Committee on Discrimination

General Description:

The Committee on Discrimination, both as a community of scholars and members of SWS, believes in the continued research regarding the institutional and individual manifestations of discrimination in society, especially in the realm of academia.  Not only does the Committee on Discrimination organize sessions to inform SWS on issues of discrimination in the workplace at SWS Meetings, it also provides direct, individual support to SWS members in need. 

The Committee on Discrimination assists SWS members when they have experienced discrimination based on gender, race, ethnicity, sexuality, age, disability, religion, or other group characteristics, or when their academic freedom or other rights are violated.

Please note:  The Committee on Discrimination is not an investigative body.  Its purpose is not to investigate or judge whether and how discrimination occurred as perceived by the SWS member.

Getting Personal:  The Committee on Discrimination as a Resource to SWS Members  

This Committee exists to aid members by offering informational, institutional and/or financial assistance to members of SWS who believe they have been victims of discrimination based on gender, sexuality, race, ethnicity, age, disability, religion or other group characteristics, or when their academic freedom or other rights have been violated at their institutions of employment. The Committee on Discrimination is convinced that members should be supported through their experiences of discrimination regardless of background, while paying great attention to how gender and other identities may influence how to proceed.  Consequently, the committee will do its best to provide support to the person in need.

To achieve its goals, the Committee on Discrimination acts on four principles:

  • Trust
  • Confidentiality
  • Promptness
  • Conviction

Firstly, the Committee trusts that the claims of any SWS member who believes they may have been subject to discrimination in the workplace are honest.  Second, the Committee on Discrimination keeps the identity of members receiving assistance confidentially and only shares details with Council and Council unless explicit consent is established.  Realizing that a timely response is both important and a signifier of respect, the Committee on Discrimination is committed to promptly responding to the SWS member’s outreach.  Lastly, the Committee on Discrimination is informed by and believes in scholarly research devoted to  issues of discrimination in the workplace.

Institutionally, the Committee on Discrimination can write a letter of support to an administrator at the member’s workplace. This letter of support is signed by the current SWS President, President-Elect, and the Chair of the Committee on Discrimination. The letter will state SWS’ knowledge of the situation and encouragement towards a fair resolution. When available, financial support, from the Natalie Allon Fund, can be provided to help defray the cost of legal advice or representation of the member in need.

Please click HERE to learn more about Natalie Allon Funding Priorities.  Here is a PDFon the Allon Fund-Discrimination Committee

Need Help?

Contact the Chair for a confidential discussion of your case.  The Chair will gather all pertinent information.  The information will be anonymously shared among the Discrimination Committee members (and if necessary, the Executive Officer and Council) and assessed on a case-by-case basis to consider what kind of support should be provided.

For the current Co-Chairs for Committee on Discrimination, please visit:


The Following Readings May be of Interest:

Readings on Gender and the evaluation of teaching:

    • Sprague, Joey and Kelley Massoni. 2005. “Student Evaluations And Gendered Expectations: What We Can’t Count Can Hurt Us.” Sex Roles: A Journal of Research 53, 11-12: 779-793.
    • Laube, Heather, Kelley Massoni, Joey Sprague, and Abby L. Ferber. 2007. “The Impact of Gender on the Evaluation of Teaching: What We Know and What We Can Do.” NWSA Journal 19:3 87-104.


Please contact us with suggestions or questions!

If you are an SWS member and want to know more about this committee, or read the meeting minutes, please log in to access the Members’ section.