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UT Policies

The core values of The University of Texas at Austin (UT) are learning, discovery, freedom, leadership, individual opportunity, and responsibility. Each member of the university is expected to uphold these values through integrity, honesty, trust, fairness, and respect toward peers and community.

All applicable UT rules and regulations, as well as all applicable local, state, and federal laws, take precedence over what is stated in the Astronomy Department code of conduct, and it is everyone’s responsibility to adhere to this overarching legal framework.

Of special note is that as of January 1, 2020 all UT employees (faculty and staff) MUST promptly report any knowledge of any incidents of sexual assault, sexual harassment, dating violence, or stalking "committed by or against a person who was a student enrolled at or an employee of the institution at the time of the incident", according to Senate Bill 212 (SB 212), a Texas State Law. Failure to do so is a criminal offence (misdemeanor), and the university is required to terminate their employment. Students are encouraged, but not required to report. However, guidelines about who is a Mandatory Reporter (also called Responsible Employee) include some students, such as resident assistants.


Expectations of Conduct

The UT Austin Astronomy Department is committed to providing an environment free of harassment, discrimination, and intimidation for all members of the department and for everyone who interacts with the department regardless of gender, gender identity or expression, race, color, national or ethnic origin, religion or religious belief, age, marital status, sexual orientation, disabilities, veteran status, culture, ancestry, socioeconomic status, or any other personal characteristic.

Harassment includes but is not limited to:

● Verbal harassment (e.g., comments that are offensive and unwelcome, including epithets, slurs, teasing and stereotyping)

● Verbal sexual harassment (e.g., innuendoes, suggestive comments, jokes of a sexual nature, sexual propositions, lewd remarks)

● Nonverbal harassment (e.g., obscene gestures, distribution, display or discussion of inappropriate graphic material or material that ridicules, denigrates, insults, belittles, or shows hostility or disrespect toward an individual or group)

● Nonverbal sexual harassment (e.g., the distribution, display, or discussion of sexually oriented written or graphic material)

● Sexual images in public spaces, or displayed in talks or posters.

● Deliberate intimidation, stalking, or following.

● Harassing photography or recording.

● Sustained or regular disruption of talks or other events.

● Inappropriate physical contact.

● Unwelcome sexual attention.

● Advocating for, or encouraging, any of the above behavior; or ignoring or delegitimizing another person’s discomfort in a situation.

We do not tolerate discrimination in any form based on personal characteristics unrelated to scientific merit. We expect all members of the department to treat others with courtesy and respect.



Bullying is defined as unwelcome or unreasonable behavior that demeans, intimidates, humiliates, or sabotages the work of people, either as individuals or as a group. Bullying behavior is most often aggressive, persistent, and part of a pattern, but it can also occur as a single egregious incident. It is usually carried out by an individual but can also be an aspect of group behavior. Exercising appropriate authority, directing the work of others pursuant to their job responsibilities, and respectful scientific debate are not considered bullying behavior.

Examples of bullying behaviors include, but are not limited to, verbal bullying (e.g., threatening, slandering, ridiculing, or maligning a person; making abusive or offensive remarks), physical bullying (e.g., pushing, poking, assaulting, threatening assault, or damaging a person’s work area or property), gesture bullying (e.g., nonverbal threatening gestures), or sabotaging an individual’s work.



If you encounter unacceptable behavior, the university provides a detailed structure for reporting violations, including some options that operate anonymously. Select resources are summarized at: https://cns.utexas.edu/about-the-college/values-and-impact/welcoming-connections. There are channels to report violations from faculty and staff, such as the Office of Inclusion and Equity (OIE), as well as from students, such as the office of Student Conduct and Academic Integrity.

Additionally, every department member can request a meeting with the Department Chair to raise concerns and possible violations. This internal channel in no way supersedes the reporting rules and requirements mandated by UT and applicable local, state, and federal law.



This Code of Conduct is modeled after the AAS Anti-Harassment Policy, the Institute for Scientist and Engineering Educators Code of Conduct, the 2015 Frank N. Bash Symposium Code of Conduct, as well as an example policy from the Geek Feminism wiki.