The AAFS Board of Directors voted to replace the Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) Statement of the AAFS Policy and Procedure Manual with a more comprehensive Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility (DEIA) Statement. The Academy received early feedback during the Forensic Science Education Programs Accreditation Commission (FEPAC) re-accreditation process from the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) that the existing D&I Statement lacked an equity component. As per the standard, "a recognized accrediting organization" must demonstrate that it "maintains a commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion." An organization may demonstrate this commitment in several ways, including a posted value statement or the "integration of DEI in its policies and procedures." The Board of Directors contacted the AAFS Diversity and Outreach Committee (DOC) for feedback and guidance. The DOC welcomed the opportunity to provide both and suggested the addition of an "accessibility" component as well. The new the DEIA Statement drafted by the DOC, revised by the Policy and Procedure Manual Committee, and approved by the AAFS Board of Directors is below. The creation of the new DEIA Statement was a collaborative effort led by the DOC, and the Board of Directors is thankful for the participation of all involved.
1.1.4. DIVERSITY, EQUITY, INCLUSION, AND ACCESSIBILITY STATEMENT
The American Academy of Forensic Sciences embraces the contributions from its diverse membership who hold varied ideas, beliefs, and experiences that benefit our organization as well as the greater forensic science community. The AAFS: (1) is dedicated to fostering and maintaining a community that accepts, respects, and values diversity to include ethnicity/ancestry/self-identified race, national origin, gender and gender identify, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, age, religion, and (dis)ability regardless of individual identity, condition, status, expression, or belief, notwithstanding Academy ethical standards; (2) honors both the commonalities and differences of our community; (3) is committed to ensuring our community has equal access to resources, programs, and events; and (4) will help to facilitate productive dialog so that all can thrive in a safe and open environment. The AAFS believes that embracing diversity, and providing equity, inclusion, and accessibility, improves the Academy for all members. As such, the AAFS has a zero-tolerance for discrimination of any kind.
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