URI Narragansett Bay Campus Code of Ethics

Commitment to Justice, Equity, Diversity, Inclusion & Access

The University of Rhode Island Graduate School of Oceanography/NBC recognizes and understands the existence of systemic racism and its impact on the social and economic disparities, educational, research, and academic inequalities currently affecting our BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and people of color) community and other marginalized groups within our institutions and society. We commit ourselves to ensuring that the policies, practices, processes, and programs currently in place infuse and implement Justice, Equity, Diversity & Inclusion (JEDI) as well as accessibility principles and initiatives into the fabric of the work that we do.

This includes, but is not limited to, hiring, training, teaching/education, research (lab and field), recruiting and retaining, promotion, communication, collaboration, partnerships, planning and hosting of events, and the delivery of our services both currently and in the future. University of Rhode Island’s Graduate School of Oceanography (GSO) is committed to maintaining a supportive and inclusive environment that fosters excellence in research, education, and professional development.

This Code of Ethics outlines the expectations and standards of behavior for all members of the GSO community, including students, faculty, staff, and visitors. The code of ethics applies to all situations in which you are working for or representing GSO, including on campus, remote work, field work, conferences, meetings, and community discussions. By adhering to this Code of Ethics, we can create a positive and respectful atmosphere that promotes the well-being, growth, and success of everyone involved.

Code of Ethics

  • Treat all individuals with respect, fairness, and dignity, regardless of their race, ethnicity, gender, religion, sexual orientation, age, disability, or any other characteristic.
  • Reject the use of offensive and derogatory words, language or phrase that demeans or disrespects a person’s race, ethnicity, gender, religion, sexual orientation, age, disability, or any other characteristic, whether on campus, in the classroom, lab, virtually or in person.
  • Reasonable accommodation will be given to individuals with disabilities as well as accommodations in observance of cultural/religious holidays.
  • Celebrate and embrace diversity, equity, and access and belonging within the GSO community to foster an inclusive environment where all individuals are valued and heard.
  • Explicitly reject engaging in sexual misconduct, discriminatory or harassing behavior, such as making derogatory remarks, or engaging in actions that create a hostile environment for others or otherwise undermine the safety, well-being, or dignity of any individual within the GSO community.
  • Engage in professional, respectful, and courteous communication, in person, virtually, and in written form, including interactions with fellow students, faculty, staff, visitors, and the general public.
  • Foster a collaborative and collegial environment by engaging in constructive discussions, sharing knowledge, and supporting the professional growth of others.
  • Adhere to safety guidelines and protocols to ensure the well-being of oneself and others during laboratory work, fieldwork, or other activities that may pose risks. Use institutional resources, equipment, and facilities responsibly and in accordance with established policies and procedures.
  • Exercise discretion and professionalism when representing the GSO on social media platforms or other online channels, while respecting the privacy and confidentiality of others.
  • Resolve conflicts and disagreements professionally and respectfully, seeking mediation or assistance when needed.

Incidents of microaggression can be brought to any member of the Dean’s office staff, who can serve as a resource to direct faculty, students, and staff to the proper pathway for reporting.

*Please Note: The URI Office of Equal Opportunity – OEO is the designated entity charged with investigating and addressing complaints of discrimination, harassment and hostile environment. OEO is responsible for leading and directing the University’s civil rights compliance programs, with emphasis on Title VI, Title VII, Title IX, ADA/Section 504, equal opportunity and affirmative action in employment. OEO Provides employee training and counseling sessions on civil rights topics and offers technical assistance guidance. OEO serves as a liaison between state and federal civil rights enforcement agencies. Individuals with questions regarding ongoing civil rights compliance efforts, or who wish to file a complaint of discrimination, harassment, or hostile work environment may contact Dorca Paulino-Smalley, Director, Office of Equal Opportunity, dorca_paulino@uri.edu, TTY 1-800-745-5555.*         

Employees seeking an accommodation on the basis of disability may contact the Office of Human Resource Administration. Laura Kenerson, Director of Personnel Services, is the designated Section 501 and Section 503 Coordinator, responsible for approving and monitoring reasonable accommodation requests made by University personnel and applicants. Requests for work accommodation are made in writing to the Director of Personnel Services in Human Resource Administration who consults with appropriate officials to consider the request. Once an accommodation is made for an employee, its effectiveness is periodically monitored by both the employee and the Office of Human Resource Administration. For more information, visit the Human Resource Administration website, Reasonable Accommodations for Employees with Disabilities tab, or contact the Director of Personnel Services by email at kenerson@uri.edu or call (401) 874-5271.

Students seeking an accommodation may contact Disability, Access, and Inclusion. Dr. Paige Ramsdell, Assistant Dean, Disability, Access, and Inclusion, promotes compliance with Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act by accepting, reviewing, and approving reasonable accommodation requests made by students. For more information regarding the student reasonable accommodation process visit the Disability, Access, and Inclusion website, email dai@uri.edu, or call (401) 874-5694.

Other ADA related contacts include:

Community, Equity and Diversity
Reporting to the President, the Office of Community, Equity and Diversity, is tasked with promulgating University-wide diversity initiatives that directly align with the University’s transformational goals and academic strategic plan. As a member of the President’s Leadership Council, the Chief Diversity Officer is responsible for promoting critical consciousness, cultural humility, and compassion, for a socially just and equitable campus community. To contact the division of Community, Equity and Diversity, email uriced@etal.uri.edu or call (401) 874-7077.

Office of Equal Opportunity
Dorca Paulino-Smalley, Director of the Office of Equal Opportunity, has been designated as the Coordinator of enterprise compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Rehabilitation Act and serves as the institutional Section 504 Coordinator.
The Office of Equal Opportunity is responsible for investigating complaints of discrimination or harassment on the basis of disability (and other protected categories) in employment and service delivery. The Office of Equal Opportunity works with the individuals below to promote accessibility inclusivity in service delivery and employment. Visit the Office of Equal Opportunity website for more information or contact dorca_paulino@uri.edu or call (401)874-4929.

Office of General Counsel
The General Counsel is the chief legal officer of the University and is responsible for the coordination and management of all legal issues affecting the University.
Lauren Jensen, Esq., Associate General Counsel, is the designated Office of General Counsel liaison for any questions relating to compliance with the ADA, Section 504, and any other state and federal laws that provide protections for individuals with disabilities. She can be contacted by email at ljensen@uri.edu or call (401) 874-4491.

Facilities Group
The Facilities Group is responsible for ensuring Americans with Disabilities Act standards for accessible design are met in accordance with Title II and Title III regulations, which require that people with disabilities have access to spaces to allow equal participation in University events. To contact the Facilities Group at the University, please visit https://web.uri.edu/facilities/work-order-request-form/ to submit a work request or call (401) 874-4060.

Web Communications Services
Brandon J. C. Fuller, Manager of Web Communications, is responsible for promoting website accessibility. For questions regarding website accessibility resources at the University, email bjcfuller@uri.edu or call (401)874-2258.

*Achieving full participation and integration of people with disabilities requires the cooperative efforts and responsibility of all of the University’s departments, offices, and personnel. Please refer to the University of Rhode Island Event Accessibility Planning Toolkit for recommendations to promote accessibility inclusivity. *

Assistant Dean of JEDI, Princess Metuge (princess_metuge@uri.edu, x46640) is available to provide guidance and support and direct all employees to the proper reporting resources. Arrangements can be made for a virtual meeting or an in-person meeting in a confidential location, if desired. Assistant Dean Metuge’s Office is a resource to help document and assist with incidents. Reportable behavior includes any/all behavior that is covered by this Code of Ethics and/or behavior that makes you feel at all uncomfortable or unable to successfully thrive within the GSO community. The official with authority for the Narragansett Bay Campus and GSO is the Dean of GSO. Please see the URI Office of Community Standards web site. NOTE: people with emergency or life threatening situations should dial “911”.

This policy and the university seek to have a thriving Bay Campus that is free from unacceptable/discriminatory behavior and sexual misconduct. Disciplinary actions as outlined in the URI processes and procedures regarding such behaviors are the responsibility of URI responsible parties to enforce. Violations of this Code of Ethics, as they pertain to URI Policy and Federal/State Law, may result in actions, which can include, but are not limited to, counseling, mediation, educational interventions, loss of privileges, probation, suspension, or expulsion, and criminal charges as deemed appropriate by the GSO administration in accordance with the University of Rhode Island established policies and procedures. Please also see URI Student Handbook (p. 15-25; 39-66 & 94-106)

GSO Laboratory Code of Ethics

The Code of Ethics applies to all faculty/staff and students, and individuals affiliated with a Laboratory, including employees, advisory board members, Intergovernmental Personnel assignees, subcontractors, consultants, resident subcontractors, interns, student advisers, crew members, and research assistants at all locations including research vessels. Students’ adherence to the Code of Ethics and to Laboratory policies and procedures is a condition of their employment/enrollment.
*Please take note of URI Policy on Laboratory Move-Ins and Cleanouts*

Employees are to review the Code of Ethics and acknowledge that they understand and would adhere to its direction upon hire or enrollment at GSO and prior to working in a lab.

Every person is accountable for upholding GSO lab Code of Ethics, which includes the following commitments:

Creating and fostering an ethical, diverse, inclusive, and supportive work environment

  • Employees are expected to work in a supportive and respectful atmosphere in the lab at GSO. Faculty/PI will support a diverse workforce and student body, from various backgrounds, experiences, and thoughts, with the understanding that every student brings unique qualities and talents to the table, and that each individual deserves to be treated with fairness and respect.
  • Every person in the lab is expected to assess and understand how their actions and statements may affect others, thereby contributing to a respectful supportive environment.
  • Faculty/PI is committed to providing students with the opportunity to achieve desired career goals by:
    • Creating opportunities for students’ talent to be developed, harnessed, and promoted at every level
    • Promoting an environment that encourages open and active communication and an active listening environment that fosters a sense of belonging
    • Ensure fair and equal treatment of everyone, while maintaining professionalism and respect at all times.
    • Providing students the opportunity for training in diversity and inclusion (JEDI) competencies.
    • Faculty/PI will ensure that the lab environment is free from discrimination, harassment, hostility and racism

Adhering to the laws, regulations, and Laboratory-specific policies and procedures set forth in this code of ethics:

    • Laboratory personnel are expected to comply with Laboratory, GSO and URI policies and procedures and with state and federal legal requirements in relation to research topic area/s.
    • Faculty/Staff/Students should ensure that:
      • GSO lab equipment, supplies and specimens are used only for approved purposes
      • Sensitive information (including classified, proprietary, export-controlled, and privacy-related data) is appropriately and securely protected
      • Students remain free of any personal conflicts of interest

Upholding URI/GSO principles of research integrity

Employees are to maintain professionalism and conduct themselves in a manner that fosters mutual respect while executing the mission and vision of URI/GSO. In addition, NBC and GSO employees are expected to:

  • Strive for excellence in conducting their research
  • Strive for openness in discussing their research within the GSO community
  • Not engage in research misconduct, such as fabrication, falsification, or plagiarism in proposing, performing, or reviewing research, or in reporting research results

Research work will exemplify the four basic principles of scientific integrity – reliability, honesty, respect and accountability, while taking into account honest, truthful and accurate reporting of scientific data collection, data analysis and presentation. Scientific research and reporting will be free from any and all forms of  bias, fabrication, falsification and plagiarism.


*Please refer to the University of Rhode Island Policy on Conflict of Interest in Research and Policy on Intellectual Property adopted and approved on November 5th 2021.

Employees, students, and interns may be subject to disciplinary action for violations of the Code of Ethics and Laboratory policies and procedures, as adjudicated by URI Office of Equal Opportunity, in collaboration with the Office of Human Resources.

Reporting Procedures and Complainant and Respondent Rights

Please refer to URI Policy on Nondiscrimination and Sexual Misconduct, approved on June 30, 2021.

“The Office of Equal Opportunity accepts and investigates all complaints made under the Policy on Nondiscrimination. Individuals subject to discrimination are encouraged to complete the Incident Report Form, and to contact the Office of Equal Opportunity if assistance is required to complete the form. When it is determined that a violation of policy has occurred, the Office of Equal Opportunity shares its findings with the Human Resource Administration, which is charged with taking corrective action and sanctioning the responsible party, when necessary. The Office of Equal Opportunity and the Human Resource Administration work collaboratively with the University community to prevent the recurrence of prohibited discrimination and remedy its effects. The University’s Policy on Nondiscrimination and the Incident Report Form can be found at https://web.uri.edu/policies/. Copies may be requested by calling 401-874-4939″

Incident Report Form

Reporting Obligation:

The University of Rhode Island outlines the following for Filing a Complaint:
Complaints alleging discrimination or harassment in violation of this policy, or questions regarding this policy and its procedures, should be directed to the following:

University of Rhode Island Office of Equal Opportunity
201 Carlotti Administration Building
75 Lower College Road Kingston, RI 02881
Phone: 401-874-4929

“As stipulated in URI Policy on Nondiscrimination: “Employees with supervisory authority over other employees are required to report discrimination or harassment in violation of our policies, except employees with a professional license that requires confidentiality. Failure to report in accordance with this policy may be grounds for discipline, up to and including termination”.

Complaints involving prohibited discrimination, including harassment or retaliation, against a group or class of individuals that reflects an apparent pattern or practice of discrimination and sexual misconduct will be investigated and addressed pursuant to this policy by the University regardless of whether there is an identified Complainant. The provisions of the collective bargaining agreements governing unionized employees may provide additional mechanisms for addressing allegations of discrimination, sexual misconduct or harassment.

Please Note the Following Procedures for Reporting:

  1. Sexual Misconduct
  2. Laboratory Move-Ins & Cleanouts
  3. Nondiscrimination
  4. Conflict of Interest in Research
  5. Reporting Procedure, Research Vessel
Incident Report Form

Investigations are to be completed within 90 days after a complaint is filed.

Both parties will be consulted, advised of their rights and responsibilities. The path of both informal and formal complaints will include: (1) interview complainant and witnesses, (2) interview respondent and witnesses, as well as, provide respondent the opportunity to file a written response to complaint, (3) obtain and review relevant documents, (4) research relevant leads discovered during investigation.

Findings and Recommendations: All investigations are guided by URI Policies and Federal and State Anti-Discrimination Laws and all findings are defined by a violation to said policies and laws. Based on findings, recommendations will then be provided for consideration by the Office of Equal Opportunity.

*Please note the following entities as a resource:

Office of Civil Rights, Region I US Department of Education 5 Post Office Square, 8th
Floor Boston, MA 02109-3921 Tel.: (617) 289-0111 Fax: (617) 289-0150

United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission John F. Kennedy Federal
Building 475 Government Center Boston, MA 02203 Phone: 1-800-669-4000 Fax: 617-565-3196 http://www.eeoc.gov/field/boston/index.cfm

Rhode Island Commission for Human Rights 180 Westminster Street, 3rd Floor Providence, Rhode Island 02903 Tel: 401-222-2661 // 401-222-2664 Fax: 401-222-2616

*GSO Reporting Procedures Adapted from URI, OEO Investigation Process and the URI, Policy on Nondiscrimination*

Dean, GSO
Paula Bontempi (also GSO’s Title IX coordinator)

Assistant Dean – JEDI Initiatives, GSO
Princess Metuge
princess_metuge@uri.edu; 401874.6640

Asst. Vice President for Community Equity & Diversity
Michelle Fontes
mfontes@uri.edu; 401.874.4616

Human Resources Director, Personnel Services
Laura Kenerson
lkenerson@uri.edu; 401.874.5271

Director, Office of Equal Opportunity – OEO
Dorca Paulino-Smalley
dorca_paulino@uri.edu; 401.874.4929