Archaeological society tries to stem continuing controversy over #MeToo scandal
|sciencemag.org 19 Apr 2019 at 12:14|
The Society for American Archaeology (SAA) continues to battle fallout for the way it handled a #MeToo scandal at its annual meeting last week. The organization faced a firestorm of criticism on social media for not immediately ejecting an alleged harasser from the meeting after being informed about his presence and a university investigation that found accusations against him credible. Today, as archaeologists continued to vent at their own society, it published an open letter and video from President Joe Watkins personally apologizing for not taking action and laying out actions SAA will take, including updating its sexual harassment policy and providing training to staff on its effective and compassionate implementation.
Finally, the start of a sincere response from the SAA, tweeted Stephanie Halmhofer, a cultural resources management archaeologist with In Situ Archaeological Consulting in Roberts Creek, Canada. But it remains to be seen whether the latest apology will be enough to staunch the flow of archaeologists pledging to leave SAA. Meanwhile, other societies have announced plans to revamp their harassment policies to handle similar situations.
Two days ago, SAA apologized for the impact, stress, and fear the situation caused to victims of sexual harassment within our field, as well as for its own delay in issuing an apology. But on 17 April, it published a controversial timeline of events that sparked another social media row.
The trouble began when David Yesner, an archaeologist who retired from the University of Alaska in Anchorage (UAA) in 2017 showed up in Albuquerque, New Mexico, for SAAs annual meeting, which ran from 1014 April. Yesner had been banned from UAAs campus and events 2 days before the meeting began, after a Title IX investigation found nine womens accusations of sexual harassment and assault to be credible.Three claimants in the investigation were also at the SAA meeting and reported Yesners presence to the organization. But during the meeting, SAA did not reveal to them or others whether it had ejected Yesner.