Sexual harassment in any form will not be tolerated at the AAA/CASCA Annual Meeting, section meetings, or any other activities, including publishing. Our culture is based on mutual respect and collaboration. AAA/CASCA will do what it takes to enforce our sexual harassment policies and protect our members, staff, and other individuals from harassment, assault, and other misconduct while they are taking part in sponsored events and activities. These policies apply to every person regardless of gender, sexual orientation, level, function, seniority, status, or other protected characteristics.
What is sexual harassment?
Sexual harassment has many forms:
- Insinuating, proposing, or demanding sexual favors of any kind;
- Invading another person’s personal space (e.g., inappropriate touching);
- Stalking, intimidating, coercing or threatening another person to get them to engage in sexual acts;
- Sending or displaying sexually explicit objects or messages;
- Commenting on someone’s looks, dress, sexuality or gender in a derogatory or objectifying manner or a manner that makes them uncomfortable;
- Making obscene comments, jokes or gestures that humiliate or offend someone; and/or
- Pursuing or flirting with another person persistently without the other person’s willing participation.
The most extreme form of sexual harassment is sexual assault. This is a serious crime and we will support those who want to file complaints against offenders with local authorities.
Our rules on sexual harassment
- No one has the right to sexually harass anyone else.
- Sexual harassment is never too minor.
- Sexual harassment is about how we make others feel.
- We understand that people who harass do not necessarily realize their behavior is inappropriate and unwanted, but that doesn’t make the perpetrator any less responsible for their actions.
- We assume every sexual harassment claim is legitimate unless proven otherwise.
- We will not allow further victimization of harassed individuals.
- Those who support or overlook sexual harassment are as much at fault as offenders.
How to report sexual harassment
If you are being sexually harassed (or suspect another person is being harassed) at the AAA/CASCA Annual Meeting, please report it to AAA staff (recognizable by orange buttons, pictured below) at registration or in the exhibit hall, or CASCA staff at registration. In serious cases like sexual assault, please call the police and inform AAA/CASCA that you plan to press charges. We will provide any possible support until the matter is resolved. In any case, we will ensure you are not victimized and that you have access to relevant evidence admissible in court, like security video footage or emails.
We acknowledge it is often hard to come forward about these issues, but we need your help to build a fair and safe environment for you and your colleagues. Explain the situation in as much detail as possible. If you have any hard evidence (e.g. emails), forward it or bring it with you.
In addition, AAA and CASCA will have three trained ombudspersons available onsite. Please register your complaint using the form below.
Disciplinary action and repeat offenders
After thorough investigation by the AAA Executive Office, meeting attendees found guilty of sexual assault will be banned from all Association activities. Meeting attendees found guilty of sexual harassment (but not assault) may have their right to be on the premises revoked. We may also ban harassers from all future Association activities or take other appropriate action to protect their victims. We will terminate the memberships and/or meeting registrations of repeat offenders after the second claim against them and subsequent investigation concludes they are indeed guilty.
We apply these disciplinary actions uniformly. Meeting attendees of any sexual orientation or other protected characteristics will be penalized the same way for the same offenses.
AAA member responsibilities
First and foremost, everyone should try to prevent sexual harassment by building a culture of respect and trust. However, when sexual harassment occurs and there is a complaint, AAA will act immediately.
When AAA receives a complaint of alleged harassment, they will reach out to the AAA Ombudspersons for Sexual Harassment and Assault. One of the ombudspersons will do the following:
- Ask for as many details and as much information as possible from the person or people making the complaint.
- Take into account the wishes of the complainant. Some might want the matter to be resolved informally and discreetly, while others might expect more radical actions (eg, banning the perpetrator). The ombudsperson will consider the circumstances and recommend an appropriate action to the AAA.
- Contact the alleged harasser and set up a meeting to explain the complaint and ask for further information from them. Then, if warranted, explicitly ask for this behavior to stop.
The AAA Executive Office will:
- Keep copies of the report with dates, times and details of incidents and any possible evidence in a confidential file. AAA will update this file with all future actions and conversations regarding this complaint.
- If warranted, launch an investigation.
- Check if there have been similar reports on the same person.
- Remove the perpetrator from future Association events and/or revoke their membership. In cases of sexual assault or coercing someone to sexual favors under threats at AAA-sponsored events, we will remove the perpetrator from the event immediately and revoke their Association membership.
All AAA members must not, under any circumstances, blame the victim, conceal a report, or discourage fellow members from reporting sexual harassment.
We welcome any feedback or complaints about our procedures and how the AAA Ombudspersons handled each inquiry. Please use the below form to share your comments with Executive Director Ed Liebow.
CASCA’s full Sexual Harassment Policies can be found here (English or Français).
If an individual in attendance is found to have violated the harassment policy, we reserve the right to decide to revoke the individual’s permission to be on the premises. Should such an incident arise, the associations will work directly with security and law enforcement to manage the removal process. Protecting the safety and security of those filing complaints is paramount. If there is a broader concern regarding the safety of all attendees, we will provide timely public updates as they become available.
CASCA is not an adjudicating body, but there are processes in place to support members in getting their grievances addressed when unwanted behaviors occur in the context of CASCA sponsored events and activities.
We can only act if we receive a clear demand from the person concerned by the harassment situation. It is important to discuss with the person and to be clear on how we can intervene.
Actionable responses to sexual harassment at CASCA-sponsored events
Level 1: Discomfort
The first level corresponds to situations in which someone feels uncomfortable or threatened while attending a CASCA event, but an incident hasn’t occurred.
When an individual reports this type of concern to the CASCA Executive, the Francophone and Anglophone Members at Large, or other designated people, will meet with the complainant to hear their concern and put in place measures to ensure their safety and security at the event. This could include:
- Evaluating if the complainant knows one or more people at the event who would be willing to accompany them to scheduled events and/or informal activities and act as a “social camouflage.”
- Identifying a trusted person to attend the complainant’s presentation, and if necessary disrupt a threatening conversation and have an excuse prepared to leave with the complainant after their presentation.
- Delegating a trusted person to accompany the complainant back to their hotel at night.
Level 2: Formal complaint at home institution in process
The second level corresponds to situations in which someone has a formal complaint against a perpetrator at their home institution, but a resolution hasn’t come about yet.
When an individual reports this type of concern to the CASCA Executive, the Executive will gather additional information. In addition to the interventions outlined in Level 1, this could include:
- Verifying that the perpetrator is registered and attending the event.
- Documenting that the complainant has brought this concern to the CASCA Executive.
- Checking in with the complainant (in person, by telephone, or by text) at regular intervals throughout the event.
- Checking in with the local police liaison (if this contact has been established prior to the event).
Level 3: Formal complaint at home institution with resolution
The third level corresponds situations in which someone has made a formal complaint against a perpetrator at their home institution, and it has been determined that the perpetrator committed sexual harassment against the complainant.
When an individual reports this type of concern to the CASCA Executive, the Executive will monitor the situation more closely. In addition to the interventions outlined in Levels 1 and 2, this could include:
- Obtaining documentation from the complainant or home institution of the conviction against the perpetrator, including any conditions regulating future contact or interaction outlined in the resolution.
- Revoking the perpetrator’s permission to be on the event premises.
Level 4: Incidence of sexual harassment or assault
The fourth level corresponds situations in which someone reports an incidence of sexual harassment or assault that has occurred at a CASCA event to the Executive. In this case, the CASCA Executive will:
- Provide a safe and private space to confidentiality talk with the survivor at the event venue, and for a delegated member of the CASCA Executive to stay with the individual while next steps are worked out.
- Provide the information and means for the survivor to contact local police, if they desire.
- Provide the information and means for the survivor to receive medical attention if, they desire.
- Provide the information and means for the survivor to speak to a sexual assault hotline, if they desire.
- Facilitate the survivor being put in contact with a trusted person at the event or at home, if they desire.
- Support the survivor with any immediate next steps they desire and require, such as return to their hotel room or travel arrangements home.
- Document that the survivor has reported an incidence of sexual harassment or assault to the CASCA Executive.
- Evaluate the safety and security of other attendees, and work directly with security and law enforcement if necessary.
- Revoke the perpetrator’s permission to be on the event premises.
If an attendee is found to have violated the CASCA sexual harassment policy at a CASCA event, the Executive reserves the right to revoke the individual’s permission to be on the event premises. Should such an incident arise, the Executive will work directly with security and law enforcement to manage the removal process. Protecting the safety and security of those filing complaints is paramount. If there is a broader concern regarding the safety of all attendees, the Executive will provide timely public updates as they become available.