American Sociological Association

ASA Anti-Harassment Resources

ASA Anti-Harassment Resources
ASA Working Group on Harassment
Version August 1, 2018


  1. Relevant Programming at the Annual Meeting
  2. ASA Working Group on Harassment 
  3. ASA Anti-Harassment Policy for the Annual Meeting
  4. Resources (Sociology, Nationwide, Federal Government)
  5. Resources for Campus Leaders (Training, Internal, External)
  6. Reports about Harassment at Academic Meetings
  7. Current Conversations
  8. Research on Sexual Harassment at Conferences and other Sociological Research

IF YOU EXPERIENCE HARASSMENT at the ANNUAL MEETING: Call convention center security 215-418-4950 first if that is your location.  They will be able to direct police to your specific location much more quickly than you. You are encouraged to immediately report the incident to ASA Executive Officer, Nancy Kidd, at, (646) 408-9063 or to the Director of Meeting Services, Michelle Randall, at

Call (215) 985-3333 to reach the 24/7 Philadelphia Rape Crisis Hotline.

If you are in immediate danger, call the police 911.

See ASA Anti-Harassment Policy for the Annual Meeting


Complementary Workshops

Three complimentary workshops have been organized by and with members of the Working Group for ASA 2018:


Harassment is an institutional, systemic, and cultural problem within academia. Harassment can be based on age, race, ethnicity, national origin, religion, language, sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression, disability, health conditions, socioeconomic status, marital status, domestic status, or parental status (hereafter, simply harassment). Colleges and universities are gendered organizations that are especially susceptible to the power differentials and toxic masculinity that breed harassment. Sexual harassment frequently results from a desire to prove the perpetrator’s masculinity, rather than to pursue sexual pleasure/gratification. Even when sexual harassment is motivated, in part, by sexual or romantic interest, it is also always about the abuse of power and status. It happens to men as well as women. People of color and people from sexual- and gender-minority (LGBTQ) report even higher rates of incidences of harassment and microaggression.

We often hear of harassment—sexual, racial, and other forms— at professional meetings, including ASA’s Annual Meeting.  In 2017, Council appointed a Harassment Working Group to identify steps ASA might consider taking to both prevent and respond to misconduct at our Annual Meeting. The Working Group serves two important purposes:

1) advising the Council on relevant policy issues,
2) educating our membership, including helping direct members to appropriate outlets for support and/or reporting.

Steps ASA has taken:
•    ASA has revised and integrated the harassment policy into the meeting registration process. All meeting attendees must agree to follow the policy. 
•    The policy is now printed in the program book, available on the app, and displayed prominently throughout the meeting site.

Working Group members have written articles for Footnotes:
•    “Can Anti-Harassment Programs Reduce Sexual Harassment?” by Frank Dobbin and Alexandra Kalev 
•    “#MeToo and the ASA Working Group on Harassment” by C. Shawn McGuffey 
•    “Sexual Harassment Training: Promises, Pitfalls, and Future Directions,” by Justine Tinkler

What ASA Sections can do
The Working Group suggests that each section discuss whether there are better ways to organize social activities at the Annual Meeting to reduce the potential for harassment.  We recognize that social events hold an important role for sections, and we hope that these events can be organized in ways that ensure full, comfortable, and safe participation for everyone.


ASA reminds everyone: Our Annual Meeting is convened for the purposes of professional development and scholarly educational interchange in the spirit of free inquiry and free expression. Harassment of colleagues, students, or other conference participants undermines the principle of equity at the heart of these professional fora and is inconsistent with the principles of free inquiry and free expression. Consequently, harassment is considered by ASA to be a serious form of professional misconduct.

The following Anti-Harassment Policy outlines expectations for all those who attend or participate in ASA meetings. It reminds ASA meeting participants that all professional academic ethics and norms apply as standards of behavior and interaction at these meetings.

Purpose.  ASA is committed to providing a safe and welcoming conference environment for all participants, free from harassment based on age, race, sex, ethnicity, national origin, religion, language, sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression, disability, health conditions, socioeconomic status, marital status, domestic status, or parental status (hereafter, simply harassment). “Participant” in this policy refers to anyone present at ASA meetings, including staff, contractors, vendors, exhibitors, venue staff, ASA members, and all other attendees.

Expected Behavior.  All participants at ASA meetings are expected to abide by this Anti-Harassment Policy in all meeting venues including ancillary events as well as official and unofficial social gatherings.

  • Follow the norms of professional respect that are necessary to promote the conditions for free academic interchange.
  • If you witness potential harm to a conference participant, be proactive in helping to mitigate or avoid that harm.
  • Alert conference security personnel or law enforcement if you see a situation in which someone might be in imminent physical danger.

Unacceptable Behavior.  Harassment of any participant is unethical behavior under the American Sociological Association Code of Ethics. Harassment may consist of a single intense and severe act or of multiple persistent or pervasive acts which are demeaning, abusive, or offensive, or create a hostile professional or workplace environment. Harassment may include sexual solicitation, physical advance, or verbal or non-verbal conduct that is sexual in nature; it may also include threatening, intimidating, or hostile acts; circulation of written or graphic material that denigrates or shows hostility toward an individual or group; epithets, slurs, or negative stereotyping based on group identity.

Attendees are encouraged to immediately report instances of harassment during the Annual Meeting to the ASA Executive Officer, Nancy Kidd, at, (646) 408-9063 or to the Director of Meeting Services, Michelle Randall, at Reports will be treated as confidential. Violations of this policy may lead to removal from the Annual Meeting.  To read the American Sociological Association Code of Ethics in its entirety, visit and follow the link at the top to “Ethics.”




Federal Government



The best prevention of harassment is to create a diverse, inclusive, and respectful environment that promotes gender equity and does not tolerate harassment of any kind (NAS 2018).

See ASA Working Group on Harassment’s STOPPING HARASSMENT IN YOUR DEPARTMENT: A Resource for Department Chairs. 


Training Programs

Conventional sexual harassment training programs have not been shown to prevent harassment (EEOC 2017; NAS 2018; Tinkler 2018).  Effective training programs focus on changing behavior rather than on changing beliefs, and communicate clear expectations for behavior and sanctions/consequences for failing to meet expectations.

  • Bystander intervention training helps participants develop skills to interrupt and intervene when inappropriate behavior occurs.
  • Implicit bias training helps us understand our own hidden schemata and biases.
  • Self-defense/assertiveness training for students and faculty helps people respond in real time, negotiate conflict, and set professional boundaries.
  • Diversity and inclusion training fosters inclusive, equitable, respectful, and productive workplaces that support people with different backgrounds.
  • Civility training focuses on appropriate workplace behaviors and emphasizes respect of individual differences.
  • Invite the university’s Title IX coordinator (and ombudsperson) to a faculty meeting so that faculty better understand the Title IX office’s responsibilities and constraints.

Campus Resources (That may exist)

  • Campus Safety/Office of Public Safety
  • Campus Violence Prevention Office
  • Title IX Office/Coordinator
  • Campus Counseling Center or Mental Health Services
  • Employee Assistance Program (EAP)
  • Equal Employment Opportunity Office (EEO)
  • Human Resources Department
  • Office of the Ombudsperson
  • Office of the Dean of Students
  • Peer Support Services

External Resources for Campus Leaders


Other Reports about Harassment



(Please let us know if you have any recent references you would like to include, preferably sociological work!)