IJͼ

IJͼ Code of Conduct

Effective 8/1/2023 (Approved in May 2023)

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Statement of Purpose

This Code of Conduct is intended to reflect the standard of professionalism to which we hold ourselves as IJͼ members, language educators and stakeholders.  We strive to demonstrate to the public, parents, learners, school administrators, policy makers, the media, and our fellow educators that IJͼ members commit to a high standard of ethical, inclusive and professional conduct.

While we acknowledge the progress our organization has made to bring more diverse voices into our profession, we must also acknowledge the harmful consequences of sexism, racism, homophobia, and other forms of discrimination that continue to disadvantage many of our colleagues. That inequity is reflected in the number of historically marginalized groups in our profession. It is not enough for us to simply monitor and modify our own behavior as individuals. We must intentionally engage in a collective effort to speak against attitudes and behaviors that continue to harm less-privileged members of our profession and our community.

Preamble

IJͼ strives to integrate the Core Values of collaboration, inclusivity, innovation, integrity, passion and quality. Members of IJͼ and the language education profession are dedicated to the promotion of language proficiency, multilingualism, intercultural understanding, and global competence. As a professional organization, IJͼ is committed to providing an inclusive climate that encourages the open expression and exchange of ideas, that is free from all forms of discrimination, harassment, and retaliation and that is welcoming and safe for all members and to those who participate in its activities. The following commitments and principles of professional conduct and ethical practice provide guidance as to the expectations of behavior for IJͼ members and stakeholders.

Commitments

Commitment to the Learner

  • IJͼ members are committed to developing the linguistic and communicative competence and unbiased cultural understanding of every learner.  Members are responsible for establishing and maintaining appropriate and positive relationships with learners that respect the personal integrity and privacy of learners at all times. Members advocate for open access to language programs for all learners and support and encourage appropriate assessments for each learner.  Members establish learning environments in which learner diversity in all its forms is recognized and respected and all learners are treated fairly and with sensitivity.

Commitment to Professional Expertise

  • Members are committed to achieving and maintaining appropriate linguistic and communicative competence for their professional context, as well as intercultural knowledge and understanding, by participating in ongoing professional development related to world languages, including experiences in the target cultures and/or with members of the target language communities.  Members are committed to implementing pedagogical practices that incorporate national, state, or institutional standards and are based on current, evidence-based research in language acquisition; developing relevant and rigorous curricula that are accessible to all learners; and creating performance-based assessments that effectively and appropriately measure learner progress in language proficiency and intercultural competence in real-world or authentic contexts.

Commitment to Professional Communities

  • Members maintain a professional attitude and act with integrity when interacting with colleagues, learners, parents, and the public.  They exchange and share information, ideas, strategies, and activities to enhance language proficiency and awareness and intercultural competence. They maintain confidentiality of information that they do not have permission to share publicly or with individuals. Members adhere to high ethical standards and practices when teaching, conducting research, publishing, mentoring, and providing and participating in professional development.  Members serve the profession by promoting language education and intercultural understanding.

Commitment to Public Responsibility

  • Members maintain the highest standards of professional conduct in their communities, classrooms and professional affiliations and exhibit the highest standards of expertise by maintaining their professional skills in the field of language education.  They model the advantages of having linguistic competence in the community.  IJͼ members support and advocate for effective language programs at all levels by promoting the benefits of language learning, cultural awareness, and global competence, and by providing accurate and applicable information to the public on this topic.

Commitment to Personal Responsibility

  • Members uphold the integrity and reputation of the organization through respectful actions and behaviors when interacting with all members and stakeholders of the IJͼ community. They engage in appropriate steps to resolve interpersonal conflicts before reporting violations to IJͼ staff, except for immediate safety issues.

Universal Code of Conduct 

This Code of Conduct applies to the behavior of all members of IJͼ and those individuals and groups who interact with IJͼ in their professional lives through teaching, research, service, conference participation, and other duties carried out in the world language community.

In the event of unacceptable conduct, IJͼ reserves the right to take action deemed necessary and appropriate, including immediate removal of the individual or group from in-person and virtual events and online interactions if the safety of any individual or group is in danger or in the case of egregious violations. IJͼ also has the right to prohibit attendance at any future event and to revoke membership. There will be no refund of fees or dues, if applicable. Refer to “Consequences of Violating the Code of Conduct” in this policy.

Incidents happening in the moment should be reported to an IJͼ staff person, onsite security personnel or virtual or online moderator so that appropriate action can be taken. Refer to “Reporting Violations of the Code of Conduct” on page 7 for formal complaints.

Conduct for In-Person Conventions, Meetings and Gatherings

IJͼ does not tolerate any unacceptable conduct by attendees, exhibitors, or staff at in-person events, including but not limited to:

  • Harassment, intimidation, or discrimination in any form.
  • Physical, verbal, or signed abuse of any attendee, presenter, exhibitor, service provider, guest or IJͼ staff member.
  • Derogatory, discriminatory, or inappropriate comments related to gender, sexual orientation, disability, physical appearance, body size, race, religion, national origin or any other protected group.
  • Inappropriate use of nudity or sexual images in presentations.
  • Continuous or ongoing disruption of presentations during sessions, in the exhibit hall or at any other events or meetings.
  • Introduction of topics with the intent to deviate or distract from the focus topic of the presentation or meeting.
  • Sharing of confidential information related to people, presentations, meetings, or events that the participant does not have permission to share.
  • Sharing of any information or other material protected by copyright without the permission of the copyright owner or without crediting the author or source.
  • Recording or taking photos of session presentations against the wishes of the presenter(s). Recording and photography is permitted at public events unless otherwise specified.
  • Solicitations for services or product announcements during non-exhibitor or non-sponsored presentations.

 Conduct for Virtual Events and Online Interactions

IJͼ does not tolerate any unacceptable conduct by participants in virtual and online events and interactions. Participants will follow all norms established at the onset of the virtual event or online interaction. Additionally, participants will not engage in:

  • Harassment, intimidation, or discrimination in any form.
  • Verbal, written or signed abuse of any participant, presenter or IJͼ staff member.
  • Derogatory, discriminatory, or inappropriate comments related to gender, sexual orientation, disability, physical appearance, body size, race, religion, national origin or any other protected group.
  • Inappropriate use of nudity or sexual images in presentations.
  • Continuous or ongoing disruption of presentations or online interactions.
  • Introduction of topics with the intent to deviate or distract from the focus topic of the event or online interaction.
  • Sharing of confidential information related to people, presentations, meetings, or events that the participant does not have permission to share.
  • Posting of any information or other material protected by copyright without the permission of the copyright owner or without crediting the author or source.
  • Recordings or screenshots of virtual events or interactions without the express consent of all moderators and participants.
  • Making copies, taking screenshots, or sharing of content of virtual or online posts or conversations, or any Q&A or chat room activity that takes place in a virtual space, without consent of the owner of the content.
  • Solicitations for services or product announcements in live or on-demand non-exhibitor or non-sponsored presentations.

Consequences of Violating the Code of Conduct

The following consequences may be implemented when an IJͼ member or stakeholder violates the Code of Conduct during an in-person or virtual event or online interaction. Generally, consequences shall depend on the seriousness of the infractions and/or a history of violations. Consequences may include, but are not limited to, one or more of the following:

  • Notification of problem or nature of suspected violation.
  • Counseling, education, and verbal warning.
  • Written warning.
  • Removal of the offender(s) from the in-person or virtual event or online interaction.
  • Determination if the removed party is permitted to attend future IJͼ events.
  • Revocation of membership.

Code of Conduct for the IJͼ Board

The IJͼ Code of Conduct, including the consequences of violations, the reporting of violations and the appeals process, shall apply to all members on the IJͼ Board unless otherwise stated in the IJͼ Bylaws.  Additional expectations of Board members can be found in the current IJͼ Board Onboarding/Policy Manual.

Reporting Violations of the Code of Conduct

The Code of Conduct represents a set of values that apply to all ethical judgments, actions, and decisions of IJͼ members and stakeholders. While the Code establishes guidelines for the conduct of IJͼ members and stakeholders, it cannot foresee all circumstances that may arise. Nevertheless, each IJͼ member and stakeholder shares the responsibility to ensure that individual and collective conduct is appropriate. It is expected that reports and complaints are submitted in good faith and the complainant has taken reasonable steps to remedy the conflict prior to reporting, if or when possible.

A member or stakeholder who wishes to formally report a violation shall submit it in writing via email to the Executive Director or to the Executive Committee. The member/stakeholder who reports a violation is not responsible for investigating the activity or for determining fault or corrective measures. Other persons within IJͼ will investigate and take action, if appropriate, as outlined below:

  • For a violation that is formally reported in writing, the following protocol is set forth, in this order:
  • The Executive Director and the Executive Committee shall convene an ad hoc committee to investigate the claim and determine its validity and related consequences, if any, for the offender. The process for investigation is outlined in the IJͼ Board Policy Manual.
  • If the reported violation involves the Executive Director and/or an Executive Committee Member, they shall remove themselves from the investigative process.
  • If the reported violation involves the entire Executive Committee, then the Board of Directors shall convene an ad hoc committee.
  • If the reported violation involves any Board of Director members, they shall remove themselves from the investigative process. 
  • If the reported violation involves the entire Board of Directors, the IJͼ Human Resources office shall conduct the investigation.
  • Where appropriate, the Executive Director, the Board, or Human Resources will consult with IJͼ's legal counsel for investigation and corrective action.
  • Insofar as possible, the confidentiality of all parties will be maintained. However, identity may have to be disclosed to conduct a thorough investigation, to comply with the law and to provide accused individuals their legal rights of defense. 
  • IJͼ staff will provide notification to the member/stakeholder and to the reporting party of the outcome of the investigation.
  • A record of all such complaints and concerns, along with the investigative findings, will be maintained on a confidential basis in the Human Resources files. Directors and Officers with any questions regarding this policy should contact Human Resources.

Appeals Process

A member or stakeholder found to have violated the Code of Conduct by the ad hoc committee may appeal such a determination. To do so, the member/stakeholder must, within 10 days of receipt of the finding of a violation, provide written notice of an intent to appeal. This notice is to be delivered via email to the Executive Director. The member/stakeholder then has an additional 10 days to submit a written appeal. The appeal must be based on alleged procedural deficiencies in the process; erroneous findings; or excessive sanctions. 

The fact that a member/stakeholder has filed an appeal will be communicated to the complaining party, though the complaining party may not participate in any appeal, including by submitting comments, unless expressly invited by the Board of Directors. 

Appeals are considered by the IJͼ Board of Directors based on the record, i.e., the findings and decision of the ad hoc committee and the written submission of the member/stakeholder. 

The role of the Board of Directors is to decide, based on the materials provided, whether: 1) IJͼ’s procedures were substantially followed; 2) the determination that the Code of Ethics was violated has a reasonable basis and is not clearly wrong; and 3) the sanctions imposed are consistent with the seriousness of the Code of Ethics violation. The Board of Directors should not reinvestigate the case or otherwise repeat the work of the ad hoc committee. If the appeal contains new, potentially exculpatory evidence it should be considered.

Members of the Board of Directors with a business or personal relationship with the member/stakeholder, and any Member of the Board of Directors who is himself or herself the subject of the Code of Conduct complaint, shall be recused from participation in the deliberation and decision on an appeal.  

The actions available to the Board of Directors are:

  • Uphold the determination of a Code of Conduct violation and sanctions;
  • Uphold the determination but modify the sanctions; 
  • Overturn the determination and sanctions and dismiss the matter entirely; or
  • Send the case back to the ad hoc committee with instructions to reconsider the entire case, specific aspects of the case, or the sanctions.

IJͼ staff will provide notification to the member/stakeholder and to the reporting party of the outcome of an appeal.