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SUL supports conference anti-harassment policies

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by Chris Bourg | Monday, July 15, 2013
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Stanford University and the Stanford University Libraries are committed to providing a work environment free from harassment of any kind.

For many of us, our work environment extends to participation in professional conferences and conventions, and many of those conferences have adopted codes of conduct and anti-harassment policies. For example, the Digital Library Federation (DLF) has adopted a code of conduct "dedicated to providing a harassment-free conference experience for everyone regardless of gender, sexual orientation, disability, physical appearance, body size, race, or religion."

Such codes of conduct are consistent with our values, and we at Stanford University Libraries support the adoption of conference anti-harassment policies at conferences in the library and higher education communities. As such, I encourage all Stanford University Libraries staff members to participate only in those conferences that have clear and public anti-harassment policies and/or codes of conduct. If you are asked to speak at or otherwise contribute to a conference, I encourage you to ask the conference organizers if the conference has an anti-harassment policy, and to decline the invitation if the conference does not have such a policy and/or is unwilling to create one. I also encourage Stanford Library staff to help advocate for, draft, and implement such anti-harassment policies for the conferences they attend, and thus to effect positive change in our professional culture and extended work environments.

For background information on anti-harassment policies, including why they are important, sample policies, and a list of conferences with anti-harassment policies, please see the Ada Initiative Anti-harassment work. Additional resources, including this definition of harassing behaviors, can be found on the Geek Feminism Wiki:

"Harassment includes offensive verbal comments [related to gender, gender identity and expression, sexual orientation, disability, physical appearance, body size, race, religion, [your specific concern here]], sexual images in public spaces, deliberate intimidation, stalking, following, harassing photography or recording, sustained disruption of talks or other events, inappropriate physical contact, and unwelcome sexual attention."

By participating only in those professional venues that support the same anti-harassment policies we embody at Stanford, we ensure that our extended work environment reflects our values and we encourage our professional organizations and conference sponsors to develop anti-harassment policies for their events.

For further information and questions, please contact Chris Bourg, AUL for Public Services.

By Michael A. Keller, University Librarian, Founder/Publisher HighWire Press, Publisher Stanford University Press

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