Code of Conduct

The Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges is committed to providing a safe and productive meeting environment that fosters open dialogue and the exchange of ideas, promotes equal opportunities and treatment for all participants, and is free of harassment and discrimination. We recognize a shared responsibility to create and hold that environment for the benefit of all. All participants are expected to treat others with respect and consideration, follow venue rules, and alert staff or security of any dangerous situations or anyone in distress. 

Speakers are expected to uphold standards of scientific integrity and professional ethics. This includes notifying the AAVMC in advance of the meeting about any possible conflicts of interest. Speakers are also asked to frame discussions as openly and inclusively as possible and to be aware of how language or images may be perceived by others, especially given the international aspect of this organization.

The policies herein apply to all attendees, speakers, sponsors, exhibitors, staff, contractors, volunteers, and guests at attending AAVMC events which may be held in person or virtually.

AAVMC prohibits any form of harassment, sexual or otherwise disruptive behavior. 

What is Harassment?

Harassment includes speech or behavior that is not welcome or is personally offensive, whether it is based on ethnicity, gender, religion, age, body size, disability, veteran status, marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity, or any other reason not related to scientific merit. It includes stalking, following, abuse of power (related to position or identity), unnecessary touching, sustained disruption of meeting content, inappropriate behavior resulting from substance consumption, sexual language or imagery, harassing photography or recording, and unwelcome attention in person or on virtual platforms (including social media) used to support the meeting.

Behavior that is acceptable to one person may not be acceptable to another, so use discretion to be sure that respect is communicated. Harassment intended in a joking manner still constitutes unacceptable behavior. Retaliation for reporting harassment is also a violation of this policy, as is reporting an incident in bad faith.

Social Media

Live social media sharing of AAVMC meeting content is welcomed and encouraged as a way to share meeting related information. Attendees are encouraged to use meeting related hashtags when appropriate. 

Although social media has become a useful way of sharing information and promoting engagement, please note that meeting content is under embargo until presented. Additionally, attendees are prohibited from photographing or recording presentations unless explicit permission is given by presenters. Speakers also reserve the right to request that session materials not be shared across social media networks. Speakers are asked to include a statement before and during their presentation regarding session photography, recording and sharing of presentation materials. The AAVMC strongly encourages that the preference of the speaker regarding sharing of materials be honored. 

AAVMC reserves the rights to professional photos taken at the official AAVMC events and to share such images on social media and in future promotional materials.

Seeking Assistance and Reporting Harassment

AAVMC is committed to providing a productive and safe environment for everyone attending in person or virtual meetings and conferences. If an individual experiences or witnesses harassment they may file a formal report with the Chief Operating Officer via: AAVMC Code of Conduct Incident Form

For moments where safety is an immediate concern, please use a venue phone and ask for security. All complaints will be treated seriously and with all necessary speed.

If an individual experiences harassment, it is recommended that, in addition to notifying the AAVMC COO, they write down the details. They are not expected to discuss the incident with the offending party. Their confidentiality will be maintained to the extent that it does not compromise the rights of others. 

AAVMC reserves the right to remove an individual from AAVMC events without warning or refund, prohibit attendance at future meetings, and notify the individual’s employer.

For any questions about this policy, please contact Dotty Gray, AAVMC COO at dgray@aavmc.org.