A simple plea for SfN 2014 attendees, particularly of the older, maler demographic

Nov 13 2014 Published by under Society for Neuroscience

Do NOT creep on junior female scientists.

Do NOT creep on female scientists.

Do NOT creep on ANYBODY at the Annual Meeting.

(Getting drunk is not an excuse, btw.)

Don't so much as say anything creepy on your Facebook or Twitter or out loud where anyone can hear you.

Let everyone get as much science out of the Meeting as they can without having to worry about what your nasty self is up to, eh?

23 responses so far

  • I blame the meeting ID badges. How can you not?

  • drugmonkey says:

    Don't you start.

  • commentariette says:

    At this rate, US scientific conferences are going to start looking like 7th grade parties: Girls on one side of the room, boys on the other, catastrophic social risk being seen actually speaking with a member of the opposite sex...

  • HTD says:

    I agree with Isis, can we not get those badges moved to a better location? Also, I would add that anyone wearing an infant to the poster session has enough to deal with. The stink eye is not appreciated.

  • drugmonkey says:

    The vast majority of people have no trouble whatever behaving in a professional manner in a professional setting. The few, however, do disproportional harm.

  • rxnm says:

    Right now, Dario Maestripieri is hesitating, his "Free Moustache Rides" t-shirt hovering over his suitcase.

    A moment of truth....

  • Drugmonkey says:

    I swear I saw that dude sitting in a busy hallway leering at passersby last year.

  • commentariette says:

    But over-reacting to a few creeps may also do disproportionate harm if it creates an environment where male researchers avoid interacting with female researchers (especially senior male researchers interacting with junior female researchers) rather than risk being perceived as a potential creep.

    That way lies the mentality of places like Saudi Arabia or Iran...people don't believe that unsupervised men and women are all immediately going to go at it like rabbits...it's about protecting reputation (wrongly called honor).

  • zb says:

    In light of the comments, don't we need to tell people what creeping is?

    I'll start with one, no touching someone who is junior to you. I think we can do that without requiring women to wear hijab. Actually, I'd go further, and say no touching at all, but am not sure how to reconcile that with the knowledge that some of the best couples I know met at SfN, potentially even at drunken networking parties.

    A second, is no pressure. If someone says no (to the drink, to the meeting, to the breakfast, . . . ), let it go. If you think the junior person is being overly naive, one mention that you might have a chance to talk about science is enough.

  • mytchondria says:

    But the shirts with the nekkid chicks is okay for talks and such, yes? http://www.theverge.com/2014/11/13/7213819/your-bowling-shirt-is-holding-back-progress

  • Lady Scientist says:

    Actually, commentariette, I'd liken it to people believing that it might turn into *Abu Ghraib under U.S. occupation*, not Saudi Arabia or Iran. See, harrassment is more akin to torture than consensual "rabbit" sex.

  • Ola says:

    @commentariette
    The only possible situation in which "over-reacting to a few creeps may create an environment where male researchers avoid interacting with female researchers", is if said males are creeps! If you can't see that, you might be a creep yourself. Better go get checked out.

  • becca says:

    Finally! an SfN post that doesn't make me want to cry I'm not going.

  • drugmonkey says:

    I thought you were one of us now, becca?

  • dsks says:

    But we're still allowed to strut bare-chested and trade antlers with our competitors and urinate around out poster area to mark our territory, right? I MEAN, OTHERWISE OMG WE MIGHT AS WELL ALL LIVE IN KEVLAR BUBBLES AND NEVER TALK TO ANYONE EVER OMG MY FREEDOMZ!!!!1111!!!!

    (commentariette, I've got your back, bud *e-fist bump*)

  • DJMH says:

    A simple plea for SfN's organizers: don't have the meeting planner website crash on Saturday am before the conference. GRR.

  • DJMH says:

    A second plea for SfN's organizers: did anyone ever look over your "curated itineraries" before you posted them?
    http://www.sfn.org/annual-meeting/neuroscience-2014/sessions-and-events/curated-itineraries

    If you're going to have, say, a spinal cord curated itinerary, you might want to include T Jessell's talk on it.

  • toto says:

    zb: " Actually, I'd go further, and say no touching at all, but am not sure how to reconcile that with the knowledge that some of the best couples I know met at SfN, potentially even at drunken networking parties."

    If you read the first piece linked by Drugmonkey, you'll notice that these "drunken networking parties" are precisely a bone of contention.

    I agree that "don't hit on people junior to you" and "no mean f*ck off" are solid rules.

  • jmz4 says:

    This sort of thing seems endemic to conferences of all descriptions (e.g. comicons, gamer conventions, wall street conventions, whatevs). Do we think it exacerbates the bad behavior, concentrates it, or both?
    I ask because I haven't really been at a conference where I've seen it happening, but I've only really been to 5 or 6 conferences, and most of those have been the small ones where everyone knows each other and shenanigans are less likely (also my field has a pretty healthy ratio of female to male PIs).

  • jmz4 says:

    Also it might be helpful if anyone has ideas for things that non-creeps and non-harassed people (e.g. conference organizers and respectful/normal male attendees) can do to help ameliorate the creep population's actions.

  • E rook says:

    Jmz - I hope no one takes this as blaming the victim, but asshats prey on victims who aren't likely to fight back or tell. If an advisor / mentor recognizes a trainee as being a potential victim, one thing to do is to go over your univ's policy on harassment prevention at lab meeting before the conference. Do it neutrally and informing / reminding everyone of the policy and their right to expect to not be harassed. Then oh bytheway in my opinion attending a conference is part of our duties as scientists working here, so the rules apply at conference too. I think talking about it more often and openly prevents asshattery in budding asshats too.

  • becca says:

    Hopefully I will be at the one next year, DM. It's been... quite a year. I don't recommend trying to learn neuroscience and co- microRNA ISH/IHC at the same time.

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