Since its founding in 1848, the AAAS has been committed to further the work of scientists, to facilitate cooperation among them, to foster scientific freedom and responsibility, to improve the effectiveness of science in the promotion of human welfare, to advance education in science, and to increase public understanding and appreciation of the importance and promise of the methods of science in human progress.
The AAAS Constitution invites to its membership "any individual who supports the objectives of the Association and is willing to contribute to the achievement of those objectives" and the AAAS has resisted attempts to exclude individuals from the Association's activities based on consideration of sex, race, ethnicity, religion, disability, national origin, age, or sexual orientation.
In keeping with its broad and inclusive mandate, the AAAS should call attention to societal problems that may limit individuals' participation in a wide range of scientific and technical opportunities. These problems affect he members of the AAAS, and require a definitive statement and purpose.
The Board of Directors and Council of AAAS consider unlawful discrimination to be such an issue and declare that:
The AAAS is committed to the advancement of science in a work environment free from unlawful and unjust discrimination and condemns such discrimination in any form. Discrimination based on sex, race, ethnicity, religion, disability, national origin, age, or sexual orientation is contrary to the view of science as a collegial process which promotes cooperation and collaboration and in which work is judged without regard to the personal or social attributes of individual scientists. All scientific inquiry--from the creative generation of ideas, through investigation, and to the interpretation of findings--benefits from different points of view. In a world of such rich diversity, the advancement of science depends on the intellectual breadth and depth of a culturally diverse workforce that can inform and enrich the shape and content of scientific discourse. Institutions that employ and support the work of scientists and educate and train young scientists should affirm their commitment to a diverse community.
Discrimination creates an atmosphere that is not conducive to the advancement of science. It diverts attention from the rigors of science and undermines an individual's work or academic performance. Such discrimination diminishes individual dignity and impedes access to resources needed for scientific inquiry. It also contributes to the loss of talent in science and engineering and to the alienation of capable individuals from the scientific and engineering professions.
AAAS is committed to a culture of science in which all people can work effectively and enjoy satisfying and rewarding careers and the realization of their full potential. The Association encourages its affiliates and all other institutions that employ, support, or educate scientists to develop policies that affirm the dignity of all scientists and their right to engage in scientific inquiry free of unlawful discrimination; to sponsor programs that sensitize people to the seriousness and unacceptability of discrimination based upon criteria unrelated to individual abilities; and to design procedures that guard against such discrimination in a prompt and fair manner, and which balance the requirements of due process with proper regard for the sensitive nature of the issues. The scientific community must accept responsibility for ensuring that unlawful discrimination finds no comfort in our education and research institutions.
[Adopted by the AAAS Board of Directors, December 9, 1994, and by the AAAS Council, February 19, 1995.]