SAA Council Approves Revisions to Statement on DEI and Recommendations to Create SAA Data Repository

May 15, 2020—At its May 12-13 virtual meeting, the SAA Council:

  • Approved a new Statement on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion that Council members Steven Booth, Brenda Gunn, and Audra Yun had shepherded through a review process that included a two-week open member comment period in late February. View the updated statement here.  (IV.A.)
  • Approved a minor revision in SAA’s Equal Opportunity/Non-Discrimination Policy to specify “political and religious” beliefs, based on member feedback. View the updated statement here. Both the Statement on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion and the Equal Opportunity/Non-Discrimination Policy are reviewed by the Council at least every three years. (IV.A.)
  • Approved three recommendations from the Committee on Research, Data, and Assessment that will create a data repository—the SAA Dataverse—using open-source software provided by the Odum Institute at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. (IV.B.)
  • Reviewed the excellent and comprehensive final report of the Tragedy Response Initiative Task Force, formed in January 2018, and agreed with the group’s recommendation to create a standing working group to continue some aspects of the work done by the task force. A Council subgroup is refining a description of the working group, which will be announced in the coming weeks. (IV.C.)

    SAA working groups differ from committees in that they are populated with acknowledged experts in a given topic area and their members may be reappointed indefinitely so that their expertise remains available to the Council. They differ from task forces in that their charge is ongoing and not (necessarily) time-limited. Working groups are advisory to the Council and may be created and disbanded by the Council as appropriate.
  • Approved a recommendation by the Digital Archives Specialist Subcommittee of the SAA Committee on Education that the size of the subcommittee be increased from eight to ten members to ensure adequate coverage of the many tasks assigned to the subcommittee in developing and maintaining the DAS certificate program. The Council also agreed to remove the requirement that all subcommittee members must hold the DAS certificate, noting instead that the majority of the subcommittee should be certificate holders. (IV.D.)
  • Discussed questions posed by the Committee on Public Policy about 1) shifting the Legislative Agenda to focus on how SAA can be involved in ensuring that archives and archivists are included in COVID funding aid packages being addressed by Congress and 2) determining what resources might be needed to address such a shift. (V.A.)
  • Discussed a proposal from the Native American Archives Section that SAA support, for the next three years, 1) two travel scholarships for tribal archivists to attend the Annual Meeting and 2) promotion of NAAS/tribal archivists membership via involvement in the Association for Tribal Archives, Libraries, and Museums (ATALM) annual convening. The staff will include this request in the draft budget for FY21, which the Council will review in June. (V.B.)
  • Drafted and approved four Council Exemplary Service Awards and six Council Resolutions honoring SAA members and groups for their outstanding contributions to the profession and to SAA.  Awards will be announced in conjunction with the 2020 Joint Annual Meeting. (V.C.)

In addition the Council had a robust discussion of ideas for presenting the 2020 Joint Annual Meeting as a virtual conference, with suggestions about how to address the various components of a “typical” SAA conference, including what might be reimagined in terms of format or timing and what might be put aside in 2020. The Program Committee currently is reviewing accepted sessions and will be making recommendations about the education program in late May.  (V.D.)

Although Council members did not discuss the many written reports prepared for the meeting, members are encouraged to review them, as they include a wealth of information about SAA’s projects and activities.  (VI.B. – VI.G.)

The Council will meet virtually in mid-June to review and approve SAA’s FY 2021 budget (July 1, 2020 – June 30, 2021).

If you have questions or concerns about these Council actions, feel free to contact SAA President Meredith Evans (president@archivists.org) or Executive Director Nancy Beaumont (nbeaumont@archivists.org). Complete minutes from this conference call will be available on the SAA website soon.

The next meeting of the SAA Council will take place virtually in early August. If you’d like to have an item considered for inclusion on the agenda, submit it to Evans and/or Beaumont no later than Monday, July 6.