On 2 January, the Council of the Medieval Academy approved the MAA Professional Behavior Policy that lays out expectations for comportment during the Annual Meeting and establishes a structure for reporting and responding to violations of the Policy.
The policy on harassment begins, quite deliberately, with a vision of the kind of Medieval Academy we would like to see: one in which every member and attendee, of whatever academic degree or rank, whatever gender, sexuality, race, ethnicity, or age is treated with respect and professionalism. When we invited the membership to share their experiences and views with us, some of you indicated that you were not aware of an existing problem. Indeed, if you and your acquaintances have never been treated with anything but respect at conferences, congratulations on your good fortune. We hope that is the case for most medievalists, and we hope you will pass on the respect to other colleagues, particularly those who may be vulnerable because they are students, in precarious employment status, or members of underrepresented or historically disadvantaged groups. We urge everyone to think about how their actions and words may affect others; intentions do not always make a difference in how the recipient feels.
The policy provides a place for someone who thinks they have been harassed or bullied to turn. This is in addition to the policies of the host institution, which apply to the conference and which will be stated in the program. The Ad Hoc committee hopes, however, that the main usefulness of the policy will be not the provision of a remedy, but an awareness among the membership of these issues, which will lead to a situation where no one experiences harassment or bullying.
– Ad Hoc Committee on Harassment
Ruth Mazo Karras (Chair)