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Community Standards

USSP Mission Statement:

The Urbino Summer School in Paleoclimatology (USSP) is a multidisciplinary course that integrates lectures, symposia, field trips, tutorials, and in-class exercises on the many areas of paleoclimatology and paleoceanography. Key topics include geochemical and paleobiological proxies, chronostratigraphy, biogeochemical cycling, the mechanisms of regional and global paleoclimate change on various time scales, statistical analysis of paleoclimate data, and all aspects of deep-time climate modeling.

The goals of USSP are twofold: (1) to cross-train graduate students from disparate disciplines,providing participants with an advanced working knowledge on proxy data and models (including theiruncertainties) and their use in evaluating past climates, and (2) to be an engine for innovation in – andcultivation of – the field of paleoclimatology, and a springboard for its future leaders.This document articulates the mission of USSP, and reaffirms our strong commitment to foster the most supportive, healthy learning environment for all students and faculty in our community.

Community Standards for USSP:

An essential component of the innovative structure of USSP is the integration of many formal and informal opportunities for learning and mentoring (classroom, field trips, USSP social events, informal lunches and dinners). Embodied in the spirit of USSP is the principle that we are – together – a community of learners, and that the intellectual development of all participants (students and instructors) should be supported at all times. To facilitate this, all participants (students and instructors) are required to abide by the following guidelines for the duration of the summer school, both inside and outside of the classroom. It is pertinent that you read these Community Standards and agree to these guidelines to participate in the USSP.

We are committed to providing a safe, productive environment that supports an open exchange of ideas, that provides equal opportunities for everyone to learn and thrive, and that promotes an environment that is free of bias, discrimination, and harassment. All USSP participants are expected to treat each other with respect and utilize appropriate reporting and support resources if unacceptable behavior occurs.

The Community Standards apply to all students and instructors for the duration of USSP, including all after hours socializing, days off, and excursions. The Community Standards apply to behavior on-site, online, and/or on social media. All individuals (students and instructors) agree to support the physical and emotional well-being of fellow USSP participants, both inside the classroom and outside the classroom. All USSP instructors, students, and visitors have a shared responsibility in meeting the spirit and letter of these standards and shall share any questions, concerns, and/or observations through the suggested methods outlined in Reporting and Accountability below, as soon as possible. If the USSP determines that these Community Standards have been broken, then the individual may be required to participate in restorative justice and/or be dismissed from the program.

Creating a Collegial Environment at USSP:

  • Be respectful and considerate to all people at all times.
  • Be aware of and welcoming of those with different experiences, perspectives, and backgrounds.
  • Think about how your words and actions impact those around you. Remember that intent is not enough; you also need to think about impact.
  • Report any harmful behavior that you witness or experience. There is a process and procedure to file a report (see below). 

Harmful Behavior will not be tolerated at USSP (on-site, online or social media):

  • Offensive, intimidating, discriminatory, or hostile comments or jokes related to race, color, religion, sex/gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, veteran status, national origin, ancestry, disability, age, socio-economic status, power differential, or physical appearance.
  • We have a zero-tolerance policy on hate speech.
  • Making comments of any type that make assumptions about others based on how they present themselves.
  • Commenting on physical appearance.
  • Referencing someone’s documentation status without the explicit consent for disclosure by the individual.
  • Personal attacks, demeaning comments, or insults of any type.
  • For example, physical or verbal abuse, including attacks on ideas vs. respectful, disagreeing dialogue.
  • Bullying, including coercion of anyone perceived as different or vulnerable. 
  • For example, there is a difference between unencumbered, passionate scientific discussions, which raise the level of discourse, and disparaging comments, which do not.
  • For example, pressure to drink alcohol is a form of coercion that is unacceptable.
  • Intentionally talking over or interrupting others or repeatedly disrupting someone else’s teaching, working, or speaking.
  • Unwelcome physical contact, sexual attention, stalking, or innuendo.
  • The development of sexual or romantic relationships between an instructor and student during USSP. Many students attend USSP to create a network of mentors, and the environment must ensure that specific students are not favored by some mentors over others.
  • Photographing or recording of an individual without consent.
  • Microaggressions of any type*.
  • *Microaggressions are intentional or unintentional, verbal or nonverbal, snubs, slurs, or insults, that are antagonistic, disparaging, or negative, and are aimed at people based on their identities. The impact of microaggressions is cumulative and thus can be deeply hurtful. 
  • *Microaggressions can be very subtle and/or unconscious; therefore, to identify these behaviors in ourselves requires being thoughtfully self-reflective. Examples include microassaults, microinsults, and microinvalidations

Reporting and Accountability:

The Advisory Board will evaluate allegations of misconduct or violation of the Community Standards reported to USSP. Means of reporting incidents include: 1) a form provided through the USSP website (with option to submit anonymous comments), link will also be provided to students on registration, 2) post-course evaluations, 3) oral communication with USSP personnel or on-site Equity Advocates (one instructor, one student), and 4) direct communication with a USSP Director, or Advisory Board member.

Upon receiving a report of an infraction of the USSP Community Standards, the Advisory Board will follow the process outlined below.

  1. Anonymous Complaints
    1. Advisory Board documents incident, reports to USSP.
    1. If additional witnesses, specific events, or likely respondents are identifiable from the complaint, further investigation may be warranted, in which case, the Advisory Board will follow the procedure outlined below (2-b-ii-2).
  2. Complaints by Named Complainants
    1. The Advisory Board will contact the complainant to offer support and direct them to available resources.
    1. Complainant determines what actions they want the Advisory Board to take
      1. Complainant requests no action.
        1. Advisory Board documents incident, reports to USSP.
      1. Complainant requests formal resolution by USSP.
        1. Advisory Board documents incident.
        1. Advisory Board reviews incident and selects one of two options.
          1. Incident does not violate community standards.
            1. No further action is needed.
          1. Incident appears to constitute violation of community standards
            1. Advisory Board initiates investigation.
              1. A notice of investigation is sent to both parties (complainant and respondent) in writing. All documents are confidential.
              1. Information will be collected through interviews, documents, and other sources will be compiled by the Advisory Board.
              1. Once the information is assembled, a report is written and shared with both parties and a meeting will be called by the Advisory Board. The meeting will be facilitated by at least two members of the Advisory Board and the respondent. The claimant has the option of attending the meeting.
              1. During the meeting, both parties will be given the opportunity to respond to the written report (verbally or in writing). The Advisory Board will consider all evidence related to the incident as well as any past reports, make an evaluation, and then recommend sanctions and/or actions, depending on the seriousness of the violation, to the USSP directors. The USSP Directors will be given a copy of all materials related to the case.
            1. A copy of all materials related to the case will also be sent to the home institution of the respondent.

USSP Database:

The USSP Advisory Board agrees that strict confidence will be maintained about any individuals or events or any other aspects of any matter discussed at the Board meetings. For each complaint/report that the Board receives, the Board’s findings, decisions and recommendations will be shared with the USSP organizers and will become part of a USSP database.  The database will be used for the following purpose:

1.   To generate public reports that will contain aggregated data. No information that reveals the complainant or respondent identities will be included in public reports.

2.   To assess whether and how USSP can better foster an environment of inclusivity and equity. To this end, the USSP Advisory Board will make recommendations for interventions (e.g., changes in policy, practice and/or programming) to the USSP organizers.

3.   To keep track of previous violations of the Community Standards. If an individual has been found to be in violation of the Community Standards, the USSP Advisory Board will use the database to see if there were previous violations. These previous violations will be considered when defining the sanctions to impose against that individual.