American Psychopathological Association Commitment to Promoting Safe and Inclusive Environments

The American Psychopathological Association (APPA) is dedicated to creating a safe, inclusive, accessible, and supportive experience for all participants and attendees at APPA events. We welcome participants of all backgrounds and identities including diversity of sex, gender, race, ethnicity, skin color, national origin, religion, age, physical or mental disability, perceived disability, ancestry, marital status, and sexual orientation. The APPA is committed to providing an atmosphere that encourages the free expression and exchange of scientific and educational ideas. We encourage feedback about ways to improve the meeting experience for all members and provide the following information for addressing concerns about any inappropriate behavior - experienced or observed - at an APPA event.

Harassment Defined

Prohibited harassment includes verbal, physical, and visual conduct that creates an intimidating, offensive, or hostile environment. Harassing conduct can take many forms and includes, but is not limited to: slurs, epithets, derogatory comments, insults, degrading or obscene words, jokes, demeaning statements, offensive gestures, or displaying derogatory or demeaning pictures, drawings, or cartoons based upon an individual’s sex, race, color, personal appearance, national origin, religion, age, physical or mental disability, perceived disability, ancestry, marital status, or sexual orientation, or any other basis. Harassment also includes demeaning comments about a person’s professional status, qualifications, or affiliations; behavior that unreasonably interferes with another person’s ability to benefit from or participate in the conference; undue or excessive interruption of any event, speaker, or session; and violence or threats of violence.

Sexual harassment includes any harassing or unwelcome conduct that is sexual in nature. Examples of sexual harassment include sexual advances; lewd propositions or innuendos; leering; making sexual gestures; making sexually suggestive or graphic comments or engaging in inappropriate sexually-oriented conversation; displaying sexually suggestive objects, graphics, pictures, or posters physically or over the Internet; making or using derogatory comments, epithets, slurs or jokes; the sexual touching or display of one’s own body; or unwanted physical touching or assault, as well as impeding or blocking movements. Interactions that begin as consensual in nature may become harassment if one party no longer consents. Sexual harassment can occur between people of any gender or sexual identities.

Reporting an Incident

Anyone who experiences or witnesses unsafe or inappropriate conduct at an APPA sponsored event can report the concerns to the APPA Executive Director, Tim Bower at [email protected] or by phone at 215-858-8023 OR to the APPA Secretary William Stone at [email protected]. Any individual reporting such conduct is not required or expected to discuss the concern with the alleged offender. Anyone experiencing or witnessing behavior at an APPA event that is an immediate or serious threat to the safety of those present, or to the public, is advised to alert conference administrators, ask for security, and/or contact 911.

Individuals who have questions, concerns, or complaints related to harassment may also contact the federal US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office for Civil Rights (OCR). See webpage on how to file a complaint with HHS OCR. Bringing the concern to APPA is not required before filing a complaint with HHS OCR, and seeking assistance from APPA in no way prohibits filing complaints with HHS OCR.


APPA will investigate the facts and circumstances of any claim of inappropriate conduct or harassment. APPA will make every effort to keep the reporting individual’s concerns confidential and will not deliberately share personal information, other than as necessary to carry out the purpose of investigation. While complete confidentiality cannot be guaranteed, APPA will keep the investigation and its findings as confidential as possible under the circumstances. During an investigation, APPA or a designated independent consultant subject to obligations of confidentiality, generally will do the following (as necessary) to make a determination as to appropriate action:

  • document the nature of the complaint;
  • interview the complainant;
  • conduct further interviews as necessary, such as with witnesses and, at an appropriate time, the alleged offender;
  • document the APPA’s findings regarding the complaint;
  • document recommended follow-up actions and remedies, if warranted; and
  • inform the complainant of the basic nature of the APPA’s findings.

The APPA will attempt to investigate any complaint or report of a violation of this policy in a prompt and timely manner. Upon completion of the investigation, APPA will take appropriate corrective measures against any person who has engaged in conduct prohibited by this policy, if APPA determines such measures are necessary. Such remedial action may include, but is not limited to, the items listed below.

Consequences of Violations

If APPA determines that an individual has engaged in harassment, APPA shall determine the appropriate action to be taken, which may include, but is not limited to:

  • private reprimand;
  • removal from a meeting or the conference without warning or refund;
  • implementation of conditions upon attendance at future APPA Conferences;
  • restriction from attendance at future APPA Conferences; or
  • expulsion from membership of APPA.

APPA may report any incident to law enforcement or other proper authorities, though are not required to do so. Any individual who experiences harassment may also report it to the authorities.

Retaliation for complaints of inappropriate conduct or harassment are also considered harassment. Retaliatory behavior in connection with APPA meetings will be investigated in a similar manner to initial complaints.