Nondiscrimination Policy

The IFR is committed in all areas to providing an environment that is free from discrimination or harassment. Harassment based upon an individual’s sex, race, ethnicity, national origin, age or religion will not be tolerated in any of our field schools or in the workplace. All affiliates are expected and required to abide by this policy. The IFR has a comprehensive policy for Sexual Harassment — see below.  Note that the IFR supports consent policies.

Consent: What it Really Means

Watch this short video that help explains how we feel about consent – whether in the field, lab, dorm or any other location.

Sexual Harassment Policy

The IFR is committed to promoting a learning and working environment in which all people are treated with dignity and respect. Harassing, coercive, or disruptive acts can be forms of misconduct that undermine the effectiveness of IFR programs and harm individuals toward whom such conduct is directed. The IFR expects that all relationships among persons involved in a field school will be professional. Therefore, the IFR expects field school directors, their affiliated faculty, staff, and volunteers, as well as field school students and visitors to refrain from and discourage harassment of any type.

As with other forms of discrimination and harassment, sexual harassment is not tolerated in IFR field schools and programs.

Definition of Sexual Harassment

Sexual harassment is unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature, when submission to or rejection of this conduct explicitly or implicitly affects a person’s employment or education; unreasonably interferes with a person’s work or educational performance; or creates an intimidating, hostile or offensive working or learning environment.

Harassment that is not sexual in nature but is based on gender, sex-stereotyping, or sexual orientation is prohibited under the IFR’s non-discrimination policy and may contribute to the creation of a hostile work or academic environment. Therefore, in determining whether a hostile environment due to sexual harassment exists, the IFR may take into account acts of discrimination based on gender, sex-stereotyping, or sexual orientation.

Sexual and Gender Harassment Outside the USA

A definition of sexual harassment abroad must take into account the norms of the culture within which the field school is taking place.  The IFR recognizes, and students are hereby forewarned, that IFR field schools operate in diverse locales, where cultural norms, environmental conditions, and logistical constraints may create situations that are unfamiliar and uncomfortable.  Participants must be mindful of the cultural norms of the host society, which may allow, or even require, conduct that is considered objectionable in the USA.  All participants are encouraged to become culturally aware and educated about the norms of the culture in which they are working.

Being culturally sensitive does not include relaxing personal boundaries.  Every participant must trust his or her judgment and intuition.  If a situation makes a participant uncomfortable, the situation must be addressed and must not be ignored. Additionally, participants must conform to the spirit, as well as the letter of all laws, and regulations of the jurisdiction in which the field school operates. Nonetheless, the IFR expects all participants personally to strive toward creating an inclusive and safe learning and working environment.

Sexual Harassment Reporting

In the interest of preventing sexual harassment, the IFR will respond to reports of any such conduct. In determining whether the reported conduct constitutes sexual harassment, consideration shall be given to the record of the conduct as a whole and to the totality of the circumstances, including the context in which the conduct occurred.

Anti Retaliation Policy

The Institute for Field Research strictly prohibits any form of retaliation against any field school participant – student or staff member – who in good faith makes a complaint, raises a concern, provides information or otherwise assists in an investigation or proceeding regarding any conduct that he or she reasonably believes to be in violation of the Student Code of Conduct, other Institute for Field Research policies, or applicable laws, rules or regulations.

This policy is designed to ensure that all field school participants feel comfortable speaking up when they see or suspect illegal or unethical conduct without fear of retaliation. It is also intended to encourage all field school participants to cooperate with the Institute for Field Research in the internal investigation of any matter by providing honest, truthful and complete information without fear of retaliation.

No field school participants should be discharged, demoted, suspended, threatened, harassed, intimidated, coerced, or retaliated against in any other manner as a result of his or her making a good faith complaint or assisting in the handling or investigation of a good faith complaint, that an Institute for Field Research policy, the Student Code of Conduct, or an applicable law, rule or regulation has been violated. Field School participants who in good faith make a complaint or participate in an investigation or proceeding under this policy, however, remain subject to the same standards of performance and conduct as other participants.

The Institute for Field Research prohibits field school participants from being retaliated against even if their complaints are proven unfounded by an investigation, unless the participant knowingly made a false allegation, provided false or misleading information in the course of an investigation, or otherwise acted in bad faith. Field School participants have an obligation to participate in good faith in any internal investigation of retaliation.

The Institute for Field Research takes all complaints of retaliation very seriously. All such complaints will be reviewed promptly and, where appropriate, investigated.

Reporting an Incident of Harassment

The IFR encourages participants to report all perceived incidents of harassment regardless of the offender’s identity or position. Participants who believe that they have been the victim of such conduct are encouraged—if practicable—to first advise the offender that his or her behavior is unwelcome and request that it be discontinued.  Often this action alone will resolve the problem.  If a participant is uncomfortable confronting the offender, or if the conduct or similar conduct continues, the participant should report his or her concerns to the field director or another faculty member.  If the participant is uncomfortable addressing the conduct with the offender or reporting the conduct to the field director or faculty, or if a previous report has not resulted in a satisfactory resolution, participants should make a report directly to IFR administration:

IFR hotline (24/7): +1 (424) 226-6983


Intentional False Reports

Because sexual harassment frequently involves interactions between persons that are not witnessed by others, reports of sexual harassment cannot always be substantiated by additional evidence. Lack of corroborating evidence or “proof” should not discourage individuals from reporting sexual harassment under this policy. However, individuals who make reports that are later found to have been intentionally false or made maliciously without regard for truth may be subject to disciplinary action and are in no way indemnified from third party legal action.

Options for Resolution

IFR will respond to all reports of harassment, including those brought anonymously or by third parties not directly involved in the harassment.

The IFR will take any action that it deems appropriate in response to a report.  Many cases can be resolved at an early stage.  Where early resolution is inappropriate (such as when the facts are in dispute in a report of serious misconduct), or in cases where early resolution is unsuccessful, the IFR may conduct an investigation.  At the conclusion of such investigation, the IFR may take any action that it deems necessary or prudent, in its sole discretion, including requiring a participant to leave a field school and notification of authorities.