Code of Conduct

Report a violation by typing /report in Slack — you'll have the option to keep your report anonymous.

On Deck Fellowship — Code of Conduct

At On Deck, we strive to create an environment that respects the values of individual Fellows and their personal and professional development. We strive to create and maintain an environment in which individuals are treated with dignity, decency, and respect, and in which each Fellow is able to maximize serendipity, learning and development, and get the most out of the program.‍

On Deck prohibits unlawful discrimination against, and harassment of staff, guests, and Fellows.

Policies in the On Deck Code of Conduct may be enforceable for incidents that happen outside of On Deck that affect the On Deck community, for example in person meet-ups, or on social media pages such as Facebook or Twitter. This includes incidents that happen prior to the initiation, or after the completion of official On Deck programming.

With our program being all online, in many different locations, powered by people and technology, we realize how much online interactions on any platform can be a part of the experience of On Deck. As such, the policies in this Code of Conduct may be applied to behavior that is in-person, written, or conducted online in a variety of public or private forums.

Certain conduct may violate the Code of Conduct as well as the law. On Deck reserves the right to investigate and to initiate the resolution process regardless of the prospect of or pending civil or criminal proceedings. On Deck's resolution process differs from legal proceedings in that the goal is to promote learning, growth, and to preserve the learning environment. On Deck may move forward to resolution prior to, simultaneously with, or following criminal or civil proceedings. Resolution of an alleged violation will not change on the grounds that a civil or criminal case has been resolved via dismissal, settlement, or reduction.

On Deck protects Fellows' privacy. We do not provide personal information to non-service provider third parties except as requested by the Fellow, or as required by subpoena, warrant, or as otherwise directed or permitted by law.

The following criteria will be used to determine if an incident that happens outside of On Deck networks will be considered an alleged violation of the On Deck Code of Conduct:

  1. When the incident was recognized by others as being carried out by an On Deck Fellow
  2. When the incident adversely impacted the mental, emotional, or physical health, safety, and/or security of On Deck community members
  3. When the incident adversely impacted the mission and/or values of On Deck
  4. and/orWhether the incident was a violation of federal or state laws or regulations, or local ordinances.

Examples of incidents that we would look into include, but are not limited to: harassment, discrimination, bullying, and threatening behavior. Of course, if you as a Fellow are ever uncomfortable about an interaction, please let us know by submitting a report to an On Deck Team Member directly or by typing /report in Slack. 

We do not actively seek out violations of the On Deck Code of Conduct. If someone brings concerning behavior to our attention, the Fellowship Experience team will work to determine if the behavior may be a violation of the Code of Conduct. If it is determined that there is an alleged violation, we will notify the Fellow(s) accused, meet with them, gather information about the incident(s), and work to prevent reoccurrence.

When deciding the appropriate action to take, we consider the severity of the incident, additional information (such as past behavioral history), and any additional context we may have. Actions taken to prevent future occurrence may be educational in nature (such as a success plan) or may include actions up to withdrawal.

Important note: we encourage critical thought, discourse, and feedback from our Fellows. None of the above is to discourage criticism of the program itself, the policies, actions of the On Deck team, or any other component of the Fellowship experience. We value feedback and welcome it anytime, but we ask this be provided via direct communication with On Deck operations or management team through private Slack messages, email, or the completion of general purpose feedback forms. We hold our community to high standards and expect staff, Fellows, Members, and guests to engage with each other in a professional manner. In the spirit of praise publicly, critique privately, we ask that you not criticize any member of the On Deck community publicly and contribute to creating a respectful and welcoming environment for all.

The Code of Conduct is set forth to give Fellows general notice of prohibited conduct. The Code of Conduct should be read broadly and is not designed to define misconduct in exhaustive terms. All Fellows are expected to know and abide by the Code of Conduct and all published policies and procedures contained within.

In addition, we may from time to time publish announcements to Fellows - for example in the #-global-announcements channel in Slack, or via one of the On Deck team about topics related to the Code of Conduct. We will endeavor to ensure that updates are reflected in the On Deck Code of Conduct, but overall, expect that Fellows abide by guidance provided by Staff.


On Deck encourages each Fellow to actively participate in the program, having an online presence, engaging and collaborating with other Fellows.

Ask for help

If a Fellow feels lost or unable to utilize the resources around them to their benefit, it’s their responsibility to reach out to the On Deck team or other Fellows for help. Others can only provide support if Fellows let them know.


On Deck expects Fellows to understand and maintain high standards of integrity. Breaches of integrity include, but are not limited to, inappropriate collaboration, intellectual property including copyright infringement, or acts of bad faith.

Inappropriate Collaboration

Collaboration is at the core of everything we do at On Deck. However, it’s possible that the motives of each party entering into a relationship may not be fully, and transparently disclosed to the other.

For example, if two parties are exploring ideas in adjacent spaces, each should be transparent in their interests, each giving the other the opportunity to reserve or withhold “proprietary” information about their plans and aspirations until a further relationship of trust is developed.

If one party intentionally misleads or withholds information about their intentions for the purposes of extracting further information about the other’s plans, this could be found to be Inappropriate Collaboration.

If a Fellow is caught inappropriately collaborating, a member of the On Deck team will evaluate the situation. Based on findings, the Fellow may face disciplinary action, up to being withdrawn from On Deck.

Intellectual Property Including Copyright

We expect all Fellows to respect the intellectual property rights of On Deck, Staff, other Fellows, as well as those of any and all external parties.

Intellectual property violations including copyright violations, using, and/or linking materials that you do not have the right to, will be evaluated by a member of the On Deck team. Based on the findings, the Fellow may face disciplinary action, up to and including being withdrawn from On Deck.

Additionally, On Deck may request that you remove any content or material (either within Slack or externally) that is found to violate any On Deck Code of Conduct policy, contractual term, law, and/or any intellectual property right.

Non-On Deck spaces

Slack, and the On Deck Directory are our main tools of communication here at On Deck.

While we obviously would not wish to stop the gathering of On Deck Fellows outside of official On Deck channels, we cannot as a program be held liable for anything that happens in the spaces that we do not govern.

However, if brought to our attention, the program reserves the right to further investigation and possible removal of a Fellow for offenses such as bullying, harassment, etc. taking place in non-On Deck spaces.


On Deck is fortunate to have Fellows, guests, and staff from a wide range of extremely diverse backgrounds. Fellows are expected to do their part to make On Deck a welcoming place to learn and connect with others by encouraging, and offering support to those around them. Fellows can contribute to creating a positive experience for everyone by being respectful in communication.

Specifically, On Deck does not tolerate discriminatory, harassing, or insulting remarks to other Fellows, guests, staff, or anyone else, online or in person. Any comments or remarks directed at other Fellows or non-Fellow "builders" generally should be positive in sentiment, particularly in public channels. Where the target of those remarks may have room for improvement, constructive criticism is best shared in private channels. We don’t tolerate any form of critique intended to tear down or discourage builders, particularly in open forums. If you feel you have been subjected to targeted negative critique of this nature, please reach out to Fellowship Experience.


On Deck is a professional environment, and it is expected that Fellows act accordingly. Punctuality, accountability, and open communication are crucial.

Professionalism should be a theme that runs through a Fellow's work and interactions at On Deck. In particular, professionalism is expected when creating and joining Slack channels, participating in academic and social discussion, and via posts, comments, questions, and responses to others.

The creation of channels is encouraged only when there is not an existing channel that covers the topic/interest.

The creation of private channels is reserved solely for On Deck staff.

The naming of channels and content within is expected to be professional and in line with the policies and procedures found in the Code of Conduct. Any channel names or content that does not abide by the Code of Conduct will be reviewed and handled accordingly.

On Deck reserves the right to delete Slack channels and content (posts, threads, questions, comments, and responses) that are not aligned with our mission, values, or Code of Conduct.

Additionally, inappropriate behavior on Slack, Zoom, and other platforms includes, but is not limited to:

  • Calling attention to all community members using the @channel/@here function without explicit permission given by staff
  • @’ing, and/or otherwise harassing, bullying, being disrespectful, inappropriate, or unprofessionally calling out individuals (Fellows, staff, and guests), whether in private communication channels such as Slack or on public platforms such as Twitter.
  • Failing to follow the directions of staff or guests (for example, continuing to post when directed not to)
  • Being disrespectful towards others (Fellows, staff, guests, and the program)
  • Being a disruption to the community
  • Providing feedback in ways other than directed (for example, in group or public channels, or otherwise outside the scope of where feedback was directed by the program)
  • Spamming Fellows, staff, or guests
  • Shopping for different answers (for example DM’ing multiple staff and/or guests searching for an answer different than what you were given by another staff or guest)
  • Using channels or DMs for excessive solicitation/marketing or for personal gain
  • Misuse of channels - using channels for something other than the intended purpose.

Violations on Slack, Zoom, and/or other On Deck platforms may result in disciplinary action, including but not limited to removal from the platform, removal from On Deck, or withdrawal from other fellowship perks or assignments.

If you have questions about whether an expectation applies in On Deck's programs and activities and it is not explicitly stated, please reach out to a member of the On Deck team either directly via Slack or using this form.

Fellowship Environment

One of On Deck's most important jobs is building and maintaining a strong, supportive, positive environment that leads to successful outcomes for all of their Fellows. On Deck takes that job very seriously.

Any activity (creating distractions, bullying, harassment, etc.) that negatively impacts the fellowship environment may result in being removed from the program.

Non-Discrimination & Anti-Harassment

On Deck is a place to learn, connect, and collaborate. On Deck aims to create an environment of mutual trust with the absence of intimidation, oppression, and exploitation. Fellows, staff, and guests should be able to work and learn in a safe, yet stimulating atmosphere.

As such, On Deck will not tolerate any form of harassment generally, and in particular that is unwelcome and is sufficiently severe, persistent, or pervasive; causes reasonable fear for safety; and/or interferes with or limits employment, education, or ability to participate in or benefit from On Deck's programs, activities, or resources.

This includes but is not limited to the following:

Discrimination under this policy is conduct directed at an individual or group of individuals because of their race, color, national origin, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, gender, marital status, age, disability status, genetic information or any other status protected by law that subjects the individual or group of individuals to different treatment so as to adversely affect the individual's or group of individuals employment or fellowship experience at On Deck.


Harassment is conduct directed at an individual or group of individuals because of their race, color, national origin, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, gender, marital status, age, disability status, genetic information or any other status protected by law that has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual or group of individuals employment or fellowship experience or creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive environment.

Harassment includes any verbal, physical, or online conduct and includes, but is not limited to: slurs, epithets, or other threatening, intimidating, hostile, or abusive treatment directed at an individual or group of individuals as defined above.

In order to constitute a hostile environment, the harassment must be sufficiently severe, persistent, or pervasive enough to create an environment that a reasonable person would find it intimidating, hostile, or abusive.

A single incident may create a hostile environment if it is sufficiently severe. Additionally, while a single incident may not be classified as a hostile environment, the incident will be addressed so it is not repeated.

Property and Resources

A Fellow should not take, attempt to take, keep in their possession, sell, or attempt to sell, damage or destroy property (intellectual or physical), information, services, or accounts belonging to On Deck or other individual(s).

Fellows are responsible for maintaining the appropriate security of On Deck property, both tangible, like computers and tech equipment, and intangible intellectual property such as curriculum and content.

Unless otherwise agreed in writing, On Deck property in the Fellow’s possession or control must be immediately returned to On Deck upon any extended leave, withdrawal or removal from the program.

If the Fellow does not return, or misuses, improperly share, or pirate On Deck or others’ property, or violate their privacy rights (for example by recording conversations without notice, whether online or offline), the Fellow may be subject to disciplinary action, up to and including legal action and removal from the Fellowship program.

Physical or Psychological Harm, Threat or Actual

Includes behavior that is threatening and/or intimidating, or harassing in nature and expresses or implies interference with personal safety, education, employment, or participation in On Deck's activities, resources, or that causes the person(s) to have reasonable fear that such behavior is about to occur.

Any act or series of acts of physical, social, or emotional domination or intimidation, commonly referred to as "bullying" that causes fear of or physical or psychological harm and/or interferes with employment, education, or ability to participate in or benefit from On Deck programs, activities, or resources.

What to do to report discrimination or harassment

Fellows who believe they have been discriminated against or subjected to harassment in accessing On Deck's programs or activities should contact Fellowship Experience staff or make a report by using the /report command in Slack.

Complaints can be handled confidentially at the option of the submitter.


Violations of the policy may result in Fellows being withdrawn from the program.

Recording & Screenshots

On Deck values and respects Fellow, staff, and guest right to privacy — confidentiality is one of our core guiding values.

It is expected that all Fellows will respect the privacy of staff, guests, and other Fellows at On Deck.

Therefore, it is considered a violation of the Code of Conduct to:

  • Use electronic or other devices to make an audio, photographic, screenshot, or video record of a person(s) without prior knowledge or permission in each instance.
  • To store, share, or distribute such records by any means is also prohibited, including the unauthorized recording of personal conversations, images, meetings, or activities.
  • Create, store, share, or distribute created likeness of any person(s) without prior knowledge or permission. Includes, but is not limited to, emojis, gifs, and memes.

Please note that screenshots may be taken and used for the purpose of reporting behavioral concerns to On Deck staff

Use of communication tools

While these expectations apply to Zoom, Slack, and the On Deck Directory product specifically as they are the main forms of communication for On Deck, it is expected that all Fellows abide by the expectations in this policy during all program programs and activities, and on all On Deck platforms. This includes, but is not limited to creating, distributing, or posting any material or content that violates the Code of Conduct or other policies and procedures (e.g. memes, videos, emojis, etc.).

Use of Cameras

Fellows are encouraged (but not required) to have their cameras on and pointed at their faces while in sessions, one-on-ones, and conversations with staff or guests.

Conduct on Camera

Fellows are expected to behave respectfully, ensuring they dress and act in accordance with standards of professionalism outlined above, including specifically remaining fully clothed while on camera.


Fellows are encouraged to use their legal name for Slack, Zoom, and all communication within On Deck.


On Deck is committed to safety and encourages Fellows to take precautions at all times, including but not limited to while using Zoom. Fellows should use Zoom/attend sessions while in a space that they are able to concentrate and not endanger themselves or others.

We encourage Fellows to use their best judgement and not participate in dangerous and/or physical activities while on Zoom, including but not limited to driving.

No Retaliation

On Deck prohibits retaliation against any person because of that person's good-faith participation in the reporting, investigation, or resolution of any alleged violation of the On Deck Code of Conduct, Code of Conduct, or other published policies.

Retaliation can be physical, verbal, via third party, or using electronic means (in public or private forums), and may include, but is not limited to: harassment, intimidation, threats, or adverse actions against a Fellow, staff member or guest.

Retaliation will result in immediate removal from the program.

Resolution Process

If a Fellow is found to be responsible for a violation of the Fellow Guide, Code of Conduct, or other published policies, the Fellow will be notified of the decision, along with any resulting outcomes up to, but not limited to being removed from platforms, repeating curriculum or a portion of the program, removal from the program, or other fellowship assignments.

On Deck reserves the right to immediately remove a Fellow from the program without notice or opportunity for a hearing for behavior deemed to be disruptive to the learning environment and/or not in line with On Deck’s mission, values and goals.

Report a violation by typing /report in Slack — you'll have the option to keep your report anonymous.

Have questions?

Contact Trish Kennelly, Head of Experience at