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RDA Code of Conduct – Response Framework

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  • #137350

    Stefanie Kethers


    RDA Leadership: For the purposes of this document, RDA Leadership is defined as the RDA Council. Note that, should any claims involve a member of the RDA Leadership, that individual will be recused from any discussions and decisions related to that claim, and communication about the reported issue will occur outside of channels that include that member. If Council itself is directly implicated, the complaint will be taken to the next appropriate governance body.

    RDA Code of Conduct Response Framework

    Harassment and other code of conduct violations reduce the value of RDA for everyone. If you notice any violation of the RDA Code of Conduct, please report this as soon as possible through one of the following options:

    • Email  Emails to this address are visible to three members of the RDA Secretariat: Hilary Hanahoe (RDA Secretary General), Stefanie Kethers (RDA Director of Operations) and Lynn Yarmey (RDA Socio-technical Coordinator). Alternatively, you can also email either of the three Secretariat members individually.

    • Contact any member of the RDA Leadership team. At RDA Plenaries, members of the RDA Leadership will be visually identified by badges or ribbons. The members of the RDA Leadership are also listed at: During RDA Plenaries, if members of the RDA Leadership team are present in a session, they can assist in responding and documenting if an incident occurs or an issue arises.

    • Use other channels, which will be made public before the start of the RDA Plenary.

    For verbal reports, the following information will be collected. In written reports, please include as much information as possible, especially:

    • Your contact information (so we can get in touch with you if we need to follow up).

    • Names of any individuals involved. If there were other witnesses besides you, please try to include them as well.

    • When and where the incident occurred. Please be as specific as possible.

    • Your account of what occurred. If there is a record available (e.g. a mailing list archive) please include a link or screenshot.

    • Any additional context you believe existed surrounding the incident.

    • If you believe this incident is or may be ongoing.

    • Any other information you believe we should have.

    Once a report has been received you will receive an email acknowledging receipt, or a verbal confirmation that your report has been noted. Present/available members of the RDA Leadership  will meet to discuss the incident and determine:

    • An agreed narrative of what happened.

    • Whether this event constitutes a Code of Conduct violation.

    • If so, who violated the Code of Conduct.

    • Whether this is an ongoing situation, or if there is a threat to anyone’s physical safety.

    If this is determined to be an ongoing incident or a threat to physical safety, the RDA Leadership’s immediate priority will be to protect everyone involved. This means an “official” response may be delayed until they believe that the situation has been resolved and that everyone is physically safe.

    Actions and next steps will be determined on a case by case basis. Once the RDA Leadership has a complete account of the events, they will make a decision as to how to respond.

    Within one week, the person who filed a report will receive a notice of a resolution and course of action, or explanation of why the situation is not yet resolved. Feedback on the decision from the reporter may be taken into account, but it may or may not affect the final outcome.

    Incident details must be logged in confidential records, to document patterns that may emerge, even over longer timeframes. Please note that all reports are kept confidential and only shared with those who “need to know”. Retaliation in any form against anyone reporting an incident of harassment, independent of the outcome, will not be tolerated.

    RDA members who are asked by anyone to stop any harassing or unprofessional behaviour are expected to comply immediately.

    RDA Leadership may take actions as deemed appropriate. Actions will be determined on a case-by-case basis. A phased response will be determined should escalation of action be needed. Actions could include one or more of the following as appropriate:

    • Notify the offender and ask them to stop the unprofessional or harassing behaviour.

    • Provide accompaniment, or otherwise assist those experiencing harassment to feel safe until other assistance arrives, or for the duration of the event if requested.

    • Help participants contact venue security or local law enforcement if appropriate and if the complainant is comfortable doing so.

    • Contact the appropriate members of the RDA Leadership to pursue escalation.

    • Immediate removal of unprofessional or offending content on the platform used for publication (social media channel, web platform, mailing list, etc.).

    • Removal of incorrect and/or unprofessional post and/or thread on mailing lists or web platform.

    • Expulsion of the offender from RDA.

    A public report will be filed with the RDA Council at the end of each RDA Plenary summarizing any Code of Conduct violations or issues. Every attempt will be made to anonymize incidents unless they are of a criminal nature or resulted in participants being banned from the event.

    Harassment in session

    Session chairs and RDA Leadership representatives are expected to monitor the sessions. Should harassing behaviour manifest or be otherwise reported, session chairs, TAB members, and RDA Leadership members will immediately request the offender to cease. If an incident occurs, the session chairs and RDA Leadership members will work to understand and document what happened to determine an initial response. All incidents will be thoughtfully handled on a case-by-case basis, while keeping the RDA Council apprised.

    Harassment out of session

    Should harassing behaviour manifest outside of RDA Plenaries, but in a context defined in the RDA Code of Conduct and be reported, RDA Leadership members will respond. Issues requiring immediate action must be acknowledged straightaway by at least one RDA Leadership member and subsequent actions or investigations initiated. Responding and reporting will be handled by the RDA Leadership on case-by-case basis in a manner that fits the nature of the offense, while also keeping the RDA Council informed. Issues requiring discussion with the complainant before agreeing to a response should be dealt with sensitively in a private space and the complainant made aware of how the RDA Leadership wishes to respond.

    For serious incidents:

    Decisions to expel participants from the Plenary must be discussed with the RDA Council Co-Chairs and local host before being actioned.

    Accusations of criminal activity will be reported to local law enforcement if the complainant agrees, and RDA Council Co-Chairs and local host notified immediately.

    Complainants must be supported for the remainder of the event as appropriate.

    Harassment in the RDA online environment

    • To be drafted in conjunction with Trust-IT?


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