The ASCE Board of Direction voted unanimously at its July meeting to adopt new language in the Society’s Code of Ethics that expresses a professional obligation to provide fair and equal treatment for all.
The ASCE Code of Ethics, adopted in 1914, lays out the model for professional conduct for ASCE members. The newly adopted canon – Canon 8 in the Code of Ethics – states:
Engineers shall, in all matters related to their profession, treat all persons fairly and encourage equitable participation without regard to gender or gender identity, race, national origin, ethnicity, religion, age, sexual orientation, disability, political affiliation, or family, marital, or economic status.
a. Engineers shall conduct themselves in a manner in which all persons are treated with dignity, respect, and fairness.
b. Engineers shall not engage in discrimination or harassment in connection with their professional activities.
c. Engineers shall consider the diversity of the community, and shall endeavor in good faith to include diverse perspectives, in the planning and performance of their professional services.
“ASCE has been working to advance diversity and inclusion within the engineering profession for many decades, and the Board’s recent action of codifying its longstanding policy in the Code of Ethics reflects our collective responsibility to promote a diverse and inclusive profession,” said ASCE Executive Director Tom Smith, ENV SP, CAE, F.ASCE.
ASCE’s Committee on Diversity and Inclusion and Committee on Ethical Practice began collaborating on the new canon in 2016, seeking to provide a basis for enforcing ASCE’s commitment to diversity and inclusion.
Quincy Alexander, M.ASCE, chair of CDI, presented the rationale for Canon 8 to the Board of Direction in March, citing the number of government agencies, engineering societies, and private engineering companies with similar provisions already in their bylaws.
“This was a case where we wanted to make ASCE’s position bold and visible,” Alexander said. “This is what our peer organizations are doing, and what our clients and employers expect of us. This is why there is a need for this.”
The addition of Canon 8 marks the first revision to the ASCE Code of Ethics since 2006.
“With this support, our Society is pledging to professionally treat everyone fairly and promote equitable involvement,” said Board member Melissa Wheeler, M.ASCE, Region 5 Director. “I’m honored to be part of a Board of Direction that would unanimously support adding Canon 8 to our Code of Ethics.”