SCENARIO: An ASCE member is invited to participate in a three-person panel at a technical session of a large institute conference. Over the course of the hourlong session, the panelist makes several questionable remarks about women engineers. Although couched as humor, the jokes all have the effect of characterizing female professionals as difficult, temperamental, and unsuited to working in a team environment. The moderator and other members of the panel attempt to downplay or deflect attention from the panelist’s “jokes,” but their efforts are unsuccessful; nearly a half-dozen attendees contact ASCE’s staff or volunteer leadership after the session to express offense at the panelist’s remarks.
A member of the institute’s governing board contacts ASCE’s Committee on Professional Conduct to file a formal ethics complaint against the panelist.