In December, several members requested that SAA Council consider issuing a García Márquez statement regarding the UT decision to not disclose the purchase price for the García Márquez archive. After seeking advice from the Committee on Ethics and Professional Conduct, the Committee on Advocacy and Public Policy, and pursuing a sometimes challenging discussion, Council arrived at the response posted on the SAA website today. http://www2.archivists.org/news/2015/saa-response-to-member-request-re-university-of-texas-acquisition-of-marquez-archive
I recognize, as do my Council colleagues, that we did not reach a conclusion that would satisfy the concerns of all. There are different and conflicting perspectives within our membership, and a range of considerations to be assessed when making a statement as a professional organization.
Varied perspectives were provided by CEPC, CAPP, the members who raised the issue, and by Council members. I suggested to Council and the committees that we share the information they all provided in the process. Everyone agreed, and you will find those items on the website as well. We hope it will provide you with a sense of the different factors and concerns in play.
This is, as CEPC characterized it, an “interim” position. We will continue to monitor the situation, especially as the Texas Attorney General issues an opinion. And I encourage any of you concerned to continue to follow the situation and contact me/us as further developments occur.
Perhaps the most important outcome that I hope will result from this is contained in the final “bullet point”:
• SAA encourages its members and affinity groups to consider identifying forums in which members might pursue further discussion of the complexities of, and varying positions taken on, the purchase of collections, donor requirements and restrictions, collecting parameters, and transparency regarding the collecting process. We acknowledge the existence within our membership of differing opinions and strongly encourage a focused, thoughtful, and respectful dialogue to promote both better understanding and better practice.
If you have comments or suggestions for how to do that, or other issues we need to consider as a profession, please comment here or email me at: email@example.com