As a member of the American Sociological Association, sociologists are obligated to know, understand and support the rights and obligations laid out in the Code of Ethics. As members of a profession, sociologists are granted prestige and privilege. By virtue of that same position, they take on responsibilities toward those that they serve, to their colleagues and to the larger community of sociologists. Under these conditions, sociologists need to consider how this pertains to not only their own behavior, but the behavior of others, including, those for example, who they are training to be the next generation of teachers, researchers and practitioners. Ignorance of the Code does not excuse members from their responsibilities. This raises issues of professional socialization and the need for activities which introduce new members to their rights and obligations as well as continuing education as the Code or conditions of our work change.
Technically, the Code applies only to individual members; it does not cover departments or organizations, even though affiliate membership is available. Further the Code cannot be extended to those who choose not to be members of the ASA; however, resigning from the ASA, under current Enforcement Procedures, does not remove jurisdiction for activities while individuals were members.