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Statement Regarding Al Jazeera Story

As many of you are aware, Al Jazeera and other media outlets recently published stories that include several women’s accounts of professional misconduct by Andy Orchard, a former member of this Society. Andy Orchard has not been a member of ISSEME since 2019 and will not attend future ISSEME events.

We take these allegations seriously and call on all institutions involved to investigate these matters thoroughly and take all appropriate actions in response. 

First of all, our hearts go out to all victims of sexual predation, both those who have spoken out, and those who have chosen not to speak out. We realize that even raising the issue in this forum has the potential to re-traumatize them. Our focus should be on them. That said, given the public nature of these published stories, we feel it is necessary to make a public statement.

We realize that the problem of sexual misconduct, in academia generally and in our field, is bigger than any single case. Addressing this broader issue: we wish to emphasize that this organization shares blame for not having taken action to address the problem aggressively. In the past, this organization did not take professional and/or sexual misconduct seriously enough to institute a policy prohibiting it, much less enforce any such policy.  For that we take responsibility. 

Let us be clear: There is no place for professional and/or sexual misconduct in ISSEME.  Please be assured that ISSEME will take action to the fullest extent permitted by law against professional misconduct in our ranks.  What is more, we urge all institutions, organizations, etc., especially those affiliated with ISSEME, to do the same.  We will reconsider our relationships with those organizations that do not take such action.

The primary goal of this board has been to make ISSEME a safe and welcoming space for all who wish to join our events. In late 2019, we instituted a professional behavior policy:

https://isseme.org/about/professional-behavior-policy/

Soon after, in early 2020, we also established a Climate Committee to further assess the current situation and to propose new policies. This committee has already made substantive alterations to the way we operate.  There is more work to do, and we are committed to continuing what we have begun.

Sincerely,

The ISSEME Advisory Board

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