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Statement of Policy It is the policy of the North American Society for Bat Research (NASBR) that all participants in NASBR activities will enjoy an environment free from all forms of discrimination, harassment, and retaliation. As a professional society, NASBR is committed to providing an atmosphere that encourages the free expression and exchange of scientific ideas. In pursuit of that ideal, NASBR is dedicated to equality of opportunity and treatment for all members, 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, or any other reason not related to scientific merit. Harassment, sexual or otherwise, undermines the integrity of NASBR meetings and activities.

Definition of Sexual Harassment Sexual harassment refers to unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other conduct of a sexual nature. Behavior and language that are welcome or acceptable to one person may be unwelcome or offensive to another. Consequently, all individuals must use discretion to ensure that their words and actions communicate respect for others. This is especially important for those in positions of authority or seniority, such as faculty and established professionals, since students and other aspiring scientists may be reluctant to express their objections or discomfort regarding unwelcome behavior. 

Sexual harassment does not refer to occasional comments and actions generally considered to be of a socially acceptable nature. It instead refers to behavior that is not welcome, is personally offensive, debilitates morale, and therefore, interferes with one’s ability to participate freely and effectively in NASBR meetings and activities. The following is a non-exhaustive list of examples of behavior that, when unwelcome, may constitute sexual harassment: sexual flirtations, advances, or propositions; verbal comments or physical actions of a sexual nature; sexually degrading words used to describe an individual; a display of sexually suggestive objects images, or gestures; sexually explicit jokes; and unnecessary or unwanted touching. 

Definition of Other Harassment Harassment on the basis of any other protected characteristic is also strictly prohibited. This conduct includes, but is not limited to: epithets, slurs, or negative stereotyping; threatening, intimidating, or hostile acts; denigrating jokes and display or circulation of written or graphic material that denigrates or shows hostility or aversion toward an individual or group.

Scope of Policy This policy applies to all attendees at NASBR activities, including scientists, students, guests, and exhibitors, participating in the scientific and educational sessions, tours, and social events of any NASBR meeting or activity.

Handling Reported Violations of NASBR Code of Conduct

Reporting an Incident

Write down everything about the incident, such as times, places, nature of the incident, comments made, and people present. Save your e-mails, text messages, voicemails, notes, and any medical or police reports. Tell someone you trust. You will be asked to write and sign an official letter of complaint that documents the nature of the harassment and/or discrimination. Be as detailed as possible. When available, supporting documentation and statements from witnesses should be submitted with your letter.

Any individual covered by this policy who believes that he/she has been subjected to harassment or discrimination should contact the Ombudsperson or a member of the NASBR Board of Directors. Contacting the Ombudsperson or a member of the NASBR Board of Directors does not require the individual to make a formal complaint. The individual may wish to seek guidance or discuss the issue, and the Ombudsperson or member of the Board of Directors can serve as a resource.

If an individual wishes to make a formal complaint, the procedure is outlined below. All complaints will be treated seriously, reported to the Chair of the Board of Directors (or an impartial Board member if the Chair has a conflict of interest) by the individual who has received the complaint, and investigated promptly. Confidentiality will be honored to the extent permitted, as long as the rights of others are not compromised.


  1. After receiving a formal complaint, the Board of Directors will name an impartial investigator, usually the Ombudsperson. Any named investigator who believes he/she has a conflict of interest should not serve as an investigator.
  2. In most cases, the complainant will be interviewed and asked to submit a signed, written complaint.
  3. The details of the complaint will be explained to the alleged offender by the investigator. The complainant is not required or expected to discuss the concern with the alleged offender.
  4. The alleged offender will be given a reasonable opportunity to respond to the complaint and to bring his/her own evidence and/or witnesses.
  5. If the facts are in dispute, further investigatory steps may include interviewing those named as witnesses.
  6. All witnesses will be required to sign a summary of their observations.
  7. If, for any reason, the investigator is in doubt about whether or how to continue, he/she will seek appropriate counsel.
  8. When the investigation is complete, the investigator will report the findings to the Chair of the NASBR Board of Directors or an impartial member of the Board. The Chair or Board member, in consultation with the investigator and the rest of the Board, may forward any findings of a violation of this policy (including harassment, retaliation, or false accusation) to the institution(s) of the involved violator(s).

Retaliation and False Accusation

NASBR will not tolerate any form of retaliation against persons who file a complaint or assist in an investigation. Retaliation is a serious violation of this policy and, like harassment or discrimination, may be subject to disciplinary action. Furthermore, egregiously falsified accusations may result in punitive consequences for the accuser.

Disciplinary Action

Individuals engaging in behavior prohibited by this policy will be subject to disciplinary action. Such actions range from a verbal warning to termination of membership and banishment from future NASBR meetings or activities, without refund of fees, depending on the severity of the offence and/or the number of offences committed.

Appeal and Questions

If the complainant or accused is dissatisfied with the results of the investigation, he/she may appeal to the Chair of the Board of Directors; the Chair may request additional investigation. Any questions regarding this policy should be directed to the Chair of the Board of Directors.

NASBR Ombudspersons

The Ombudsperson serves as a neutral and objective source of information and a point of communication for NASBR members who have a concern or grievance related to the possible violation of NASBR by-laws or policies and may not advocate for any individual or group within NASBR. The Ombudsperson serves as an official liaison between the membership and the Board of Directors, works with the Chair of the Board, Chair of the Education and Outreach Committee, and the Senior Student Representative (if applicable) when a grievance is reported, and may be appointed by the Chair to lead investigations into alleged violations of the NASBR Code of Conduct. The Ombudsperson will be appointed for a period of 3 years by the Board of Directors; re-appointment for subsequent terms is allowed. The Ombudsperson may not be a voting member of the Board of Directors but may be a local host or other non-voting member of the Board. The Ombudsperson serves at the will and pleasure of the Board and can be removed from that position at any time by a majority vote of the Board. If a vacancy of the position of Ombudsperson occurs at any time before the 3-year term has expired, the Board will appoint a replacement for the remainder of that term. Up to two ombudspersons may be appointed by the Board. The Ombudsperson is expected to attend the annual meetings of NASBR and to make himself/herself available in-person and by phone and email to members of NASBR.

Email an ombudsperson:    Melissa Ingala  or   Terry Zinn

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