Committee on Professional Code of Conduct

Institute of Mathematical Statistics Code of Conduct

The Institute is committed to the principles of diversity, integrity, civility, equal opportunity and respect in all of our activities. All forms of discrimination, harassment, bullying and retaliation are prohibited in any IMS activity. Members and guests are expected to maintain a professional and cordial environment in all settings and locations in which IMS work and activities are conducted, including committee meetings, workshops, conferences, and other work and academic functions undertaken on behalf of the IMS.

The purpose of this code is to describe the standard for good conduct expected of IMS members and guests participating in IMS activities. It should be read with the companion document on reporting and resolution (“The IMS Code of Conduct Procedures”).

For purposes of interpretation of this Code of Conduct, the IMS has adopted the following definitions, adapted from those published by the US National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine, and the American Astronomical Society.

Discrimination is prejudicial treatment of individuals or groups of people based on their race, ethnicity, color, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, religion, disability, veteran status, or any other characteristic protected by applicable laws.

Sexual harassment is unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature that interferes with an individual’s participation in IMS work or activities or creates an intimidating, hostile, or offensive environment.

Other types of harassment include any verbal or physical conduct directed at individuals or groups of people because of their race, ethnicity, color, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, religion, disability, veteran status, or any other characteristic protected by applicable laws, that interferes with an individual’s participation in IMS work or activities or creates an intimidating, hostile, or offensive environment.

Bullying is unwelcome, aggressive behavior involving the use of influence, threat, intimidation, or coercion to dominate others in the professional environment.

Retaliation refers to taking some action to negatively impact another based on a report of a violation of this Code of Conduct or participation in an investigation of a violation of this Code of Conduct.

Reporting and Enforcement
Reporting and enforcement of this Code is governed by the IMS Code of Conduct Procedures.

Maintenance of the Code of Conduct
The Code of Conduct is subject to periodic review and amendment, as detailed in the IMS Code of Conduct Procedures.

Institute of Mathematical Statistics Code of Conduct Procedures

Overview. The purpose of this document is to establish the procedures that will be followed by IMS in the event of a report of a violation of the IMS Code of Conduct.
The IMS expects all members to work proactively to promote good professional conduct, prevent violations of the IMS Code of Conduct and to help each other to resolve violations if they occur. Minor concerns that do not rise to the level of a violation of the Code can often be resolved by discussion. If the affected member is not able or does not feel empowered to do this, they are encouraged to seek help from a trusted colleague or the activity organizer, or report the incident to the IMS as described below. If a violation cannot be resolved immediately or satisfactorily, it should be reported in accordance with the procedures described below.

1. Professional Conduct Committee. A designated IMS Professional Conduct Committee (“Committee”) will be responsible for administering the Code of Conduct, handling reports of violations, and managing the review of any reported conduct and recommended actions.

The Professional Conduct Committee will be composed as per IMS Bylaws. Members will serve a five-year term, with one new person appointed per year by the Past President and approved by the IMS Board. The President and Past President will be ex-officio members. The Committee will be chaired by the Past President.

Reported violations of the Code of Conduct will be brought to the Committee in the first instance for consideration.(1)

Real or perceived conflicts of interest between any Committee member and the alleged offender will be declared to the Committee Chair. Persons who are involved in a case may also raise with the Chair any concerns about conflict of interest of any Committee member. The Chair will deal with these reported conflicts on a case by case basis.(2)

The Committee will determine the circumstances under which a reported violation of the Code is reviewed, including whether a conduct review process will be conducted internally by the Committee or by engagement of a third party, typically an attorney or professional consultant with experience in conducting such reviews.(3)

The third-party will provide findings to the Committee for a decision on the outcome by the Committee or referral by the Committee to the IMS Council for decision, as provided below.

2. Reporting a Violation. Anyone who experiences, observes, or has knowledge of a violation of the IMS Code of Conduct may bring it to the attention of a member of the Professional Conduct Committee. If warranted, it should also be reported to other relevant authorities, such as a conference or workshop organizer,(4) an employer or the Police.

If a report is made to the Committee, the person will be invited to discuss their concern with the Committee, explore possible avenues for resolving the issue and, if appropriate, make a formal Conduct Statement (“Statement”) to the Committee.

It is acknowledged that a person may find it difficult to discuss a concern or make a Statement, in which case they are encouraged to seek the help of a trusted friend and/or seek professional help from their workplace or university, a trained counselor, or another source.

3. Conduct Review Process. All Statements received by the Committee will be reviewed by the Committee and, if deemed appropriate, by an external third party as described above. Concerns may be reviewed without a Statement when the concerns involve troubling behavior that is not targeted towards any specific individual and/or may impact more than the person who raised it. Where appropriate, advice of a third party as described above may be sought. The timing, scope, and actions to be taken in each conduct review process will be determined on a case-by-case basis.

The Committee will provide notice to any members who may be contacted as part of a conduct review to let them know that a conduct review has commenced and that their participation is requested, and will provide information regarding the nature of their requested participation and any related timing. Notices will be sent using contact details available to the IMS. While every effort will be made to ensure the notice is delivered, it is acknowledged that it is the prerogative of members to respond to these notices; hence the conduct review is not contingent on response or consent from all parties.

Participants in an investigation may be asked to keep information shared by them or with them confidential and not share it outside the context of the investigation, unless disclosure is necessary for a report to a law enforcement agency or required by law, subpoena or court order.

The Committee will inform other members regarding the conduct review on a need-to-know basis and will take such other interim measures as the Committee deems appropriate under the circumstances, such as asking or requiring alleged offenders to abstain from participating in certain or all IMS activities until the conduct review process has concluded.

Where warranted, conduct reviews will include but not be limited to interviews with the reporting party, other involved parties and material witnesses and review of relevant documents and other information. Any party interested in a conduct review may submit to the Committee (or the third party when applicable) any information, materials or tangible evidence that he/she believes to be relevant, including without limitation names of potential witnesses, documents, digital media, tangible things and other evidence; character references; and, mitigating factors. It must be acknowledged that the extent of a review is limited by access to relevant information, the quality and quantity of information obtained, the financial resources of the Institute, privacy, Committee members’ time and other constraints.

Conduct reviews will be conducted with professionalism and fairness to all parties, and any mitigating or aggravating factors that are brought to the attention of the reviewer(s) will be considered. Mitigating factors may include without limitation: consent by the receiving party, severity of the offense, the extent of harm caused or that could have been caused, discrepancies in evidence, length of time since the offense, history before or after the offense, acceptance of responsibility and commitment to change unacceptable behavior, and character references. Aggravating factors may include without limitation the foregoing factors, as well as the circumstances of any prior offense(s).

It is a violation of the Code for any person to retaliate in any way against a person for making a good faith Statement or participating in a conduct review or decision-making under the Code.

A conduct review, whether conducted internally by the Committee or externally by a third party, will conclude with a written Conduct Review Summary which will comprise the Statement, activities undertaken during the conduct review, evidence and findings of fact, any relevant witness credibility and mitigating factors, and a recommended outcome with supporting justification.

4. Decision-making Process. Following a review via the process(es) outlined above, a report will be provided to the IMS Executive Committee (5), who will recommend a course of action to the IMS Council, who will make a decision on the outcome of the Review. Further information, including legal counsel, may also be sought before a decision is made.

In all cases, the IMS reserves the right to report conduct to any applicable law enforcement agency, event staff or other authorities.

5. Potential Outcomes of a Review. Possible outcomes of a conduct review may include (i) no action, (ii) further investigation by a third party, (iii) informal mediation, (iv) temporary or permanent suspension of eligibility for certain IMS benefits including revocation of past honors, membership, and involvement in specific IMS activities, and (iv) referral to the police, university, workplace or other relevant authority.

Even in the case where the outcome is no action, all information about completed cases will be held by an attorney for the IMS for reasons of privacy and confidentiality, for at least six years.

Information held by the Attorney about past cases will only be able to be accessible by the Chair of the Professional Conduct Committee or the IMS President unless otherwise decided by the Council.

6. Appeal Process. A person may appeal against an Action taken against them by the Council. An appeal must be in the form of a written document with supporting materials if warranted. An appeal will be brought to the Committee for consideration.

7. Communication of Decisions. The decision of the IMS and any details related to a conduct review will be promptly communicated to the parties involved in the conduct at issue, on a need to know basis taking into account legal and other considerations, the professional and personal implications for all parties involved, and the purpose of the Code of Conduct. At a minimum, the IMS will inform the reporting party, and potential offenders if they were contacted, that the case has been completed. The IMS reserves the right in its sole discretion to make an announcement at any time to its members or to the public regarding a conduct review and/or outcome of any matter reported pursuant to this Code of Conduct, upon a determination by the Council that it is in the best interest of the Institute to do so. Notices will be emailed using contact details available to the IMS.

8. Revision of the Code of Conduct documents. The Committee will conduct an annual review of the Code of Conduct, these Procedures and associated documents.

(1) If it is considered necessary, an application can be made to the IMS President to raise any issues directly with a relevant third party rather than going through the Committee.
(2) If the conflict of interest is with the Chair, then another member of the Committee will be nominated to make a determination and, if necessary, take over the role of Committee Chair for that case.
(3) Such appointments will be approved by the IMS President prior to engagement by the Committee.
(4) Conferences co-sponsored with other organizations may have a policy in place for reporting incidents that occur during the conference.

(5) If the IMS Executive is involved in the conduct under review, then the report will be provided to the IMS President, who will recommend a course of action to the IMS Council.