MentorNet User Agreement & Code of Conduct

Last revised: August 8, 2016.

MentorNet User Agreement

This MentorNet User Agreement (the “Agreement”) applies to all Participants (a Participant refers to a Mentor or a Mentee) in the MentorNet Program (the “Program”). 

Specific sponsored or customized programs (“MentorNet Communities”) within the Program may be covered by additional specific contract documents. “Contract Documents” shall mean the documents listed in this Agreement. Each of the Contract Documents is an essential part of the Agreement between MentorNet and Participants.  Contract Documents are intended to be complementary and to describe and provide for a complete Agreement.  In the event any conflict among Contract Documents, the order of precedence shall be stated explicitly.

Participation in the Program is voluntary and on an individual basis.  To be eligible to participate in the Program, a Participant must be at least eighteen years old.  By participating in the Program, you agree to be bound by the terms of the Agreement.  If you do not agree to the terms of this Agreement, do not participate in the Program.

  • I represent that I am at least eighteen years old.
  • I understand and agree that, unless otherwise agreed in by MentorNet, each Mentor is acting in the Mentor’s individual capacity and is not acting as a representative of, or on behalf of, the Mentor’s employer, a professional society, a sponsor, MentorNet, or anyone else.
  • I understand and agree that unless, otherwise agreed in by MentorNet, each Mentee is acting in the Mentee’s individual capacity and is not acting as a representative on behalf of the Mentee’s college or university, a professional society, a sponsor, MentorNet, or anyone else.
  • I agree to complete the required User Profile before beginning my first mentorship.  I represent that all information I enter in the User Profile is true or believed to be true.  If I willfully enter any false information with deceptive intent, I acknowledge that MentorNet reserves the right to terminate my participation in the Program upon discovery of such false information.  If I enter any false information through mistake, without any deceptive intent, I agree to correct such false information upon discovery of, or receipt of notification of, such false information.  If I do not timely correct such false information, I acknowledge that MentorNet reserves the right to terminate my participation in the Program.  If any information that I have entered should change, I agree to timely update such information.  If I do not timely update such information, I acknowledge that MentorNet reserves the right to terminate my participation in the Program.
  • I confirm that I have read and understood the MentorNet Codes of Conduct.  I agree to abide by the terms of the applicable code of conduct (MentorNet Code of Conduct for Mentors or MentorNet Code of Conduct for Mentees) while I am participating in a mentorship.  MentorNet shall notify me of the commencement date and the termination date of a mentorship.  I acknowledge that MentorNet reserves the right to terminate my participation in the Program if I violate any of the terms of the applicable code of conduct.
  • I confirm that I have read and understood the MentorNet Information and Privacy Policy I agree to abide by its terms and acknowledge that, if I violate any of the MentorNet Information and Privacy Policy terms, MentorNet reserves the right to terminate my participation in the Program.
  • I agree to complete any required MentorNet Training Modules before beginning my first mentorship.  I acknowledge that MentorNet may periodically require that Participants complete new training modules within a specified period of time to continue participation in the Program.
  • I expressly acknowledge and agree that I am participating voluntarily in the Program and that MentorNet is not responsible for my actions or the actions of other Participants.
  • THE PROGRAM IS MADE AVAILABLE “AS IS”  WITH NO WARRANTIES OF ANY KIND, WHETHER EXPRESS OR IMPLIED.  TO THE MAXIMUM EXTENT PERMITTED BY APPLICABLE LAW, MENTORNET DISCLAIMS ALL WARRANTIES.
  • MENTORNET DOES NOT CONDUCT CRIMINAL BACKGROUND CHECKS ON ITS PARTICIPANTS.
  • TO THE MAXIMUM EXTENT PERMITTED BY APPLICABLE LAW, IN NO EVENT WILL MENTORNET BE LIABLE FOR ANY DAMAGES WHATSOEVER, WHETHER DIRECT, INDIRECT, GENERAL, SPECIAL, COMPENSATORY, CONSEQUENTIAL, AND/OR INCIDENTAL, ARISING OUT OF OR RELATING TO THE CONDUCT OF YOU OR ANYONE ELSE IN CONNECTION WITH THE PROGRAM, INCLUDING WITHOUT LIMITATION, BODILY INJURY, EMOTIONAL DISTRESS, AND/OR ANY OTHER DAMAGES RESULTING FROM COMMUNICATIONS OR MEETINGS BETWEEN PARTICIPANTS.  THIS INCLUDES ANY CLAIMS, LOSSES, OR DAMAGES ARISING FROM THE CONDUCT OF PARTICIPANTS.  TO THE EXTENT A COURT OF COMPETENT JURISDICTION FINDS MENTORNET LIABLE FOR ANY OF THE FORGOING, MENTORNET’S AGGREGATE LIABILITY SHALL NOT EXCEED US$100.00
  • This Agreement shall be governed by the laws of the State of California without regard to its principles of conflict of law.  If any provision of this Agreement is invalid or unenforceable for any reason, it shall be deleted and the remaining provisions shall continue in full force and affect. Each party hereto agrees to waive its right to a jury trial.  Further each party agrees to bring any claim under this agreement within one (1) year from the date the claim arose.  Each party acknowledges that neither party will bring, or participate in, any class action or other class proceeding in connection with any dispute with the other party.  Further, neither party agrees to class arbitration or any arbitration where a person brings a dispute as a representative of other person(s).
  • I confirm that I have read, understood, and agree to abide by the terms of this Agreement.

MentorNet Codes of Conduct

General Information and Guiding Principles

The MentorNet Codes of Conduct govern the behavior of a Mentor and a Mentee during the course of their mentorship.  The MentorNet Codes of Conduct include the MentorNet Code of Conduct for Mentors and the MentorNet Code of Conduct for Mentees.  All Participants (a Participant refers to a Mentor or a Mentee) in the MentorNet Program shall read the MentorNet Codes of Conduct in its entirety to understand the standard of behavior expected by MentorNet from all its Participants and to know which actions constitute violations that shall be reported to MentorNet.

            Guiding Principle for the MentorNet Program.  The primary purpose of a mentorship is for a Mentor to foster the academic and professional success of a Mentee.  Since the academic and professional life of the Mentee cannot be isolated from the personal life of the Mentee, however, the mentorship will likely address personal issues as well as academic and professional issues.

            Guiding Principle for Mentors.  The Mentor shall always strive to act in the best interests of the Mentee.  In practice, any course of action will usually present specific advantages and specific disadvantages, and the optimum course of action will often not be clearly defined.  Under no circumstances, however, shall the Mentor further other interests by intentionally advising the Mentee to follow a course of action that is clearly detrimental to the best interests of the Mentee; for example, the Mentor shall not place the interests of the Mentor, the Mentor’s employer, a professional society, a sponsor, or any other party above the interests of the Mentee.

            Guiding Principle for Mentees.  The Mentee is ultimately responsible for the Mentee’s own actions.  The Mentor provides guidance for pursuing a specific course of action.  This guidance will be based on the Mentor’s specific knowledge, specific experience, specific preferences, and specific biases.  In practice, any course of action will usually present specific advantages and specific disadvantages, and the optimum course of action will often not be clearly defined.  The responsibility for choosing a specific course of action belongs to the Mentee, not to the Mentor.

MentorNet’s Code of Conduct for Mentors

            As a participating Mentor in the MentorNet Program, I agree to abide by the MentorNet Code of Conduct for Mentors.  I agree that if I violate any rule of the MentorNet Code of Conduct for Mentors, MentorNet may suspend or terminate my participation as a Mentor in the MentorNet Program. 

  • Rule 1. Confidentiality. Except as provided below, I shall not disclose to any third party any personal details of my communications with my Mentee without prior permission of my Mentee. Exceptions–If my Mentee violates the MentorNet Code of Conduct for Mentees, I shall report the code violations to MentorNet staff at info@mentornet.org.
    • Rule 2. Availability. Mentor shall be available for a minimum of 15 minutes a week to communicate with Mentee. If the Mentor will be temporarily unavailable for a short period (for example, the Mentor leaves on a week-long business trip), the Mentor should inform the Mentee in advance. In specific instances, the Mentee may require substantially more time from the Mentor. If the Mentor cannot commit sufficient time to fulfill the Mentee’s needs, the Mentor should notify MentorNet so that MentorNet can try to match the Mentee with another Mentor.
    • Rule 3. Communications. In my communications with my Mentee, (1) I shall not use offensive language, and (2) I shall not transmit offensive images. Offensive language includes, but is not limited to, (a) profanity or verbal abuse directed towards the Mentee, (b) sexually suggestive comments directed towards the Mentee, and (c) derogatory remarks directed towards any individual or group of individuals based on religion, race, color, ethnicity, country of origin, age, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, or sexual identity. Offensive images include, but are not limited to, (a) images that are sexually suggestive, lewd, or pornographic and (b) images that include offensive language, as described above.Communications refers to communications via any media; for example, in-person, phone, mail, photographs, voice-mail, audio conferencing, video conferencing, audio recordings, video recordings, e-mail, electronic text messaging, computer files supplied on physical media, and computer files transferred electronically.
    • Rule 4. Topics for Discussion. If my Mentee expresses unwillingness, reluctance, or discomfort in discussing any topic that I have raised, I shall promptly cease pursuing that topic. The specific personal issues and the degree of personal detail that are appropriate for discussion will depend strongly on the specific Mentor, the specific Mentee, and the specific circumstances. Therefore, MentorNet does not provide a comprehensive list of appropriate and inappropriate topics and does not provide guidance on the degree of personal detail to be shared: The Mentor and the Mentee should agree on the topics that they are comfortable discussing and on the degree of personal details that they are comfortable sharing. The Mentor, for example, may appropriately initiate discussion of personal topics such as problems with family and friends, religion, and death. The Mentor should, however, approach such topics cautiously and ask the Mentee whether the Mentee wishes to pursue such topics. If the Mentee expresses unwillingness, reluctance, or discomfort in discussing a specific topic, the Mentor shall promptly cease pursuing that specific topic.
    • Rule 5. Personal Relationships. I shall not pursue a romantic or sexual relationship with my Mentee.
    • Rule 6. Meetings in Person. If my Mentee does not wish to meet in person, I shall not insist on a meeting.If circumstances permit, in-person meetings between the Mentor and the Mentee can be beneficial for developing personal rapport, and the Mentee can often benefit from visiting the Mentor’s workplace. It is appropriate for the Mentor to invite the Mentee to meet in person; but, if the Mentee does not wish to meet in person, then the Mentor shall not insist on a meeting.
    • Rule 7. Prohibited Advice. I shall not provide medical, mental-health, or legal advice to my Mentee. Medical, mental-health, or legal advice should be provided by a qualified professional. Even if the Mentor is coincidentally a qualified professional (for example, if the Mentor is a physician, psychologist, or attorney), the Mentor shall not provide medical, mental-health, or legal advice to the Mentee: Within the MentorNet Program, the Mentor provides guidance for the academic and professional development of the Mentee. The Mentor should advise the Mentee to seek the assistance of another qualified professional.
    • Rule 8. Knowledgeable Advice. I shall provide advice only on topics in which I have knowledge. Mentors shall refrain from providing advice on topics in which they have little or no knowledge. Incorrect advice can have detrimental consequences. For example, a CV for a Mentee seeking an academic position is different from a resume for a Mentee seeking an industrial position. Thus, a Mentor who has experience only with CVs for academic positions should not advise a Mentee on writing a resume for an industrial position. Instead, the Mentor should seek the assistance of a colleague who does have experience with resumes for industrial positions (before contacting a colleague for assistance, the Mentor should first receive permission from the Mentee). If the Mentor does not have an appropriate colleague, then the Mentor should inform the Mentee that the Mentee needs to seek advice from someone knowledgeable.In particular, academic and industrial practices can vary substantially from country to country. Thus, if the Mentor has experience only with US practices, and if the Mentee is seeking a position in Germany, then the Mentor should either ask the assistance of a German colleague (after receiving permission from the Mentee) or advise the Mentee to seek advice from someone knowledgeable.
    • Rule 9. Fees. I shall not charge my Mentee any fees during the period of our mentorship.The Mentor is a volunteer and shall not charge a fee for serving as a mentor. Even if the Mentor is employed such that the Mentor normally charges fees for services related to mentorship (for example, if the Mentor is a professional career coach who normally charges fees for preparing resumes), the Mentor shall not charge the Mentee any fees during the period of mentorship.
    • Rule 10. Business Relationships. I shall not pursue a business relationship with my Mentee in which my Mentee derives no benefit from the business relationship. An internship, paid or unpaid, can provide valuable experience for the Mentee. If the internship is paid, then the Mentee obviously derives a financial benefit. If the internship is unpaid, then the internship is appropriate only if the Mentee acquires valuable experience or new skills; for example, if the Mentor is providing guidance, training, and review. If the internship is unpaid, then the internship is not appropriate if the Mentee is only performing a service for the Mentor or other party (such as a sponsor). For example, if the Mentee is a skilled programmer and the Mentor requires the services of a skilled programmer, the Mentor shall not request the Mentee to provide programming services without compensation.
    • Rule 11. Duty to Report Code Violations. If I observe any Participant behaving in a manner that violates the MentorNet Code of Conduct for Mentors or the MentorNet Code of Conduct for Mentees, I shall promptly report my observations to MentorNet staff at info@mentornet.org
  • Rule 1.Confidentiality. Except as provided below, I shall not disclose to any third party any personal details of my communications with my Mentor without prior permission of my Mentor.  Exception:  Code Violations.  If my Mentor violates the MentorNet Code of Conduct for Mentors, I shall report the code violations to MentorNet staff at info@mentornet.org.
    • Rule 2. Availability. I shall be available for a minimum of 15 minutes a week to communicate with my Mentor. If the Mentee will be temporarily unavailable for a short period (for example, to study for exams), the Mentee should notify the Mentor in advance. The Mentor is reserving time to participate in a mentorship. The Mentor’s time is wasted if the Mentee does not also reserve time to participate in the mentorship.
    • Rule 3. Communications. In my communications with my Mentor, (1) I shall not use offensive language, and (2) I shall not transmit offensive images. Offensive language includes, but is not limited to, (a) profanity or verbal abuse directed towards the Mentor, (b) sexually suggestive comments directed towards the Mentor, and (c) derogatory remarks directed towards any individual or group of individuals based on religion, race, color, ethnicity, country of origin, age, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, or sexual identity.  Offensive images include, but are not limited to, (a) images that are sexually suggestive, lewd, or pornographic and (b) images that include offensive language, as described above. Communications refers to communications via any media; for example, in-person, phone, mail, photographs, voice-mail, audio conferencing, video conferencing, audio recordings, video recordings, e-mail, electronic text messaging, computer files supplied on physical media, and computer files transferred electronically
    • Rule 4. Topics for Discussion. If my Mentor expresses unwillingness, reluctance, or discomfort in discussing any topic that I have raised, I shall promptly cease pursuing that topic. The specific personal issues and the degree of personal detail that are appropriate for discussion will depend strongly on the specific Mentor, the specific Mentee, and the specific circumstances.  Therefore, MentorNet does not provide a comprehensive list of appropriate and inappropriate topics and does not provide guidance on the degree of personal detail to be shared:  The Mentor and the Mentee should agree on the topics that they are comfortable discussing and on the degree of personal details that they are comfortable sharing.  The Mentee, for example, may appropriately initiate discussion of personal topics such as problems with family and friends, religion, and death.  The Mentee should, however, approach such topics cautiously and ask the Mentor whether the Mentor wishes to pursue such topics.  If the Mentor expresses unwillingness, reluctance, or discomfort in discussing a specific topic, the Mentee shall promptly cease pursuing that specific topic.
    • Rule 5. Personal Relationships.I shall not pursue a romantic or sexual relationship with my Mentor.
    • Rule P6. Meetings in Person. If my Mentor does not wish to meet in person, I shall not insist on a meeting.If circumstances permit, in-person meetings between the Mentor and the Mentee can be beneficial for developing personal rapport, and the Mentee can often benefit from visiting the Mentor’s workplace. It is appropriate for the Mentee to invite the Mentor to meet in person; but, if the Mentor does not wish to meet in person, then the Mentee shall not insist on a meeting.  Additionally, some employers have restrictions on visitors to the workplace.
    • Rule 7. Prohibited Advice. I shall not seek medical, mental-health, or legal advice from my Mentor. Medical, mental-health, or legal advice should be provided by a qualified professional.  Even if the Mentor is coincidentally a qualified professional (for example, if the Mentor is a physician, psychologist, or attorney), the Mentee shall not request the Mentor for medical, mental-health, or legal advice:  Within the MentorNet Program, the Mentor provides guidance for the academic and professional development of the Mentee.  The Mentee should seek the assistance of another qualified professional.
    • Rule 8. Financial Assistance. I shall not ask my Mentor for money. In general, the Mentor should avoid giving money to the Mentee. In specific circumstances, the Mentor may volunteer to give money to the Mentee (for example, to assist the Mentee in paying fees for attending a conference).Under no circumstances, however, is it appropriate for the Mentee to ask the Mentor for money.
    • Rule 9. Career Assistance. I shall not expect my Mentor to find me a job. For a Mentee who is about to graduate and is seeking employment, much of the discussions with the Mentor will of course focus on career opportunities.  It is appropriate, for example, for the Mentee to ask the Mentor to assist in writing a resume and to review a resume.  It is also appropriate for the Mentee to ask the Mentor for advice on conducting interviews and for advice on job-search strategies.  It is not appropriate, however, for the Mentee to expect the Mentor to act as a job placement service and to circulate the Mentee’s resume as a matter of course.  Under specific circumstances, the Mentor may volunteer to circulate the Mentee’s resume among the Mentor’s colleagues and to inquire whether there is a suitable job opening; however, such assistance is strictly at the discretion of the Mentor, and the Mentee shall not expect, or demand, that the Mentor perform such actions as a requirement of the mentorship.
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X. Service Announcements  MentorNet sends service announcements to all Users.  As discussed above, Users cannot unsubscribe from service announcements, which contain important information about service changes, problems, outages, and other issues.  MentorNet may communicate with Users via e-mail or phone to provide requested services and to address issues related to Users’ accounts.                  

XI. Notification of Changes and Acceptance of User Agreement  MentorNet reserves the right to modify the MentorNet User Agreement, the MentorNet Codes of Conduct, the MentorNet Information and Privacy Policy, or other Contract Documents at any time, so MentorNet encourages Users to review our website frequently for such notices.  A User’s continued use of any portion of our website following posting of the updated privacy statement will constitute the User’s acceptance of the changes.

XII. Revision Date. This Agreement was last revised on August 8, 2016: Consolidated MentorNet User Agreement, MentorNet Codes of Conduct, and MentorNet Information and Privacy Policy into one unified document.  Changed all occurrences of “gender” to “gender or gender identity”.  Removed “fundraising solicitations” from email communications that users must agree to receive. Previous versions: March 11, 2015.  August 8, 2014.  August 3, 2014. March 11, 2015. (Changed “Protege” to “Mentee”). August 8, 2014:  Aligned order of rules for Mentors and Mentees in Codes of Conduct for easier understanding. No changes to content.