New resolutions recommit AIA to equity and diversity

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Delegates at the 2018 AIA Annual Meeting voted to make the Institute more supportive of difference, more steadfast in inclusiveness, and more explicit in justice.

AIA’s 161st annual meeting agenda prioritized several key resolutions centered on equity, the vital roles that ethnically diverse women and emerging professionals play in transforming the profession, and calling for amendments to the Institute’s Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct to more explicitly address sexual harassment. Resolutions adopted at the annual meeting will not become effective unless ratified by the Board of Directors later this year. To the degree resolutions call for amendments to the Institute Bylaws, the actions they seek would not become effective unless delegates at a future annual meeting adopt the appropriate Bylaws amendments.

Resolution 18-1: Recognition of the 50th Anniversary of Dr. Whitney M. Young Jr.’s Speech at the 1968 AIA Convention, sponsored by the Boston Society of Architects/AIA and AIA Massachusetts, passed with 4659 votes in favor and 6 votes against (with 33 abstentions). Dr. Young’s speech at the 1968 AIA Convention challenged members to use their positions as architects to advance the cause of civil rights. This resolution would commit AIA to distinguish itself by its social and civic contributions to the cause of civil rights by taking stands on injustice and designing a better built environment that is equitable and inclusive for all.

Resolution 18-2: Titling of Allied Members, sponsored by AIA California Council, passed with 4675 votes in favor and 80 votes against (with 13 abstentions). As Britt Lindberg, the 2018 president of AIA California Council, pointed out, Allied members at the component level are required to identify themselves as “Allied Member of the (Name of Chapter) American Institute of Architects,” which she asserted to be cumbersome. This resolution’s purpose was to “streamline the title that allied members” at the component level “may use to publicly demonstrate their engagement and support of the organization.” Under the proposed new rules, Allied members would be able to use the abbreviation “AIA” in conjunction with the name of the component organization of which they are members (i.e., AIA Ohio Allied Member).

Resolution 18-3: Diversity Pipeline and National Representation, sponsored by AIA Georgia, passed with 4266 voting yes and 204 voting no (with 87 abstentions). Asserting a need for a national leadership pipeline of ethnically diverse women candidates for positions on the Institute Board of Directors and Strategic Council, this resolution called for a plan to support the Institute’s commitment to diversity and inclusion. The delegates voted down an amendment that would have changed the resolution’s language to refer not only to ethnically diverse women, but to all ethnically diverse individuals. The resolution was amended, however, to require that the Board and Secretary present a plan for action by delegates at the 2019 AIA Conference on Architecture in Las Vegas.

Resolution 18-4: Clarifying and Reconciling AIA Policy Statements on Codes and Sustainability / Resilience, sponsored by AIA Minnesota, passed with 3772 voting yes and 395 voting no (with 323 abstentions). AIA Position Statement II.A.1 (supporting regulation by a single set of building codes and standards) might be seen as conflicting with Position Statement II.C.1 (advocating for policies, programs, and incentives that promote such things as energy efficiency and renewable energy). This resolution requests that AIA seek to clarify any real or perceived conflicts.

Resolution 18-5: Blueprint for Better Communities: Implementation of the New Urban Agenda in the Architectural Profession, sponsored by the AIA Strategic Council, passed with 4416 voting yes and 68 voting no (with 215 abstentions). This resolution proposed that the AIA commit to support the goals and principles of the United Nations’ New Urban Agenda, Sustainable Development Goals, and Paris Agreement on Climate Change. It also advocated that the Institute encourage and support its component network and members with leadership training and continuing education; educate the public and construction industry about the relevance of the architectural profession; act and collaborate in partnership with other professional and industry organizations and international authorities; and, in 2021, prepare and publish an assessment of the progress made in the architectural profession in the United States and internationally.

Resolution 18-6: Supporting Emerging Professionals, sponsored by AIA California Council, passed with 4450 voting yes, and 35 voting no (with 43 abstentions). This resolution called for the AlA Board of Directors to study the categories of emerging professionals and the challenges of attracting and building emerging professional membership, and develop specific strategies, tactics, and tools to help components attract and retain emerging professionals. It also called upon the Institute to report its findings and recommendations at the 2019 AIA Conference on Architecture in Las Vegas.

Resolution 18-7: Repositioning, Member Value, and a Study of AIA Regions, sponsored by AIA Portland and AIA Oregon, passed, with 3936 voting yes and 339 voting no (with 201 abstentions). This resolution proposed a study of AIA regions to document their wide variety of structures, missions, resources, and programs. An update would be provided to delegates at the 2019 AIA Conference on Architecture, and outcomes and potential recommendations would be shared with members at the 2020 AIA Conference on Architecture.

Resolution 18-16: Amendment to the Code of Ethics Professional Conduct to require the equitable treatment of design professionals and staff of diverse backgrounds and identities, and to prohibit abuse and harassment within our professional community, passed with 4272 voting yes and and 13 voting no (with 136 abstentions). Frances Halsband, FAIA, the first woman elected president of AIA New York, introduced a new business resolution that addressed “recent revelations of ethical misconduct at the highest levels of our profession.” It called for the amendment of the AIA Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct to include a provision that requires members to ensure that their workplaces are environments of mutual respect and equitable treatment, free of abusive behavior and harassment. Five hundred and twenty AIA Fellows endorsed the statement “Fellowship is Leadership.”

Bylaw Amendments

  • Bylaws Amendment 18-A: Sections of the Institute, addressed whether sections of the Institute with voluntary membership should be required to satisfy certain requirements (such as Core Member Services for AIA) that apply to sections with required membership and other components. Bylaws Amendment 18-A passed with 4677 votes in favor and 68 votes against, releasing voluntary sections from these obligations.
  • Bylaws Amendment 18-B: Honorary Fellowship, proposed to remove the ban on Honorary Fellowship for US citizens who satisfy other eligibility requirements. The amendment also specifies that architects would not be eligible for Honorary Fellowship if they are entitled to practice architecture in any US jurisdiction. Bylaws Amendment 18-B passed with 4571 votes in favor and 137 votes against (with 4 abstentions).
  • Bylaws Amendment 18-C: Emeritus Membership, makes Emeritus membership available to any otherwise eligible member in good standing who has been an Architect or Associate member for a total of at least 25 years—regardless of whether those years are successive—as long as three of those years occurred immediately before the member’s application. Previously, the Bylaws required all otherwise eligible members to have maintained at least 15 successive years of membership immediately before applying for Emeritus membership. In most instances, Emeritus members will still be required to be at least 70 years old and retired. A motion to change “he” and “she” pronouns to gender-neutral language was adopted without objection. Bylaws Amendment 18-C passed with 4625 votes in favor and 100 votes against (with 62 abstentions).

Other resolutions of note

  • Resolution 18-8: Appreciation to Retiring Strategic Council Representatives and Board Members adopted by acclamation.
  • Resolution 18-9: Appreciation to Members, Fifty Years, adopted by acclamation.
  • Resolution 18-10: Recognition of Newly Licensed Members adopted by acclamation.
  • Resolution 18-11: Recognition of Component Executive and National Staff Anniversaries adopted by acclamation.
  • Resolution 18-12: Appreciation to the Host Chapter adopted by acclamation.
  • Resolution 18-13: Appreciation to Conference-related Committees adopted by acclamation.
  • Resolution 18-14: Appreciation to Exhibitors adopted by acclamation.
  • Resolution 18-15: Appreciation of Carl Elefante, FAIA, and Adriana Elefante adopted by acclamation.

Katherine Flynn is a writer/editor at AIA focusing on industry trends and emerging ideas.

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