At last year’s meetings, the SEAC Student Affairs Committee (SAC) hosted a panel discussion on issues related to gender bias. The group discussed sexual harassment in archaeology; publication rates for men and women; workplace expectations about women, pregnancy, and child care; and other topics.
I was impressed by the honesty and public nature of this event. I have loved SEAC meetings since I first joined, but this panel said a lot about the community and was one reason I wanted to get more involved by joining the Student Affairs Committee. The stories and data that people shared were often terrible and, as a whole, disappointing—but the existence of the panel and the participation of SEAC leadership and so many of its members was also encouraging. Between the panel and active audience participation, we heard from faculty who were permanent and temporary, junior and senior, male and female; students with varied experiences and concerns; government and private CRM archaeologists at different stages in their careers. This panel was a prominent event at last year’s conference, and the discussions it promoted are still ongoing.
In particular, SAC will host a follow-up panel at this year’s conference, on Friday, November 20 (1:45-4pm). The purpose will be to work towards specific policies regarding appropriate behavior in the various settings where archaeologists work and learn. What constitutes sexual harassment in the field, classroom, or laboratory? Should SEAC adopt a code of ethical conduct that makes specific reference to sexual harassment and gender disparities? What is the role of our organization in preventing harassment and discrimination? This year’s event will be a collaborative discussion of these questions and others, featuring presentations from speakers who are knowledgeable about different aspects of these issues.
On behalf of SAC I want to encourage you to attend this year’s event. I also want you to know that you can start participating in this discussion today. SAC has created an anonymous Google survey as one way that SEAC members can submit questions and topics for the panelists to consider. You can also post to the SAC Facebook page or via Twitter (@SEAC_SAC – use #SEACethics).
There will also be a few events in Nashville focused specifically on students. As always, SAC will host a student reception (4-6pm on Thursday, November 19), but this year we have also organized an event-within-the-event: a student meet-and-greet where undergraduates can meet up with graduate students to ask questions and receive some spontaneous mentoring. Sign up now if you’re interested! No sign-up is required for the reception itself; just show up at 4 for free snacks and beverages
The student luncheon (12-1:30 on Friday, November 20) will focus on how to craft and polish your CV and cover letter for the public and private sector and for different types of academic jobs. As of my writing this we are very close to our capacity for this event. You may still be able to sign up now, and for those of you who are already attending, I’ll see you there!
I just put together my own SEAC 2015 schedule to make sure I’d have time to fit everything in. Of course I’m planning to attend all of the SAC events, but I’m also excited for a lot of talks about shells, fish, and pottery!
What are you looking forward to at this year’s conference?