oSTEM Code of Conduct

Purpose of the Code

oSTEM believes in an environment that is inclusive, supportive, and free from any forms of harassment or discrimination for everyone, regardless of sex, gender, gender identity and expression, age, sexual orientation, ability status, HIV status, physical appearance, body size, race, national origin or ancestry, citizenship, ethnicity, religion, marital status, domestic partnership status, military or veteran status, or any other aspect of identity protected by federal, state, or local laws.

oSTEM holds Integrity, Intentionality, Respect, Passion and Grit as our values. In order to uphold these values, we have created a Code of Conduct which we expect to be honored and upheld by all individuals participating, organizing, or involved in oSTEM events. As servant leaders and representatives for our various communities and organizations, we have established additional expectations for our Sponsor Representatives, Representatives from Partner Organizations, Organizational Advisory Council, oSTEM Staff, and Volunteers.

The oSTEM Code of Conduct is intended to promote an environment for professional development and personal growth by strictly prohibiting the behaviors outlined below. Unacceptable behavior is subject to disciplinary action as outlined in this code. oSTEM reserves the right to identify other unacceptable behaviors not listed herein.

Unacceptable Behaviors & Policies

Personal Misconduct

All Individuals:

Harassment, microaggression, insinuations, intimidation, threats, and/or violence are hurtful and interfere with the experience and participation of others in oSTEM events. These behaviors are unacceptable and violate oSTEM’s Code of Conduct. Some examples of these behaviors include but are not limited to:

  • Unwanted sexual behavior (physical and/or virtual);
  • Misgendering, slurs, jokes at the expense of others, or derogatory statements;
  • Bathroom policing;
  • Stalking;
  • Mockery or pointing at others;
  • Creating or distributing of offensive or derogatory pictures, drawings, photography, videography, or recordings;
  • Violating personal space or property;
  • Impeding or blocking another person’s movement or otherwise physically interfering with them;
  • Creating or distributing of offensive emails, texts, calls, or social media postings.


Sponsor Representative / Partner Organization Representative / Organizational Advisory Council / oSTEM Staff or Volunteer:

Sponsor representatives and oSTEM staff and volunteers are held to a higher standard of behavior due to the inherent power dynamic between these individuals and other event attendees, as well as to uphold the professional and inclusive identity of the oSTEM organization. In addition to the general requirements as stated above, these individuals must also abide by these requirements:

  • Never be one-on-one with an event attendee unless conducting an interview, rooming with a person with whom you have an established relationship/friendship, or assisting in a crisis situation as an ASIST-certified individual;
  • Never use dating social media applications (e.g. Grindr, Bumble, Tinder, Scruff, Her, etc.) while attending oSTEM events. Any non-oSTEM-related communication with attendees is prohibited;
  • Never use general social media applications for purposes that violate this Code of Conduct (e.g. unwanted sexual behavior, etc.);
  • Abide by all employment laws applicable at the location of the event, including, but not limited to, the prohibition of quid pro quo harassment.

Smoke, Substance Policy, and Alcohol

Smoke and Substance Policy

oSTEM maintains an illegal drug-, illicit substance-, smoke-, and weapon-free atmosphere. Event attendees are required to adhere to individual venue smoke-free policies.

oSTEM event attendees are not permitted to be under the influence of, possess, distribute, or sell illegal drugs as defined by State or Federal law. Reasonable suspicion of possession or use of illegal drugs and substances at oSTEM events may subject the person involved to investigation and/or expulsion from the oSTEM event.

Alcohol Policy

oSTEM maintains an alcohol-free atmosphere for oSTEM-organized events; event spaces and programming will be dry, and alcohol should not be brought into those places. No person may furnish alcoholic beverages to individuals under the legal drinking age. No person under the legal drinking age may possess, consume, or be under the influence of alcoholic beverages.

oSTEM, Inc. will not pay for alcohol or bartenders without the prior written approval of the oSTEM Executive Committee. Student chapters must not use oSTEM, Inc. grant funding to purchase alcohol.

Alcohol may only be served under the following criteria, with prior written approval of the oSTEM Executive Committee:

  • All event attendees must be of legal drinking age;
  • Alcoholic beverages must be provided and sold on a per-drink basis by a licensed and insured third-party vendor;
  • Events that are part of a larger program must meet all the guidelines provided by that program;
  • Student chapter events must meet all the guidelines provided by their college/university;
  • The advertising for any event where alcohol may be served must inform attendees that alcohol will be served;
  • The oSTEM Executive Committee must be notified if alcohol will be served at an event.

Please be aware that chapters and members are still subject to local, state, and federal laws at oSTEM events.

The above list is not an exhaustive list and may be changed at any time to prohibit other behaviors that oSTEM Inc. deems harmful to its members.

Damage to Property

Rooms at the annual conference and official oSTEM events are equipped with standard furniture. Any damages incurred above and beyond normal wear and tear will be the responsibility of those assigned to the room. If individual responsibility cannot be determined, all guests assigned to the damaged room will be held equally responsible. Guests are not permitted to repair damaged property. All damaged property must be reported to the Registration Desk, which will make arrangements for necessary repairs and assess charges when appropriate.


In all areas, reasonable quiet is expected at all times. Repeated excessive noise by a particular guest or room is a violation of this Code. Any escalation of a complaint from venue staff to oSTEM, Inc. staff will also be treated as a violation of this Code.

Anti-Retaliation Policy

Retaliation is any action, statement, or behavior that is designed to punish an individual for filing a compliance report, cooperating with a compliance investigation, seeking guidance regarding a compliance concern, or to deter one from taking such action. Anyone who reports a violation of policy will be shielded from retaliation.

oSTEM strictly prohibits any form of retaliatory action against individuals who raise issues or ask questions, make reports, participate in investigations, refuse to participate in suspected improper or wrongful activities, or exercise workplace rights protected by law.

Reporting Violations

Anyone who receives a report of or suspects a Code of Conduct violation should report the violation to beaware@ostem.org.

oSTEM representatives must not promise anonymity to someone who is reporting a violation. Representatives should indicate that the report will be confidential within oSTEM. Reporters will have a role in deciding what actions are, or are not, taken.

oSTEM representatives MUST maintain confidentiality and not share incident details with others unless instructed to do so at the conclusion of this process or unless required to do so by law.

Violation of the Code 

Violations of the Code of Conduct will be taken seriously and investigated by oSTEM to the extent the violation requires. Consequences are determined situationally and are at the discretion of the oSTEM Executive Board. Where appropriate action by outside parties including local, state, and federal authorities may be exercised. 

Consequences for all people interacting with oSTEM

  • Revocation of membership;
  • Reporting violation to university administration, chapter advisor, chapter leadership, and/ or sponsoring-organization HR/executive leadership;
  • Expulsion from oSTEM event without a refund;
  • Inability to attend future oSTEM events.

Additional consequences for Chapter leadership

  • Removal from chapter leadership .

Additional consequences for Chapters 

  • Ineligibility to apply or receive future funding;
  • Revocation of oSTEM chapter status.

Additional consequences for Sponsoring Organizations 

  • Removal from Organizational Advisory Council;
  • Ineligibility to sponsor future events.

Additional consequences for oSTEM Staff & Volunteers 

  • Revocation of oSTEM volunteer roles and privileges
  • Ineligibility to rejoin as an oSTEM volunteer 

Thank you for working with us in making a safer oSTEM community for all.