Code of Conduct for NC-FEW Activities

Approved by the NC-FEW Leadership team March 17, 2023; updated April 12, 2023

NC-FEW supports a diverse, inclusive, and thriving community of educators and education researchers to improve teaching and learning using the Food-Energy-Water Nexus. In fulfilling its role as a National Science Foundation-funded Research Coordination Network, NC-FEW activities foster the exchange of ideas, through open and respectful dialogues, principally at workshops, conferences, and interactive webinars, as well as through working group activities and initiatives. NC-FEW promotes, provides, expects and endorses a professional and respectful atmosphere and values a diversity of views and opinions. This Code of Conduct is important to promoting diversity and creating an inclusive, supportive, and collaborative environment for all peoples.

All participants in NC-FEW activities – including, but not limited to, attendees, speakers, volunteers, exhibitors, NC-FEW leadership team members, members of the media, vendors, and service providers (hereinafter "participants") – are expected to abide by this NC-FEW Code of Conduct. This Code of Conduct applies in all venues, including workshops, conferences, webinars, ancillary events and social gatherings, and on-line forums and discussions associated with NC-FEW.

This Code of Conduct is intended to align with the American Geosciences Institute'sStatement on Harassment in the Geosciences, the Code of Conduct for NAGT Activities, the SERC Code of Professional Conduct, and Virginia Tech's Policy on Harassment, Discrimination, and Sexual Assault.

Expected Behavior

All participants in attendance are to:

  • Treat other participants with respect and consideration.
  • Be considerate, collegial, and collaborative.
  • Communicate openly, with civil attitudes, critiquing ideas rather than individuals.
  • Frame discussions as openly and inclusively as possible and be aware of how language or images may be perceived by others.
  • Take individual and collective responsibility for helping to eliminate bias and discrimination.
  • Avoid personal attacks, harassment, and microaggressions directed toward other participants in attendance.
  • Obey the rules and policies of the meeting venue, hotels, NC-FEW contracted facility, or any other venue where a participant's meeting badge and NC-FEW affiliation is likely to be displayed.
  • Alert meeting security personnel or NC-FEW leadership if they notice someone in distress, or perceive a potentially dangerous situation, or witness a dangerous situation.

Unacceptable Behavior

It is important that NC-FEW activities are events where no participant should ever feel belittled or made to feel unsafe. The following behavior will not be tolerated:

  • Harassment, intimidation, or discrimination in any form.
  • Physical, written, electronic, or verbal abuse of any participant.

Discrimination and/or Harassment means (1) conduct that conditions any element of a person's participation in activities on that person's age, color, disability, sex (including pregnancy), gender, gender identity, gender expression, genetic information, national origin, political affiliation, race, religion, sexual orientation, or military status, unless otherwise permitted or required by applicable law; (2) conduct of any type (oral, written, graphic, electronic or physical) that is based upon a person's age, color, disability, sex (including pregnancy), gender, gender identity, gender expression, national origin, political affiliation, race, religion, sexual orientation, or military status and unreasonably interferes with the person's work or participation in activities, or creates a working or learning environment that a reasonable person would find hostile, threatening or intimidating; and/or (3) conduct consisting of unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, or other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature when submission to such conduct is made, explicitly or implicitly, a term or condition of an individual's employment or education, or submission to or rejection of such conduct is used as a basis for employment or educational decisions affecting an individual.

NC-FEW is currently funded by a National Science Foundation grant housed at Virginia Tech and so the university's Policy on Harassment, Discrimination, and Sexual Assault applies.

Consequences of Unacceptable Behavior

  • Anyone requested to stop unacceptable behavior is expected to immediately cease and desist.
  • NC-FEW leadership, security, or law enforcement personnel shall take action(s) deemed necessary and appropriate. Actions may include immediate removal from the event (in-person or virtual) without warning or refund.
  • Anyone experiencing or witnessing unacceptable behavior may report unacceptable behavior. 
  • The Virginia Tech Office of Equity and Accessibility can notify the Civil Rights office of the home institution for offending parties.

Responding to Unacceptable Behavior

If you are the subject of unacceptable behavior or have witnessed any such behavior, please immediately notify the Virginia Tech Office for Equity and Accessibility at or (540) 231-2010. 

Anyone experiencing or witnessing behavior that constitutes an immediate or serious threat to public safety, or a criminal act is expected to contact 911. Those witnessing a potential criminal act should also take actions necessary to maintain their own personal safety.

Procedures to be followed in an emergency situation for in-person events

  • Evaluate the situation and if appropriate call 911 or activate a local fire alarm.
  • Do not endanger yourself. Follow the directions of building security or staff, law enforcement, fire department, military personnel, or NC-FEW leadership.
  • Initiate first aid if appropriate, so trained and necessary.
  • Be as observant as possible in order to communicate to emergency staff.