Code of Conduct

The University of Rhode Island has several policies that define the University-wide code of conduct and community standards for students and the staff and faculty (more links at the bottom of this page in the resources section). Violations of these codes is a serious matter, and may result in referral to the University and disciplinary action. Here, we provide our code of conduct for the Davies Lab in the Department of Biological Sciences and the Graduate School of Oceanography at the University of Rhode Island.

The code of conduct applies to all students, staff and faculty within our lab, but it also extends to everyone that participates in the lab, whether that is formally or informally, or over short or long time periods. It guides our behavior both within the lab and outside, in our interactions with members of our lab and colleagues from outside of our lab, as we go about our activities related to the University.

Mission statement

Members of the Davies Lab at the University of Rhode Island aim to conduct and communicate creative, rigorous and high quality research and teaching within a welcoming and supportive environment. We learn from our failed experiments and we celebrate our successes. We value freedom of expression and independence. All members are encouraged to express themselves in the way of their choosing, as long as this expression falls within the guidelines below. 

The goals of our code of conduct are to: 

  • Define acceptable and expected standards of behavior. 
  • Ensure transparency in community and group management.
  • Ensure an environment where people can participate without fear of harassment.
  • Positively contribute to the identity of the Lab.


We will:

  1. Be welcoming – Appreciate and accommodate lab member’s similarities and differences. Uphold an inclusive and understanding attitude towards others. Seek diverse perspectives, and help new perspectives be heard and listen actively. Support a culture of openness and encourage interaction with other lab members. Use preferred names, titles (including pronouns), and the appropriate tone of voice when addressing others. 

  1. Be supportive – Have empathy and understanding of the different journeys and life experiences of all lab members. Push other lab members to pursue growth in their studies and skills. Sincerely recognize and celebrate fellow lab member’s accomplishments and contributions. Likewise, offer support and encouragement when negative feedback on manuscripts or grant declines are received.

  1. Be respectful – Treat everyone with dignity and respect. We are committed to affording each other courtesy, respect, and dignity at all times and in all our interactions. Misunderstandings and disagreements may happen. When conflicts arise, we expect they are resolved in ways that are respectful of all parties, even when emotions are heightened. We will not insult or put others down. Harassment and other exclusionary behavior is never acceptable. This includes, but is not limited to:
  • Violent threats or language directed against another person or group in general. 
  • Sexist, racist, or otherwise discriminatory jokes or language.  
  • Posting sexually explicit or violent material.
  • Sharing private personal content, such as private emails or conversations.
  • Unwelcome sexual attention. 
  • Excessive or unnecessary profanity. 
  • Repeated harassment of others. If someone asks you to stop, then stop. 
  • Advocating for, or encouraging, any of the above behavior. 

  1. Be collaborative – Our research is utilized by other scientists at URI and around the world. In turn, we also depend on the work of others. Actively seek out and engage with external collaborators in appropriate ways to form meaningful connections with a goal of benefiting the scientific community. Take into the account the consequences of any one decision on our collaborators and the overall image/reputation of the Davies Lab. We are excited and willing to explain our achievements and research interests to others, and are actively seeking opportunities for mutual gain with other researchers and stakeholders. 

  1. Be curious – Questions are highly encouraged and never “stupid”. No one person is all knowing, and asking questions early and often avoids mistakes and miscommunications later. We will be responsive and helpful in answering internal and external enquiries, and unafraid to admit when we do not know or are unsure of something. Have an open and inquisitive attitude to new and familiar activities, ideas, people, and cultures. 

Practice active listening: 

  • Face speaker and make eye contact 
  • Note and respond to non verbal cues (body language)  
  • Don’t interrupt 
  • Listen without judging or jumping to conclusions 
  • Don’t start planning what to say next- if you are preparing, you are not listening 
  • Stay focused 
  • Ask questions 
  • Paraphrase and summarize what was said to confirm your understanding.

  1. Be allowed to fail – Mistakes will be made, equipment will break, things will be lost and that is OK! When receiving feedback or after some setback, take time to reflect and plan for how you may approach it differently in the future. Report breakages and losses to staff promptly so repairs can be made or replacement can be sought. Talk to others, especially in brainstorming discussions, do not be afraid to make an educated guess. State your claim and your supporting evidence, and be comfortable knowing you may be incorrect. Be resilient in the face of failure, and reflective on the process to identify areas for improvement.


  1. Be safe –  Familiarize yourself with all safety instructions within the laboratory, fabrication facilities and in the field. Know locations of safety equipment, and how to use them. Ensure you know where safety showers, eyewash stations, and fire extinguishers are located. Minimize all chemical exposures, and assume that all chemicals of unknown toxicity are highly toxic. Label everything. Avoid distracting or startling persons working in the laboratory. Use equipment only for designated purposes. If you are unsure of what a piece of equipment is for and/or how to use it, speak to a staff or faculty member. Combine reagents in the appropriate order, such as adding acid to water. Never leave chemical containers open. All containers must have appropriate labels; never use unlabeled chemicals. Never consume and/or store food, beverages, or apply cosmetics in areas where hazardous chemicals are used or stored. Do not pour chemicals down drains, and do NOT utilize the sewer for chemical waste disposal. Follow proper URI Environmental Health and Safety Policies and Procedures . Long hair and loose clothing should be pulled back and secured, especially around machinery. Wear proper PPE depending on both chemical hazards and shared space agreements. Ask staff members if a mask is required or requested in communal areas. Determine the potential hazards and appropriate safety precautions before beginning any work. Always inspect equipment for wear and deterioration. Please inform a staff member of any damage incurred or noted.

Staff and faculty resources:  

Working conditions, Section 3. (University Manual)

General Policy: 

University Rights and Responsibilities 

University Labor Relations and Unions 

Ethics and Compliance Hotline 

Scientific Process:

Conflict of Interest in Research

University Office of Research and Integrity 

Research Misconduct 

Reporting Processes:

Bias Resource Team

The Bias Resource Team (BRT) is an interdisciplinary group comprised of URI staff and faculty. The BRT reviews information about reported bias incidents and refers campus resources to those who have witnessed or experienced an act of bias.  Link

Title IX

Title IX is a federal law that prohibits discrimination based on the sex (gender) of employees and students of educational institutions that receive federal financial assistance.

Know your Title IX | Report | Rights and Resource Guide