Physics Department Statement on Conduct

The fulfillment of the mission of the Physics Department depends on collegial and respectful interactions among all of the people engaged in its daily life and special events. In order to establish and maintain a welcoming, inclusive environment, we agree to:

  • Uphold the highest standards of professional ethics and abide by Duke University’s Statement on Values, its Code of Conduct, and its Community Standard;
  • Communicate respectfully: avoid insulting, dismissive, or hateful remarks and actions;
  • Respond to observed cases of inappropriate behavior so as to promote a shared understanding of our accountability for our actions and for the effects they may have.

The Physics Department of Duke University affirms its commitment to equal opportunity and fair treatment of all of the members of its community, including undergraduate and graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, visitors, staff, and faculty. We are expected to conduct ourselves in a manner that is welcoming to all and free from any form of discrimination or harassment. We agree to treat each other with the respect and consideration necessary for creating the collegial, inclusive environment that is essential for achieving our individual and collective goals, and to fulfill the expectations of the physics profession.

Department members and visitors will abide by Duke’s Nondiscrimination Statement and its Harassment Policy, avoiding any inappropriate actions or statements based on individual characteristics such as race, color, religion, national origin, disability, veteran status, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, sex, genetic information, or age. Department members and visitors will also avoid any inappropriate actions or statements based on individual or group characteristics such as rank, marital status, nationality, political affiliation, ability status, or educational background. Disruptive, harassing or unwanted behavior of any kind will not be tolerated. These behaviors include, but are not limited to, inappropriate or intimidating actions, gestures and language, unwelcome jokes or inappropriate comments, unwanted touching or attention, offensive images, and other nuisance behaviors.

All persons representing the Physics Department at external events are expected to uphold the principles of this Statement on Conduct at those venues as well. A person is representing the department if there is a reasonable expectation that event participants or observers would identify him/her as being affiliated with Duke University or the Physics Department.

All members of the Duke Physics community are accountable for their actions. It is important that all of us work together to respond to actions that undermine a positive environment for work, education, research and other scholarly or professional activities. Violations of this conduct policy should be reported to a departmental administrator (the Chair, Associate Chair, DGS, DUS, or Administrative Manager) or to any member of the Physics Department Conduct Accountability Committee (PDCAC), or by submitting a report online at Conduct Committee Report Form. When a potential violation is reported, the reporting party can expect to be taken seriously and to be informed of actions taken in response to the complaint, consistent with legal limits on the sharing of information about individual employees or students. Responses may range from verbal communication or warning to notification of appropriate University authorities and restrictions on participation in departmental activities. Retaliation for the reporting of incidents is a violation of this policy and university policy as well.  

For cases of discrimination that violate federal law, assault, sexual harassment, research misconduct or asset misappropriation, the department is legally required to notify University administrators of a complaint. In other cases, requests to keep the information confidential will be respected. Mechanisms for discussing grievances of any type are also available through University channels designed specifically for students, staff members, or faculty members. For details, see: