Community Principles

A statement of our department's values

Community Principles of the Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences

Washington University is committed to the highest ethical and professional standards of conduct as an integral part of its mission, the promotion of learning. To achieve this goal, the university relies on each community member’s ethical behavior, honesty, integrity, and good judgment. Each community member should demonstrate respect for the rights of others. Each community member is accountable for their actions.

Washington University is also committed to fostering a positive learning and working environment for its students, faculty, and staff. The university’s policy on discrimination and harassment prohibits discrimination and harassment on the basis of race, color, national origin, age, religion, sex (including sexual harassment and sexual assault), sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, veteran status, disability, or genetic information.

The Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences adheres to WashU’s stated policies and standards and additionally recognizes the right of all our members to be free from fear of physical and/or emotional harm.

In EPS, we expect all faculty, staff, students, and guests to abide by the following community principles:

  1. Abide by WashU’s posted standards of conduct, including our policy prohibiting discrimination and harassment.
  2. Treat all members of our community fairly, ethically, and with respect and courtesy.
  3. Engage respectfully with members of our community on the basis of legitimate intellectual criteria, rather than personal beliefs or individual preferences.
  4. Be charitable. In all interactions, begin by assuming good intentions. Strive for mutual understanding through empathy and dialogue before drawing conclusions about another’s behavior.
  5. In all interactions, use good practices for intercultural collaboration.
  6. Behave professionally in all situations when you may be viewed as a representative of the department, both in person and in virtual interactions.
  7. Do not engage in any conduct damaging to the mission of the department or the university as a whole.
  8. Do not engage in hostility, intimidation, or bullying in any setting, nor in any conduct interfering with the rights of any member of the community, including the right to a safe and inclusive work and educational space.
  9. We uphold a strong commitment to academic freedom, and support the right to challenge intellectual viewpoints in a polite and respectful manner.
  10. Maintain civility in all interactions, whether in physical or virtual forums, in accordance with WashU’s affirmed commitment to freedom of expression in support of an open and inclusive environment.
  11. Where speech or behavior is deemed offensive by members of our community, those involved should engage meaningfully in further discussion about the contentious issue.
  12. Do not knowingly spread misinformation or disinformation.
  13. Create and uphold a safe, open, and professional environment for learning, conducting, and communicating science with integrity, respect, fairness, trustworthiness, and transparency at all organizational levels and in all scientific endeavors.

It is the responsibility of all members of our community to maintain the standards set forth in these principles. We expect a good-faith effort from all members to meet the expectations of these community principles and to accept feedback from other community members when they are not met. The above statements, however, are not meant to shut down discussions involving diverse viewpoints. Rather, we encourage ongoing discussion and engagement in a respectful and collegial manner with the aim of mutual understanding. We further commit to working together to identify and resolve problems. 

Violations of these principles may be reported to the offending individual for self-correction and to the chair of the department. In cases where the violation overlaps with WashU codes and policies, stated university policies for reporting and enforcement will be followed. Read more about university resources, including student support and systems for reporting.