Anti-harassment Guidelines

International Union of Geodesy and Geophysics

Anti-Harassment Guidelines

The following Guidelines are provided to Chairs of the Local Organizing Committees of IUGG General Assemblies, Association Scientific Assemblies, IUGG conferences and symposia, meetings of Union and Association various groupings (divisions, commissions, working groups etc.) as well as to chairs of the IUGG and Association divisions, commissions, working groups in order to prevent any form of harassment or discrimination, and to ensure an inclusive atmosphere that encourages the free expression and exchange of scientific ideas and results.


The International Union of Geodesy and Geophysics (IUGG) opposes any discrimination or harassment based on such factors as age, citizenship, disability, ethnic origin, gender identity, language, political or other opinion, religion, or sexual orientation. It is the IUGG policy to follow the regulations of the International Council for Science (ICSU) on non-discrimination and universality of science.

The IUGG is committed to prevent any incident of harassment that may occur during IUGG general assemblies, Association scientific assemblies, conferences, symposia, business meetings, and, in general, in any activity of the scientific bodies, in which the IUGG and/or its Associations share responsibility. This includes any social activities and informal gatherings attached to the above mentioned events.

Definition of harassment

In general, harassment is conduct that exerts unwelcome pressure or intimidation. This conduct includes, but is not limited to: epithets, slurs or negative stereotyping; threatening, intimidating or hostile acts; denigrating jokes and display or circulation of written or graphic material that denigrates or shows hostility or aversion toward an individual or group. Particularly serious is sexual harassment that refers to unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favours, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature.

Because of the wide international nature of the IUGG, it is important to realize that behaviour and language that are welcome/acceptable in one particular cultural environment may be unwelcome/offensive in another. Consequently, individuals must use discretion to ensure that their words and actions communicate respect for others. This is especially important for those in positions of authority since individuals with lower rank or status may be reluctant to express their objections or discomfort regarding unwelcome behaviour.

Preventing and reporting harassment

All meeting attendees have a role to play in creating an inviting and harassment-free environment through their own behaviour and by discouraging harassment and discrimination by others. It is the responsibility of the organizers of IUGG/Association meetings to inform all participants   about   the   IUGG   policy   on   harassment   and   to   instruct  the Chairs of sessions/symposia on the procedure to be followed should a harassment incident occur during the scientific sessions or associated side events.

  1. If a clear case of verbal harassment during a scientific session is established to have occurred, the Chairperson should act immediately to stop it. If the situation deteriorates, the Chairperson should ask the offender to leave the room.
  2. If any form of harassment occurs in a less openly visible way (e.g. during social activities or informal gatherings), the affected person and/or witness(es) should immediately report it to one of the Organizers. The affected person has the option to pursue a formal procedure.
  3. In cases 1 and 2 above, the Organizer should prepare written notes of the incident, attaching any evidence and identifying any witnesses. The Organizer should then give the alleged offender the opportunity to be heard and to respond to the allegation.
  4. A full report of the incident should then be sent to the IUGG Assistant Secretary General / Executive Secretary, who will promptly report to the IUGG Officers any case of harassment that occurred during an IUGG/Association meeting.
  5. The Officers will appoint an investigation board (typically composed of IUGG Executive Committee Members in the case of IUGG meetings and Association Executive Committee Members in the case of Association meetings), which will evaluate the allegation and eventually conduct hearings with the parties involved. At the conclusion of the investigation the relevant Executive Committee may decide to take disciplinary action(s) with respect to the person(s) involved. Retaliation of any form is strictly prohibited.

Harassment incidents or behaviour that occur outside IUGG activities referred to above will be considered only when a formal investigation of the case has been conducted by the relevant authority (e.g. the institution, to which the individual is affiliated) and made known to the IUGG Executive Committee. In those cases that involve an IUGG or Association officer, the Executive Committee may decide to take disciplinary actions against that person.

(Based on the Anti-Harassment Guidelines of the International Astronomical Union, 10 February 2016)