Chapter Diversity Statement and Code of Conduct

Everyone is Welcome.

Our reading habits are diverse; our membership should be too.

It takes members from all corners of society to build an organization we can all learn, grow, and prosper in.

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This Code of Conduct, specifically Section 2 and the compliance and consequences as laid out in Section 5, will comprise the Diversity Policy of NTRWA until such time as additional tenets and principles may be collected and compiled into separate documentation.

1. General Principles.

1.1. RWA recognizes Chapters as an integral part of the organization. Chapter affiliation requires compliance with the rules, policies and procedures set out by RWA.

1.2. The RWA Code of Ethics set out in RWA’s Policy Manual serves as a code of professional conduct for RWA members. It requires RWA members to exhibit integrity, honesty, and other good professional practices, thereby enhancing the romance writing profession. Chapter members must abide by the Code of Ethics and are subject to its provisions.

1.3. For the purposes of this Code of Conduct, “Chapter Functions” shall include, but not limited to, Chapter meetings, Chapter events, Chapter conferences and participation on Chapter forums.

1.4. In order to promote respect and professionalism among members, the Chapter Board of Directors has adopted this Chapter Code of Conduct and requires its members and attendees to comply with this Code of Conduct at Chapter Functions.

1.5. Chapters are expected to comply with all relevant State and Federal laws.

2. Inclusivity.

2.1. In order to create a safe and respectful environment, invidious discrimination is prohibited at Chapter Functions.

2.2. Chapters shall adopt a non-discrimination policy with regard to Chapter Functions, whereby no member, speaker or participant shall be discriminated against based on race, color, ethnicity, national origin, age, gender, gender identity, gender expression, sexual orientation, disability, physical appearance, body size, or religion.

3. Inappropriate Behavior.

3.1. In order to create a safe and respectful environment, harassment is prohibited at Chapter Functions.

3.2. Types of conduct that RWA considers inappropriate includes, but is not limited to:

3.2.1. Harassment, which is defined for the purposes of this policy to include:

(i) offensive comments related to race, color, ethnicity, national origin, age, gender, gender identity, gender expression, sexual orientation, disability, physical appearance, body size, or religion;

(ii) inappropriate physical contact; and

(iii) unwelcome sexual attention;

3.2.2. Deliberate intimidation, inappropriate photography or recording;

3.2.3. Sustained disruption of talks or other events; and

3.2.4. Public broadcasting of others’ private or sensitive information without explicit consent.

3.3. Personal disagreements and differences of opinion, even if strongly worded, will not be considered inappropriate conduct under this policy.

4. Conduct at Chapter Functions.

4.1. Chapter members and attendees shall address each other and treat participants, sponsors, exhibitors and speakers with respect at all times.

4.2. Chapter members and attendees must recognize that whenever competitors within an industry gather, appropriate care must be exercised to ensure that violations of anti-trust laws do not occur.

4.3. Chapter members and attendees will not make inaccurate or misleading representations or disparaging statements about fellow members, competitors or attendees which are intentionally misleading or inaccurate.

4.4. Chapter members and attendees should avoid any real or apparent conflicts of interest in performing their duties and obligations, and to promptly disclose any such conflicts to the Chapter Board of Directors.

4.5. Chapter members and attendees shall meet all financial obligations of participation in any Chapter function. In order to participate in any Chapter event at the member price, members must keep their membership active and renewed.

5. Compliance.

5.1. Any issue arising between members or attendees at Chapter Functions should be reported to the Chapter Board of Directors in writing and shall be handled, in Executive Session, as follows:

5.1.1. The Chapter President immediately shall inform RWA’s Executive Director of the issue and ongoing status, and the Executive Director will provide assistance and potentially remove the issue from the Chapter if, in the Executive Director’s discretion, it cannot be handled at the Chapter level.

5.1.2. If the issue proceeds as a Chapter matter and it involves another member or participant from a Chapter Function, that member or participant will receive a copy of the written complaint and have an opportunity to provide a written defense in a timely manner. Both sides will have an opportunity to review any and all evidence provided in support of the other side’s claims and defenses. Neither the complaint nor any evidence may be provided anonymously.

5.1.3. After receipt of all evidence, the Chapter Board of Directors, by the affirmative vote of two-thirds (2/3) of the entire voting membership of the Chapter Board of Directors, may issue a warning or reprimand to the member or prohibit the non-member participant from attending other Chapter Functions. The Chapter Board of Directors, by the affirmative vote of two-thirds (2/3) of the entire voting membership of the Chapter Board of Directors, may vote to recommend the termination or suspension of a member’s chapter membership. If so, the Chapter Board of Directors will put its recommendations and the basis for the same in a written report and submit it to the national Board of Directors for consideration and further action. The Chapter Board of Directors shall not have the authority to terminate or suspend a member.

5.1.4. If the issue involves a member and rises to the level of a potential Code of Ethics violation, the issue can be brought to the RWA Ethics Committee at any time in accordance with the Code of Ethics rules and procedures.

5.1.5. Non-RWA Members who are found to be in violation of the Chapter Code of Conduct may be barred from attending future RWA conferences, and from future membership in RWA. This decision shall be made at the national level by the national Board of Directors.

5.2. Additional consequences specific to harassment during Chapter Functions.

5.2.1. Anyone asked to stop harassment at Chapter Functions is expected to comply immediately.

5.2.2. The Chapter Board of Directors, by a majority vote, may take any action they deem appropriate and necessary during a Chapter meeting, Chapter conference or Chapter event to ensure the safety of attendees, including warning the offender or expelling the offender without a refund.

6. Chapters shall not amend this Code of Conduct without prior approval by the RWA Office.