American Society of Papyrologists Statement on Professional Ethics
Approved by the ASP Membership January 19, 2022
1. Introduction The American Society of Papyrologists (ASP) is an international scholarly community that through its activities fosters exchange of ideas and collaboration among its members, whether in person, in print, or in digital media, on all aspects of ancient papyrological texts in their full chronological, linguistic, and geographical diversity. The ASP believes that responsible and ethical scholarship, inclusiveness, and mutual respect are central tenets necessary for the well-being of the community and its members.
In this spirit, the ASP expects its members to act in a fashion that honors its commitment to creating an environment that cultivates respect and honors individual differences, including race, ethnicity, language, national origin, career stages, religious and spiritual beliefs, gender, sexuality, and physical and mental abilities.
In what follows the Society aims to set out some implications of this commitment for its members’ professional conduct and, in particular, their involvement in the Society’s activities.
2. Diversity, inclusion, and equity The ASP is committed to a welcoming environment that encourages participation from all those interested in its activities and who accept the responsibilities of such participation. The Society does not discriminate based on age, citizenship status, creed, disability, gender identity or expression, genetic information, marital status, national or ethnic origin, native language, political belief, pregnancy status, race, religion, sex, sexual orientation, skin color, veteran status, or any other category protected by relevant state or national law. (Meetings of the Society and its Board of Directors, conference panels, and Summer Institutes are conducted in English. All publications of the Society, including the Bulletin of the American Society of Papyrologists, accept work in English, French, German, and Italian.)
3. The ASP and its larger professional context The ASP is a small learned Society, without any full-time staff, which lives in a larger ecosystem of institutions and organizations; most of its members are also part of institutions or other organizations. These have issued statements about various aspects of professional ethics and the standards of conduct expected of members of the academic profession and of learned societies. The ASP supports the statements of these learned societies and expects that its members will conduct themselves in accordance with them. In general, concerns about violations of these larger societal norms, if not directly related to the ASP’s activities, should be brought to the appropriate body, which may be the home institution of an individual or the broader professional organization. As the Society for Classical Studies statement cited below notes, in some cases, such as promotion and tenure or academic freedom disputes, the appropriate national academic organization, not limited to a single discipline, may be better equipped to handle complaints—the American Association of University Professors, in the case of the USA. Cases of discrimination and harassment that fall under Title IX in the USA should in general be handled by the university or college offices with jurisdiction. We recognize that our members outside the USA will have their own institutional resources and procedures as well.
We call to our members’ attention in particular the following statements:
Some ASP programs take place within the framework of the AIA-SCS and SBL annual meetings and are subject to their rules, which in some cases exclude from participation in the meetings anyone under sanction from their home institution for harassment or discrimination. Anyone under a sanction from these organizations that prevents their attendance at a meeting will therefore not be able to attend the ASP meeting held as part of it.
It should be noted in addition that the ASP’s Summer Institutes in Papyrology are held on the campuses of host universities. All participants in the SIP are bound while the Institute is in progress by the codes of conduct that these host universities have established, as well as by the ASP’s own code (which is set forth in section 5 of this document).
4. Ethical standards for the ASP’s core programs The ASP has three major areas of program activity. These are, in the order of their founding, meetings, publications, and summer Institutes. All of these were created in the early 1960s and have evolved as the Society has grown and become more international. They have also undergone change as standards for professional conduct have developed during the intervening decades. As noted in section 3, the programs in connection with the meetings of the SCS and the SBL are subject to the ethics codes that those organizations have published. From time to time the Society may hold other meetings, including the North American Papyrology Seminars (NAPS); participants in these meetings are expected to adhere to the same ethical standards as in the annual meetings and those of any host institution.
A central aspect of ethical conduct specific to papyrology and similar disciplines is the proper treatment of cultural property; for the ASP, this term refers particularly to papyri and related ancient textual artifacts, but it includes other ancient artifacts and modern archives constituted around them. The Society adopted a Resolution Concerning the Illicit Trade in Papyri in June 2007 and a Joint [with the AIP] Statement on the Papyrus Trade in January 2021; the latter statement will be submitted for approval to the membership of the International Association of Papyrologists at the Thirtieth International Congress of Papyrology in 2022. The texts of these resolutions may be found at https://www.papyrology.org/resolutions.html. Participants in all ASP activities are expected to abide by their letter and spirit, and editors of ASP publications are enjoined by the Board of Directors to be guided by them in their editorial work.
Most violations of the ethical standards set out and referred to here, particularly in the context of ASP publications or other activities, may be reported to the Secretary-Treasurer; the procedures for handling investigations and possible sanctions are described in the Society’s Bylaws. Procedures for handling violations of the rules governing the Summer Institutes are discussed in section 5 of this Statement of Professional Ethics.
5. Summer Institutes The Summer Institutes of the American Society of Papyrologists are enriching educational experiences for students and younger faculty wishing to learn more about the field of papyrology, and for the faculty and guest lecturers who guide them. In order to ensure a positive and productive experience, respecting the scholarly and professional norms embodied in this statement and free from harassment of any sort, the ASP requires all participants to sign an undertaking to uphold this code of conduct. Because the Institutes are both intensive and of limited length, ensuring a positive experience requires both this commitment and the means to see that it is honored.
5.1. Expected conduct during Institutes, both in-person and on social media A. All participants must abide by the codes of conduct of the host institution. B. All participants must abide by the ASP Statement on non-discrimination. C. All participants must abide by generally accepted norms of academic attribution in Institute presentations and any publications resulting therefrom. The work of other scholars must be cited, and the assistance of others acknowledged. D. All participants must follow institutional, local, state, and federal rules concerning unwanted sexual behavior in the context of the Institute. E. All participants must follow the ASP Resolution concerning the Illicit Trade in Papyri available and the joint ASP and AIP statement on the papyrus trade referred to above in any publications resulting from their participation in the Institute.
5.2. Reporting Procedures A. Because of the short (4 to 6 weeks) duration of the Institutes, participants are urged to report any violations of the above policy immediately. 1. For violations of any of the above listed regulations, participants can speak with the Institute director. Participants should note that in the case of violations of Title IX in the USA or its equivalent in other countries, the director may be a mandatory reporter at his/her institution. 2. If the Institute director is implicated in policy violations, or if a victim does not want to discuss the matter with the director, participants can speak with the chair of the ASP Summer Institute Committee or any member of the ASP Summer Institute Committee. 3. For violations of Title IX in the USA or its equivalent in other countries (A and D above), participants can speak to the host institution’s Title IX office. 4. For violations of local, state, or federal criminal code, participants can naturally report them to the appropriate authorities.
B. Confidentiality and non-retaliation 1. Anonymity and confidentiality will be maintained to the extent possible when the alleged breach of policy is reported to the accused person. 2. Retaliation against an accuser is prohibited during and after the Institute.
5.3. Processing of complaints A. The director of the Institute will immediately act on any complaint by reporting the incident to ASP Summer Institute Committee, and to the institutional Title IX office(s) in the USA or its equivalent in other countries, as mandated, if necessary. 1. The director has the right to immediately remove a visiting scholar who is accused of misconduct. 2. The director can act immediately to safeguard the victim as necessary.
B. The ASP Summer Institute Committee will act as the investigator of any infractions and will hear from the involved parties. 1. Given the brief duration of the Institute, the committee will investigate the infraction as quickly as possible and render their judgement. 2. If the facts merit action to keep the victim from imminent harm, the committee has the right to take temporary measures such as suspending someone accused of an infraction. 3. If there is a judgement against the accused, they have the right to appeal to the whole ASP Board of Directors.
5.4. Penalties A. Participants who are found to have violated the expected norms of conduct listed above will be removed from the current and future Institutes.
B. Participants who are removed from the Institute will lose their right of publication for any papyrus they edited.
C. Participants should be aware that the host institution may report their conduct to their home institution as required by policy and/or law.
6. Use of social media The ASP does not seek to police its members’ private use of social media, but it does insist that if they are speaking for the Society or using their affiliation with or office in it they do so in a manner consistent with how any other public statement or publication would be authorized and issued. That means that officers and directors should identify themselves by their offices in social media posts only if they are acting within the specific competence of their office or have been authorized by the Board of Directors to make such public statements.
In addition, the use of social media is subject to the same standards of professional conduct as any other professional activity. Where it is specifically connected to papyrological work, therefore, the ASP expects that members will abide by the ethical principles set out elsewhere in this statement. In broader professional use, of course, the codes of conduct promulgated by the SCS, AIA, SBL, and other organizations as well as members’ home institutions may apply. We ask members particularly to keep in mind that social media posts have the potential to do grave harm to others and can potentially make our field less inclusive and welcoming than we aim for it to be.
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