APSA Guide to Professional Ethics in Political Science (2022 version)
Political scientists share problems in common with practitioners of other scholarly disciplines. They also frequently encounter ethical problems unique to their professional concerns. The purpose of this Guide is to provide a series of ethics principles that are particularly valuable for political scientists, especially for those newly entering the profession. The Ethics guide also includes the Human Subjects Research Principles, the APSA Member Revocation Policy, information on the APSA Grievance Procedures, and the AAUP Statement on Professional Ethics. APSA endorses the principles set forth in the “Statement on Professional Ethics” adopted by the American Association of University Professors (AAUP). In February 2022, the APSA Council approved a revised and updated version of the Guide completed by the APSA Ethics Committee, with support from the APSA staff.
APSA Committee on Ethics, Rights, and Freedoms
Political scientists acting in their professional capacities may face challenges to professional ethics, academic freedom, or human rights. The Committee on Professional Ethics, Rights and Freedoms stands ready to be of assistance, and will respond to all grievances that fall within its jurisdiction. Political scientists who feel they have been mistreated must take the first step and inform the Committee of the nature of the problem. After the initial contact is made the aggrieved political scientist should be ready to provide the Committee with as much detail and documentation of the alleged abuse as possible.
How to submit a grievance
There are two ways to submit a grievance or complaint regarding a possible violation of professional ethics, or an alleged incident of harassment, or misconduct:
1. Email firstname.lastname@example.org
2. Submit a report via the APSA EthicsPoint incident reporting online platform or telephone hotline.
What is EthicsPoint? EthicsPoint is a comprehensive and confidential reporting tool created by NAVEX Global to assist APSA with managing reports of harassment from meeting, conference, and workshop attendees, individuals with professional ethics grievances, and general ethics inquiries, related to an APSA entity or event, from APSA members and non-members EthicsPoint will also be used to address professional ethics grievances and complaints submitted by APSA meeting conference and workshop attendees. Direct link: https://apsanet.ethicspoint.com.
APSA Meetings Ombuds
An APSA Ombuds will be available onsite at APSA meetings, including the APSA Annual Meeting and the APSA Teaching and Learning Conference. The ombuds resources was first available at the 2017 Annual Meeting. The role of the ombuds is to speak with any meeting attendee on a variety of topics including but not limited to, consultation with any meeting attendees who believe that they have experienced any form of harassment, or have concerns about violations of the sexual harassment provisions of the APSA anti-harassment policy while onsite at the APSA annual meetings. Information on how to contact the APSA Ombuds is available online here.
APSA Anti-Harassment Policy for the Annual Meeting
The APSA annual meeting and related regional political science meetings are convened for the purposes of professional development and scholarly and educational interchange in the spirit of free inquiry and free expression. Harassment of colleagues, students, or other conference participants undermines the principle of equity at the heart of these professional fora and is inconsistent with the principles of free inquiry and free expression. Consequently, harassment is considered by APSA to be a serious form of professional misconduct. Read More.
Procedures for Violations of the Sexual Harassment Provisions of the APSA Anti-Harassment Policy
APSA's procedures for addressing violations of the anti-harassment policy currently apply to all attendees at the APSA Annual Meeting & Exhibition and the APSA International Workshops, for the duration of the annual meeting and the particular workshop. Any attendee of the APSA Annual Meeting &Exhibition or the APSA International Workshops may pursue a complaint of sexual harassment regarding an incident that has occurred within the last two years. (Last updated April 2022).
Member Revocation Policy
Members of the association, participants in the APSA Annual Meeting and the Teaching and Learning Conference, and individuals who hold association leadership positions (Council, Committees, and Fellowship and award/review committees) are expected to meet the commonly held standards of professional ethics and scientific integrity. In the rare case that an APSA member, a meeting or conference attendee, or an individual in a leadership position no longer meets this expectation, as established through outside investigative proceedings and determinations, the set of guidelines and procedures laid out in the Member Revocation Policy are to be followed to request revocation and for the consideration of the request to revoke an individual’s APSA’s membership, meeting participation privileges, and/or their association leadership positions and privileges.
APSA Mental Health Awareness Resources
Review a list of mental health resources (federal government, campus and employer resources, FAQ’s, and reports).
APSA Committee on the Status of Women in the Profession Resources
External Resources and Tools
What follows is a list of the different types of federal, campus and nonprofit offices that may provide resources. This list (and the corresponding examples) is not exhaustive. It is instead meant to illustrate the types of resources that may be available on your campus or via another organization. Please inquire with your college or university's administration officials for information specific to your institution. (The contents on this page do not constitute legal advice).
- Sexual Harassment of Women: Climate, Culture, and Consequences in Academic Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2018. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. https://doi.org/10.17226/24994. (New!)
- AAUW's Know Your Rights: Workplace Sexual Harassment
- AAUW's Ending Sexual Assault Tool Kit
- National Sexual Violence Resource Center
- National Sexual Assault Telephone Hotline (1-800-656-4673)
- RAINN (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network) is the nation's largest anti-sexual violence organization. RAINN created and operates the Nation Sexual Assault Hotline (800.656.HOPE, online.rainn.org and rainn.org/es) in partnership with more than 1,000 local sexual assault service providers across the country a operates the DOD Safe Helpline for the Department of Defense.
- Sexual Assault Awareness Month – April
Federal Government Resources
- Title IX: Prohibition against discrimination: No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance. Title IX, Education Amendments of 1972 (title 20 U.S.C. Sections 1581-1688)
According to the Department of Justice website: “Title IX prohibits a recipient from discriminating on the basis of sex in admissions, recruitment, financial aid, academic programs, student treatment and services, counselin and guidance, discipline, classroom assignment, grading, vocational education, recreation, physical education, athletics, housin and employment. The Supreme Court also has concluded that sexual harassment violates Title IX. Franklin v. Gwinnett County Pub. Sch., 503 U.S. 60 (1992).”
College and University Resources
Colleges and universities have onsite resources that are available to students, faculty and staff who can provide support for harassment related issues and complaints. Many non-academic employers also provide similar services as a part of their employee benefits. These resources may be referred to as one of the following:
- Campus Safety / Office of Public Safety
- Campus Violence Prevention Office (see examples below)*
- Campus Psychological Services
- College/University Counseling Center
- Employee Assistance Program (EAP)
- Equal Employment Opportunity Office (EEO)
- Human Resources Department
- Office of the Dean of Students
- Ombuds Office
- Peer Counselors/Peer Support Service
- Title IX Officer/Coordinator
Many employers offer training and workshops on the following topics:
- By-Stander intervention training programs
- Diversity and Inclusion training
- Sexual harassment training
- Sexual assault prevention training
- Title IX Compliance
- Mandated Reporting
Examples of campus offices and resources that deal with issues related to sex discrimination, sexual harassment, sexual violence, and sexual assault prevention (Inclusion on this list does not indicate endorsement of any kind):
Reports, Policies and Procedures