February 23, 2018

American Historical Society to Create Ombuds Program

The largest professional association for historians will be implementing an Ombuds program to serve its members. In an announcement released yesterday, AHA President Mary Beth Norton announced a number of changes to address sexual and gender discrimination in the profession. The appointment of an Ombuds team was one of several steps she identified.

Here is portion of Norton's announcement:
Drawing on processes adopted by other professional associations but duplicating none of them exactly, we decided to name an ombuds team consisting of designated members of the Council and representatives from the AHA’s relevant constituencies to receive complaints about harassment at our meetings. Team members’ names and contact information will be publicized, and complainants may choose which individual to contact. That team member would acquaint the complainant with her or his options. If the complaint involves a possible crime, the team member could recommend that the individual report the event to appropriate authorities. In the event the complainant wished to pursue the matter further within the AHA, the ombuds team member would, after further inquiry into the circumstances, turn the information over to the executive director, who would consult the AHA president and general counsel before proceeding. Expulsion from the meeting is a possible sanction for an offender.
No other details have been made public. (AHA Perspectives.)

Related post: Ombuds Year in Review: 2017 (Special Interest Groups Begin Appointing Ombuds to Protect Members).

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