CW17 Policies and Procedures

The SSI values the participation of each stakeholder and want all attendees to have an enjoyable and fulfilling experience. Accordingly, all attendees are expected to show respect and courtesy to other attendees throughout the workshop and at all workshop events, including online.

3 university students sitting outside with a laptop

To make clear what is expected, all attendees, speakers, exhibitors, organisers and volunteers at Collaborations Workshop 2017 are required to conform to the following Code of Conduct. Organisers will enforce this code throughout the workshop via a set of procedures for reporting issues.

Collaborations Workshop is dedicated to providing a harassment-free workshop experience for everyone. We do not tolerate harassment of workshop participants in any form.

All communication should be appropriate for a professional audience including people of many different backgrounds.

Be kind to others. Do not insult or put down other attendees.

Behave professionally. Remember that harassment and exclusionary jokes are not appropriate at  the Collaborations Workshop.

Attendees violating these rules may be asked to leave the workshop without a refund at the sole discretion of the workshop organisers.

Thank you for helping make this a welcoming, friendly event for all.


Harassment includes offensive communication related to gender, sexual orientation, disability, physical appearance, body size, race, religion, sexual images in public spaces, deliberate intimidation, stalking, following, harassing photography or recording, sustained disruption of talks or other events, inappropriate physical contact, and unwelcome sexual attention.

Participants asked to stop any harassing behavior are expected to comply immediately.

Be careful in the words that you choose. Remember that words can be offensive to those around you. Swearing and offensive jokes are not appropriate at the Collaborations Workshop.

If a participant engages in behaviour that violates this code of conduct, the workshop organisers may take any action they deem appropriate, including warning the offender or expulsion from the workshop with no refund.


This Code of Conduct was forked from the example policy at the Geek Feminism wiki, created by the Ada Initiative and other volunteers, which is under a Creative Commons Zero license.

This procedure has been adopted from the Ada Initiative's guide titled "workshop anti-harassment/Responding to Reports”.

  1. Contact any of the following staff

The staff will also be prepared to handle the incident. All of our staff members are informed of the code of conduct policy and guide for handling harassment at the workshop. There will be a mandatory staff meeting just prior to the workshop when this will be reiterated as well.

  1. Report the harassment incident (preferably in writing, e.g. on paper or via email). All reports are confidential.

  2. When reporting the event to staff, try to gather as much information as available, but do not interview people about the incident. Staff will assist you in writing the report/collecting information.

  3. The important information consists of:

    • Identifying information (name/badge number) of the participant doing the harassing

    • The behavior that was in violation

    • The approximate time of the behavior (if different than the time the report was made)

    • The circumstances surrounding the incident

    • Other people involved in the incident

  4. The staff is well informed on how to deal with the incident and how to further proceed with the situation.

  5. If you do feel your safety is in jeopardy, please do not hesitate to contact the Police by dialing 999. If you do not have a mobile phone, simply ask a staff member. The police non-emergency number is 101.

This procedure has been adopted from the Ada Initiative's guide titled "workshop anti-harassment/Responding to Reports”.

Be sure to have a good understanding of our Code of Conduct policy, which can be found here.

Also have a good understanding of what is expected from an attendee that wants to report a harassment incident. These guidelines can be found here.

Try to get as much of the incident in written form (e.g. paper or email) by the reporter. If you cannot, transcribe it yourself as it was told to you. The important information to gather include the following:

  • Identifying information (name/badge number) of the participant doing the harassing

  • The behavior that was in violation

  • The approximate time of the behavior (if different than the time the report was made)

  • The circumstances surrounding the incident

  • Other people involved in the incident

Prepare an initial response to the incident. This initial response is very important and will set the tone for Collaborations Workshop. Depending on the severity/details of the incident, please follow these guidelines:

  • If there is any general threat to attendees or the safety of anyone including workshop staff is in doubt, summon security or the Police.

  • Offer the victim a private place to sit

  • Ask "is there a friend or trusted person who you would like to be with you?" (if so, arrange for someone to fetch this person)

  • Ask them "how can I help?"

  • Provide them with the following list of emergency contacts if they need help later

    • University Security Service: +44 113 343 5494

    • Leeds District Police HQ: +44 192 437 5222

    • Police (non-emergency number): 101

    • Police (emergency number): 999

  • If everyone is presently physically safe, involve the Police or security only at a victim's request.

There are also some guidelines as to what not to do as an initial response:

  • Do not overtly invite them to withdraw the complaint or mention that withdrawal is OK. This suggests that you want them to do so, and is therefore coercive. "If you're OK with it [pursuing the complaint]" suggests that you are by default pursuing it and is not coercive.

  • Do not ask for their advice on how to deal with the complaint. This is a staff responsibility

  • Do not offer them input into penalties. This is the staff's responsibility.

Once something is reported the workshop chair and at least two of the workshop staff should meet. The main objectives of this meeting is to find out the following:

  • What happened?

  • Are we doing anything about it?

  • Who is doing those things?

  • When are they doing them?

After the staff meeting and discussion, have a staff member (preferably the workshop chair or an workshop staff if available) communicate with the alleged harasser. Make sure to inform them of what has been reported about them.

Allow the alleged harasser to give their side of the story to the staff. After this point, if report stands, let the alleged harasser know what actions will be taken against them.

Some things for the staff to consider when dealing with Code of Conduct offenders (note that the list below is not a requirement and only applies if the report deems it necessary):

  • General attendees

    • Warning the harasser to cease their behavior and that any further reports will result in sanctions

    • Requiring that the harasser avoid any interaction with, and physical proximity to, their victim for the remainder of the event

    • Requiring that the harasser immediately leave the event and not return

    • If applicable, inform them that we will not honour any travel claims related to their attending the event.

  • Speakers

    • Ending a talk that violates the policy early

    • Not publishing the video or slides of a talk that violated the policy

    • Not allowing a speaker who violated the policy to give (further) talks at the event

  • Staff

    • Calling for the resignation of the harasser from their responsibilities

Give accused attendees a place to appeal to if there is one, but in the meantime the report stands. Keep in mind that it is not a good idea to encourage an apology from the harasser.

It is very important how we deal with the incident publicly. Our policy is to make sure that everyone aware of the initial incident is also made aware that it is not according to policy and that official action has been taken - while still respecting the privacy of individual attendees. When speaking to individuals (those who are aware of the incident, but were not involved with the incident) about the incident it is a good idea to keep the details out.

Depending on the incident, the workshop chair or their designate may decide to make one or more public announcements. If necessary, this will be done with a short announcement either during the plenary and/or through other channels. No one other than the workshop chair or someone delegated authority from the workshop chair should make any announcements.

If some attendees were angered by the incident, it is best to apologize to them that the incident occurred to begin with. If there are residual hard feelings, suggest to them to write an email to the workshop chair or one of  the event staff. It will be dealt with accordingly.

All reports of Code of Conduct violations should be made directly to: