Procedures for Advocacy and Policy Statements - Participate and Advocate
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Procedures for Advocacy and Policy Statements

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(Updated 5/2021)

As a matter of AAA policy, ordinarily only the Executive Director and the President are authorized to speak on AAA’s behalf. However, members, committees, task forces, and Sections may recommend position statements that are consistent with AAA’s mission and, in the view of the originator, ought to be amplified by the full weight of AAA’s reputation. All AAA position statements are expected to concern issues of public policy for which there is a consensus in the anthropological literature or related to matters concerning the wellbeing of the discipline and the profession. A set of procedural steps is necessary to ensure statements issued in AAA's name and directed to audiences outside the AAA represent as broad a consensus of AAA members as possible, reflect relevant anthropological scholarship, and are not inimical to the AAA’s interests.


The Executive Board has approved the following procedures for considering requests by AAA members and units to issue letters and advocacy and policy statements in AAA’s name. In the cases where a Section, interest group, committee, commission, or task force is involved, a draft statement will need to be approved by that body before being submitted to the AAA President.  The AAA President will then consult with AAA EB officers, the AAA Executive Director, and AAA’s legal counsel as needed before statements are forwarded to the addressees or published on the AAA website. In most cases, advocacy and policy statements will be given expedited review and signed by the President (or their designee) or returned to the signatories by the AAA President within two weeks of their submission to the AAA Office.

  1. It is helpful, but not mandatory, for the correspondence to contain the following:
    • Brief summary of the issue.
    • Brief history, if any, of relevant AAA positions or advocacy, statements, or resolutions, as well as those of other social science / humanities associations or other relevant organizations, if known.
    • List of other groups supporting the effort or cause (with phone and email contact information).
    • If the position statement is originating from outside AAA, and AAA is being asked to add its name as a signatory or endorser, whether the originating source has any flexibility regarding the wording of a statement.
    • Phone and email contact information for lead advocate/commission or committee working on the issue/concern and for qualified outside experts, if
    • Evidence that the proposed statement has the backing of the unit originating the request, where appropriate.
    • Response deadline and reason why response is needed by this
    • Follow-up plans or description of next steps, where appropriate.
    • Brief appendices, where appropriate, including reference documents, bibliography of published articles, etc. demonstrating the supporting scholarship.

II.  Provisions for expedited review.

  1. Requests should be sent to the AAA Communication Department.

  2. Once a request is provided, the President or Executive Director will seek advice from qualified subject matter experts within a AAA Rapid Response Network (RRN) that calls upon representatives from MPAAC, Sections, and other AAA members as appropriate.

  3. The RRN will offer a prompt, informed assessment of the proposed position statement. If the issue is relevant, strategic, and the proposed responses are actionable, RRN subject matter experts may provide suggestions including phrasing and the overall direction of the statement.

  4. In extreme cases of timeliness, AAA may issue statements based on the discretion of the AAA President and Executive Director. The AAA President and Executive Director may request advice from either the AAA Officers or the overall Executive Board, depending on need. AAA staff will distribute the final statement to the appropriate audiences and notify the membership that such distribution has been completed.

III. Appeal Process

In the rare event the AAA President declines the request or requires a change in the original text that is not deemed acceptable to the request’s originator, the request originator may appeal the President’s decision through the following process:

  1. A cover letter that specifies why the President's decision is unsatisfactory and the desired result (i.e., approval of the original statement or of a modified statement), along with the original request, original cover letter, the President's response, and other relevant correspondence, must be submitted to the AAA Manager of Organizational Governance.

  2. AAA Manager of Organizational Governance will solicit from the President a statement regarding why they declined to approve the letter or statement or requested changes.

  3. AAA Manager of Organizational Governance will circulate these materials to the AAA Executive Board (EB). The AAA Secretary (an EB member) will moderate discussion by the EB, which will consider both positions and then vote as to whether AAA support should be granted.

  4. If a majority of an EB quorum deem it appropriate to grant AAA support for the letter or statement, the EB may delegate an EB member sign on behalf of the The EB may suggest as an alternative that the request’s originator issue a statement in its own name, provided that it is clear they are speaking as an individual in the unit and not on behalf of the AAA.

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