CSE has the privilege of serving a diverse, international group of editorial professionals in the sciences. With that privilege, we have an obligation to provide safe spaces for our membership to network, exchange ideas, and learn from each other. I hope you will agree that our most valuable learning experiences occur when our current level of knowledge or our beliefs are challenged by those with a different perspective. These experiences require an environment in which all involved feel comfortable voicing their opinions and engaging in open discussion, regardless of our differences.
To ensure this safe and supportive atmosphere permeates our meetings and events, the CSE Board of Directors has adopted the Code of Conduct. We have opted to publish this under a Creative Commons Attribution license (CC-BY), so that other organizations may use it as a guide as needed. This Code is intended to align CSE’s values and commitment to diversity and inclusivity with its stated purpose of fostering networking, education, discussion, and exchange. In developing its Code, CSE has aimed for balance between assuming the best intentions of its roughly 800 members and conveying a clear message that anything less than considerate and respectful language and actions will not be tolerated. We want to assure our members that should they ever be made to feel unwelcome or uncomfortable at a CSE event, the organization will take swift action to resolve the situation.
Should you have any questions or concerns about the Code of Conduct, please don’t hesitate to raise them to one of CSE’s volunteer leaders. The Board has pledged to review and revise this Code as needed, to ensure it is fulfilling its intended purpose and meeting our members’ needs. I’m grateful for the significant time and attention the Board has already devoted to reviewing, debating, and revising countless drafts and questions as we’ve navigated this process. Along the way, we’ve more than once expressed our vehement hope that we will never need to put this document to use. My personal experiences over the 13 years I’ve attended the CSE Annual Meeting have been overwhelmingly positive, and so I’m optimistic that the difficult task of crafting appropriate reporting and investigation procedures, and reasonable yet firm sanctions, will have been time happily wasted.
With that said, I hope we can all find opportunities amongst the positive values presented in this Code and continually elevate what is already so wonderful about CSE. As you prepare for the 2019 Annual Meeting in Columbus, please take a few extra minutes to read the Code of Conduct and consider how you can incorporate it into your experience. Let’s not simply be respectful despite our differences, but let’s explore those differences to better understand each other and forge new relationships. Let’s not just express opposite viewpoints free of personal attacks, but let’s ask our colleagues to elaborate on their opinions to find common ground and foster creative problem-solving. Let’s celebrate how our varied backgrounds shape our perspectives, continually ask questions and truly listen to each other’s answers, and encourage those around us to join the conversation. In these ways, I believe the time we have invested documenting our values and commitments will have been time very well spent.
Dana Compton is President-Elect, CSE, and Editorial Director, American Society of Civil Engineers.