September 04, 2019

Archaeological Institute of America to Appoint Ombuds for 2020 Conference

The professional association with over 200,000 members has promised an Ombudsperson will be in place for its next annual conference. The decision was made by AIA and the Society for Classical Studies, which co-sponsors the annual conference set for Washington, D.C. on January 2-5, 2020. The two organizations have also adopted a Harassment Policy to ensure that conference attendees are "free from harassment, as well as any kind of bullying or intimidation." AIA and SCS have not yet identified the Ombudsperson or specified the applicable standards for the position.

Here's the announcement from AIS-SCS:
AIA and SCS are pleased to announce the first-ever joint harassment policy for the AIA-SCS Annual Meeting. A joint AIA and SCS working group, including staff and officers of both organizations, developed the policy in response to events at the 2019 annual meeting and at other academic conferences, including the meeting of the Society for American Archaeology. The working group took into account feedback that AIA and SCS had received via email, social media, and the annual meeting survey from members and attendees after to the San Diego meeting. The group also considered policies and best practices in place at other scholarly societies. The policy has been reviewed by legal counsel representing AIA and SCS, and approved by the AIA Executive Committee and SCS Board of Directors.
The policy applies to all annual meeting attendees. Registrants will be asked on the registration form to check a box indicating that they have read and will abide by the terms of the policy. We will also share the policy with our annual meeting hotels as part of ongoing collaborations designed foster mutual respect among all involved in any capacity with the annual meeting.
The major innovation in this policy, apart from the fact that it is a joint initiative of AIA and SCS, is the addition of an ombudsperson who will be available at and after the meeting to receive complaints of harassment and advise complainants. We realize that this is the first version of a joint policy and that, as such, there will be room for improvement in future years. We will seek member feedback after the 2020 meeting and revise the policy accordingly.
(AIA-SCS Announcement; Joint Harassment Policy.)

Related posts: Ombuds Year in Review: 2017 (#2 Special Interest Groups Begin Appointing Ombuds to Protect Members); National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine Endorses Ombuds for Higher Ed's Sexual Harassment ProblemIOA Signs on to National Academies' Initiative to Prevent Sexual MisconductOmbuds as Part of a Social Justice Framework for Associations.

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