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.

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.

SHARP Coordinator Executive Board Position

The Task Force is pleased to announce that the members of SEAC, in the fall of 2020, voted to implement a permanent Executive Committee position of a Sexual Harassment and Assault Response and Prevention (SHARP) Coordinator. The SHARP Coordinator will be responsible for coordinating and implementing all SEAC initiatives, actions, or oversight deemed appropriate by the Executive Committee regarding the prevention, mitigation, and response to sexual harassment and assault. To assist in this difficult work, the Executive Committee will also appoint a SHARP standing committee, chaired by the SHARP Coordinator. This initiative required a change in SEAC Articles of Incorporation and By-Laws; you can view the changes in Appendix A of the 2020 SEAC Task Force Report.

The SHARP Coordinator is an elected, two-year position, and the first SHARP Coordinator will be elected into office in the Fall 2021 election cycle. The SEAC Nominations Committee is currently accepting nominations for this position. Please contact them if you are interested in serving in this position or if you would like to nominate someone.

SEAC Policy Statement on Sexual Harassment and Assault

For the full text of the SEAC Policy Statement on Sexual Harassment and Assault, please see this link.

2021 Upcoming SEAC Task Force Conference Events

  • Workshops on mitigating and preventing sexual harassment and assault in archaeological environments
  • Continue the SEAC Safe Officer program for the SEAC conference (see below)
  • Implement a requirement for registrants to agree to follow the SEAC Meetings Code of Conduct when one registers for the meetings (see below)

SEAC Meetings Code of Contact 2021

No participant and attendee at SEAC events should be subjected to sexual harassment or sexual assault. If you are subjected to harassment or assault at a SEAC event, please contact a SEAC Safe Officer or a voting officer of SEAC. For the full statement of the Meetings Code of Conduct click here. All conference attendees will be required to agree to abide by the Meetings Code of Conduct in order to register.

SEAC Safe Officer Program 2021

In 2019 the Task Force piloted the SEAC Safe Officer program. The Task Force intends to continue the Safe Officer Program at the 2021 conference. For this program, any participant who has been subjected to sexual harassment, assault, discrimination, or other unwanted behaviors can report these behaviors to our on-site volunteers. SEAC Safe Officers will be available at the registration desk during registration hours, as well as at all SEAC-sponsored evening events and on-call 24 hours a day throughout the meetings. For more information on the 2021 SEAC Safe Officer program, click here.

Safe and Inclusive Field Schools—NSF-funded Project

The SEAC Task Force is working with Dr. Carole Colaninno and her colleagues, Emily L. Beahm, Carl G. Drexler, and Shawn P. Lambert, to disseminate the goals and information regarding a three-year, NSF-funded project, “Evidence-based Transformation of Undergraduate Field Schools to Promote Inclusivity and Diversity.” For more information and preliminary results of the project, please see the links below and go to You can also contact the investigators at We will post additional information as it becomes available.

Colaninno, et al., “Creating and Supporting a Harassment- and Assault-Free Field School.” Advances in Archaeological Practice 8(2): 111–122, 2020. Link to paper.

Colaninno, et al., “Preventing and Reducing Occurrences of Sexual Harassment and Assault at Archaeological Field Schools.” Paper presented at the National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine Action Collaborative on Preventing Sexual Harassment in High Education, October 19, 2020, online format. Link to paper; link to associated PowerPoint.

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.

Resources for Mitigating and Preventing Sexual Harassment and Assault

SEAC Resource Guide for Sexual Harassment and Violence
SEAC Suggested Code of Conduct for Field Schools and Field Projects
SEAC Suggested Agreement Form for Fieldwork Code of Conduct
SEAC Brochure on Sexual Harassment and Assault
SEAC Training Module on Sexual Harassment and Assault

SEAC Task Force Annual Reports 2017–2021

SEAC Task Force Report 2017
SEAC Task Force Report 2018
SEAC Task Force Report 2019
SEAC Task Force Report 2020
SEAC Task Force Report 2021 – due November 2021

2021 SEAC Task Force Members:

Robbie Ethridge, chair,
Jera Davis,
Michael Fedoroff,
Gail Fritz,
Meredith Hardy,
Vanessa Hanvey,
Patrick Johnson,
Scot Keith,
Shawn Lambert,
Jesse Nowak,
Chris Rodning,