Code of Conduct

Effective July 1, 2023

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Code of Conduct

The University Seminars at Columbia University is an ongoing community of partnerships each of which is constituted by scholars from multiple academic departments and disciplines, often including experts from outside academia, and is devoted to the study of an institution, practice, or issue of theoretical and/or practical importance. The University Seminars originated in, and maintains its vitality through, spontaneous intellectual initiatives and is therefore considered a movement. The mission of The University Seminars collectively is to enable the intellectual missions of its individual constituent seminars.

We value equity, collaboration, cross-disciplinary dialogue, and openness, and we aspire to create a professional space hospitable to the diverse intellectual interests of our members. Each member of The University Seminars community has a responsibility to contribute to a working environment where every participant feels equally valued.

  • Seminars are meant to foster unfettered intellectual exchange
  • Meetings are private; they are attended by members and invited guests
  • No honorarium is paid to any speaker
  • Membership is voluntary; dues are not collected
  • Membership is intended to create a collegial community through sharing ideas

To fulfill our mission and enact our values of free inquiry, collaboration, openness, and equity, we call upon our community to support these values in judgment and in action. Seminar members and guests are expected to participate in seminar meetings with integrity and the highest standards of professionalism. Meetings and events should provide an inclusive environment where all participants treat each other with respect and consideration. Disruptive behavior, whether during seminar meetings or during seminar dinners, are unacceptable.

Further, Columbia University is committed to providing an environment free from prohibited discrimination and harassment and to fostering a nurturing and vibrant community founded upon the fundamental dignity and worth of its members. All employees, students, conractors and people conducting business with the University are protected from prohibited conduct as outlined in the University’s EOAA Policies & Procedures.

Some specific examples of behaviors that are unacceptable during University-sponsored programs or activities include, but are not limited to:

  • engaging in biased, demeaning, intimidating, coercive, harassing, or hostile conduct or commentary, on the basis of age, alienage or citizenship status; arrest or conviction record; caregiver status; color; credit history; creed; disability; familial status; gender (sex); gender identity; genetic predisposition or carrier status; lactation accommodation; marital status; national origin; pregnancy; race; religion; salary history; sexual or reproductive health decisions; sexual orientation; status as a victim of domestic violence, stalking, or sex offenses; unemployment status; veteran or active military status; or any other protected characteristic as established by law
  • retaliation against reporting of conduct concerns or assisting in conflict resolutions
  • engaging in any of the above behaviors in an online platform (e.g., Zoom)
  • engaging in any of the above behaviors in any written or verbal correspondence (e.g., email; phone)

Please note that the University’s EOAA Policies & Procedures also govern the conduct of third parties that occur on any University campus, in connection with University-sponsored programs or activities (including business travel,) and/or University-sponsored programs or activities occurring in an online format (e.g., Zoom.)


The University strongly encourages those who have experienced, witnessed, or become aware of conduct that violates the University’s policies to come forward promptly so that the University can take appropriate steps to prevent such conduct from occurring in the future and to ameliorate its effects. EOAA has a variety of resources available that support individuals affected by harassment. The University will respond to any reports in accordance with the applicable policies. The University will protect the privacy of those who come forward to the extent possible and permissible by law.

If you believe that you have been subjected to, witnessed, or have otherwise learned of conduct prohibited by the University’s policies or this Code of Conduct, you can notify the University in any of the following ways:

  • By contacting the chair of the respective seminar or the Director of the University Seminars, Susan Boynton at [email protected] or (212) 854-2389.
  • By filing an online report with EOAA
  • By contacting EOAA via email at [email protected] or by phone at (212) 854-5511
  • By contacting the University’s Title IX Coordinator via email at [email protected] or by phone at 212-843-1276

The Executive Committee of the University Seminars reserves the right to impose appropriate sanctions, up to and including suspension of member privileges or termination of membership and/or administrative responsibilities.

Should you need immediate assistance while on any University campus, please contact:

Public Safety: 212-854-2797 (Morningside Main line), 212-854-5555 (Morningside Emergency line) | 212-853-3301 (Manhattanville Main line), 212-853-3333 (Manhattanville Emergency line) | 212-305-8100 (CUIMC Main line), 212-305-7979 (CUIMC Emergency line) | 845-359-2900 (LDEO Safety / Security Office)

Columbia University is committed to providing an accessible and welcoming environment for faculty, staff, students, guests, visitors and members of the public, and it encourages individuals with disabilities to participate in its programs and activities. Individuals with disabilities who anticipate needing accommodations or who have questions about physical access may contact the Office of Disability Services.

Please note that all University faculty members, staff members and administrators, except for those working in a confidential capacity, who learn of suspected instances of discrimination, harassment, or gender-based misconduct have a duty to report the information to EOAA or Student Conduct.

The University Seminars Code of Conduct was approved by the Executive Committee in February 2023, adapted from the MSA Code of Conduct and the Code of Conduct prepared by the Council of Editors of Learned Journals, under the advice of Columbia University General Counsel.