The Raptor Research Foundation hosts an annual conference to exchange and disseminate scientific information on birds of prey including ecology, behavior, evolution and conservation. Because effective exchange of ideas is best accomplished in a friendly and open environment, it is fundamental to ensure that conference attendees treat each other with courtesy and respect in all interactions, including face-to-face, written, or on a virtual or online platform. For this reason, RRF places special care and emphasis on provisioning and ensuring a safe, hospitable, and productive environment for everyone attending its annual meeting, and any other RRF-sponsored event, regardless of ethnicity, nationality, religion, physical ability, physical appearance, gender, age, or sexual orientation. We take this aspect of our mission very seriously and expect all conference attendees to behave courteously, respectfully, and professionally to each other, to RRF employees and representatives, to conference volunteers, exhibitors, and local meeting venue staff.
RRF expects conference attendees to be able to engage in open discussions free of discrimination, harassment, and retaliation. We strongly believe that a community where people feel uncomfortable, threatened, or under discriminatory scrutiny is neither healthy nor productive. Accordingly, RRF strictly prohibits any degree of intimidating, threatening, or harassing conduct during our conferences, as well as in any other written, online, or personal communication involving any activity of the Raptor Research Foundation. This policy applies to speakers, staff, volunteers, exhibitors, and attendees. RRF members or conference delegates violating these rules may be sanctioned, expelled from the conference, or expelled from RRF at the discretion of the RRF Board of Directors.
The RRF often hosts group events to migration stations, banding sites, national or state parks, and other sites of interests to count raptors, birdwatch, or otherwise enjoy nature. RRF supports passive enjoyment of the wildlife encountered on these trips; however, the safety and security of the wildlife with which we interact must take priority over our enjoyment. Thus, any form of wildlife harassment (defined below) during these recreational outings will not be tolerated during any RRF sponsored events*.
*Note this does not apply to conservation research that RRF members may conduct, and training-related events where broadcast calls and other forms of engagement with wildlife is permitted in a controlled and responsible manner.
Discrimination – Treatment or consideration of, or making a distinction in favor of or against, a person or thing based on the group, class, or category to which that person or thing belongs rather than on individual merit. Discrimination can be the effect of some law or established practice that confers privileges on a certain class or denies privileges to a certain class because of race, age, sex, nationality, religion, or handicap (https://definitions.uslegal.com/d/discrimination/).
Harassment – A course of conduct which threatens, intimidates, alarms, or puts a person in fear of their safety. Harassment is unwanted, unwelcomed and uninvited behavior that demeans, threatens or offends the victim and results in a hostile environment for the victim. Harassing behavior may include, but is not limited to, epithets, derogatory comments or slurs and lewd propositions, assault, impeding or blocking movement, offensive touching or any physical interference with normal work or movement, and visual insults, such as derogatory posters or cartoons (https://definitions.uslegal.com/h/harassment/).
Wildlife harassment - to engage in any act which demonstrates a disregard for the well-being of wildlife or which creates the likelihood of injury to, or disrupts normal behavior patterns of wildlife, such as feeding, watering, resting, and breeding. Such acts include, but are not limited to, chasing, pursuing, herding, playing or mimicking alarm or other communication calls, or attempting to take wildlife.
Any RRF member or conference participant who believes that he or she has been subjected to a violation of the Code of Conduct, notices that someone else is being subjected to a violation of the Code of Conduct, or has any other concerns about the appropriateness or professionalism of an individual’s behavior at any RRF-sponsored event should contact any member of the Code of Conduct Committee or RRF Board. He or she will not be required nor expected to discuss the concern with the person thought to have potentially violated the Raptor Research Foundation Code of Conduct. All allegations will be treated seriously and investigated during the RRF-sponsored event itself to the extent practical, or will be investigated as efficiently as possible thereafter. Confidentiality will be honored to the extent permitted as long as the rights of others are not compromised.
Individuals engaging in behavior prohibited by the RRF Code of Conduct will be subject to disciplinary action. RRF leadership may take any action they deem appropriate, ranging from a verbal warning to ejection from the meeting or activity in question without refund of registration fees, to expulsion from the Foundation in case of membership. Repeat offenders may be subject to further disciplinary action, such as being banned from participating in future meetings. Note that RRF has the authority within its Bylaws to terminate the membership of any member after fair and reasonable consideration all of the relevant facts and circumstances. Disciplinary action will apply to all offenders participating in the conference, from non-RRF members to Board Directors.
RRF will not tolerate any form of retaliation or attempt at dissuasion against individuals who file a complaint or assist in the investigation, either by the original offender, or by any individual on his/her behalf, or by the Board member who receives the initial complaint. Retaliation is a serious violation of this policy and, like harassment or discrimination itself, will be subject to disciplinary action.
Any questions regarding this policy should be directed to the RRF Code of Conduct Committee Chair, RRF Board, or the local conference committee, which will re-direct it to the Board of Directors. In the event that an individual involved in any reported incident is dissatisfied with the disciplinary action, he or she may appeal to the RRF Board, which will privately discuss the issue and vote for a decision.