CEPC 2009 Annual Report

Annual meeting sessions



The proposed session on ethics and social justice along with the forum on global issues recommended by the Committee on Ethics and Professional Conduct (CEPC) for 2009 SAA Annual Meeting in Austin were not accepted for the program.  For the 2010 meeting in Washington, D.C., CEPC developed a session on the history and proposed direction for the Code of Ethics, “”Updating the SAA Code of Ethics for Archivists,” and in cooperation with the Privacy and Confidentiality Roundtable helped create and endorsed the proposed session entitled “A Code for Success? Ethics for Processors.” “Updating the Code” was selected as an alternate while “Ethics for Processors” was not selected.



CEPC Charge Revised



As part of the aftermath resulting from the Anthony Clark controversy and questions about how SAA should respond to such controversies, SAA Council has formally amended CEPC’s charge to remove “responding to complaints to SAA alleging violation of the Code of Ethics.” Outgoing chair Rand Jimerson’s May 29, 2009 response to SAA President Frank Boles further explains this change [see attachment].



SAA Code of Ethics



Since 2006 the Committee on Ethics and Professional Conduct (CEPC) has been engaged in analysis and review of the current Code of Ethics and the possibility of developing additional guidelines regarding the professional responsibilities of archivists. At its 2007 annual meeting in Chicago, CEPC reviewed and discussed comparisons between the 1992 and 2005 Codes of Ethics, as well as comments (both published and orally conveyed) regarding deficiencies in the current (2005) Code. In 2007 CEPC compiled comments about ethical codes and discussed reports of complaints heard from other SAA members.  In 2008 CEPC voted to examine options for revising the Code to address some of its perceived weaknesses. CEPC members support an aspirational Code of Ethics, but one that more clearly reflects recent scholarship and professional discourse regarding archival ethics and the profession’s goals and identity. CEPC used its 2009 meeting to discuss the timing and shape of a proposal to SAA Council for revising the Code [see recommended action section below].



Recommended Council action: CEPC requests that SAA Council consider its proposal for revising the SAA Code of Ethics at its winter 2010 meeting. The proposal outlines the revision process and discusses how the Code could be improved while still maintaining its aspirational, not enforceable, character. If approved, revision of the Code will be primary focus of CEPC for 2010 with a revised Code ready for review and approval in 2011. [see attached proposal]



Attached documents:



  1. CEPC annual meeting minutes, August 2009 (draft pending formal approval in 2010)
  2. Rand Jimerson’s May 2009 memo to SAA President Frank Boles
  3. Proposal to SAA Council for revision of the SAA Code of Ethics





Respectfully submitted,





Tim Pyatt, Chair

Committee on Ethics and Professional Conduct

7 December 2009