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Staff Committee on Mediation, Arbitration and Inquiry (SCMAI) | The American Library Association Archives

Name: Staff Committee on Mediation, Arbitration and Inquiry (SCMAI)


Historical Note:

In October 1970, the ALA Executive Board authorized the ALA Executive Director to INT a staff committee to study the investigative procedures on tenure, status and intellectual freedom cases and recommend steps to be taken ensuring  prompt and efficient response to requests for action (1). The Staff Committee on Mediation, Arbitration and Inquiry (SCMAI) began operating December 22, 1970, acting as a clearinghouse for requests for action received (2). Council adopted the revision of the Program of Action in Support of the Library Bill of Rights, giving the OIF the authority to mediate problems upon receipt of a formal INT (3). On March 19, 1971, the ALA President held a meeting with representatives from ACRL, LAD and IFC, during which legislation creating a central agency at Headquarters to handle fair employment matters was drawn up, incorporating most of the procedural aspects of the IFC's Program of Action (4). This legislation, entitled the Program of Action for Mediation, Arbitration, and Inquiry, was adopted by Council on June 24, 1971 (5). It called for the establishment of the SCMAI to carry out the Program of Action's intent and purpose.

SCMAI is assigned responsibility for mediation, arbitration and inquiry, relating to tenure, status, fair employment practices (including discrimination and sexual harrassment), due process, ethical practices, and the principles of intellectual freedom as set forth in policies adopted by the Council of ALA (6). SCMAI receives and responds to complaints by formal and informal activities, it conducts fact-finding inquiries and applies sanctions where appropriate, it provides full accounts to the ALA Executive Board, and reports findings to the library press (7). It operates under the guidelines given in the "Statement on Inquiries? (8).

A Committee on Policy and Implementation was also established to ensure that the SCMAI worked within the Program's scope fulfilling and implementing the intent of the Program (9). A resolution was passed by Council in June of 1973, requiring SCMAI to forward its findings which reflected a need for policy study to the Committee on Policy and Implementation who were then responsible for presenting to Council policy study needs and recommendations (10). This committee became inoperative in 1979. A special committee to revise the Program of Action for Mediation, Arbitration, and Inquiry existed from 1975 through 1979 (11). Council accepted its recommendations for the following revisions on January 11, 1979.

1. Staff committee members are appointed by the ALA Executive Director.

(Previously the Executive Secretaries of ACRL and LAD, the Director of the OIF, one staff member-at- large, and the Executive Director, Chair, comprised the committee) (12).

2. The committee may recommend to the ALA Executive Board a six-month delay in publication of an inquiry report if requested by the complainant and SCMAI;

3. The Program of Action will be reviewed at least every three years by a Special Committee appointed by the ALA President;

4. A Request for Action can be withdrawn (13).

Sub-Groups

1 - Chair

Sources:

1. American Libraries, 1(11), Dec. 1970, p.1025.

2. American Libraries, 2(5), May 1971, p.435.

3. American Libraries, 2(3), March 1971, pp.249-250.

4. American Libraries, 2(5), May 1971, p.435.

5. ALA Council, Minutes, ALA Annual Conference, Dallas, TX, June 25, 1971, p.11; American Libraries, 2(8), Sept. 1971, pp.828-832.

6. ALA Handbook of Organization, 1983-84, pp.17, 211.

7. ALA Yearbook 1976, p.232; American Libraries, 2(8), Sept. 1971, pp.829-831.

8. American Libraries, 2(9), Oct. 1971, p.915.

9. American Libraries, 2(8), Sept. 1971, p.831.

10. ALA Council, Minutes, ALA Annual Conference, Las Vegas, NV, June 26, 1973, pp.88-90.

11. ALA Handbook of Organization, 1975-76, p.10; American Libraries, 8(4), April 1977, p.205.

12. American Libraries, 2(8), Sept. 1971, pp.828-829.

13. ALA Yearbook 1979, p.172.






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