Procedures for Suggesting SAA Advocacy Action

FOR SAA MEMBERS: HOW TO SUGGEST THAT SAA TAKE ACTION ON AN ADVOCACY ISSUE

If you encounter a public policy issue on which you think SAA should comment (or advocate for in another way), here’s how to bring that issue forward.

  • Review the SAA Public Policy Agenda to determine if your issue is included among the priorities outlined there. Use this review to note the types of issues that SAA addresses and also to ensure that your issue is not already being addressed. Gather as much information as you can on the issue.
  • Prepare a brief (1- or 2-page) written Overview of the issue that includes:
    • Statement of Facts: What is the issue? Has SAA taken action on this or a similar issue in the past? If so, what was that action?
    • Discussion: Why is this issue important to archives and/or archivists? Does the issue fit within the priorities outlined in SAA’s Advocacy Agenda? If so, where? If not, why should it be considered as a high priority outside of the Agenda? What are the pros and cons or implications of SAA taking a position or action (or not taking a position or action) on this issue?
    • Recommendation(s): What do you recommend that SAA do? Should SAA act alone in this, or should it seek support from one or more other organizations?
  • As you prepare your Overview, consider the following: If you were in a leadership position within the organization, what information would you need to make a good decision on behalf of SAA?

If you are an individual member:

  • Consider whether there is an SAA component group (committee, board, working group, or section) that would have a specific interest or expertise in the issue that you are raising (e.g., the Intellectual Property Working Group on copyright issues or the Privacy and Confidentiality Section on privacy issues). Collaboration with an existing group is encouraged because it could both avoid the potential for duplication of effort and assist you in gaining support for addressing your issue.
  • If so, contact the chair of that group to determine if the group is interested in collaborating with you to put the issue forward.
  • Contact the chair of the Committee on Public Policy to discuss whether COPP would support putting the issue forward.
  • You should always feel free to contact the staff office directly for assistance in determining who to contact.
  • On very urgent matters: Contact the staff office so that we can help you take the issue directly to the SAA President, Executive Committee, or Council. The President may choose to seek advice from the Committee on Public Policy or other groups.

If you represent a component group (committee, board, section, or roundtable):

  • Discuss the issue with your steering committee. If the steering committee agrees to proceed on behalf of your group, ask its members to draft/review/approve an Overview of the issue.
  • Consider whether there are other component groups that would have a specific interest or expertise in the issue that you are raising. Collaboration with one or more groups is encouraged as a means of gaining support for your issue. If so, contact the chair of that group to determine if the group is interested in collaborating with your group to put the issue forward.
  • Contact the chair of the Committee on Public Policy to discuss whether COPP would support putting the issue forward. 
  • With or without collaboration from other groups, proceed with your request for action by contacting your Council liaison. If your liaison is not available, reach out to the SAA staff for help in moving your request forward. Contact information for Council liaisons is included on each component group’s roster.
  • On very urgent matters: Contact the staff office so that we can help you take the issue directly to the SAA President, Executive Committee, or Council. The President may choose to seek advice from the Committee on Public Policy or other groups.

After you’ve raised your issue or concern:

  • The Council liaison or staff member will pass it along to the President, the Executive Committee, or the Council.
  • The President, Executive Committee, or Council may ask for additional information, assessment, and/or recommendations from a component group (such as the Committee on Public Policy), related professional associations, and/or experts on the specific topic or issue.
  • The leadership (either the Executive Committee or the full Council) will determine whether SAA should respond as an organization.[2]
  • If the decision is made to issue a statement and/or take action: The Executive Committee may designate a person or group to develop a statement of SAA’s position. (This is where your Overview can be extremely helpful when time is of the essence.) The Executive Committee will then review and approve the statement for public dissemination or determine that the statement should be reviewed and approved by the full Council before dissemination. The President, Council liaison, or staff member will inform you or your group of the decision.
  • If the decision is made not to develop a statement and/or take action: The President, Council liaison, or staff member will inform you or your group of the decision.

Whether or not SAA takes action on your issue or concern:

Your group has an opportunity to inform or educate your members – and the broader SAA membership – on the issue. See, for example, the Oral History Section’s activities to educate archivists about the issues surrounding the controversial Belfast Project/Boston College Subpoena Case.