Code of Conduct

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The Society of Physics Students (SPS) is a professional association explicitly aimed at students to help transform themselves into contributing members of the professional community. Sigma Pi Sigma, the National Physics Honor Society, is assimilated within the SPS for the purpose of encouraging interest in physics among students to promote an attitude of service and community.

To foster a positive experience built upon open communication, professionalism, ethical behavior, respect and a safe environment all meeting participants, SPS-American Institute of Physics (AIP) staff and volunteers, service providers and other stakeholders are expected to adhere to this Code of Conduct. This policy covers all events, including but not limited to plenaries, workshops, committee meetings, meals and social events that are held in conjunction with SPS-coordinated events.

By registering for and attending an SPS-coordinated event, you agree that you have read and will follow the guidelines and expectations as provided.

Appropriate Behavior

  • Treat all participants, SPS members and nonmembers, SPS-AIP staff, SPS volunteers, service providers and other stakeholders with respect and consideration.
  • Open communication and collaboration with others is encouraged. Critiquing should be limited to ideas and not directed toward individuals.
  • Avoid personal attacks on other participants and stakeholders. 
  • Be mindful of your surroundings and of your fellow participants.  Alert SPS-AIP staff or volunteers if you notice a dangerous situation or see that someone is in distress.
  • Respect the legal rules and obligations of the host city/venue.

Inappropriate Behavior

  • Harassment, intimidation or discrimination in any form cannot be tolerated.  Personal boundaries set by others must be respected.
  • Inappropriate actions based on individual characteristics are prohibited. Individual characteristics include ethnicity, culture, race, age, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, religion, political affiliation, physical characteristics, disabilities and any other attributes protected by law.
  • Examples of inappropriate actions can include but are not limited to verbal comments, intimidation, unwanted touching, inappropriate use of nudity, offensive images in public spaces or presentations, stalking, and distasteful jokes.
  • Videotaping or taking photographs without the permission of the individual or by SPS-AIP staff.
  • Disruptions of any type will not be permitted at the plenaries, workshops, poster sessions, art contest; in the exhibit area; during tours, meal and social functions: or at other events organized by SPS-AIP.

Reporting Inappropriate Behavior

  • If you are the subject of inappropriate behavior or a witness to behavior that violates professional and respectful conduct, please immediately notify a SPS-AIP staff member or SPS volunteer in a leadership position.  Notification should be done by contacting any SPS staff person or by e-mailing sps [at]
  • Anyone experiencing behavior that constitutes an immediate and serious threat is advised to contact venue security and/or immediately place a 911 call to the police.
  • SPS-AIP will not tolerate any form of retaliation against individuals who file a complaint or provide assistance in investigating a complaint.


  • Violations of the Code of Conduct will be promptly reported to the AIP senior leadership, SPS Executive Committee, AIP Board, and AIP legal counsel, as necessary.
  • The necessary parties shall review the complaint and evidence, engage in discussion with the alleged offender and shall take such action as may be appropriate depending on the type of accusation.
  • Such actions can range from a verbal warning, removal from the SPS-coordinated event without a refund of registration fees, termination of SPS society membership, preclude volunteer service to the society, or deny future society membership.