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AAA Releases Comprehensive Policy on Sexual Harassment and Sexual Assault

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June 15, 2018

Contact Name: Jeff Martin
Contact Email: jmartin@americananthro.org

AAA Releases Comprehensive Policy on Sexual Harassment and Sexual Assault

The American Anthropological Association released its Policy on Sexual Harassment and Sexual Assault in an effort to set standards of responsible professional conduct for AAA members and to call for continuing awareness and education, as well as institutional and cultural change.

As a scholarly and professional association, AAA has zero tolerance for sexual harassment in academic, professional, fieldwork, conferences, or any other settings where its members work. Any behavior that contributes to a hostile work climate or constitutes an unwanted sexual advance is a serious violation of professional responsibilities, and should be regarded and treated as such by all anthropologists.

AAA’s Sexual Harassment and Sexual Assault Policy provides guidelines for appropriate professional behavior. It elaborates on one specific element of AAA’s Principles of Professional Responsibility, which is intended to cover all professional behavior of AAA members, staff, volunteers, contractors, exhibitors, and sponsors. The Policy also applies to any non-member who participates in a AAA-sponsored program or activity, as well as all settings where anthropologists conduct professional business.

While AAA does not grant itself the authority to adjudicate cases involving incidents outside the context of AAA-sponsored activities and events, the Policy outlines a more general expectation of bystander interventions, and affirms AAA’s commitment to provide additional education and cultivate awareness on how to achieve cultural and institutional changes to address this issue. This includes all professional interactions within the research community, in academic and professional institutions, and with members of the public.

Starting October 1st, AAA Ombudspeople will be the organization’s primary resource and point of contact for AAA members regarding concerns about sexual harassment. They will be responsible for receiving complaints of sexual harassment in the context of AAA settings and activities, and, where possible, serve as a resource to members regarding such complaints.

AAA particularly noted that while sexual harassment and sexual assault can occur in its members’ regular work or study setting, field settings are particularly potentially problematic spaces where sexual assault or sexual harassment may occur. As such, these spaces merit particular attention and protocols to mitigate potential abuse.

While the Policy’s primary audience is members of the American Anthropological Association, AAA encourages its application in other interdisciplinary settings where it may be useful.

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Founded in 1902, the American Anthropological Association, with 10,000 members, is the world’s largest scholarly and professional organization of anthropologists. The Association is dedicated to advancing human understanding and applying this understanding to the world’s most pressing problems.

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