Guest blog from my Include Is a Verb co-author, Sherry Marts (S*Marts Consulting)
A couple of weeks ago there was a fairly lengthy thread in the Executive Management Section on ASAE Collaborate, with the subject line “ASAE Committees/Sections Feedback” (member login required). At one point, that conversation turned to talking about gender-based (and other) harassment at ASAE meetings. Bob Skelton, who holds the title “Chief Administrative Officer and In-House Counsel” at ASAE, posted a couple of messages that indicated (if you read between the lines) that ASAE does not have a written Code of Conduct for ASAE events, and simply expects “everyone” to “just know” that harassment isn’t permitted and that anyone who is harassed should report it to ASAE staff.
This approach is about as useful and effective as a screen door on a submarine.
However, we do have options.
Scientific societies provide an example we can follow. They have jumped on this issue because their members were taking action on it independently. It started with “Astronomy Allies” at the American Astronomical Society, which then spawned “Physics Allies,” “Entomology Allies,” and probably more I don’t know about. These are groups of members, mostly but not entirely women, who started by simply volunteering themselves as people who would listen to and advise anyone who was harassed or bullied at their association’s meetings. They had buttons printed that they wore at the meeting, and they spread the word via social media, paper flyers, and word-of-mouth. The groups have grown to the point where they now need application and vetting processes to handle the volume of volunteers they get every year. You can find more information at:
They did not ask permission, and, as far as I know, have never bothered to seek forgiveness either.
So maybe what we need is ASAE Allies. And the upcoming annual meeting, August 12-15, 2017 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, might be a great place to “introduce” them.
I can’t do this by myself, so I’m looking for some Early Allies. You, maybe? Or someone(s) you know? I won’t be attending that meeting, so we would need someone who is attending to step up to spearhead this on-site.
I’m willing to reach out to the “allies” groups to learn from their experiences, work on a website, get some buttons designed and printed, and do a training webinar for allies.
Want to be an Ally, or learn more about what an Ally does? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.