ALA Executive Board releases statement regarding incident at Council Forum
For Immediate Release
Communications and Marketing Office
American Library Association
The ALA Executive Board has released the following statement regarding a recent incident during Council Forum at the ALA Midwinter Meeting & Exhibits in Seattle.
"We should not – and do not – accept harassment, bullying or discrimination of any kind in our profession or the work of our Association. These behaviors go against our values. Violations to our code of conduct will not be tolerated.
"We established a code of conduct because we take the responsibility of being respectful to each other very seriously.
"We send our sincere apologies to Councilor April Hathcock for what she went through at Council Forum, which is unacceptable and doesn’t align with our core values.
"The ALA attorney and President-Elect met with April Hathcock in the Council meeting room shortly before Council III to share some nonpublic information about events after the incident in question. ALA leaders deeply regrets any distress this caused; it was not intent of the attorney or ALA to threaten Ms Hathcock in any way.
"The Councilor who instigated the incident has resigned and the Executive Board has accepted his resignation.
"We also offer our sincere apologies to members who also experienced violations of the code of conduct at the Midwinter meeting.
"We want to recognize that this incident has caused a lot of hurt and we are working diligently to ensure that at all ALA events participants are - and feel - respected.
"The Executive Board will form a working group to look at Council Forum and ways to make it a safer space up to its continued viability.
"We will review the current code of conduct complaint process to make it stronger and more effective.
"We will work on facilitated racial equity training for Annual Conference during Council 1; that training and the code of conduct will be built into Council Orientation moving forward.
"In collaboration with the Office for Diversity, Literacy and Outreach Services, we will coordinate online and in-person resources on equity, diversity and inclusion for all members and for ALA staff members.
"ALA and its Divisions have developed resources to embed principles of equity, diversity and inclusion in the work library workers do; see specifics for 2018 here. Last October during the 2018 Fall Executive Board Meeting, the Executive Board voted to affirm that ALA will apply a social justice framework to the ALA Strategic Directions for the next three-to-five years in the areas of Advocacy, Information Policy, Professional and Leadership Development, and Equity, Diversity and Inclusion. We are building on the 2019 President’s Program about “White Fragility.”
"This work can be messy, it takes time, but the Executive Board strives to create a better association every day. We ask for your collaboration to help us break through the systems of oppression and do the right thing at the right time, each time, as it should be done."