AIGA Houston’s Code of Conduct
By registering and or attending any of our events, you agree to abide by AIGA’s National code of conduct, applied to AIGA Houston chapter events, programming, and meet-ups:
This policy is designed to clearly communicate our standards of behavior for our members and the process for reporting violations of these standards. We are committed to having an inclusive community embracing different perspectives and viewpoints. We are equally dedicated to providing a safe and productive experience for everyone who participates in AIGA Houston and to treating everyone with respect. That means that misconduct, including but not limited to harassment in any form, will not be tolerated. Members* violating these standards jeopardize losing the privilege of membership (without a refund) at the discretion of the AIGAHouston chapter and national office. Our policy is as follows:
Misconduct includes, but is not limited to, the following behaviors at AIGA Houston chapter events, or in connection with AIGA Houston-sponsored/affiliated activities or programs:
- Demeaning, discriminatory, or harassing behavior which may include, but is not limited to sexist, racist, homophobic, transphobic, or otherwise discriminatory jokes or language; physical intimidation, stalking, or following; sustained disruption of talks or events; posting or displaying sexually explicit or violent material; unwelcome sexual attention, including sexualized comments or jokes; inappropriate touching, groping, and unwelcomed sexual advances; and advocating for, or encouraging, any of the above behavior.
- Sexual harassment, which includes unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature when, for example, submission to such conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of employment or participation in the AIGA Houston-sponsored activity, or submission to or rejection of such conduct is used as the basis for employment decisions. Sexual harassment also can occur when a member is subjected to discriminatory intimidation, ridicule, or insult by another member or representative, that is sufficiently severe or pervasive so that it creates an abusive environment, or an environment where the member feels uncomfortable.
- Sexual harassment may include a range of subtle and not so subtle behaviors and may involve individuals of the same or different gender. You can be harassed by a supervisor, co-worker, or member at an AIGA Houston-sponsored/affiliated event or activity, and the conduct need not be sexual; a pattern of profanity or rudeness based on your gender, for example, might constitute sexual harassment. Other examples of behavior that might constitute sexual harassment, depending on the circumstances, include, but are not limited to, publicly indecent behavior**; subtle or overt pressure for sexual favors; repeated and unwelcome sexual jokes, innuendo, advances, or propositions; repeated verbal abuse of a sexual nature; repeated and unwelcome graphic commentary about an individual’s body, sexual prowess, or sexual deficiencies; repeated leering, insulting or obscene comments and/or gestures; and other physical, verbal, or visual conduct of a sexual nature.
- Harassing, physically threatening, or physically or verbally abusing any person because of, but not limited to, that person’s race, ethnicity, age, gender, religion, marital status, disability, sexual orientation, or viewpoint.
- Conducting oneself in a manner endangering the health or safety of another person.
- Exhibiting disorderly conduct, including but not limited to, abuse of controlled substances or overt drunkenness.
- Bringing any weaponry, firearms, dangerous chemicals, or any materials specifically banned by the chapter and/or venue space to an AIGA Houston sponsored activity or event.
- Defacing property.
- Social media activity or posts that reflect any of the above behavior occurring at an AIGA Houston-sponsored event or activity.
- Failing to respect the confidentiality of sensitive information obtained in the course of the member’s professional engagements, unless compelled by law to divulge the information.
- Making intentionally false communications, either written, spoken, or posted on any social media platform, that harms the reputation of a member of the organization.
- Stealing or misappropriating any property (including digital) belonging to another member of the organization. This includes all materials developed for or on behalf of any AIGA chapter without the express permission of the member and/or chapter.
Remember that the boundaries of good taste, humor, personal space, and physical interaction differ from person to person. If you sense someone feels uncomfortable — whether they explicitly state it or not — be respectful of those boundaries.
The AIGA Houston chapter President, Vice President, Membership Director and Diversity and Inclusion Director are responsible for overseeing the Code of Conduct and the safety of our AIGA Houston chapter.
The safety, well-being, and professional reputations of our members and participants are of the utmost importance. You are urged to address or report instances of a member engaging in any behavior that violates this Code of Conduct:
- If you are comfortable addressing the person engaging in misconduct directly, you are encouraged to first speak directly to said person and ask him or her to cease the behavior.
- If you are not comfortable addressing the person directly or if the misconduct continues, you are encouraged to report the misconduct to the AIGA Houston chapter President, Vice President, Membership Director and/or Diversity and Inclusion Director.
Allegations of illegal behavior must be investigated by the AIGA Houston Board of Directors and require a formal written complaint. If you are uncomfortable putting your complaint in writing, the board member to whom you bring the allegation will create a written complaint. You will be asked to review and sign the final version before an investigation begins.
Written complaints will be maintained in a confidential file by the AIGA Houston Board of Directors.
Confidentiality will be respected to the fullest extent possible. You should be assured that there will be no retaliation against you for making a good-faith claim.
Investigating Complaints and Reports of Misconduct
When a complaint or report of misconduct is made, the President will appoint a person to assume the role of Lead Investigator. Board members and other persons, including persons not affiliated with AIGA Houston, may be asked to serve in this capacity.
The investigation process will proceed as follows:
- Lead Investigators or their designees will interview the accuser(s). Accuser(s) will be asked to identify relevant witnesses and produce relevant documents.
- Lead Investigators or their designees will interview the person(s) accused and provide a copy of the written complaint. Person(s) accused will be asked to respond to the complaint, identify relevant witnesses, and produce relevant documents. Person(s) accused will be warned that retaliation against the accuser(s) is unacceptable and will not be tolerated.
- Lead Investigators will also interview persons with relevant information. During the interview, the need for confidentiality and protecting the accuser(s) will be reiterated.
- After the interviews, Lead Investigators will review all relevant documents.
Determining Violations and Sanctions
Once the investigation process is complete, Lead Investigators will prepare a report for the chapter President and Board of Directors summarizing their findings and the basis for those findings.
If any charges are upheld, the President and Board of Directors will determine an appropriate sanction.
Sanctions will be imposed and enforced by the AIGA Houston chapter, with assistance as needed by any other justice officials or legal representatives. If the sanction includes revocation of the accused’s AIGA membership, the AIGA Houston Board of Directors will be asked to affect the revocation by a two-thirds vote.
*Members include all membership at any level
**Publicly indecent behavior is defined as:
Obscene or indecent acts, characterized by, or for the purpose of becoming aroused.
Sexual behaviors that are unlawful in nature and are performed with the intention of arousing the perpetrator or the person to whom the behavior is directed.