Community Standards & Accountability

This policy serves to reinforce and further explicate the expectations set forth in the Stanford University Code of Conduct. Should there be a conflict between this document and the University Code of Conduct, the University Code governs. 

These standards are modified with permission from materials first developed by the School of Earth, Energy & Environmental Sciences Respectful Communication Committee

Stanford’s Code of Conduct and Fundamental Standard set primary policy for these expectations. This document has also benefited from, and is influenced by, the Lamont Code of Conduct (2019) and excellent guidelines for professional practice found in GSA’s (2019) Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct and in AGU’s (2017) Scientific Code of Conduct and Professional Ethics. Many in Stanford Biology are members of professional societies and we encourage the application of relevant practices in our community where they do not conflict with Stanford’s Code of Conduct.

Send anonymous feedback to the DEIB Committee

Stanford Biology Policy on Respectful and Inclusive Behavior

The Department of Biology is committed to a respectful and inclusive workplace that provides an intellectual, collegial, and productive working environment that supports research, collaboration, teaching, and learning. 

We Value 

We value excellence in scholarship, teaching, and mentorship. We value the fundamental dignity of all human beings, and the right of all people within our department – staff, undergraduates, graduate students, postdocs, and faculty – to be safe in their workspace, to be equally valued as individuals, to have their voices heard, and for those from all racial, cultural, religious, socio-economic, gender identities, and sexual orientations to have a sense of belonging within our Biology community and the University as a whole. We value service to each other and to our community. We value leadership and personal responsibility and expect all members of our community – and especially those in leadership roles - to be aware of the potential impact of their actions, to be accountable for their actions, and to be role models in furthering the common principles and values that we hold.

These values and the practices that follow compose a living document. Every person brings unique qualities, talents and dignity to our Stanford Biology community and, through all voices, our efforts to build a respectful and inclusive workplace will evolve and improve. Feedback is welcome and may be directed to any member of the Stanford Biology Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging Committee.

From Values to Practice 

The bridge from aspirational values to lived practice requires that we adhere to the highest standards of ethical practice, open ourselves to learning and growth, and maintain principles that value human difference, dignity, and respect. It further requires that we hold ourselves and our community accountable for the impact of our actions.

To Whom Does this Apply?

All members of the Stanford Biology community are responsible for upholding our values and for creating a working and learning environment that brings these values to concrete expression in our everyday lives. This community includes undergraduate and graduate students, faculty and academic staff, postdoctoral scholars, visiting scholars/fellows, research staff, and administrative staff affiliated with the School. It also includes invited guests and visitors, volunteers, consultants, contractors, and others performing services for the Stanford Biology community.

Those in leadership roles, including all faculty members, supervisors, managers, and academic advisors, should be especially aware of the impact of their behavior on students, staff members, and other colleagues, and as such, should consider themselves as role models in the promotion of these values and practices.

Where Does this Apply?

We represent Stanford and our values when we are on and off campus, in the field, and at professional gatherings. Because field education and research is such a key part of our community—and may bring specific challenges—we refer to an expanded section “Expectations for Professional Conduct in the Field” later in this document.


The Stanford Code of Conduct sets out a comprehensive series of policies and expectations that each of us commits to following as citizens of the University. Within that context, we recognize that a culture of professionalism and respect is necessary to the academic success and well-being of all members of our Stanford Biology community. Behaviors that contravene this culture hinder scientific advancement, productivity, and innovation within our School; and they undermine well-being, meaningful work, and professional success. Such behaviors can do real, irreparable harm.

We join our university and professional societies in stating that we do not tolerate behaviors that discriminate against, harass, sexually harass, bully, or retaliate against others in our academic and other professional activities

Moving our values into practice, we expect members of our community to: 

  • Listen to others’ points of view and respectfully seek to understand them, acknowledging that those in power or positions of privilege have a real opportunity to encourage inclusion and, intentionally or not, may do harm by discouraging expression. 
  • Prioritize impact over intent, understanding that we may harm or be harmed by others unintentionally and can approach situations with sincerity and seek to build a safer environment for all community members.  
  • Ensure equitable access to learning and research opportunities, deploying inclusive teaching strategies, supporting productive collaboration and honest communication, challenging assumptions that limit opportunity, and mitigating barriers to success. 
  • Provide opportunity for growth and career advancement, creating an environment that recognizes and values the unique qualities, talents, and perspectives of each individual and in which each person can flourish and thrive. 
  • Understand and mentor across differences, recognizing barriers in the institutional environment and to career advancement will vary because we all bring differences in background, identity, privilege, and cultural sensitivity to our academic home. 
  • Recognize that solutions reside in the institution as well as the individual, owning responsibility to question and improve our institutional climate even as we help strengthen individual resilience. 
  • Acknowledge and act when we have concerns on behalf of ourselves or others, understanding that action may take different forms—direct, delegated, deferred—depending upon the circumstances and individuals involved.

Our community is broad and we apply these practices in varied contexts. Each of the above points calls out for further expansion and contextual elaboration to create local meanings that guide professional behavior. We invite all members of our community to engage in the necessary conversations that bring these ideas to practical and relevant application.


Each member of the Stanford Biology community contributes to the realization of our values through their own behavior and as an upstander who acts on behalf of others. Anyone who believes they have been subjected to any form of harassment, discrimination, or abusive conduct should connect to resources and/or reporting structures appropriate to the situation (see Reporting Structures and Resources later in this document). Regardless of intent, the negative impact on individuals who have been harmed is real and valid; harmed individuals should prioritize their mental health while deciding on best options to move forward. Each University or School policy has its own review process and possible outcomes.

Individuals found to have violated a University or School policy (see Definitions below) or who fail to live up to our values may incur a range of consequences. For students, these include (but are not limited to): constructive conversation, formal warning, grade impact, community service, suspension, and expulsion. For faculty and staff, these may include (but are not limited to): constructive conversation, formal warning, salary and/or promotion impact, restriction on accepting/advising students or supervising others, removal from leadership positions, and termination.

Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging Committee. The Biology Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging Committee regularly reviews this departmental policy document and acts as a resource around awareness and school climate. This committee does not adjudicate incidents of harassment or inappropriate conduct, though its members may help connect to relevant reporting structures. A list of current committee members is included at the end of this page.


The following terms describe inappropriate and unwelcome conduct in the workplace. All are behaviors that are damaging to those impacted and some are also illegal. 

Definitions are drawn from GSA Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct (2019), Lamont Code of Conduct (2019), and Stanford University Code of Conduct


Unequal or unfair treatment in professional opportunities, education, benefits, evaluation, and employment (such as hiring, termination, promotion, compensation) as well as retaliation and various types of harassment. Stanford University does not discriminate on the basis of race, religious creed, color, national origin, ancestry, physical or mental disability, medical condition, genetic information, marital status, age, sex, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, gender expression, military status, veteran status, or any other characteristic protected by law, in connection with any aspect of employment at Stanford.

See Policy 1.7.4 in Stanford University’s Code of Conduct for more information on discrimination and harassment prohibited by the University


A type of discrimination characterized by unwanted, unwelcome, demeaning, abusive, or offensive behavior toward individuals based on any characteristic protected by law. Prohibited harassment occurs if a hostile environment has been created that is sufficiently severe, pervasive, or persistent so as to unreasonably interfere with a person’s work performance or participation in university activities. Harassment may take the form of (but is not limited to) offensive slurs, jokes, and other offensive oral, written, computer-generated, visual or physical conduct which is aimed at an individual or group.

See Policy 1.7.4 in Stanford University’s Code of Conduct for more information on discrimination and harassment prohibited by the University

Sexual Harassment

Unwanted and/or unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors or contact, and other verbal, physical, visual conduct of a sexual nature become sexual harassment when: a. It is implicitly or explicitly suggested that submission to or rejection of the conduct will be a factor in academic or employment decisions or evaluations, or permission to participate in a University activity (Quid Pro Quo), OR  b. The conduct has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual's academic or work performance or creating an intimidating or hostile academic, work or student living environment (Hostile Environment).

See Policy 1.7.1 in Stanford University’s Code of Conduct for most current definitions and more information on sexual harassment prohibited by the University

Bullying and Abusive Conduct

Malicious behavior often involving power or perceived vulnerability that a reasonable person would find hostile, offensive, and unrelated to legitimate business/academic interests. It can include repeated infliction of verbal abuse, such as remarks, insults, epithets; or physical conduct that a reasonable person would find threatening, intimidating, or humiliating; or gratuitous sabotage or undermining of a person’s work performance. Typically, a single act does not constitute abusive behavior.

 California code, government code 12950.1 


Verbal, nonverbal, and environmental slights, snubs, or insults that, intentionally or not, send denigrating or unwelcomed messages to any group, particularly underrepresented and/or marginalized individuals. 

Derald Wing Sue, Microaggressions in Everyday Life: Race, Gender and Sexual Orientation

Reporting Structures and Resources

Adhering to Stanford’s Code of Conduct requires that any suspected violations of applicable standards, policies, laws, or regulations be brought to the attention of the appropriate cognizant office. Reporting would normally be made to the immediate supervisor, instructor, or advisor. In situations where it is not appropriate or comfortable to report to an immediate supervisor, individuals may go to a higher level within the department, program, school, or university.

Stanford University Code of Conduct Reporting Suspected Violations, including options for reporting beyond the local unit

Reporting Obligations: there are specific situations mandated by law that require persons who are considered agents of the university to report. Except for University-recognized confidential resources, certain University staff members (including student staff members) with knowledge of unreported concerns relating to Title IX Prohibited Conduct are required to report such allegations to the Title IX Coordinator. These Responsible Employees include supervisors and faculty and staff who have responsibility for working with students in the capacities of teaching, advising, coaching, or mentoring. Reporting by these individuals is required regardless of whether the subject of the Title IX Prohibited Conduct has or has not indicated they will contact the appropriate office. 

See Policy 1.7.1 in Stanford University’s Code of Conduct for more information on sexual harassment prohibited by the University

Reporting Confidentiality: There are select resources that are confidential (see below). The information you share with them is protected by federal and state laws and cannot be shared without your explicit permission. Confidential resources are not required to report to Stanford Title IX and will not share information except in certain circumstances. Those circumstances include: pursuant to a court order or other legal obligation, if they have reason to believe that a student or staff member presents a risk of harm to self or others, or if a minor is being abused. Non-confidential resources treat the information you share with the maximum amount of discretion possible, but are required to report sexual harassment and abuse, allegations of discrimination, minor abuse, and risk to oneself or others, to the appropriate cognizant office.

Campus Security Authorities (CSA’s) are staff and faculty with significant responsibilities for student and campus activities. CSA are required to report certain offenses in accordance with the Clery Act.

University Reporting Options and Selected Points of Support (confidential where noted by *)

Stanford Title IX: 650-497-4955, titleix [at] (titleix[at]stanford[dot]edu).

All concerns of sexual harassment and sexual misconduct for faculty, staff, including other teaching titles, postdocs, and students should be reported to Stanford’s Title IX Coordinator. The Title IX office will then triage the concern to the appropriate office (i.e. UHR’s EL&R for staff concerns) if needed. See also SHARE for additional resources.

Stanford University Diversity and Access Office: 650-723-0755, equalopportunity [at] (equalopportunity[at]stanford[dot]edu). For discrimination on the basis of race, religious creed, color, national origin, ancestry, physical or mental disability, medical condition, marital status, sex, age, sexual orientation, gender identity, veteran status or any other trait or status protected by applicable law.

Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS)* For a broad range of student services including crisis counseling, individual therapy, medication assessment and management, and group therapy. 650-498-2336.

Confidential Support Team (CST)* Free and confidential support to Stanford students impacted by sexual assault and relationship violence, including domestic abuse, intimate partner abuse, stalking, and sexual or gender-based harassment and discrimination. CST services include brief emotional support and ongoing individual counseling. 650-725-9955.

Faculty Staff Help Center* Confidential counseling and other resources for faculty, staff, postdocs and spouses/domestic partners. (650) 723-4577, helpcenter [at] (helpcenter[at]lists[dot]stanford[dot]edu).

Office of the Ombuds* Confidential, neutral, and independent resource for faculty, staff, students, and postdocs to listen and help address concerns. 650-497-1542, berlinb [at] (berlinb[at]stanford[dot]edu).

Stanford Biology Reporting Options and Selected Points of Support (all non-confidential)

Department Chairs and Program Directors, Student Services Offices, Directors of Graduate and Undergraduate Studies, and/or faculty advisors are generally the best place to start with a non-confidential concern. Many issues can be resolved at the local level and appropriate connections or referrals can be made to other appropriate resources.

Sexual Harassment Advisors are available to anyone in the Stanford community who seeks guidance about sexually harassing behavior or information about the University’s policy and procedures. The advisers are authorized to receive complaints. They are non-confidential resources and will treat information discreetly and privately.

Cindy Cho, Human Resources Manager, cindyly [at] (cindyly[at]stanford[dot]edu)

Sumitra Krishnan, Chief Human Resources Officer, sumitrak [at] (sumitrak[at]stanford[dot]edu)

Brad Salters, Senior Human Resources Manager, salters [at] (salters[at]stanford[dot]edu)

Renee Sombilon, Human Resources Manager, sombilon [at] (sombilon[at]stanford[dot]edu)

Amber Washington, Human Resources Manager, triplett [at] (triplett[at]stanford[dot]edu)

Susie Weersing, Associate Dean, Graduate and Undergraduate Studies, weersing [at] (weersing[at]stanford[dot]edu)

Human Resources: Sumitra Krishnan, Chief Human Resources Officer, sumitrak [at] (sumitrak[at]stanford[dot]edu)  for faculty and staff concerns escalated to the Dean’s Office

Associate Dean for Graduate & Undergraduate Studies: Susie Weersing, weersing [at] (weersing[at]stanford[dot]edu) for graduate student and undergraduate concerns escalated to the Dean’s Office

Associate Dean for Postdoctoral Affairs: Sofie Kleppner, Associate Dean for Postdoctoral Affairs, kleppner [at] (kleppner[at]stanford[dot]edu) for postdoctoral concerns escalated to the Dean’s Office

Diversity, Equity, Inclusion & Belonging Committee: This committee will revisit this Policy on Respectful and Inclusive Behavior annually. This document acts as a resource around awareness and school climate. This committee does not adjudicate incidents of harassment or inappropriate conduct, though its members may help connect to relevant reporting structures.

2022-2023 Committee Members:


Kristy Red-Horse, Associate Professor of Biology

Lauren O'Connell, Assistant Professor of Biology


Kabir Peay, Associate Professor of Biology and Senior Fellow at the Woods Institute for the Environment


Cynthia Sanchez, Director of Finance and Operations, Department of Biology

Postdoctoral Fellows:

Kelsey Lyberger

Kwadwo Opoku-Nsiah

Peter Pellitier

Naja Akbari

Graduate Students:

Charlotte Brannon

Kristy Mualim

Luis Hernandez

Maria Nguyen

Mila Pamplona

Sofia Guajardo Beskid

Undergraduate Students: 

Amaris Lewis

Isaiah Dawid

Theo Gress