Community Agreement
  • The Aspen Institute is dedicated to advancing a free, just, and equitable society. Consistent with that mission, the Institute is committed to creating a safe and vibrant community that is respectful, inclusive, and welcoming to people from all different backgrounds and across the world. We recognize people will have different viewpoints and perspectives. However, only when we treat people with mutual respect and dignity can we truly come together to share a free and open exchange of ideas. So we offer this Community Agreement as a code of conduct to help stakeholders understand what we expect for them when they are engaging with the Institute community, as well as to guide them on what does not belong. If we all follow this Community Agreement, we can ensure everyone feels empowered to participate and further promote intellectual growth and curiosity.

    General Expectations for Institute Community Engagement

    At the heart of the Institute’s community is a fundamental commitment to mutual respect and trust, regardless of whether engagement is in-person or in a virtual setting. Those who engage in our community will not always agree with one another. Many will have strong viewpoints, opinions, and convictions that often lead to dynamic discussion and vigorous debate. Accordingly, we expect all community members to:

    1. Be kind and respectful of one another, even when there’s disagreement;
    2. Approach discussions constructively and avoid personal, disparaging, or abusive attacks;
    3. Actively listen and try to account for full context;
    4. Recognize and observe others’ personal boundaries, physical or otherwise;
    5. Be open to hearing how your words and actions affect others; and
    6. While we all make mistakes, be willing to right wrongs and learn from them.

    The Institute is committed to being an anti-racist organization and taking steps to address structural and systemic barriers. That calls on all of us to continue listening, learning, and working to improve our standards over time to be more inclusive, equitable, and welcoming of others and to foster a greater sense of belonging.

    The Institute also requires community members to conduct themselves consistent with the following standards:

    Prohibition of Discrimination or Harassment

    The Institute will not tolerate in our community discrimination or harassment based on someone’s race, color, gender, national origin, age, disability, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, political affiliation, or any other ground prohibited by applicable law.

    Prohibition of Sexual Harassment and Similar Behavior

    The Institute further will not tolerate in our community sexual harassment of any kind, including, but not limited to, unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, unwanted physical contact, and/or other inappropriate verbal or physical behavior of a sexual nature.

    Drug and Alcohol Policy

    The Institute prohibits the use, distribution, sale, and transfer of any illicit or illegal drugs while on the Institute’s premises or attending Institute events. This includes use of marijuana even in locations where it is legal for private recreational use. Alcohol may be consumed at Institute events when the custom and occasion are appropriate. However, individuals still must be of legal drinking age and consumption must be moderate. In all cases, individuals who engage in the Institute’s community must maintain good judgement or the ability to act responsibly and consistent with this Community Agreement.

    Safety and No Weapons Policy

    The Institute’s first priority is the safety and security of people in our community. If you see something that presents a safety or security concern or need medical assistance, please approach an Institute team member so we can promptly address the matter — unless it is a life threatening emergency in which case please call 911. As part of our commitment to ensure the wellbeing of our event participants and staff, we have a no-weapons policy for all our locations, events, meetings, and convenings, wherever they occur. This is irrespective of whether an individual has a concealed weapons permit, or whether the location permits carrying weapons. The only exception is for law enforcement or security the Institute has engaged or allowed at its convenings, but only as part of their official role.

    Reporting and Addressing Violations

    If you have been involved in or see an incident you believe violates this Community Agreement, or have any concerns at all, please seek out an Institute team member to report your concern. You also may report a concern through our reporting hotline operated by an independent service that helps us with intake and routing:

    Visit the Aspen Institute Reporting Portal.

    The Institute will appropriately investigate all reports and maintain confidentiality to the extent possible under the circumstances. Through our Reporting Portal, you have the option of making anonymous reports. However, we encourage reporters to identify themselves and give as many details as possible, since anonymous reports may greatly limit our ability to fully investigate. The Institute may take any action we consider appropriate, including, but not limited to, issuing a warning, barring someone from future events and convenings, and/or referring the matter to law enforcement. (Institute employees should refer to the Institute’s Employee Handbook for standards of conduct applicable to them.)