Midwest Political Science Association Council Task Force Report in response to charge of misconduct (received Feb. 11, 2019)

Table of Contents

  1. Message from MPSA president (Sarah Binder)
  2. Task Force Report (Final version, as amended by Ad Hoc Appeals Committee, November 6, 2019)

Message from Sarah Binder (MPSA president, 2019-20) November 2019

This past February, the MPSA Council received a charge of misconduct against certain current and past MPSA leaders with regard to their handling of allegations of misconduct against the former editor of the AJPS (Professor William Jacoby). The MPSA Council adopted a procedure for handling the complaint, appointed a task force to review the charges, and adopted findings and recommendations of the task force this past August. The final task force report (as amended by an ad hoc appeals committee) and all relevant documents are assembled here.

I want to highlight three lessons from this inquiry.

First, MPSA leaders must be transparent and accountable to its members and must consistently and clearly demonstrate their commitment to upholding and enforcing the highest standards of ethical behavior within the discipline. MPSA is currently implementing the several steps recommended by the task force towards those ends. This includes creation this past August of a Committee on Professional Ethics—a standing panel empowered to investigate and sanction professional misconduct—that was informed by recommendations in the Journal of Women, Politics and Policy issue on “Me too political science.”

Second, I want to personally apologize to the complainants who came forward with allegations against Prof. Jacoby. They believe the process resulted in a failure to publicly acknowledge the legitimacy of their complaints. I want to assure them that alongside MPSA Council members, I am committed to strengthening the process by which MPSA handles allegations of misconduct. The process should ensure that all involved are treated with respect and that all allegations are handled fairly, transparently and with dispatch.

Finally, I want to ensure MPSA members that we are fully committed to upholding the highest standards for respectful, professional norms and behavior and fostering an inclusive climate. MPSA takes sexual harassment—and those who report it—extremely seriously. Creating and sustaining an environment (including MPSA events, communications, and editorial processes) where persons alleging harassment, bias, and/or discrimination can voice their concerns without threat of recriminations or reprisals and where violations of professional misconduct will be sanctioned is central to our mission as a professional association. We are committed to strengthening how the association listens to, reviews and acts on allegations of professional misconduct.

I am happy to discuss any of these issues at greater length.

View the Task Force Report here.