Code of Conduct

This Code of Conduct has been adapted from several documents in use at MIT that are intended to create an inclusive, transparent, and respectful learning environment. These documents were made public by Bill Aulet during MIT’s Entrepreneurship Educators Forum and have been adapted for use by Lighthouse.

All students, trainers & advisors, observers, or other participants must abide by the rules contained in this Code and must report any violations they observe to Lighthouse, as well as to the authorities when required by law.

Mentorship

As a basic principle, students and entrepreneurs participate in Lighthouse programs as a learning experience, and they receive help and guidance throughout the program free from direct financial interest or personal involvement of others in the products or companies they are building.  

Trainers & advisors may not pressure entrepreneurs into having financial or operational involvement in the entrepreneurs’ startup. If a trainer or advisor believes his/ her services could be beneficial to a venture, they should provide a clear and transparent description of the professional services they provide, the costs for such services, and a sample of a work order or a contract to the entrepreneurs to evaluate. The entrepreneurs have the right to choose whether or not to initiate a formal business arrangement, and the provider agrees that the entrepreneurs may share any documents and conversations with Lighthouse staff to receive guidance and recommendations for other options.

Trainers & advisors may recommend preferred vendors or service providers for specific software or materials, but any financial incentives, such as referral fees, commissions, sponsorships, should be clearly revealed up-front when doing so.

Trainers & advisors agree to provide feedback and advice to the students and entrepreneurs on their products, strategy, and other materials free from any future claims on revenues, equity, or any other interest in the startup. In case there is a potential conflict regarding intellectual property, strategy, or branding, the trainers & advisors are expected to contact the program manager and discontinue advising that particular startup.

Intellectual Property and Public Disclosure

Students and entrepreneurs understand that Lighthouse programs are an academic environment designed for discussion and learning from peers. Any submissions or presentations are considered a “public disclosure” and are not “confidential” or “proprietary”.

The participants have the responsibility to blackbox the underlying technology of their idea if they believe it contains defensible intellectual property. Lighthouse staff & trainers may provide recommendations to protect intellectual property, but this is for educational purposes and not from a legal standpoint. Program participants are responsible to find a qualified intellectual property attorney.

Students, entrepreneurs, trainers & advisors all agree that new information or ideas produced during the program do not belong to a specific person or company, and nobody is guaranteed an equity stake or financial claim for having helped produce something new or valuable. Once the program ends, all teams start again from a clean slate, and can re-use any material that was produced by anybody in their team for personal or professional projects.

Hazing

Hazing is to create artificial stress, either in person or online, and it can have a negative impact on the physical or mental health of a person. Such stress in turn interferes with professional or personal pursuits.

All of our programs prohibit hazing, and hazing may also violate the law.

Students and other members of the community must report incidents of hazing that they witness or for which they were present. Failure to report hazing committed by others and retaliation against those who report hazing are also violations of this policy.

Hazing emphasizes the power imbalance between members of a group or community, and it may be subtle because it is often taken for granted or accepted as “harmless” or meaningless. New members to a group often feel the need to endure subtle hazing to feel like part of the group or community. Examples include age and gender discrimination, deception, silence periods, deprivation of privileges, social isolation, name calling, assignment of duties not assigned to other members, and persistent requests for romantic relationships in a professional or learning environment.

Hazing can also be harassment that causes emotional anguish or physical discomfort. Harassment often confuses, frustrates, and causes stress. Examples of harassment include verbal abuse, threats or implied threats, sexual simulations, inappropriate comments or requests regarding an individual’s attire or physical appearance, and sleep deprivation.

Hazing can also become violent by causing physical or psychological harm. Examples of violent hazing include, but are not limited to, exposing individuals to weather or water against their will, forced alcohol consumption, forced sexual acts, beating, paddling, or physical assault, forced ingestion of vile substances, bondage, kidnapping, and expected participation in illegal activity.