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Council Approves Equity Action Plan & Events Code of Conduct

Greetings, BSA members and friends –

The Council and Officers of the BSA voted unanimously on 31 October 2020 to approve the Equity Action Plan now posted on our website. As members of the BSA may recall, on 3 June 2020 we followed the lead of the American Council of Learned Societies and many of its constituent organizations in condemning racism. The BSA pledged to work actively to change the status quo by developing an action plan. And we determined to enact such a plan at the October Council meeting.

Many of our members contributed to numerous early drafts of this document. And the Executive Director, Erin McGuirl, and I studied closely the action plans of other learned societies. No plan will be perfect; the Council and Officers expect and hope that you will contribute constructive comments for its improvement in the months and years ahead. Over the next five years the BSA will strive to fulfill the goals set forth here.

In addition to the Equity Action Plan the Council and Officers also endorsed unanimously a Code of Conduct document drafted by Alice Schreyer and Joan Friedman. This document was written in conjunction with an external advisor who serves as a consultant ombudsperson to many other societies and institutions. As the BSA began to host its series of webinars in which large numbers of both members and non-members are participating, it became clear that the BSA needs a policy that articulates both our positive expectations for civil discourse and ways of countering disruptive behavior. These expectations will be shared with all who register for BSA sponsored events. My personal thanks to Alice and Joan and their working group for their thoughtful approach to this document; it will be incorporated into the Policies and Procedures Manual forthcoming in 2021. 

Sincerely yours,

Barbara A. Shailor
BSA Council President