#AmendP9: A Response to #SAAPrinciple9

Earlier this year at #SAA2016, in Orlando, there were many conversations about the ongoing problems of harassment in archaeology. The topic that received the most attention was sexual harassment, but there were also discussions of harassment involving, amongst other things, gender, age, sexual orientation, and disability status. I attended two organized sessions that were centered around issues of harassment, and had many, many conversations with colleagues and friends about what needs to be done to make our profession safer and more welcoming to all.

That said, I was initially very pleased when, last night, an email came from the Society for American Archaeology President, Diane Gifford-Gonzalez, asking the membership to vote on a related guideline addition to the society’s code of ethics.

This was the letter attached to the email that I received:

This was a mass email sent to all voting members of the SAA membership, though I'm told some have not received a copy.
This was a mass email sent to all voting members of the SAA membership, though I’m told some have not received a copy.

The email came with a link to the voting system. The vote was presented as a straight up or down. There was no option to amend, or forum presented for discussion of the language in the proposed guideline. Without a formal space designated to have a conversation about the guideline, Twitter became the de facto location for exploring the language, and intent, of the proposal. The following is a storify of my initial response to the guideline.

I wasn’t the only person concerned by proposed guideline. Others were concerned about issues of transparency (who actually wrote the guideline?), issues of power (why does the guideline put the onus entirely on supervisors?), and issues of momentum (if the guideline is passed, is that it, is the discussion considered over?).
The following is a storify of those who used the emerging hashtag #SAAPrinciple9.
Finally, by the end of (my) evening, several of us had agreed that we wanted to formally suggest to the SAA leadership that proposed Principle 9 be amended, or at least presented in the vote for potential amendment. This led to the #AmendP9 hashtag, for organization.
That’s where we are this morning, beginning to knock out the language of a formal letter, with petition, asking for the membership to receive greater input into the language and intent of the proposed ethical guideline.