The Immigration and Ethnic History Society (IEHS) works to maintain an environment that allows persons in the historical profession to flourish by encouraging respectful, inclusive, and equitable treatment of all who participate in its activities. The IEHS affirms that discrimination, harassment (including sexual harassment), and bullying are antithetical to this purpose and constitute serious forms of professional misconduct. IEHS members and all participants in IEHS events are expected to avoid behavior that is discriminatory, intimidating, threatening, or unwelcome based on the policy set out below. The IEHS values a diversity of views and opinions and adheres to the standards of professional conduct published by the American Historical Association and the Code of Professional Conduct at Officially Sanctioned AHA Activities.
The IEHS Policy on Harassment and Sexual Misconduct is a set of principles and practices for professional behavior that governs all IEHS members, staff, volunteers, contractors, vendors, and sponsors. This policy also includes any non-member who participates in an IEHS program or activity. IEHS programs and activities include IEHS meetings, committee deliberations, conference sessions, workshops, online forums, the annual banquet and receptions, and awards proceedings. The policy encompasses interactions in person, by telephone, by electronic communication, and in online forums.
The IEHS rejects discrimination and harassment by any means, including race, color, ethnicity, national origin, age, gender, gender expression, gender identity, sexual orientation, marital status, pregnancy, disability, physical appearance, body size, religion, socioeconomic class, veteran status, political affiliation, professional status, or other identities or characteristics.
The IEHS opposes all forms of bullying including threatening, humiliating, coercive, or intimidating conduct that causes harm to, interferes with, or sabotages the reputation and career of another individual or group.
Discrimination, harassment, and bullying create a hostile environment that impedes the advancement of historical knowledge by marginalizing individuals and communities. It also damages productivity and career growth and prevents the healthy exchange of ideas.
All participants in IEHS activities will be treated with respect and consideration. The IEHS adheres to the standards of professional conduct published by the American Historical Association and the Code of Professional Conduct at Officially Sanctioned AHA Activities.
Unacceptable behavior includes, but is not limited to:
- Harassment (including sexual harassment), bullying, or discrimination in any form.
- Deliberate intimidation, stalking, or following in person or online.
- Unwelcome and uninvited attention or contact in person or online.
- Physical assault (including unwelcome touch or groping).
- Physical or verbal abuse of any attendee, speaker, volunteer, exhibitor, staff member, service provider, or other meeting guest.
- Disruption of talks at oral or poster sessions, workshops, reading group meetings, or at other events organized by the IEHS at the meeting venue, hotels, and online.
- Making a visual and/or audio recording of another individual’s presentation without the explicit permission of the IEHS or the author.
- Harmful or prejudicial verbal comments related to race, color, ethnicity, national origin, age, gender, gender expression, gender identity, sexual orientation, marital status, pregnancy, disability, physical appearance, body size, religion, socioeconomic class, veteran status, political affiliation, professional status, or other identities or characteristics.
- Inappropriate or gratuitous use of nudity, sexual images, or stereotyped images in public spaces (including presentation slides), including online.
- Express or implied threat of physical harm or professional financial damage or harm.
Critiques of scholarly work are appropriate and important, but all forms of communication must be free of discriminatory and abusive elements, including (but not limited to) words and images that are derogatory or demeaning to individuals or groups; intimidation or bullying; threats to person, career, or reputation; or disruption of presentations or discussion.
Be careful in the words that you choose. Harassment committed in a joking manner still constitutes unacceptable behavior. Remember that sexist, racist, and other exclusionary jokes are offensive.
Retaliation for reporting unacceptable behavior is a violation of this policy.
Falsely reporting unacceptable behavior is a violation of this policy.
Sexual harassment is a specific type of unacceptable conduct consisting of a single intense and severe act or of multiple persistent or pervasive acts, which are unwanted, unwelcome, demeaning, abusive, or offensive.
As defined by the National Academies of Sciences, sexual harassment is composed of three categories of behavior:
1) Gender harassment: verbal and nonverbal behaviors that convey hostility, objectification, exclusion, or second-class status about members based on gender. Harassing behavior can be either direct (targeted at an individual) or ambient (a general level of sexual harassment in an environment);
2) Unwanted sexual attention: unwelcome verbal or physical sexual advances; and
3) Sexual coercion: when professional or educational treatment is conditioned on sexual activity or interactions, particularly when there are disparities in professional status and power.
Sexual harassment does not refer to occasional compliments of a socially acceptable nature or consensual personal and social relationships without discriminatory effects. It refers to behavior that reasonably situated persons would regard as unwelcome and as personally intimidating, coercive, hostile, or offensive. The victim of harassment can be anyone affected by the offensive conduct, not just the individual at whom the conduct is directed.
The IEHS does not tolerate other forms of sexual misconduct. Sexual misconduct is a broad term encompassing any unwelcome behavior of a sexual nature that is committed without consent or by force, intimidation, coercion, or manipulation. Sexual misconduct can be committed by a person of any gender, and it can occur between people of the same, similar, or different genders. Sexual misconduct includes (but is not limited to) sexual assault; sexual exploitation (taking nonconsensual, unjust, coercive, or abusive activity against their will); and sexual intimidation (e.g., threatening a sex act against another person or engaging in indecent exposure).
Retaliating against a complainant of sexual harassment or other forms of sexual misconduct also violates this policy.
IEHS members and other conference attendees should be aware that their home institutions’ policies (such as Title IX) may require them to report allegations of sexual harassment or other forms of sexual misconduct involving people affiliated with their institution. This requirement may affect the degree of confidentiality IEHS can provide to any member or participant who wishes to discuss a violation of its harassment and misconduct policy.
This policy will be clearly and prominently displayed on the IEHS website. All participants in IEHS activities and anyone obtaining or renewing an IEHS membership will be required to acknowledge the policy as well as their responsibility to abide by it through their membership profiles, submission of potential conference presentations, and in the registration process for IEHS programs and events.
Professional Environment Committee
The Professional Environment Committee (PEC) will consist of five members of the Society, balanced by gender, diversity, and seniority, one of whom will be the IEHS Vice-President. The President will appoint these members to two-year terms. The PEC will work closely with the IEHS President on all matters relating to harassment and misconduct. At least two representatives of the IEHS (comprising members of the PEC or trained designees approved by the PEC and the IEHS President) will attend the annual meetings of the AHA and OAH, with which the IEHS is affiliated, where our members regularly present their work. The committee’s contact information will be made available on the IEHS website and in annual meeting registration materials.
If a member of the PEC is involved in any way with a complaint or violation under this policy they are required to recuse themselves from all discussions and procedures regarding the complaint or violation.
Making a Complaint
If you experience, witness, or learn about unacceptable behavior, as described above, during an IEHS event or program, please report the situation to a member or designee of the PEC, or to the IEHS President. The IEHS will refer the matter to the AHA, OAH, and to an external consultant when appropriate.
One or more members or designees of the PEC will be available at the annual meetings of the AHA and OAH to receive complaints from, describe reporting procedures to, provide advice on resources to, and discuss issues with participants in any IEHS-sanctioned activity who have experienced or witnessed violations of this policy. Neither the PEC nor any other IEHS official can provide legal advice to those who make reports under this policy. The IEHS will strive to maintain (but cannot guarantee) confidentiality.
Anyone experiencing or witnessing behavior that constitutes an immediate or serious threat to public safety is advised to contact 911 and/or locate a house phone and ask for security.
How Allegations are Handled
How allegations of harassment or misconduct are handled will depend upon where the incidents occur.
1) Incidents at events organized by the AHA or OAH are subject to their respective codes of conduct and will be handled by their anti-harassment investigation teams. In such cases, the intake of complaints, adjudication of allegations, and imposition of sanctions will be handled by the host organization, with members or designees of the PEC acting as a liaison between the IEHS and the host organizations.
At least two members or designees of the PEC will attend the annual meetings of the AHA and OAH to assist and support victims of harassment or misconduct. If the AHA or OAH sanctions an IEHS member for harassment or misconduct and shares that information with the IEHS, the IEHS President and PEC may impose additional sanctions after conferring with an external consultant and obtaining the approval of the Executive Board.
2) Incidents at events organized by the IEHS (including online events and the annual banquet, among others) will be handled by the IEHS. At least one member or designee of the PEC will attend online events to identify harassment or misconduct when it occurs, help to deter or mitigate it, and accept reports and allegations. Event moderators will be equipped to remove violators from online events.
At least two members or designees of the PEC will attend the annual banquet. Upon receipt of a report of an incident at the annual banquet and other events organized by the IEHS where OAH or AHA policies are not in effect, the IEHS reserves the right to implement consequences at the event or meeting itself, including:
- Warning the violator to cease their behavior and that any further reports will result in more serious consequences.
- Requiring that the violator immediately leave the event and not return.
3) Incidents involving IEHS members at events hosted by societies other than the AHA or OAH will be governed by the rules of those societies. If the other societies report incidents to the IEHS, the IEHS President and the PEC will consider sanctions.
In all three categories, the IEHS President and PEC will confer to discuss consequences and, if transgressions cannot be resolved immediately, will refer the matter to an external consultant to decide on a course best suited to enforce our code of conduct and to protect our members from harassment, discrimination, and bullying.
IEHS reserves the right to prohibit violators of this policy from attending any future events, participating in programs and committee appointments, receiving awards, , or being a member of the Society.
Violators or targets may appeal in writing to the President within one week of the decision. If the President is among those accused, the appeal will be made to the Vice President; or, if both of these officers are accused, to the immediate past President. Appeals will be decided by a majority vote of the Executive Board. Board members with professional or personal ties to the alleged violator or target, or with any other conflict of interest in the decision, will recuse themselves from the appeals process.
The President will keep a confidential record of all incidents.
Consent: Consent is a freely and affirmatively communicated willingness to participate in a particular sexual activity or behavior, expressed either by words or clear, unambiguous actions. Consent can be withdrawn at any time. A person is incapable of consent if the person is unable to understand the facts, nature, extent, or implications of the situation and/or if the person is incapacitated in any way. Critically, the person initiating a particular sexual activity or behavior bears the responsibility of requesting and receiving consent.
Discriminatory behavior: An umbrella term that includes biased treatment based upon characteristics such as race, color, ethnicity, age, sex, age, disability status, pregnancy status, national origin, and veteran status, among others. The term includes the different forms of sexual harassment, as well as other forms of sex/gender discrimination.
Gender harassment: Verbal and nonverbal behaviors that convey hostility, exclusion, or second-class status about members of one gender. Examples include use of language and comments that denigrate a group or individuals in gendered terms. This type of harassment is sometimes further broken down into sexist hostility and crude harassment.
Unwanted sexual attention: Unwelcome sexual advances, which can include repeated requests for dates and persistent attempts to establish sexual relationships despite rejection.
Ambient harassment: General level of sexual harassment in a particular setting as defined by the frequency of harassing behaviors of all types and levels of severity. In this type of harassment the people negatively affected are not directly targeted.
Quid pro quo sexual harassment: A legal term that parallels sexual coercion. It is a type of sexual harassment in which professional or educational treatment is conditioned on sexual activity. Examples include promises of a positive evaluation, better grades, access to resources, or a letter of reference in exchange for sexual favors.
 The American Geophysical Union defines bullying as “the use of force, threat, or coercion to abuse, intimidate, or aggressively dominate others in the professional environment that involves a real or perceived power imbalance. These actions can include abusive criticism, humiliation, the spreading of rumors, physical and verbal attacks, isolation, undermining, and professional exclusion of individuals through any means.” American Geophysical Union, Scientific Integrity and Professional Ethics Policy (2017), 6.
 Reproduced with permission from The Sexual Harassment of Women: Climate, Culture, and Consequences in Academic Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (2019) by the National Academies of Sciences, Courtesy of the National Academies Press, Washington, D.C.