Moving Forward Together from #Metoo

Symposium
ROOM: CC, Room 22
SESSION NUMBER: 44
 
The intent of this symposium is to discuss the implications of the recent #MeToo movement and revelation of countless instances of gender-related harassment and abuse for current and future members of the wildlife profession. A variety of perspectives on the #MeToo movement will be considered in this symposium with opportunities for panel and audience discussion. The wildlife profession is not immune to occurrences such as those revealed by #MeToo and all professionals have a responsibility to be aware of and improve conditions in their respective working environments. This symposium will present the current situation and emphasize mechanisms for improving the atmosphere in the workplace and moving beyond the sorts of accusations that have come out of the #MeToo movement. This is an issue that applies to students and professionals of all genders and backgrounds and this symposium is thus intended to have broad applicability across conference attendees.This symposium will start with an overview of the #MeToo movement, consider signs of inappropriate behavior in your own workplace and evidence of harassment and assault among natural resource professionals, and present actions that can be taken by both men and women to end these behaviors. It will also consider different perspectives on the #MeToo movement, including the possibility that some people accused of wrong doing may actually be victims of this movement. This symposium will allow for audience input and participation and an open dialogue about how wildlife professionals can come together and move forward from #MeToo. We will have an experienced moderator who will be prepared for this potentially emotional session.

12:50PM Why #Metoo?
  Carol Chambers
Time Magazine called the women and men behind the movement “The Silence Breakers” but others have called #MeToo a “witch-hunt” with allegations of misconduct needing fact checking and due process. This movement started in 2017, spreading virally and internationally, thus giving people a sense of the magnitude of the problem. #MeToo highlights the prevalence of sexual harassment and assault, especially in the workplace. The purpose of #MeToo is to empower women and men. We set the stage and ground rules for a discussion of a sensitive topic and will provide ideas for awareness, education, and change in wildlife professional settings, including universities.
1:10PM Wave of Awareness
  Bob Lanka
The Declaration of Independence states without ambiguity, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.” In the 242 years since the signing of that document, the United States and indeed the world has debated the meaning of those fourteen words. We continue to debate their meaning today. The worldwide conversation known as #MeToo is only the most recent example of the ongoing human struggle to value others despite differences and to give ourselves the freedom to allow others that which we expect – the unalienable rights of a voice and respect. To be a member of, our professional society, The Wildlife Society, one needs to pay dues and agree to adhere to the TWS Code of Ethics which states in part: “A person accepting membership in the Society incurs the obligation to conduct his or her professional and membership-related activities in a responsible and ethical manner.” For those who thought position, status or gender somehow bestowed some special right to abuse or otherwise hold others back, the #MeToo movement has removed any doubt that such behavior, in all its forms, is unacceptable and unethical. With a current global population of 7.6 billion, projected to reach 8 billion by 2024 and 9 billion by 2042, conservation of not just wildlife but of the very planet we live on needs every voice.
1:30PM How to Break the Silence
  Kathy Granillo
What legal options are there to stop harassment or abuse at work and at educational institutions and what are supervisors responsibilities? Many job settings lack effective reporting options and there is often fear of reprisal if harassment is reported. What options are available to wildlife professionals and students and what laws are in place that provide protection? Sexual harassment is a form of sex discrimination that violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Title VII applies to employers with 15 or more employees, including state and local governments. It also applies to employment agencies, labor organizations, and to the federal government. Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 is a comprehensive federal law that prohibits sex discrimination in education. It covers women and men, girls and boys, and staff and students in any educational institution or program that receives federal funds. Local school districts, colleges and universities, for-profit schools, career and technical education agencies, libraries, and museums are all covered under Title IX. Both sexual harassment and sexual violence are forms of sex discrimination covered under Title IX. Title IX protects students from sexual harassment and violence that occur in the course of a school’s education programs and activities. Once a school knows of or reasonably should have known about sexual harassment or sexual assault on campus, Title IX requires the school to promptly investigate the complaint and take steps to protect its students. Are there additional laws that protect workers and students? This session will address the two above-mentioned laws and others to answer that question.
1:50PM Student Perspectives on #Metoo
  Kristi Alexis Confortin
The very nature of student/professor, intern or student/professional relationships can create a power imbalance and relationships that has the potential for taking advantage of students. What has the #MeToo movement meant for interns, undergraduates and graduate students? Are there data to show what universities are doing to take action? Are training sessions enough to prevent further interactions? Learn about what steps could be taken by both students and instructors/professors and others seen as powerful in the university and professional setting to create respectful relationships. Join us in finding a goal on how to create a respectful environment for students and professionals.
2:10PM What Has #Metoo Meant to You
  Alan Hamilton
2:30PM Refreshment Break
3:20PM The role of men in changing the culture: How do we avoid #MeToo in the future
  John Koprowski
How do we avoid #MeToo in the future and what role do men play in this change? Because of the preponderance of positions in our field are held by men, males have the potential to significantly influence the pace of change. Recent surveys suggest that the workplace is a challenging place for women where hostility and harassment remain common. Importantly for wildlife biologists, field work is not immune to such disheartening events. Supervisors can proactively influence dynamics through thoughtful scheduling, team building and training efforts to increase awareness and minimize opportunities for inappropriate behavior. Current leaders must provide opportunities for leadership training and leadership positions for women that will be the keys to enhancing the rate of progress. Men cannot stand by when injustice or inappropriate behaviors and statements occur and must challenge such traditions or historical norms. #MeToo has its roots in egregious behavior and requires that we all be active to continue progress that will make our profession inclusive, welcoming and safe for all.
3:40PM Role of Women in Changing the Culture
  Winifred B. Kessler
Women have transformed the culture of the wildlife profession in positive ways, for example: enhancing team performance through relationship-building; improving meetings through adoption of behavioral norms; and, insisting on policies that guarantee a safe and welcoming work environment for all. Despite many advances across the profession, individuals (most often women) continue to be victims of inappropriate advances, sexual harassment, intimidation, and abuse. Victims have an essential role in exposing these abuses because without intervention, perpetrators are unlikely to stop. Co-workers (again, usually women) have critical roles that include: being alert for symptoms; careful and confidential listening when concerns are shared; encouraging reporting while offering unconditional support; and helping victims plan a reporting strategy that won’t risk their well-being or career prospects. Supervisors’ responsibilities include: clearly understanding the pertinent laws and policies; taking each complaint seriously; assuring victims they did the right thing in coming forward; and, taking decisive action that holds perpetrators accountable while protecting victims. Over the past 45 years, I’ve observed feminization to be a very good thing for everyone in our profession, women and men alike. When bad things happen to one of us, it’s bad for our community overall. We’re must pull together.
4:00PM How Cultural Differences Play Into #Metoo
  Serra Hoagland
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4:20PM Moving Forward Together
  Alan Hamilton
The importance of the #MeToo movement needs to be seen in a larger context in terms of its importance to environmental and wildlife protection. This is not merely a social movement and reorganization of gender roles, #MeToo has far ranging implications as we begin to claim the inherent importance of relationality. For too long we have relied on the patriarchal structures of rules, laws, and regulations to define our relationships and behaviors towards each other and to the environment. This isn’t working. Environmental degradation and sexual harassment and abuse stem from the same source – the inability to develop relationships and make decisions based on empathy and compassion for “the other”. The #MeToo movement is an opportunity for men and women, in all facets of life, to engage “the other” from an inherent sense of responsibility and care, rather than through the distorted lens of outdated social constructs and norms.
4:40PM Panel Discussion
 

 
Organizers: Kathy Granillo, US Fish & Wildlife Service, Socorro, NM; Ginny Seamster, NM Game and Fish Department, Santa Fe, NM; Carol Chambers, Northern Arizona University, Flagstaff, AZ; John Koprowski, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ; Lori Walton, US Bureau of Reclamation, Albuquerque, NM; Misty Sumner, retired TPWD, TX; Marikay Ramsey, Bureau of Land Management, Albuquerque NM; Erin Considine, US Forest Service, Chadron, NE
 
Supported by: Women of Wildlfie Organizational Committee; EGDWG; Southwest Section: NPWMWG

Symposium
Location: Cleveland CC Date: October 9, 2018 Time: 12:50 pm - 5:00 pm