SEAC Task Force on Sexual Harassment and Assault

According to SEAC policy, sexual harassment and assault are classified as scientific misconduct because such conduct causes harm to, interferes with, or sabotages scientific activity and careers. Sexual harassment and assault creates a hostile environment that reduces the quality, integrity, and pace of the advancement of science by marginalizing individuals and communities. It also damages productivity and career advancement, and prevents the healthy exchange of ideas (adapted from the American Geophysical Union).

Archaeologists’ learning and work environments are the context not only for the many duties of professionals in our field but also for cultivating confident and effective future generations of archaeologists. Today, archaeologists have many roles: instructional staff and students in classroom, lab, and field settings; curatorial staff in non-profit and government museums; cultural heritage managers and educators in governmental, tribal, and public utility settings; supervisors and employees in private cultural resource/heritage management firms; and participants in professional meetings and conferences. All of these contexts bring practitioners into contact with members of an increasingly diverse population of students, employees, and colleagues.

The Southeastern Archaeological Conference places high value on assuring that educational and work experiences in archaeology are optimal for all to develop and practice relevant skills and knowledge. Sexual harassment and assault, and any form of intimidation based upon sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, ethnicity, disability, national origin, religion, or marital status has been legally recognized as having a chilling effect on learning and workplace experiences, not only for the targets of such behavior but also for others witnessing it.

SEAC has taken steps to actively promote awareness of the issue of sexual harassment and assault and to help educate and move the membership toward a healthier environment in regard to the prevention of sexual harassment and sexual assault of its members. SEAC will not tolerate such behavior.

The SEAC Task Force on Sexual Harassment and Sexual Assault (2016-present) proposed a policy statement on sexual harassment and sexual assault for the organization; the policy was approved by the Executive Board in 2017 and revised in 2019. The 2017 Task Force report to the Executive Board is available here and the 2018 report is available here. In 2018 the Task Force drafted a proposed grievance procedure outlining mechanisms appropriate to SEAC for reporting, adjudicating, and mitigating sexual harassment and sexual assault in the field or any other work place or student environment. In May 2019, the Executive Board voted via email to not investigate further nor implement the grievance procedure. SEAC at present does not adjudicate sexual harassment and sexual assault cases. The Task Force has established a resource guide with the appropriate offices in university, state, and federal agencies to whom one can report a violation. Please keep track of our progress in meeting these goals on this website as well as on social media.

2019 SEAC Conference Events Organized by the Task Force

Workshops on mitigating and preventing sexual harassment and assault in archaeological environments

Implementing a Meetings Code of Conduct for all SEAC members

Implementing a SEAC Safe Officer program for SEAC conference

Resources for Mitigating and Preventing Sexual Harassment and Assault

SEAC Policy Statement on Sexual Harassment and Sexual Assault
SEAC’s policy on Sexual Harassment and Assault, adapted and modified from SAA's statement. Used with permission from the SAA Board of Directors.

SEAC Background and Resource Guide for Sexual Harassment and Violence
Offers relevant definitions, U.S.  federal government legislation and their relevance to archaeological settings, suggestions for  prevention, and bystander awareness, as well as what to do if one has a grievance.

SEAC Code of Conduct for Field Schools and Field Projects Offers recommendations for project directors to implement or strengthen codes of conduct for field schools and other projects.

Brochure Describes the scope of sexual harassment and assault as well as prevention strategies.

Training Module A powerpoint that discusses sexual harassment and sexual assault as well as prevention strategies. Please adapt for your field schools and companies.

SEAC 2014 Sexual Harassment Survey

SEAC 2014 Sexual Harassment poster Meyers et al This initial presentation of results of a survey about sexual harassment and assault demonstrates the prevalence of those problems and led to the formation of SEAC’s Taskforce on Sexual Harassment and Assault.

2018 The Context and Consequences of Sexual Harassment in Southeastern Archaeology Advances in Archaeological Practice article by Meyers et al interprets the facts that 66% of archaeologists reported harassment and 13% reported assault. The authors also discuss changes over time, correlations between particular factors, effects on careers, and efforts at mitigation.

Unformatted Survey Data Question/Response

Formatted Survey Data Question/Response

If You Have Been Harassed or Assaulted:

For immediate help, call 911, local police can accompany you to a local hospital or health center. There is no time limit on making a police report and filing a report does not mean you have to press a criminal case.

Employees at your school or work place are generally required to report conversations if you tell them you have experienced harassment or assault. Reporting to the Dean of Students or Title 9 Compliance & Equity Officer at your university means you will be protected from retaliation.

If you wish to have an anonymous conversation rather than make a report, each state has a sexual assault hotline and the National Sexual Assault Hotline 1-800-656-HOPE will connect you with a local resource. You may also try 877-739-3895 for the National Sexual Violence Resource Center. Universities often offer free counseling or other places to anonymously discuss sexual assault and harassment. We are here to listen as well.

2019 Members:

Robbie Ethridge, chair
Jera Davis, member-at-large
Michael Fedoroff, member-at-large
Gayle Fritz, member-at-large
Vanessa N. Hanvey, member-at-large
Meredith Hardy, member-at-large
Patrick Johnson, member-at-large
Scot Keith, member-at-large
Shawn Lambert, member-at-large
Jesse C. Nowak, member-at-large
Dawn Retuecki, member-at-large
Chris Rodning, member-at-large