AAG Policies and Practices for Inclusion and Respect

Read the AAG Professional Conduct Policy and Procedures doc AAG is committed to creating and supporting a safe, welcoming, and inclusive environment at all of its events, including online events and separately sponsored social gatherings that are part of AAG activities. AAG has also made changes to its Standing Rules that specifically address and establish consequences for dishonorable, unethical, or unprofessional conduct by an Association member in relation to the Association or its activities, or to the professional role of the Association member beyond AAG-sponsored functions. 

Read the changes to the Standing Rules

AAG’s policies and practices for inclusion and respect support our mission of serving the geography profession, by helping to ensure a robust academic environment in which dialogue, debate, and dissent are supported in a professional culture that is free from harassment, bullying, and discrimination. If you would like to help AAG continue to strengthen these policies, contact us at gaia@aag.org.


Read the 2019 Harassment-Free AAG Survey resultsThe American Association of Geographers advocates a positive culture of inclusion and respect for the dignity of each individual. AAG opposes all forms of discrimination against and harassment on the basis of an individual’s race, age, religion, creed, color, ancestry, citizenship, national or ethnic origin, disability, military or veteran status, sex, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, or any other classification protected by applicable local, state or federal law. This policy applies to attendees, AAG staff, speakers, exhibitors, or event venue staff at any AAG-sponsored event, as well as AAG-sponsored meeting social events (such as the international reception, exhibit hall networking events, field trips and receptions).

AAG Practices for Inclusion and Respect

In addition to our policy for a harassment-free AAG, we have instituted numerous practices for enhancing the safety and comfort of everyone who participates in our events and communities. 

  • Highlighting marginalized voices — AAG’s programming is intended to lift up and highlight the voices of marginalized people, with many sessions, special events, and tracks that broaden and deepen the perspectives within the Annual Meeting experience.
  • Support for gender diversity and LGBT2QIA+ rights — AAG provides advance information and choices regarding the addition of pronouns to badges, in recognition of the diversity of genders attending the Annual Meeting. All-gender restrooms will be available at venues during the Annual Meeting. AAG also will not tolerate sexist, misogynist, transphobic or homophobic language, expression, or behaviors.
  • Support of parents — Subsidized childcare will be offered onsite and a lactation room will also be available. Register for childcare.
  • Holistic support for the wellbeing and access of AAG members, staff, and guests — AAG will work with all meeting venues to make its functions fully accessible to participants with disabilities. Please see our page on accessibility for additional detail. We will also make menu options available at all functions to support special dietary needs, and we will act decisively to support the rights of sober and sober-curious participants and guests to have options for socializing that do not include or emphasize alcohol. AAG will include programming in its Annual Meeting that supports the mental health of participants and guests, including Bystander Intervention training to prevent or stop harassment, and the Mental Health First Aid program that provides training on recognizing and addressing the signs of mental distress in oneself and others.
  • Safe and quiet space — AAG will offer a Meditation/Quiet Room onsite.

Bill of Rights in the Event of Harassment or Discrimination

  1. You have the right to be heard and to have the AAG review and address your concerns. Any AAG staff person is empowered to hear from you when you have been the victim of or a witness to harassment or assault, and can connect you with the help you need. 
  2. You have the right to see an onsite Advocate. An Advocate is a professional trained to support victims of offending conduct as they offer individuals information, emotional support, and help in finding resources and filling out paperwork, such as filing a complaint with the AAG ombudsperson. If you need to correspond with the advocate during the week of the meeting, email Advocate@aag.org.
  3. You have the right to have your safety and wellbeing protected. AAG is committed to supporting the wellbeing and safety of any person who experienced an incident of harassment or discrimination. 
  4. You have the right to support, whether you file a report or not. You do not have to file a complaint to access the services of the advocate. If needed, the advocate will help you put together a safety plan at the meeting venue and a plan for when you return to your workplace. 
  5. You have the right to ask a friend to advocate for you. You can also meet with the advocate if you are seeking advice on how to help a friend or colleague who may be the victim of harassment.
  6. You have the right to decisive action, in accordance with AAG’s policies. An external and independent ombudsperson is available off-site as the first point of contact for you, if you want to file a harassment complaint. The ombudsperson works with AAG staff and the Standing Committee on Disciplinary and Eligibility Matters for AAG Members in the handling of incident reports. The ombudsperson interacts with complainants and alleged harassers and investigates or supervises the investigation of the alleged incident.

If you need to correspond with the advocate during the Annual Meeting, email Advocate@aag.org.

How to Recognize Harassment

Professional ideas and information are exchanged most effectively at the AAG Annual Meeting and other AAG events in an atmosphere that is free of discrimination or harassment, and is characterized by courtesy and respect. AAG expects all participants and guests at its events to conduct themselves in a manner that contributes to such an atmosphere. Importantly, not only are all participants expected to treat others with respect and consideration and follow venue rules, but are also expected to support a culture of respect by alerting staff or security when they have knowledge of dangerous situations, are subjected to or witness violations of professional conduct, or know of individuals in distress. 

What constitutes harassment?

Here is a list of behaviors that are specifically prohibited by AAG, whether directed at other attendees, AAG staff, speakers, exhibitors, or event venue staff. This list is not meant to be comprehensive, but to give general guidance as to what constitutes harassing behavior:

  • Physical or verbal intimidation, including threats, stalking, or unwelcome following;
  • Any conduct that is harassing, abusive, discriminatory, or intentionally demeaning of a person by any attendees at the event and related event activities;
  • Personal attacks or other behavior during disagreements or in discussions;
  • Offensive verbal comments related to gender, sexual orientation, race, religion, national origin, gender identity, or disability; 
  • Inappropriate use of nudity and/or sexual images in public spaces (including presentation slides);
  • Harassing or intimidating photography or recording
  • Sustained disruption of talks or other events; and 
  • Unwelcome physical contact or sexual attention, including unwelcome sexual flirtations, advances, or propositions; unwelcome verbal comments or physical actions of a sexual nature; sexually degrading words used to describe an individual; an unwelcome display of sexually suggestive objects or pictures; sexually explicit jokes; and offensive, unwanted physical contact such as patting, pinching, grabbing, groping, or constant brushing against another’s body.

If you are asked to stop any harassing behavior at an AAG-sponsored or -associated event, you are expected to comply immediately.

Social events. Because of the informal nature of social events, AAG encourages participants and guests to be mindful of behavior that is or could be perceived as harassment, sexual or otherwise. While AAG encourages networking and strengthening of connections between participants at social gatherings, AAG reserves the right to remove any participant whose social attentions become unwelcome to another and who persists in such attentions after their unwelcome nature has been communicated. AAG also reserves the right to remove or exclude any participant or attendee who appears inebriated and who engages in conduct that interferes with the ability of other attendees to participate in and enjoy the conference.

In assessing reports of incidents that may violate this policy, AAG will make every effort to fairly and thoroughly investigate the accounts and information by all parties involved or directly witnessing such an incident.

Session Recording and Opting Out

AAG's virtual annual meeting is using a platform that automates recording and offers attendees the option of viewing recorded sessions for a 30-day period.

In response to member concerns about privacy and intellectual property rights, AAG has put clearer opt-out options in place. We are actively looking to switch to an opt-in approach for future meetings.
For the 2021 meeting, we want to work with all of our presenters and participants to make these options as easy as possible.
Three ways to opt out:

  • If you are an organizer. You will have co-host privileges that enable you to control recording during your session. Our sessions are also staffed by audiovisual (AV) technicians. We ask you to arrive 15 minutes early to your session so you can work with the AV technician to ensure that your host privileges are in place and that the recording is paused when you begin.
  • If you are a presenter. Presenters will also have co-hosting privileges so that they can pause recording when they present. It is best to arrive 15 minutes early to ensure that everything is set up correctly. We encourage you to make sure your session organizer knows that you will pause recording during your presentation.
  • If you were recorded or could not successfully opt out. Please contact meeting@aag.org and we will remove the archived video recording of the session from the website.

The viewing period will be 30 days after the conclusion to the meeting, and it will only be available to meeting registrants. Presenters retain all ownership rights, including copyright, patents, trademarks, and other intellectual property of content uploaded to these sites.
After the 30-day period, AAG will only retain or share the recording with the express permission of participants; or, in rare cases where harassment has been reported, if the recording is a substantive source of information for the complaint. In these cases, AAG reserves the right to retain it for the purpose of investigation.

Photography, Videography and Audio Recordings in Sessions

Photos, videos or audio recordings may not be taken during paper or poster presentations without the permission of the presenter. Anyone doing so without permission will be asked to leave the conference. 

AAG Photo and Video Release

For the purpose of documentation, all sessions at the AAG Annual Meeting will be recorded and uploaded to the session gallery for viewing later by registered meeting attendees. When attending AAG events, you consent to photography and video recording and its release, publication, exhibition, or reproduction to be used for news, web casts, promotional purposes, advertising, inclusion on websites, social media, or any other purpose by AAG. Images, photos and/or videos may be used to promote similar AAG events in the future, highlight the event and exhibit the capabilities of AAG.  When you register to attend, you release AAG's employees and each and all persons involved from any liability connected with the taking, recording, digitizing, or publication and use of photographs, computer images and/or video. You also waive any right to inspect or approve any photo, video, or audio recording taken by AAG or the person or entity designated to do so by AAG.

By registering for and attending the meeting, you agree to our above photography/videography terms and conditions.