USITT Accepted Into Membership of Societies Consortium on Sexual Harassment in STEMM

January 7, 2020

By: David Grindle, USITT's Executive Director

In November, USITT was accepted into membership of the Societies Consortium on Sexual Harassment in STEMM. This group of more than 120 societies and associations was formed in 2019 to address issues of Sexual Harassment with unified approaches.

The Societies Consortium released model policies for members to use that were drafted and reviewed for general legal compliance before being released. The advantage to the way this group works is that in areas where you can have different approaches, they suggest options for different organizations. In some groups, greeting someone with more than a handshake is not acceptable, while others might be perfectly fine with attendees greeting one another with an embrace. The models put forward allow for such variances of organizational culture.

An additional feature of these model policies being put forward is that they also address the reality that not all conflict and disagreement are harassing. These policies describe how to have productive conflict (speaking about the idea and not the speaker, for example) so that we can continue to have dialogue and debate that focuses on the issues rather than denigrate into name-calling and personal attacks.

The first convening of the consortium was held in November and Past President Lea Asbell-Swanger represented USITT. At the moment she along with Vice-President for Education & Training Tammy Honesty, and Board Member Kasey Allee-Foreman are reviewing the model policies and drafting a version for review by the USITT Bylaws Committee. These policies will help us solidify how to act should incidents occur at our gatherings.

USITT’s commitment to research, the exchange of ideas, and debate have been solid for 60 years. Our goal is to continue that and to make sure that it remains focused on ideas and issues that, while we may disagree, we do so remaining respectful of one another.

For more information about the Societies Consortium and to see the full member list please visit the website at