA staff member or the on-site security personnel to help you.

Responsible Drinking
At many AZA networking events, both alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages are served. AZA expects participants at our events to drink responsibly. AZA and conference host event staff have the right to deny service to participants, and may require a participant to leave the event.

Unacceptable Conduct
  • Harassment, intimidation, or discrimination in any form.
  • Any abuse, including physical, verbal or non-verbal abuse, of any attendee, speaker, volunteer, exhibitor, AZA staff member, service provider, or any other meeting guest.
  • Disruption of presentations at sessions, in the exhibit hall, or at any events organized by AZA at the meeting venue, hotels, or other AZA-contracted facilities.
  • Examples of unacceptable behavior include comments related to gender, gender identity or expression, age, sexual orientation, disability, physical appearance, body size, race, religion, national origin, political affiliation, inappropriate use of nudity and/or sexual images in public spaces or in presentations, or threatening or stalking any attendee, speaker, volunteer, exhibitor, AZA  staff member, service provider, or other meeting guest.
Sexual Harassment
Sexual harassment is unacceptable conduct of a sexual nature which makes a person feel uncomfortable, offended, humiliated and/or intimidated.  Examples of conduct or behavior which constitute sexual harassment include, but are not limited to:
  • Physical conduct
  • Physical violence, including sexual assault
  • Unwelcome physical contact or inappropriate touching
  • The use of threats or rewards to solicit sexual favors
Verbal conduct
  • Comments or insults based on appearance, age, private life, etc.
  • Sexual comments, stories or jokes
  • Sexual advances
  • Repeated and unwanted social invitations for dates or physical intimacy
  • Condescending or sexist remarks
  • Sending sexually explicit messages (by phone or email)
Non-verbal conduct
  • Display of sexually explicit or suggestive material or images
  • Sexually-suggestive gestures
  • Whistling or “cat calling”
Reporting Unacceptable Conduct
If you or anyone else is in immediate danger at any time, please contact local law enforcement (by calling 911) and immediately notify facility security.

If you or anyone else is the subject of unacceptable conduct, please contact any of the AZA staff below.

AZA has zero-tolerance for any form of discrimination or harassment, including sexual harassment. If you experience or observe harassment or hear of any incidents of unacceptable behavior, AZA asks that you please inform any of the following so that we can take action.
Candice Dorsey
mobile - (703) 282-9082
Melissa Howerton
mobile - (703) 517-3597
Jack Keeney
mobile - (301) 655-1973  
Kris Vehrs
mobile - (301) 332-9573

All reports will be treated seriously and promptly. Incidents will be handled with respect for the privacy of the victim, and will be confidential to the extent practical, given the circumstances. Reports may also be made anonymously.

Upon receiving a complaint, the matter may be further investigated by additional AZA Staff. Actions to be taken will be discussed beforehand with the victim of the harassing behavior, where possible.

If the complaint is of a criminal nature, legal authorities will be notified.
If the offense is not of a criminal nature, the AZA staff receiving the report will listen to the victim and discuss next steps.

If a person has been found to have harassed another person, any of the following may take place:
  • Verbal or written warning;
  • Suspension of attendance at AZA-sponsored events;
  • Prohibit attendance at any future meeting
The AZA staff receiving the report will respect any and all requests of the victim to remain anonymous. Unacceptable conduct may be part of a larger pattern of repeated harassment. Please alert AZA to all such conduct regardless of the offender’s identity or job title, even if you prefer your report to remain anonymous.

Reports of unacceptable conduct by an individual may also be reported by AZA to an individual’s employer.

AZA has zero tolerance for retaliation either on-site or at a member facility against individuals for reporting unacceptable conduct at AZA-related events.

All payments must be made in U.S. funds, drawn on by a U.S. bank, and payable to AZA. Credit card payments will be processed in U.S. funds, in accordance with effective exchange rates. Statement to show charge by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums.

All refund requests must be received in writing by Friday, August 23, 2019. Refund requests received after this date will be reviewed on a case by case basis.  No refund consideration will be given for requests received after Monday, September 16, 2019.  Approved refunds will be issued within 30 business days and a $75 processing fee will be deducted. Substitutions from the same institution or company will be accepted, in writing, without penalty.  Event tickets are nonrefundable. Please send cancellation or substitution requests to: AZA, ATTN: Cheryl Wallen, 8403 Colesville Road, Suite 710, Silver Spring, MD 20910, (e) cwallen@aza.org, (f) 301-562-0888.

Membership Requirement
Commercial Membership or Friend of IMATA Membership is required for any individual representing a commercial entity (a company that provides products and services, including consultants).  Non-member registration is only open to individuals employed by a zoo, aquarium, non-profit organization, or government agency.  Non-member registration is not open to individuals employed by a non-member commercial entity. Consultants or individuals representing a commercial entity that is not a current Commercial Member, Friend of IMATA, Conservation Partner, Exhibitor, or Sponsor, are NOT eligible to attend the conference.

Attendees representing a zoo, aquarium, non-profit organization, or government agency are NOT required to be individual members of AZA or work for an AZA-accredited institution in order to register for the Conference. 

Hotel Reservations
The discounted AZA rate is only available for registered attendees and registered exhibitors of the Annual Conference. Once you have registered or purchased exhibit space, you will find your unique reservation link in your confirmation email. The hotel will not be accepting call-in reservations.  If this policy causes an issue, please contact Cheryl Wallen.

Vendor Solicitations
Solicitation of attendees and exhibitors by non-exhibitors is prohibited and individuals will be subject to expulsion.

Age Requirements
No one under the age of 18 is permitted to register and attend the conference sessions, meetings, or social events, unless they are accompanied by a parent or guardian throughout the entire conference. That parent or guardian must be a registered attendee and over the age of 18. Children under the age of 18 must be registered and accompanied by a registered parent/guardian over the age of 18 at all times.

Children under the age of 18 are not allowed in the Exhibit Hall during exhibitor move in or move out.  Children are not permitted to partake in Exhibit Hall food events. Complimentary child registration badges can be requested at the onsite registration desk.

Photographers will be taking pictures at the conference, which may be used for promotional and educational purposes. Registration or participation in the meeting and other activities constitutes an agreement to allow AZA to use and distribute attendees image or voice in photographs and recordings of the meeting - now and in the future.

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