Should Academic Conferences Follow a Strict Code of Conduct?

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Before stepping into the details with this topic, let me first discuss about the meaning and definition of “Code of Conduct”. A code of conduct is defined as a set of rules defining or tracing the social norms, rules and responsibilities of, or it may again be called some proper practices for, an individual, party or an organization as a whole. It is basically known as an “Anti-Harassment Policy”. Code of Conduct is now being followed from a considerable period of time and the phrase is nothing new in today’s world of education or business. It has been used increasingly in the conventional male driven events like in the conferences dealing with technology or even in the comic conventions as women are more active in these communities. The Code of Conduct is implemented with the help of certain policies which help to create a secure, multiple or diverse spaces for all which includes all kinds people and thus is not only limited to women.


Why do we need Code of Conduct?

  • The events are solely dedicated in creating a safe space for everyone, irrespective of gender with the help of certain policies and rules, and the misconduct of such rules may not be tolerated, no matter whoever is involved. These rules are same for everyone, be it attendees, or the people holding the most prestigious and powerful positions, and are thus expected to be followed without any hesitation. The delinquency may even lead to prosecution for the same.
  • The Code of Conduct states the expected behavior in an event and the misconduct of the Code of Conduct will not at all be tolerated. The people in the academics are harassed at different stages. Hence in order to make these evil practices obsolete, certain boundaries are or consent is set. The Codes are set to maintain a good behavior and a good and healthy relation between the colleagues.
  • The Code of Conduct is basically a path for the fellow members to report their concerns and problems, and also seek help if their conjectures, projections or assumptions are at stake. In order to follow this smoothly, some steps like a 24/7 contact number, a dedicated e-mail id, with the name and address of the person of contact during any issue are made to give a hassle free service to those who are in trouble.
  • The Code of Conduct should be easily accessible to all public. This means that the Code of Conduct should be in written or printed in a language which is understandable by all and it also must be such so that is it can be easily followed and it must compliment to all the customs and religion of the society.

It is a common belief that Code of Conduct is the basic requirement of technical conference. Thus it results out to be very much important object to follow. It is better not to attend any kind of conferences which do not follow and adopt a strict Code of Conduct. Moreover the conferences which still do not follow any strict codes should be encouraged to organize, adopt and publish several anti-harassment policies. On the Other hand, the conferences which have already adopted and published the codes needs to be appreciated on this bold attempt.

Why should the Code of Conduct be taken seriously?

There has been certain instances in which the people especially the minorities and the women have been a victim of mockery, harassment and assault especially in the technical conferences. There is a group of conference attendees who behave in an unacceptable manner. If you pretend that your community is somehow protected at an inexperienced stage.

One of the basic criticisms that are raised is that many believe that anti-harassment policies are unlikely to stop the unacceptable sort of behavior. It basically depends upon the mentality of different persons and thus varies from person to person. A person who is of the thought that assault is an acceptable behavior himself will not probably stop by any code of conduct. On the other hand there are most of the people in the crowd who have an underlying good character and thus these people are not required to tell that they should not harass their sub-ordinates or peers.

The code of conduct is meant for everyone irrespective of caste, creed and gender and it thus exists for everyone else occupying prestigious and powerful positions including the fundamentally good people as well. Bare words may not be able to stop harassment and violence and thus prove to be a scanty effort, but these codes distinctly shows that such behavior isn’t welcome in academic conferences, and that the conference staff can take stern steps by reporting this issue to a very serious level. Harassment and violence especially that takes place on women, often goes unheard and unreported. These issues are mostly suppressed with the fear of being dishonored and losing one’s reputation and respect.  A code of conduct establishes the fact that reports of unsuitable and unaccepted behavior will be taken seriously, and that victims will be treated with respect and there will not be any kind of fear to lose their pride and honor.

An established and published code of conduct states that the conference staff cares about these vital and sensitive issues and is willing to solve any kind of problem faced by anyone if any incident of misconduct takes place. Some strict actions are of course meant for the culprit.

The major offences that are listed under the Academic Code of Conduct are:

  • The offences related to several examinations.
  • The illegal pursuit or stealing of exam questions, exam answers either related to the present University or any other University documents without the authorization of the authorized staff.
  • The inappropriate possession or the use of any non-authorized materials, documents or devices such as calculators, translators, or hidden notes, during an examination is a punishable offence. Possession of other unauthorized material such as cell phones, tablets, digital watches even if not being used during the examination, is itself an offence. This is also applied to the course books that can be accessed during the examination.
  • Cheating and copying answers from someone else’s exam paper during an examination, or getting unauthorized and unapproved help during an examination also falls under an offence.
  • Talking and communicating, for any reason, with any person other than the invigilator during an examination is also not acceptable.
  • Making any certain changes to an exam booklet, including tearing out pages or adding pages or writing on the question paper is also not allowed.
  • It is an unauthorized process to remove an exam paper or booklet from an examination room for any purpose.

Some Myths about the Code of Conduct:-

  • As the conference holds a professional atmosphere, hence people will naturally act professional and thus there is no need of any Code of Conduct.
  • In order to limit the academic misconduct in a conference, limiting alcohol consumption will be a perfect idea.
  • In case of any issue, the attendees will reach out to the organizers personally.
  • A Code of Conduct is regarded as a legal liability.

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