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Conference Policies

Code of Conduct

AZA is committed to providing a safe, productive, and welcoming environment during AZA-scheduled activities for all meeting participants and AZA staff. Each and every participant, including attendees, speakers, volunteers, exhibitors, Association staff, and service providers, is expected to understand and follow policies in all in-person and virtual spaces during AZA-scheduled activities. These expectations apply to all AZA scheduled activities listed in the meeting program, including those held in conjunction with AZA conferences. Of course, neither AZA nor any conference host can prevent incidents from occurring, but AZA can and will take steps to minimize the potential for occurrence, respond compassionately, and seek to deter repetition of reported violations.

Personal Safety and Security

AZA works with venue staff and online moderators to provide a safe environment for all meeting participants. 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 events, and other 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 any sessions, in the exhibit hall, or at any events organized by AZA at the meeting venue, hotels, or other AZA-contracted facilities and online platforms.
  • Harassing photography.
  • Photographing slides of oral presentations, taking screen shots of chat room/Q&A activity and taking photos of posters without permission from presenter – with intent to distribute.
  • Recording of presentations and other sessions without permission from presenter and intent to distribute.
  • Violating the rules and regulations of the conference venue.
  • 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 either in person or online, 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.
 
Melissa Howerton
mobile – (301) 244-3337
Candice Dorsey
mobile – (301) 244-3339
Craig Hoover
mobile – (301) 244-3345

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

To the extent possible, AZA staff receiving the report will respect any victim requests 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.

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 clearly criminal nature, legal authorities will be notified unless the victim has compelling reason and specifically requests that such notification not occur.

If the offense is not of a criminal nature, the AZA staff receiving the report will gather information from the victim and discuss next steps, recognizing that AZA is not an investigative authority.

If a person has been found to have harassed another person, any of the following may take place:
  • Issue a verbal or written warning
  • Suspend attendance at AZA-sponsored events
  • Prohibit attendance at any future meeting
Reports of unacceptable conduct by an individual may also be reported by AZA to an individual’s employer. Ultimately, beyond the conduct of AZA employees, the conduct of conference attendees is most appropriately handled by their employer, and in severe or repetitive cases, employer reporting will be considered.

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


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