Code of Conduct

Values Statement

  • The Washington State Academy of Sciences (WSAS) is committed to increasing both the scientific and technical knowledge concerning challenges facing Washington State and the use of such knowledge to improve the condition of the citizens, government, and businesses of Washington State.
  • WSAS respects civil and human rights and the central importance of freedom of inquiry and expression in research, teaching, and publication. We strive to help public policymakers in developing informed regulations and policies concerning Washington State.
  • WSAS values the diversity of our membership and endeavors to be inclusive and welcoming to our members, partners and staff.

WSAS was created by Governor Christine Gregoire as an independent, non-profit, self-perpetuating honorary society of the state’s leading scientists to provide unbiased advice to the state on any matter for which evidence can inform sound public policy. The credibility of the advice from WSAS rests on its reputation, which depends on the reputation of its members. Membership in WSAS is a privilege predicated on its members adhering to certain standards of conduct. WSAS members, by accepting membership in the Academy, agree to abide by the following Code of Conduct. *


This Code of Conduct provides a common set of principles and standards upon which WSAS and our members build their professional and scientific work on behalf of the state.

  • We are committed to providing a respectful, safe and welcoming environment for all, free from discrimination and harassment based on race, sex/gender, sexual orientation, gender identity/expression, age, color, religion, creed, national or ethnic origin, physical, mental, or sensory disability, including the use of a trained service animal, marital status, genetic information, status as an honorably discharged veteran or member of the military, or socioeconomic status.
  • Scientific integrity—including the independence of the scientific process and the rigorous application of science-based knowledge—should be upheld throughout all levels of WSAS. Members are expected to provide comprehensive, transparent, unbiased, and understandable technical analyses.

*This Code applies to WSAS activities across a variety of contexts, such as in person, postal, telephone, internet, and other electronic transmissions. This Code of Conduct applies to behavior and actions occurring outside the scope of WSAS activities when such behavior has the potential to adversely affect the safety and well-being of members or WSAS as an organization. Members are furthermore expected to conform to the codes of ethics that govern their employing institution (if any). Lack of awareness or misunderstanding of an Ethical Standard is not itself a defense to a charge of unethical conduct. If you have questions about to Code of Conduct and would like clarification, please contact the WSAS Office or a member of the Board of Directors.

Expectations and Standards

Members in an academic community have the right to equal treatment and opportunity regardless of race, sex/gender, sexual orientation, gender identity/expression, age, color, religion, creed, national or ethnic origin, physical, mental, or sensory disability, including the use of a trained service animal, marital status, genetic information, status as an honorably discharged veteran or member of the military, or socioeconomic status. This includes a community free of intimidation, coercion, exploitation, discrimination, and all forms of harassment. Membership in WSAS should be based on professional and service capabilities alone, in addition to adherence to the standards set forth in this Code of Conduct.

Members and staff have a professional responsibility to serve the public interest and welfare and to further the public understanding of science and engineering. Attention should be focused on the highest standards of scientific integrity as well as the personal responsibility of the individual members or staff. In conformance with these principals, the following examples of expected and unacceptable behavior are provided; however, the list is not intended to be exhaustive.

Expected Behavior

  • Scientific integrity is expected of all members.
  • Exercise consideration and respect in speech and actions.
  • Attempt collaboration before conflict.
  • Maintain confidentiality with respect to discussions of candidates for WSAS election and the deliberations of WSAS committees and working groups.
  • Be mindful of your surroundings and of your fellow Academy members. Alert staff, Board members, and/or other members if you notice a dangerous situation, someone in distress, or violations of this Code of Conduct, even if they seem inconsequential.
  • Remember that event venues may be shared with members of the public; please be respectful to all patrons of these locations.

Unacceptable Behavior

  • Plagiarism, falsification of data, misuse of grant funds and other breaches of scientific integrity.
  • Violence, threats of violence or violent language directed against another person.
  • Sexist, racist, homophobic, transphobic, ableist or otherwise discriminatory or harassing behavior.
  • Posting or threatening to post other people’s personal information (“doxing”).
  • Bullying behavior, including but not limited to personal insults, yelling, undermining, or belittling others.
  • Inappropriate photography or recording, for example, recording a private conversation without the consent of all parties.
  • Sexually harassing behavior, including but not limited to unwelcome sexual attention, sexualized comments or jokes; inappropriate touching, groping, and unwelcome sexual advances.
  • Intimidation, stalking or following (online or in person).
  • Advocating for, or encouraging, any of the above behavior.
  • Sustained disruption of Academy events, including talks and presentations.

Board Members, Committees, and Staff

Board Members and staff should act in good faith and with honesty, accuracy, personal and professional integrity, and reasonable competence. Reasonable competence requires gaining a comprehensive knowledge of WSAS, its aspirations, missions, programs, and financial conditions and general non-profit issues to ensure compliance with WSAS’s governing documents and applicable state and federal laws.

Board Members and staff should act in a manner that promotes board and committee unity and confidence. This means engaging in candid, open, and honest discussion, while keeping disagreements impersonal and accepting decisions made on a majority or consensus basis. However, Board Members and Committee Members (when acting with delegated authority) have the right to dissent or abstain from voting and have their dissent or abstention recorded.

Board Members and staff must comply with federal, state, and local laws and should adhere to the policies, goals, and principles of WSAS. Board Members must comply with the legal obligations of: (1) the duty of care to act in a reasonable and informed manner and exercise independent judgment when participating in Board of Directors decisions and its oversight of WSAS’s management; and (2) the duty of loyalty which requires Board Members to exercise their powers in good faith and in the best interests of WSAS, rather than in their own interests or the interest of another entity or person.

When establishing policies or authorizing and permitting activities, Board Members and staff must ensure that no policies or activities jeopardize the nonprofit or tax-exempt status of WSAS.

Board Members may freely disclose governing policies, general fundraising activities and events, annual financial statements, and other non-confidential information that may add to public understanding and appreciation of, and confidence in, their roles and objectives.

Board Members must protect confidential donor information, including gift records, and maintain the confidentiality of information entrusted to them by WSAS and any other confidential information about WSAS that comes to them, except when disclosure is duly authorized or legally mandated. For purposes of this Code, “confidential information” includes, but is not limited to, all nonpublic and proprietary information relating to WSAS.


The WSAS Board of Directors may impose sanctions on WSAS members, including Officers and Board Members, for violations of the standards of the Code of Conduct, up to and including removal from office, exclusion from WSAS activities, and/or suspension or termination of WSAS membership. The Board of Directors may notify other bodies and individuals of its actions consistent with state and federal law. Sanctions may be imposed only by the affirmative vote of a majority of Board Members, after reasonable notice and an opportunity to respond has been provided to the individual accused of violating this Code of Conduct (see also WSAS Bylaws, Section 3.12, Term-Removal of Officers). Staff members may be disciplined or terminated for violations of this Code of Conduct consistent with the terms and conditions of their employment.

This Code of Conduct may be amended by a majority vote of the Board of Directors, in accordance with the WSAS Bylaws.