Conference Safety Plan

Plans to Promote Safe Environments at Conferences Supported by NIH Grants

The Society for the Neurobiology of Language (SNL) is committed to providing a safe environment for our conferences, and behavior that is construed as harassing will not be tolerated. Although the Society believes in the principles of free speech and academic freedom, we also understand that not all speech is well-intentioned, and can lead to harm. Prejudicial speech, e.g., related to race, gender, ethnicity, ability, or national origin, are examples of unacceptable speech that will not be tolerated at our conferences and other events. Unwelcome physical contact will always be considered unacceptable.

Every conference has a Program Committee Chair, who also serves as the conference chair, and his/her role is supported by the Board of Directors, which includes the program committee chairs from the previous year and the upcoming year. Each conference also has a Local Arrangements Chair. The Program Committee Chair will be the individual who receives confidential reports of speech with malevolent intent.

A review committee consisting of the current and previous program committee chairs, the local arrangements chair, the society president, and the PI of this NIH application will confidentially adjudicate any reports, based on interviews of those making the report, those accused in the report, and witnesses to the event(s). Any event will be assessed as either “non-malevolent” or “malevolent”. Malevolent speech or contact will be adjudicated as one of three types: (i) first event requiring discussion/corrective action; (ii) second event; (iii) event of a most serious nature. Events of type (i) will lead to a discussion by the committee with the individual and indication that such behavior is not acceptable. Events of types (ii) and (iii) will lead to expulsion from the conference. Events of type (iii) may, at the discretion of the review committee, also be referred to local authorities.

The Society also notes that:

(a) individuals who have questions, concerns or complaints related to harassment should contact the SNL Program Committee Chair or the HHS Office for Civil Rights (OCR);

(b) information about how to file a complaint with HHS OCR is available at the following link:; and

(c) filing a complaint with the SNL Program Committee Chair is not required before filing a complaint of discrimination with HHS OCR, and that seeking assistance from SNL in no way prohibits filing complaints with HHS OCR.

(d) individuals can notify NIH about concerns of harassment, including sexual harassment, discrimination, and other forms of inappropriate conduct at NIH-supported conferences:

This document will be distributed by email in advance to all attendees at the SNL conference and its gist will be conveyed in the introductory comments at the very start of the conference. The document itself will be handed out at registration to all attendees. It will be made clear that SNL aims to ensure a safe and respectful environment — free of harassment — and will remind attendees that this document contains policies and procedures related to perceived malevolence.

Finally, in our post-meeting survey, we will include questions related to the diversity of our participants and freedom from harassment.

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