Synergy. Creativity. Agility. Communication. Commitment.
These are some of the keywords that characterize the rollout of MPAAC, the Members’ Programmatic Advisory and Advocacy Committee. Composed of 23 members, half of who are elected by the membership and half presidentially appointed, the new MPAAC structure plays an important role in AAA governance. It is also a vital new force for members’ engagement with one another and the public. Formally initiated after the 2017 Annual Meeting, MPAAC’s primary responsibility is communicating with members and the Executive Board (EB) to help coordinate the Association’s work in eight priority areas: ethics; human rights; labor and workforce; public policy; racialized minorities; gender equity; practicing, public and applied sector; and internationalization.
MPAAC embodies the spirit of the previously distinct committees but now functions as a single entity to generate more coordinated and focused efforts vis-à-vis both the discipline of anthropology and anthropologists’ engagement with the world-at-large. For the first quarter of 2018 we are engaged in several important tasks that reflect MPAAC’s charge and its synergistic, collaborative spirit. More specifically, MPAAC’s leadership structure entails a triad of chairs that together capture the inward-facing, or association-specific, dimensions of MPAAC’s work, and the outward-facing, or publicly engaged, aspects of our discipline. In practice, this means the membership, including sections, can collaborate with MPAAC on everything from organizing panels and events at the Annual Meetings to participating in working groups to produce concrete outcomes aligned with the Association’s Strategic Implementation Plan (SIP). Similarly, MPAAC can respond to pressing issues that arise beyond the discipline to help the Association respond effectively or engage proactively.
So what is MPAAC actually doing right now? For the first quarter of 2018 we are engaged in several important tasks that reflect MPAAC’s charge and its synergistic, collaborative spirit. First, we are coordinating with several other bodies within AAA and the EB to undertake an analysis of existing statements and policies by sister societies regarding sexual harassment and assault. The result will be a recommendation to the EB from MPAAC regarding an official AAA position and process for addressing sexual harassment and assault in the discipline, in university and other workplace settings, in the field, and around the Annual Meeting.
Also during the first quarter, we are tackling the urgent issue of immigration reform in the United States and particularly the impacts of the Trump administration’s rescinding of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, protections. Recognizing that DACA affects our families, our communities, our institutions and workplaces, our colleagues and students, and the nation at large, MPAAC is developing a series of responses and actions rooted in our anthropological expertise and commitment to advocacy.
These two priority projects were identified as important beginnings for MPAAC for several reasons. First, they are timely and pressing. Second, the nature of both sexual harassment and DACA cut across the different priority areas represented in MPAAC, thus requiring collaboration across the different “seats,” from ethics, gender equity, and human rights to public policy, labor, and racialized minorities. Each project also embodies the inward and outward facing dimensions of MPAAC. And finally, these issues align with key priorities indicated in the Association’s Strategic Implementation Plan. MPAAC is aiming to organize several panels, roundtables, and/or workshops at the 2018 Annual Meeting that engage with these two priority projects as well. Members can expect to see regular reports and updates on these, and on future projects, in Anthropology News and on various platforms such as the AAA blog and social media.
It’s important for members to note that although we have adopted sexual harassment and DACA as two priority projects for early 2018, there are others that we plan to take up later in the year. These include following up on, and making actionable, the findings of the Working Group on Racialized Police Brutality and Extrajudicial Violence, as well as turning our attention to the AAA Statements on Ethics and on Human Rights. We also will not lose sight of the importance of the situation in Israel-Palestine, and we intend to continue developing a home for practicing and applied anthropologists. Clearly, MPAAC has much to keep us busy, and our aim is to do it effectively and transparently, as a coordinated team.
We encourage the membership to reach out to us. Learn about who we are by visiting the MPAAC committee page. Contact us with ideas and issues, whether about the discipline itself or developments that concern us as anthropologists. Plan to attend our public forum at the 2018 Annual Meeting and meet us personally. Consider running as an MPAAC committee member during election time and help us orient our work toward the present and future!
Tricia Redeker Hepner is associate professor of anthropology at the University of Tennessee Knoxville and MPAAC chair.
Cite as: Hepner, Tricia Redeker. 2018. “MPAAC, Sexual Harassment, and Immigration.” Anthropology News website, February 14, 2018. DOI: 10.1111/AN.771