Amber Stark

SIOP Names Two New Ombudspersons

For the first time, the SIOP Executive Board has appointed two members to serve as ombudspersons for the SIOP community, in accordance with the SIOP Anti-Harassment Policy.

SIOP Fellows Dr. Elizabeth (Betsy) Shoenfelt and Dr. Margaret (Peggy) Stockdale have been selected to serve in this important role for SIOP, effective January 1, 2022. Shoenfelt will serve until December 31, 2025, and Stockdale until December 31, 2024.

“We want SIOP to be a safe and inclusive professional environment for all,” said SIOP President Steven Rogelberg. “I am very excited to have Betsy and Peggy be our inaugural ombudspeople, providing all in the SIOP community a mechanism to address harassment or discrimination if it ever emerges. We are committed to living our Anti-Harassment Policy in all that we do.”

Shoenfelt and Stockdale bring significant relevant experience to the role but will also receive additional special training on harassment, options for informal resolution and formal complaint under the policy, and the role of an ombud. Their primary function is to offer advice that is informal, impartial, and independent. They do not make decisions or judgments. They can advise on options for informal resolution and formal complaint, explain the complaint processes, and assist with mediation.

“I am honored to serve as one of SIOP’s first ombudspersons,” Shoenfelt said. “This is a unique opportunity to contribute to SIOP and its members in a very meaningful way. I am excited about working with SIOP and Peggy Stockdale to help ensure a welcoming and professional environment where SIOP members and others engaged with the SIOP community are treated with dignity and respect, and made to feel safe with a sense of belonging.”

This is the first time SIOP will be having members serve in this role; therefore, it is expected that the selected ombudspersons will assist in shaping the role and will adapt to changing demands of the role as more is learned about how the role will serve the SIOP community. Although incidences of harassment are expected to be infrequent, the ombudspersons will avail themselves in an on-call manner and commit to responsiveness to and thoughtful consideration of those seeking their assistance.

“I am honored to serve as one of SIOP‘s inaugural ombudspersons,” Stockdale said. “SIOP members have been at the forefront of research and advocacy on sexual harassment since the early 1980s shortly after the concept of sexual harassment had been named, although experienced for centuries. I hope that SIOP’s strong policy against sexual and other types of harassment and now this important institutionalized role will help ensure that's SIOP conferences and other SIOP activities will be safe, inclusive, and fair to everyone.” 

The SIOP Presidential Trio (president, president-elect, and past-president) were pleased to receive more than 25 applications for the ombuds role, and it was a difficult selection decision given the many qualified candidates. The next recruitment period for a SIOP ombudsperson may take place near the conclusion of Stockdale’s term in late 2024. It will be at the discretion of the future Presidential Trio whether to issue open calls for volunteers for this role or to reappoint ombudspersons for additional terms of service upon the conclusion of terms.

More information about the SIOP Anti-Harassment Policy and contact information for the SIOP Ombuds is available online.

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