Actions Since Albuquerque

Sep 13, 2019

The Society for American Archaeology is committed to the safety of our members and attendees at all of our events. The following is a list of the actions that SAA has taken since April 15, 2019 to improve member safety and organizational communications. We are committed to continuing this work by all possible means and will continue to update this list as new changes are implemented. This page was last updated March 1, 2022.

Annual Meeting Changes

  • Starting with the 2020 Call for Submissions, all potential presenters are required a self-certification statement asking submitters to affirm that there have not been negative findings from an adjudicating body (like a Title IX investigation, an RPA suspension, etc.).
  • After soliciting feedback from membership on a draft policy, the Board announced new Meeting Safety Policy on January 3, 2020. In the summer of 2020, the Board announced an FAQ to augment that policy.
  • The SAA hired two ombuds--an independent and confidential resource--for its 2021 annual meeting and again for its 2022 meeting. All meeting attendees have the option to use this resource.
  • The Board has approved a recommendation from the Meeting Safety Committee for meeting safety volunteers at its 2022 annual meeting.
  • The SAA Presidential Forum at the 2021 annual meeting was on the topic of sexual harassment, titled “What is at Stake? The impacts of inequity and harassment on the practice of archaeology.” This session was scheduled for Austin originally but was held at the 2021 online virtual meeting.
  • The Board established a Task Force to hear recommendations regarding the meeting abstract submissions and evaluation process.

Organizational Changes

  • All SAA staff participated in anti-sexual harassment training on July 10, 2019. All SAA staff participated in anti-racism training on August 10, 2021; Board members participated in anti-racism training on September 30, 2021; and many Committee and Task Force chairs joined in anti-racism training on November 17, 2021. The Board, staff, Meeting Safety Committee members and volunteers have all been offered Bystander Intervention training on March 25, 2022.
  • SAA’s Native American Scholarship Program needs to be—and is—Title IX compliant because we use National Science Foundation funds for many of those scholarships.
  • The SAA is collaborating with other societies to address harassment.
    • The SAA President attended the EAA Presidents Lunch on gender equality.
    • The SAA supported the Intersocieties Summit on Harassment in Washington, DC, on September 19, 2019. Members of the Task Force will represent the Society.
    • At the 2021 Annual Meeting, there was a Regional Leadership Forum that will reconvene many of these groups to ensure we are all continuing to learn from one another.
    • In July 2021, the SAA President devoted a zoom to sharing best practices with the Presidents of other archaeological societies and organizations.
  • SAA offered two free to members online trainings on Power Dynamics. The recordings of these sessions are available on-demand to members. At the 2022 Annual Meeting, this workshop will be offered live and is free for annual meeting attendees to join (preregistration is required.)
  • SAA Board members have each signed a Board Commitment Form that includes a certification that they have “not been the subject of a finding against the Board Member from a current or past employer’s investigation (such as a Title IX finding); that Board Member does not or has not had a disciplinary action such as a termination or suspension resulting from a Register for Professional Archaeologists’ grievance investigation; and that Board Member does not or has not had a criminal conviction for sexual harassment, assault, rape, or hate crime.”
  • All candidates starting with the 2021 ballot have signed self-certification forms, as will future candidates on future ballots.
  • The 2021 and 2022 ballots each included a slate of candidates for a member-elected seat on the Findings Verification Committee.
  • All prize and scholarship winners must sign self-certification forms.
  • To facilitate better dialogue with members, the Board announced a new social media policy on September 16, 2019.
  • SAA hired a communications firm to help the Society overhaul its practices and tools for engaging with members and to clearly explain the actions the Board will take to make future meetings better ones for all members of our community. 
  • SAA began using an external Human Resources company starting January 1, 2020. The vendor has experience supporting nonprofits and all their human resource related concerns and will provide expert assistance to SAA should any harassment-related concerns or investigations arise.
  • SAA hired new legal counsel with a background in ethics. Counsel works for the Board and Executive Director as an advisor.

2019 Bylaws Amendment

  • At the initiative of about 800 members, the Society received a referendum for a change to its Bylaws.
  • The Bylaws Committee reviewed both the member-submitted bylaws referendum and a Board-proposed amendment. Intelliscan is SAA's independent voting vendor, who conducted the bylaws ballot including the referendum amendment, an alternative broader amendment and the recommendation of the Bylaws Committee. A voting FAQ is available here.
  • Intelliscan shared the results of the Bylaws referendum, which was announced to membership on November 22, 2019.