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Nominations Invited for ASA Ombudsperson

Tuesday, September 15, 2020  
Posted by: Julie Van Camp
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Nominations (including self-nominations) are invited for the volunteer position of ASA Ombudsperson for a three-year term 2021-2023.

The Ombudsperson is the primary resource and point of contact for ASA members regarding concerns about discrimination, including sexual harassment, which is recognized as a form of discrimination. The Ombudsperson is responsible for educating the ASA membership about this policy.

The Ombudsperson will be nominated by the ASA President, with the approval of the Board of Trustees, for a term of three years. The Feminist Caucus Committee and the Diversity Committee will provide a list of potential candidates, and a general invitation to self-nomination to all ASA members will be the basis for the list of candidates, to which the officers and Board of Trustees may add. The current Ombudsperson, Jeanette Bicknell, is eligible for a second term.

Interested persons should submit a CV (no more than 5 pages) and a cover letter addressing interest and qualifications for the position to no later than October 15, 2020.

The Ombudsperson shall receive complaints of discrimination and harassment and, where possible, serve as a resource to members regarding such complaints. The Ombudsperson shall serve as a resource by, among other things, (i) educating the complainant about this policy; (ii) facilitating informal resolution of concerns where appropriate; (iii) investigating complaints of harassment and discrimination; and (iv) recommending sanctions where appropriate. The Ombudsperson should, if necessary, be able to consult with a complainant rapidly, within a 24-hour period. The Ombudsperson does not provide legal advice.

Where appropriate, the Ombudsperson shall consult with the Feminist Caucus Committee or the Diversity Committee for advice regarding specific complaints.

Each written complaint will be investigated and a confidential report regarding that complaint will be submitted to the Board. (Ordinarily, the Ombudsperson will do the investigation. If they have a conflict of interest, then a member of the Respectful Behaviour Committee will investigate. The ASA reserves the right to appoint an external investigator instead of the Ombudsperson.)

The Ombudsperson prepares two annual reports. The first report, containing very general information about the number of members who have consulted with the Ombudsperson and the types of complaints and issues raised, is provided to the Board of Trustees and is available to ASA members as an addendum to the minutes of the Board meeting at which it was submitted.

The second report describes each consultation and what resolution, if any, was achieved, with all identifying information removed. This report is held as a confidential record in the ASA’s national office and may be consulted only by officers of the ASA in the course of their duties.

The Ombudsperson is a volunteer position. For availability at any of the five ASA meetings each year (the four divisional meetings and the Annual Meeting), reasonable travel costs, consistent with other ASA reimbursements, will be provided. If professional services are necessary to respond to a formal complaint, consulting rates will be negotiated on a case-by-case basis.

The ASA Policies on Discrimination, Harassment, and Respectful Behavior are available here:

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