MathSafe from the American Mathematical Society

MathSafe is a program by and for the mathematical community to support a safe and welcoming environment at meetings.

Conceived by leaders from the Joint Policy Board of Mathematics and modeled after SafeAGU at the American Geophysical Union, MathSafe trains volunteers to help anyone at meetings who experiences harassment or other misconduct.


Upcoming MathSafe-supported Conferences

MathSafe-trained volunteers will be present at the following virtual meetings, available to listen to and guide anyone who may experience harassing behavior in violation of the Welcoming Environment Policy.

Go to the "Help" window in the Confex platform to talk with a MathSafe volunteer. After hours, please call or text Penny at 401-533-1087.

Anyone who experiences harassment at an AMS event can also file a confidential and anonymous report to MathSociety EthicsPoint or by calling +1-855-282-5703. The reporting mechanism ensures your privacy while alerting the AMS to the situation.


Get trained to be a volunteer

The first MathSafe training was held November 4, 2021. Volunteers who completed the training are eligible to serve at AMS meetings in 2022.

Future trainings will be announced here. Please sign up if you are interested in upcoming trainings!

MathSafe FAQ

What is MathSafe?

MathSafe volunteers offer support to meeting participants who have been the targets of unwanted attention, behavior, or touch by listening and offering to connect them with professional assistance.

Why was it created?

MathSafe arises from the math community's commitment to establishing safe and welcoming environments at meetings, free from harmful or marginalizing behavior. Many mathematics organizations already have codes of conduct and welcoming policies. MathSafe is a way for members of the community to help support the goals of these policies by offering readily accessible assistance to anyone who has had an upsetting or distressing experience at during our meetings.

How did MathSafe get set up? Who's involved?

The Joint Policy Board of Mathematics members supported the creation of MathSafe for mathematical science meetings, modeling it after SafeAGU, a program run by the American Geophysical Union. The American Mathematical Society (AMS) is working with an expert trainer to familiarize MathSafe volunteers with trauma-informed listening skills. The AMS is sponsoring the administration of MathSafe as a service to the entire mathematical community.

Leaders from the American Statistical Association (ASA), Association for Women in Mathematics (AWM), National Association of Mathematicians (NAM), and Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics (SIAM) are engaging with MathSafe. Volunteers from across the mathematical community are welcome and encouraged to sign up for MathSafe training.

Which meetings will have MathSafe volunteers present?

Volunteers who complete the first training (held online November 4, 2021) will be able to serve at the 2022 Joint Mathematics Meetings and 2022 AMS Sectional Meetings.

After this pilot phase, additional trainings will be announced so volunteers can participate at future meetings run by MathSafe partners.

What are examples of misconduct a MathSafe volunteer can help me deal with?

  • You've been asked to do something that makes you feel unsafe. For example, you've been invited to a job interview in a hotel room or in a bar
  • Someone is following you around the meeting and you feel unsafe
  • You were the target of demeaning or denigrating speech or behavior
  • You were deliberately touched, fondled, groped, or grabbed without your consent.

Will volunteers be tasked with actively enforcing the Code of Conduct?

No. Volunteers wear buttons signaling that they're willing to listen and help connect participants who experience harassment, bullying, or other unwelcome behavior with meeting organizers, or help them access support services and formal reporting channels if requested.

Can MathSafe volunteers settle my argument?

Volunteers are not referees. Rather, they help connect people who experience misconduct with meeting organizers, formal reporting channels, support services, or local authorities.

What will training include?

MathSafe volunteers will learn:

  • Where, when, and why harassment and bullying happen at scholarly meetings
  • What to do and say (and what NOT to do or say) when someone wants to talk about an incident of unwelcome or threatening behavior
  • What to do if the harasser is someone you know/senior to you
  • What to do if it's not actually harassment

I want to volunteer. Do I need to complete training before each meeting I volunteer for?

Volunteers who complete the November 4 training will be eligible to serve at AMS meetings in 2022. Training requirements will be further delineated for future meetings by MathSafe partners.

What if I attend the training but decide I don't want to volunteer?

There is no obligation to volunteer after completing the training. All active volunteers will be required to complete the training, however. MathSafe volunteers need not be "on duty" for the entire meeting. They will simply wear the MathSafe button when it works within their schedule.

If I tell a MathSafe volunteer about misconduct, do they automatically file an official report?

MathSafe volunteers will be asked to record their interactions in a generic way that does not provide any identifying information. Official reports are only made by individuals, following the protocols in place at that particular event. Talking to a MathSafe volunteer does not obligate you to make an official report.

Will MathSafe volunteers enforce COVID protocols such as mask-wearing?

MathSafe volunteers are not enforcers. If COVID safety protocols are not being followed, anyone (including MathSafe volunteers) can bring this to the attention of the meeting organizers.

Have further questions?