Statement On Diversity And Inclusion

The Byzantine Studies Association of North America (BSANA) is dedicated to the promotion of all aspects of Byzantine studies and associated fields in all disciplines. BSANA is deeply committed to fostering an equitable, diverse, and inclusive community of students, scholars, and interested members. As a non-profit, apolitical, academic organization, it resists any misappropriation of Byzantine studies to further nationalist, racist, and/or sectarian ideologies. Therefore, it is our policy to welcome, mentor, and include all scholars and students in Byzantine studies without regard to academic status, race, color, national or ethnic origin, age, religion, disability, perceived or actual health status, marital or family status, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, veteran status, criminal record, and all characteristics protected under applicable federal and/or state law. We affirm that our academic community is strengthened through diversity and inclusion, and we strive for our governance, policies, use of resources, and programming to reflect our commitment to both.

Approved Oct. 6, 2018.

BSANA Harassment policy

The Byzantine Studies Association of North America is committed to creating and maintaining a harassment-free environment for all participants in the Association’s activities. All members and participants, including contractors, vendors, volunteers, and guests, are expected to engage in consensual and respectful behavior and to preserve academic standards of professionalism at all times. The following policy pertains to all officially sanctioned BSANA events, including, but not limited to, the Byzantine Studies Conference, meetings, and other activities, whether in person, by telephone, or through electronic communication. BSANA will not tolerate sexual or other forms of harassment in any setting. Harassment includes all behavior that prevents or impairs an individual’s full enjoyment of educational or workplace rights, benefits, environments, or opportunities. These behaviors include but are not limited to:

Personal Harassment

  • sexist remarks, jokes, or behavior of intimidating, harassing, abusive, derogatory or demeaning speech or actions, including stalking, insults, and lewd remarks or conduct
  • harassing photography or recording, including visual displays of degrading sexual images or pornography
  • sexual innuendos, request for sexual favors, and unwelcome sexual advances, both verbal and physical
  • unwelcome solicitation of emotional or physical intimacy
  • threats or actions that cause or threaten personal harm, including attempted or completed physical sexual assault

Professional Harassment

  • threats or actions that cause or threaten professional harm, punishment or retaliation
  • sustained, unprofessional disruption of talks or other events
  • prejudicial actions or comments that coerce others, foment broad hostility or otherwise undermine professional equity or the principles of free academic exchange
  • the use of professional authority to inappropriately draw attention to the gender, sexuality or sexual orientation of an employee, colleague, or student
  • pressure to accept unwelcome social invitations

Such examples are illustrative, not exhaustive. These behaviors are considered harassment and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature constitute sexual harassment when “such conduct is unwanted, including situations in which (i) the request or conduct involves any implied or expressed promise of professional reward for complying; or (ii) the request or conduct involves any implied or expressed threat of reprisal or denial of opportunity for refusing to comply; or (iii) the request or conduct results in what reasonably may be perceived as a hostile or intimidating environment. Sexual harassment does not refer to occasional compliments of a socially acceptable nature or consensual personal and social relationships without a discriminatory effect. It refers to behavior that reasonably situated persons would regard as not welcome and as personally intimidating, hostile, or offensive.”[1] While harassment, sexual and otherwise, most often occurs between persons of unequal professional status, it can also occur between persons of the same status.

According to the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) guidelines, the victim of harassment can be anyone affected by the offensive conduct, not just the individual at whom the conduct is directed.[2]

Any person who has been harassed verbally[3] or physically assaulted should contact law enforcement officials immediately. If an incident of harassment occurs at a BSANA sanctioned activity, the complaint can be reported to a member of the Governing Board, at which point the matter may be investigated. The Governing Board reserves the right to take any action it deems appropriate. This includes without limitation: (i) removing an individual from the BSANA sanctioned event without a refund, (ii) sending a letter of warning, (iii) forbidding participation in BSANA events for a specified period of time, (iv) removing an individual from elected or appointed position(s), (v) revoking an individuals BSANA membership, and/or (vi) striking the name of a prize-winner from the list of winners. In all cases, reporting in a timely fashion is most effective and productive. Reporting harassment or professional misconduct in bad faith or retaliating against someone for reporting harassment or professional misconduct will be considered harassment and handled as such.[4]

This policy will be clearly and prominently displayed on the BSANA website. All participants in the annual Byzantine Studies Conference will be required to acknowledge the policy and their willingness to abide by it as part of the registration process.

*This statement was developed in consultation with similar policies adopted by the American Academy of Religion, the American Historical Association, the Renaissance Society of America, and the Society for Biblical Literature.

[1] Society for Biblical Literature, SBL Professional Conduct Policy, https://www.sbl-site.org/assets/pdfs/Meetings/Professional_Conduct_Policy.pdf
[2] https://www.eeoc.gov/laws/types/harassment.cfm
[3] In most states, “harassment” rises to the level of a misdemeanor of crime if one person threatens another with bodily harm or destruction of property, and if the person threatened has a reasonable fear that the threat will be carried out.
[4] Most of this section is quoted/paraphrased from the RSA procedures: https://www.rsa.org/page/rsapcc

Approved Oct. 19, 2019.

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