Policy on Harassment


Harassment, whether verbal or physical, consists of discriminatory behavior that may be based on, but is not exclusive to, the victim’s race, color, gender or gender expression, religion, nationality or national origin, age, marital status, sexual orientation, political beliefs or affiliation, physical ability or disability, chosen research or performance area, parental or caregiver status, or employment status. Harassment as referred to in this policy statement includes sexual harassment (as defined by applicable law). It may involve conference attendees in their relationships not only with students and colleagues, but also with professional associates and support staff.

The goal of the conference organizers is to support vulnerable members of the community and to strategize to end harassment. Harassment of society employees, members, or volunteers and other individuals attending the 2023 AMS-SMT Joint Annual Meeting and/or affiliated events is unacceptable and will not be tolerated.



Sexual harassment has been defined generally as including unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature whenever (1) toleration of the conduct is either an explicit or implicit term or condition of Society service, Annual Meeting activity, or employment; (2) an individual’s reaction to the conduct is used as a basis for society service, annual meeting activity, or employment decisions affecting that individual; (3) the conduct has the purpose or effect of interfering with the individual’s society service, annual meeting activity, or work performance; or (4) the conduct has the purpose or effect of creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive environment regarding society service, annual meeting activity, or at work.

No employee, member, volunteer, or attendee should be subjected to sexual harassment or unsolicited and unwelcome sexual overtures, nor should any employee, member, volunteer, or attendee be led to believe that any benefit will in any way depend upon “cooperation” of a sexual nature.

Sexual harassment is not limited to demands for sexual favors. It also may include such actions as (1) sex-oriented verbal “kidding,” “teasing,” or jokes; (2) repeated offensive sexual flirtations, advances, or propositions; (3) continued or repeated verbal abuse of a sexual nature; (4) graphic or degrading comments about an individual or his or her appearance; (5) the display of sexually suggestive objects or pictures; (6) subtle pressure for sexual activity; and (7) inappropriate physical contact.

Sexual harassment does not refer to occasional compliments of a socially acceptable nature or consensual personal and social relationships without a discriminatory effect on employment or participation in society activities. Sexual harassment refers to behavior that is not welcome and that is personally intimidating, hostile, or offensive.

Harassment on other grounds, as listed above, is also prohibited. These other forms of harassment may likewise include such actions as: (1) jokes or verbal “kidding,” or “teasing”; (2) verbal abuse and epithets; (3) degrading comments; (4) the display of offensive objects and pictures; and (5) other conduct that the individual might reasonably find to be intimidating, hostile, offensive, coercive, or threatening.

It is expected that all Joint Annual Meeting attendees will engage thoughtfully and respectfully with one another.



Complaints about harassment (including bullying or any form of sexual harassment or assault) should be submitted to the conference organizers by visiting the Registration Desk or sending an email to events@amsmusicology.org providing details of the complaint or requesting a meeting to provide such details.

Anyone requested to stop harassing or perpetrating other inappropriate behavior is expected to comply immediately. In cases where an offender appears to present the risk of continuing harm, expulsion from the meeting is a possible sanction. In cases where a person is proven to have committed an offense, society membership and honors may be revoked.



As voluntary professional organizations with small staff complements and limited capacity, the American Musicological Society and Society for Music Theory are limited in their abilities to respond formally to charges of sexual harassment. Nonetheless, within these constraints the AMS and SMT will make every effort to respond to reports of sexual harassment among attendees at its Joint Annual Meeting and related events, to provide resources and support for complainants, and emphasize the importance of abiding by this Policy on Harassment.

The societies cannot control the behavior of conference attendees and do not assume legal liability for harassment taking place at the Joint Annual Meeting unless it involves direct, paid employees of the society. This statement is informational only and is not a contract, and does not create any legally enforceable protections or obligations on the part of the American Musicological Society and Society for Music Theory. It is not intended to, nor should it be used to support a cause of action, create a presumption of a breach of legal duty, or form a basis for civil liability.