2023 CERF Event Code of Conduct

All Attendees Must Abide

The Coastal & Estuarine Research Federation (“CERF”) is committed to providing safe and welcoming environments for all who participate in CERF events and activities, whether in person or virtual. CERF prohibits and will not tolerate any form of harassment, bullying, or discrimination. Together, we can ensure that CERF events (as defined below) support the free expression and exchange of scientific ideas in environments that are positive and productive for all.

Report Unacceptable Behavior


CERF has established this Event Code of Conduct (the “Code”) to serve as a guideline for the conduct of anyone attending or participating in a CERF event, as well as the consequences for unacceptable behavior. We expect you to follow this Code so that you and other participants can enjoy each applicable event responsibly and with respect for the rights of others. Failure to abide by this Code is subject to corrective action and sanctions, including but not limited to refused admission, ejection, banishment, disconnection from the event without refund, suspension of CERF membership or membership privileges, expulsion from membership, and/or other penalties consistent with this Code.

Scope and Applicability

The Code applies to all attendees, media representatives, speakers, exhibitors, sponsors, staff, contractors, volunteers, award recipients, organizers, and other guests (collectively referred to as “Participants”) who attend or participate in any manner in CERF programs, including webinars, conferences, events, meetings, social gatherings, and other activities held, sponsored, or affiliated with CERF, whether in person or virtual (“CERF events”). This Code is intended to supplement, but not replace, the CERF Code of Ethics that is applicable to all CERF members. By attending a CERF event, you agree to abide by this Event Code of Conduct.


Conference Ombuds

CERF does not accept anonymous reports of unacceptable behavior as they cannot be acted upon. However, if you would like to speak with a neutral, independent, off-the-record resource, our conference ombuds. Nnena Odim will be on-site to hear concerns confidentially. She can assist with identifying options and resources to address conflicts or issues such as harassment, microaggressions, discrimination, or any violation of CERF’s Event Code of Conduct.

All conversations with Nnena are confidential. You can reach Nnena at [email protected] or 617-898-0938, and the ombuds website provides more information on how to meet with Nnena.

Expected Behavior

The following behaviors are expected and requested of all CERF event participants:

  • Behaving in a courteous and professional manner;
  • Treating all participants with respect, dignity, and consideration, in the spirit of valuing a diversity of views and opinions;
  • Welcoming all voices, whether participating by video/audio, audio, or other means;
  • Being considerate, respectful, and collaborative in your communication and actions and not dominating airtime or intentionally talking over or interrupting others;
    • Discussing differences and critiquing ideas, not people, in a non-confrontational manner with due regard for the viewpoints of others;
    • Refraining from demeaning, discriminatory, or harassing behavior and speech;
    • If using a webcam, maintaining a professional presence;
    • Reporting suspected inappropriate behavior directed at yourself or others;
      • Respecting the rules, policies, and property of CERF and its contracted event facilities and vendors; and
      • Complying with the directions of meeting leaders/organizers, and all applicable laws and regulations.

Prohibited Behavior

Violations of this Code include but are not limited to the following:

  • Harassment, which is defined for purposes of this Code to include unwelcome or offensive verbal comments, visual displays, or physical contact directed at any Participant, including conduct, comments, or images that a person would reasonably find offensive, demeaning, or hostile;
  • Sexual harassment, which is defined for purposes of this Code to include unwelcome, unsolicited, and unreciprocated sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other physical conduct, comments, or gestures of a sexual nature that has or that might reasonably be expected or be perceived to offend, humiliate, or intimidate another person;
  • Exhibiting behavior that is unruly or disruptive, or that endangers the health or safety of yourself or others;
  • Discriminatory conduct based on race, sex, sexual orientation, gender expression or identity, transgender status, age, national origin, disability, religion, marital status, veteran status, political affinity, or any other characteristic protected by law;
  • Inappropriate use of nudity and/or sexual images
  • Deliberate intimidation, threatening, or stalking;
  • Sustained disruption of portions of an event;
  • Making or distributing audio or visual recordings of a virtual event in any medium— only CERF or its agents may do so;
  • Invasion of privacy;
  • Actual or threatened pushing, shoving, or use of any physical force whatsoever against any person at an in-person event;
  • Possession of a weapon at an in-person event, or use of any item in a way that may cause danger to others at an in-person event;
  • Destruction, theft, dismantlement, defacement, abuse, or intentional misuse of CERF or CERF-contracted venues, property, equipment, signage, or supplies at an in-person event;
  • Failure to comply with directions of event leaders and organizers, venue personnel, or CERF staff regarding event operations or emergency response procedures;
  • Retaliation against participants for reporting activity that they reasonably believed to be in violation of this Code;
  • Knowingly and falsely reporting violations of this Code in bad faith; and
  • Accessing restricted or ticketed areas without a proper ticket, pass and/or credential; misusing tickets, passes and/or credentials; presenting a false identification; or permitting another person to falsely present the Participant’s identification as their own.

Moreover, this Code is not intended to be all-inclusive, and it is likely there will be conduct issues that it does not specifically address. In that event, as in all others, Participants are expected to follow the direction of CERF event staff who will take appropriate action to ensure the safety, security, and well-being of Participants.

Reporting Unacceptable Behavior

If you believe you are being subjected to inappropriate conduct, believe someone else is being subjected to inappropriate conduct, or have any other concerns, please alert CERF event staff who can work with CERF leadership to resolve the situation. CERF event staff will be happy to assist those experiencing inappropriate conduct to enable them to feel safe for the duration of the event. If you or someone else is in immediate danger, or if you see something suspicious or would like to report a security issue or emergency, contact venue security or local law enforcement. You may also report unacceptable behavior by using this form

Report Unacceptable Behavior

Determining a Violation

Violations of this Code are taken seriously and should be promptly reported to any CERF event staff present. Share as much information as you can to help us make a thorough investigation of the incident. CERF will investigate all incidents reported at an event with discretion. Participants are required to maintain the confidentiality of materials submitted to or received by CERF under this Code. CERF shall make reasonable efforts to maintain the confidentiality of relevant materials but may disclose case-related materials or information in response to legal process, when already publicly known, or when CERF leadership otherwise determines disclosure is in the best interests of CERF.

Consequences of Participant Engagement in Prohibited Conduct

CERF, in its sole discretion, will determine the nature of the participant's conduct that warrants corrective action as well as the corrective action to be taken. Corrective action may take any of the following forms: verbal warning; expulsion from the event; expulsion from the event with no refund of fees; bar from future CERF events; and/or notifying appropriate authorities. In addition, CERF may take action with regard to an event participant’s membership in CERF, if applicable, including suspension or expulsion, subject to established CERF procedures. Event participants asked to stop engaging in prohibited conduct are expected to comply immediately. If they do not comply, CERF event staff or organizers may mute or remove the Participant.

To protect all parties involved, CERF will generally not make any detailed public statements about Code incidents. The decision(s) of CERF are final. CERF may establish more detailed procedural guidelines for resolving conduct matters that are consistent with the provisions of these bylaws.


For questions regarding the Event Code of Conduct, please contact CERF’s Executive Director, Susan Park ([email protected]). This Code is subject to change and may be revised without further notice.

Approved 19 October 2018

Revised 23 October 2020