American Geosciences Institute Publishes Community Statement on Harassment

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May 14, 2018
Document represents one of the first community efforts to address harassment on behalf of an entire scientific profession
ALEXANDRIA, Va. – Harassment is a serious concern in the scientific community and professional associations are taking steps to address it. The American Geosciences Institute (AGI) has published a consensus document which outlines strategies for identifying and addressing issues of workplace harassment in the geosciences. An ad hoc committee consisting of representatives from ten geoscience associations or institutions from across industry and academia was convened by AGI to examine the topic of harassment. This same committee ultimately drafted the consensus document, which was formally approved by the AGI Executive Committee on April 9, 2018.
The opening lines of the statement read, "AGI expects those in the profession to adhere to the highest ethical standards in all professional activities. This includes the active promotion of working and learning environments free of all forms of harassment, aggression or coercion based on any personal attributes, cultures, or differences in status."
The statement provides guidelines for recognizing situations in which harassment is occurring, intervening in and reporting instances of harassment, and enforcing policies which prevent future instances of harassment. The statement emphasizes that harassment should be unacceptable "in all professional, educational, and informal geoscience settings."
The guidelines provided in this statement reflect the consensus view of the geoscience community; the professional codes of conduct for individual societies may expand beyond these guidelines. 
The American Geophysical Union (AGU), for example, has established a clear protocol for reporting allegations of harassment. Billy Williams, AGU's Vice President of Ethics, Diversity, and Inclusion, was one of the members of AGI's ad hoc committee.
Others are now using the AGI statement to craft their own anti-harassment policies. Dr. Lorraine Dowler, an associate professor of geography at Pennsylvania State University and a National Councillor for the American Association of Geographers (AAG) praised the timeliness and utility of the AGI statement:
"The geoscience community is leading the way in tackling harassment issues and their actions will undoubtedly prompt other disciplines to examine their own harassment policies. As the chair of the working group tasked with looking at ways to mitigate harassment at the national meeting of the AAG, I have been inspired by and grateful to AGI for taking the lead on this critical intervention."
Read the full AGI Statement on Harassment in the Geosciences. To learn more about the geoscience community's public response to harassment, read Geoscience Currents #125: Sexual Harassment in the Sciences: Response by Professional Societies, a one-page snapshot published by the AGI Workforce Program.
About AGI
The American Geosciences Institute (AGI) is a nonprofit federation of 52 scientific and professional associations that represents more than 260,000 geoscientists. Founded in 1948, AGI provides information services to geoscientists, serves as a voice of shared interests in the profession, plays a major role in strengthening geoscience education, and strives to increase public awareness of the vital role the geosciences play in society's use of resources, resiliency to natural hazards, and interaction with the environment.
AGI is a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to serving the geoscience community and addressing the needs of society. AGI headquarters are in Alexandria, Virginia.
The American Geosciences Institute represents and serves the geoscience community by providing collaborative leadership and information to connect Earth, science, and people.
AGI Contact:
Joseph Lilek