Statement of Acceptable Conduct


This document was created by the Diversity Committee, with input from additional employees of Joyner Library. We created it because we believe that articulating our values and obligations to one another reinforces the already high regard in which we hold our colleagues. Having such a statement also provides us with clear guidance for appropriate and professional behavior. The guide below aims to provide Joyner employees opportunities to enrich our discussions.


This document applies to our interactions in various areas of our shared professional lives, including those within Joyner Library, those that take place over email and social media when representing ECU and Joyner Library, and at conferences and other events where we represent ECU and Joyner Library.


We want Joyner Library to be a fun, productive, and safe space for everyone. In addition to upholding our core values of respect and honesty, there are several ways we can accomplish this:

Our collaboration with departments and divisions within the library and university, as well as with community members and organizations, is key to our success. We view colleagues and patrons as our peers and collaborators. We maintain open lines of communication and foster good working relationships with our colleagues.

We believe in inclusion, not merely because it’s a mechanism for happier, more productive teams, but also because we believe we have an obligation to work against structural discrimination. We work to fulfill this obligation in myriad ways—for example, by adhering fairly to University hiring and promotion policies, investing in community outreach efforts, and reinforcing an organizational culture which supports diversity. This Statement of Acceptable Conduct plays a critical role in those efforts.

Expected Behaviors

Every member of Joyner Library is expected to come to work ready to do their best, be considerate of their colleagues, and contribute to a collaborative, positive, and healthy environment in which we can all succeed.

Be supportive of your colleagues, both proactively and responsively. Offer to help if you see someone struggling or otherwise in need of assistance, taking care not to be patronizing or disrespectful. If someone approaches you looking for help, be generous with your time; if you’re under a deadline, direct them to someone else who may be of assistance. Go out of your way to include people in division/department conversations and social activities in an effort to build an environment free of cliques. However, also respect coworkers’ right to opt out of social activities unrelated to their jobs and recognize that their non-participation may not indicate disinterest in your mutual work.

Be collaborative. Be welcoming, friendly, patient, and inclusive. Involve your colleagues (including supervisees, when appropriate) in brainstorms, goal setting, planning documents, and the like. Recognize the value in both asking others for feedback and sharing yours with them.

Be considerate. Our work depends on the work of those around us. Any decision you make will affect patrons and colleagues, and you should take those consequences into account when making decisions. Assuming tone and intent through writing, such as email, is a commonplace for misunderstanding. Try to give your colleagues the benefit of the doubt when reading, and please take extra care when writing to try to avoid misunderstanding.

Be humane. Be polite and friendly in all forms of communication, especially online communication, where opportunities for misinterpretation are greater. Use sarcasm carefully. Tone is especially hard to decipher online. Be careful in the words that you choose. Remember that sexist, racist, and other exclusionary jokes can be offensive to those around you. Be kind to others. Do not insult or put down other people.

Be respectful. Not all of us will agree all the time, but disagreement is no excuse for poor behavior or poor manners. We might all experience some frustration now and then, but we cannot allow that frustration to turn into a personal attack or violence. It’s important to remember that a workplace where people feel uncomfortable or threatened is not a productive one.

Unacceptable Behaviors

ECU protected classes are: Disability, Sexual Orientation, Race/Ethnicity, Age, Sex, Gender Identity, Color, Veteran Status, Genetic Information, Political Affiliation, National Origin, and Religion. Discrimination and harassment are expressly prohibited in University Policy. Discrimination is defined as actions that subject individuals to unfavorable or unequal treatment based on a protected class. Harassment is unwelcome conduct based on a protected class. Sexual harassment is any unwelcome sexual comment, request for sexual favors, or other unwanted conduct of a sexual nature. Prohibited Conduct includes, but is not limited to, sexual assault, offensive touching, sexual exploitation, dating and domestic violence, sexual-or gender-based harassment, complicity, and retaliation. Joyner Library is committed to providing a welcoming and safe environment for all people.

This Statement of Acceptable Conduct also discourages any behavior or language which is unwelcoming. Some unwelcoming behavior takes the form of microaggressions—subtle put-downs which may be unconsciously delivered. Regardless of intent, microaggressions can have a significant negative impact on people and have no place on our team.

Reporting a Problem

These guidelines are ambitious, and we’re not always going to succeed in meeting them. When something goes wrong—whether it’s a microaggression or an instance of harassment—there are a number of things you can do to address the situation with your colleagues. We know that you’ll do your best work if you’re happy and comfortable in your surroundings. Depending on your comfort level and the severity of the situation, here are some things you can do to address it:

  1. Address it directly. If you’re comfortable bringing up the incident with the person who initiated it, request that the person discuss with you how their behavior affected you. Be sure to approach these conversations in a forgiving spirit: an angry or tense conversation will not do either of you any good. If you’re unsure how to go about that, try asking your supervisor or the Office of Equity and Diversity for advice on discussion points first—they have resources for how to make this conversation happen, especially within the Conflict Resolution and Mediation Program.If you don’t think having a direct conversation is a good option, there are a number of alternate routes you can take.
  2. Talk to a peer or mentor. Your colleagues are likely to have personal and professional experience on which to draw that could be of use to you. If you have someone you’re comfortable approaching, reach out and discuss the situation with them. They may be able to advise on how they would handle it or direct you to someone who can. The flip side of this, of course, is that you should also be available if your colleagues reach out to you.
  3. Talk to your supervisor or the Library Director. Your supervisor probably knows quite a lot about the dynamics of your team, which makes them a good person to ask for advice. They may also be able to talk directly to the colleague in question if you feel uncomfortable or unsafe doing so yourself. Finally, your supervisor will try to help you figure out how to ensure that any conflict with a colleague doesn’t interfere with your work.

Talk to the Office of Equity and Diversity (OED). If you feel that you have been harassed or discriminated against by a university employee, student, or visitor based on one of the university’s protected classes outlined, or allege retaliation related to these complaints, you may fill out an online grievance reporting form or you may contact the Office for Equity and Diversity at or 252-328-6804.

Taking Care of Each Other

Sometimes, you may witness behavior that seems like it isn’t aligned with our values. Err on the side of caring for your colleagues in situations like these. Even if an incident seems minor, reach out to the person affected to check in, or possibly ask another colleague you know they are close with to check in. In certain situations, it may also be helpful to speak directly to the person who has potentially misrepresented this Statement of Acceptable Conduct, a manager, or OED directly to voice your concerns.

Committing to Improvement

We understand that none of us are perfect: It’s expected that all of us, regardless of our backgrounds, will from time to time fail to live up to our very high standards. What matters is owning up to your mistakes and making a clear and persistent effort to improve. If someone lets you know that you have acted (consciously or otherwise) in a way that might make your colleagues feel unwelcome, refrain from being defensive; remember that if someone approaches you with a concern, it likely took a great deal of courage for them to do so. The best way to respect that courage is to acknowledge your possible mistake, apologize, and move on—with a renewed commitment to do better.

Further Reading

To address the many forms of harassment and discrimination, the University has policies and regulations in place including, but not limited to, the Notice of Nondiscrimination and Affirmative Action Policy and the Regulation Sexual Harassment and Gender-Based Harassment and Other Forms of Interpersonal Violence. These policies and regulations are posted widely and are available on the OED’s website at and the University Policy Manual at OED welcomes the opportunity to speak with anyone who has concerns, questions, or would like additional information about the Office’s policies, programs, and resources. They also maintain a lending library and frequently offer further educational opportunities.

A list of additional resources is maintained by the Joyner Library Diversity Committee. The list can be found in the committee shared drive.


This document is licensed CC-BY


Much of this statement was adapted from the following resources:

Created: May 2018

Reviewed by OED and suggestions made: November 1, 2018 – Sue Martin

Last edited: February 14, 2019 – Amanda McLellan (minor editorial corrections)