By Nan Stout, Ethics & Compliance Officer, Geological Society of America

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In the last sentence of her recent blog post on Speaking of Geoscience, Jane Willenbring, writes that “[g]etting rid of harassment and bullying of all people — #MenToo—is right for science and the Geological Society of America too.”  At GSA, we could not agree more.

As noted in GSA’s position statement, Diversity in the Geosciences Community, fostering a professional climate in which people from a broad range of perspectives and backgrounds are welcomed and included leads to better decision-making and, ultimately, to better science.  Bullying or harassing anyone based on factors unrelated to their ability and promise is unacceptable.  Such conduct is unfair to the individuals involved, and it undermines excellence in our profession.

In May 2019, the GSA Council approved an outline for a new enforceable Code of Ethics.  One section of the new Code of Ethics is particularly relevant to Dr. Willenbring’s reflections on what is right for science.  This section is called, “Promote a Culture of Respect, Fairness, and Inclusivity.”  Getting rid of harassment and bullying of all people – as Dr. Willenbring suggests – is critical and will be specifically addressed in our policy.  GSA also plans to take it a step further by defining the professional, civil culture we expect our members to create in carrying out their roles in science, teaching, and/or interactions with others.

An Ad Hoc committee will be completing a draft of the new Code of Ethics by early July 2019.  We will be offering members an opportunity to comment on this before it is finalized and submitted to the GSA Council in September 2019.  Please look for an email with a link to the draft Code of Ethics toward the middle of July.

In the meantime, if you have any questions or comments about GSA’s ethics program, send an email to Nan Stout, Ethics & Compliance Officer, at