IUSSP Anti-Harassment Policy and Code of Conduct


The International Union for the Scientific Study of Population (IUSSP) promotes the study of population globally and is firmly committed to ensure that all scientists, regardless of their personal attributes, can contribute fully to high-level research, discussions and debates about population matters. Convinced that science can only flourish if it is fully inclusive and conforms to the highest ethical standards, it is of vital importance to the Union to ensure that all IUSSP events provide a welcoming and safe environment and community for all members and other persons attending, where intellectual exchange and debate is encouraged and all forms of harassment and discrimination are forbidden.


This code of conduct outlines our expectations for all IUSSP members in general, as well as for all participants in both online and in-person events organized by or affiliated with the IUSSP. It defines unacceptable behaviour and includes steps to report such behaviour when it occurs in the context of an IUSSP activity, and the procedures adopted for reporting and taking action. IUSSP members who have engaged in any of these activities inside or outside of IUSSP activities, will not be eligible to stand for elections for any Council position or hold membership in IUSSP Panels or Committees and may be disqualified from membership in the Union.


The IUSSP considers all forms of harassment and discrimination to constitute serious professional misconduct and has zero tolerance for any such behaviours.


All participants (organizers, speakers, attendees, staff, volunteers and sponsors) at an IUSSP event are expected to have read and understood this code of conduct and adhere to it. Organisers will enforce this code throughout the event.


The IUSSP expects cooperation from all participants to ensure a safe environment and a harassment-free experience for everyone, without exception, and regardless of any personal attributes. The IUSSP does not tolerate harassment of participants in any form.


Unacceptable behaviours: 

Harassment occurs when someone’s actions or words, based on any personal attribute, are unwelcome and violate another person’s dignity or create an environment that is intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating, or offensive. This may include unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favours, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature. Harassment may also include objectionable epithets, threatened or actual physical harm or abuse, or other intimidating or insulting conduct directed against the individual. 


More specifically, harassment includes, but is not limited to the following:

  • offensive verbal comments, ”jokes”, or stories related to personal attributes;

  • use of sexual language or imagery in public spaces to harass an individual or a group of individuals (excluding language or imagery employed as a part of population science);

  • deliberate intimidation, stalking, following, harassing photography or recording;

  • sustained disruption of talks or other events;

  • inappropriate physical contact;

  • unwanted, unwelcomed, or violating behaviours and gestures that caused discomfort;

  • emails, texts, phone calls, instant and social media messages of offensive remarks, “jokes”, stories, pictures or videos. 


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


Reporting an incident:

If you are being harassed, notice that someone else is being harassed, or have any other concerns, please share your experience with whoever you are most comfortable with, such as the IUSSP Executive Director Mary Ellen Zuppan (zuppan@iussp.org), the President, Vice President or Secretary General of the IUSSP, the IUSSP Panel Chair or a Panel member (if the event is organized by an IUSSP Panel) or a member of the IUSSP Council. They will support you in preparing and submitting your statement to the Union. 


If harassment occurs at an event, seminar or conference, organizers and staff will be ready to help participants contact hotel/venue security or local law enforcement, provide escorts, or otherwise assist those experiencing harassment to feel safe for the duration of the event. 


Confirming that the IUSSP will make every effort to respect confidentiality, in your report please include:

  • Your contact information if you feel comfortable disclosing it. We will accept and fully investigate anonymous reports as well, but follow-up may be difficult;

  • Identifying information of the participant who has violated the code of conduct;

  • The behaviour that was in violation;

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

  • Where the code of conduct violation happened (specifically the date and place of the IUSSP event);

  • The circumstances surrounding the incident;

  • Other people involved in or witness to the incident;

  • If there is a publicly available record (e.g. mailing list record, tweet), please include a link or any relevant documentation;

  • Any additional helpful information.


If a member of the organizing team or the IUSSP Council or Secretariat is reported for inappropriate behaviour, they will not be allowed to review the incident. Actions taken following a report will depend on an investigation by the appropriate board members, described in more detail below.


Response to reports:

The IUSSP Council will respond to all reports of misconduct submitted as above. After a report has been submitted in relation to an IUSSP event the Council will immediately be notified. If the person making the report (hereafter referred to as the complainant) chooses to be contacted, the IUSSP will reach out to him or her to confirm the report, gather more information, and determine how the complainant can be best supported.


The IUSSP Bureau will meet as soon as possible to discuss the report and decide what actions to take, in consultation with the complainant, and in as timely a manner as possible. Also during this part of the process, the IUSSP will do its best to protect the confidentiality of the complainant if desired; however, reporting an incident anonymously or wishing not to disclose key details such as the name of the person being reported may inhibit the IUSSP’s ability to take action. Once appropriate actions are determined by the IUSSP Council, they will be communicated to the person who violated the code of conduct and to the complainant.



Any sanctions will be decided by the IUSSP Council depending on the severity of the violation and can include:

  • Warning the accused to cease their behaviour and that further reports may result in sanctions;

  • 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;

  • Immediately ending any event volunteer responsibilities and privileges held by the accused;

  • Requiring that the accused not volunteer for future events (either indefinitely or for a certain time period);

  • Requiring that the accused immediately leave the event and not return;

  • Banning the accused from future events or membership in panels(either indefinitely or for a certain time period);

  • Revocation of IUSSP membership;

  • Being reported to the proper authorities.



This document has drawn freely from the following sources: