Where we stand update: Sexual harassment & the architectural profession
The AIA is committed to working with its members and firms to change the culture of our profession to one that is diverse, welcoming and treats each individual with dignity and respect. In addition to what it has already delivered, the Institute has the following deliverables in development to supporting this commitment:
- AIA plans to deliver harassment and respectful workplace e-learning courses for all members by the fourth quarter of 2018.
- On June 4, AIA sent component presidents and CACE information and a Model Harassment Policy to assist components with adopting a sexual harassment policy, which is a new Core Member Service requirement for component accreditation. Components are required to submit their adopted proposal by January 2019.
- In April, AIA’s President asked the National Ethics Council (NEC) to make recommendations regarding how the Code of Ethics addresses sexual harassment. The NEC provided formal recommendations for consideration by the Institute’s Board of Directors. In September, the Board of Directors approved several changes to the AIA Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct to explicitly address sexual harassment and equity in the profession.
- The AIA will require all nominees for AIA national awards to sign a declaration that certifies adherence to tenets of the AIA Code of Ethics.
- AIA held two sessions on sexual harassment at A’18: a compliance training that addressed building a respectful and harassment free workplace; and a session, guided by experts who answered questions and provided advice based on various scenarios.
- A number of additional sessions were offered at A’18 supporting equity, diversity and inclusion issues.
- A’18 featured a “Commitment Wall” on the Expo Floor where members posted commitments to making their workplaces equitable, diverse and inclusive.
- AIA is continuing to educate members and others through its various communication vehicles, including its newsletter, AIA Architect, and ARCHITECT Magazine. Recent articles have included “Meeting the #MeToo Moment” and “Ethics in Practice for an Equitable Profession.” Upcoming articles will feature a column from Emily Grandstaff-Rice, FAIA, Chair of the Equity & The Future of Architecture Board Committee, and a Q & A piece with Dr. Shirley Davis on why compliance with anti-sexual harassment policies is important for practitioners and firm owners. Another article in July covered the AIA’s conference sessions, focusing on how a strong commitment to combatting sexual harassment requires architects to understand and act on prevention, reporting, and long-term remedies. Meanwhile, ARCHITECT Magazine is reporting on how to establish a sexual harassment policy.
- In addition, the Institute is actively building on more than a decade of work addressing equity, diversity and inclusion, including underlying issues involving sexual harassment, in the profession. The AIA is currently developing “Guides for Equitable Practice,” which will provide architects and firms with guidance on best practices in equity, diversity and inclusion principles, and how those values can be a part of any architectural practice. The first three guides—"Cultural Competence + Implicit Bias,” “Pay Equity,” and “Workplace Culture”— are scheduled to be available at the end of the year.
- Finally, AIA is committed to launching a firm recognition program that celebrates and promotes exemplary workplaces, firm culture and equity practices.