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Ballot Measure on AAA Code of Ethics Changes


On January 15, the AAA membership received notification of a ballot on proposed changes to the AAA Code of Ethics that were approved by the AAA Executive Board. This is an interim revision proposed to respond to the 2007 Turner amendment to reinstate the 1971 CoE language which specifies that no research findings should ever be subjected to disclosure restrictions.

Although there was pressure to completely restore the 1971 language as proposed, the resolution that you are being asked to vote upon does not do that. Rather the revision acknowledges some of the concerns that the NAPA Governing Council communicated to the AAA Executive Board.

Specifically, the revision acknowledges that there are circumstances in which it is ethical to restrict disclosure of research results to protect communities and their cultural and intellectual property.

While I am not telling anyone how to vote, I am comfortable voting “Yes” on these amendments. If you would like to see what you’re voting on, the amendment statement that is linked to the

ballot is clearer than that emailed to the AAA membership on January 9. It took me a while to find this. If you log on to the ballot using the user name and password provided in the January 15 email, go to the ballot itself, and click on the little document icon in the gray bar, the proposed changes will come up with additions underlined and deletions struck out. You do not have to vote to do this. Just ‘x’ out of the ballot if you aren’t ready to vote.

The NAPA position on the proposed return to the 1971 ethics code was developed by members of the NAPA Governing Council and distributed to NAPA members in the July 15, 2008 NAPA newsletter. This statement is accessible here.

The AAA EB has appointed a Task Force to revisit the entire Code of Ethics over the next two years. This Task Force has strong practitioner representation. This interim resolution is independent of the work of that Task Force. This issue will be in play for at least two years. It is critical that all of us be in the room when votes are being taken on this issue at the AAA annual Business Meetings. At the 2008 AAA Business Meeting, a motion that would impact practitioners was very narrowly defeated. If we wish the AAA to consider the interests of practitioners in its deliberations, we must be there to insist that they do so.

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