The members of the IAI publicly call for a recall election for the position of President

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We, the undersigned members of the Information Architecture Institute (IAI) publicly call for a recall election for the position of President.

We can no longer support the leadership of the current officeholder, Marianne Sweeny, and formally demand that instead of Ms. Sweeny automatically serving out the second year of her term, the Institute hold a special election for President as part of the regularly scheduled February elections.

There are numerous reasons why we have lost confidence in the current IAI president.  The reopening of a Code of Conduct (CoC) investigation from last year’s IA Summit and the handling of these matters both publicly and behind the scenes have been unprofessional through and through:

  • The president decided to reopen a resolved CoC complaint without notification to the affected parties, or reference to any procedures or standards. In doing so she acted outside her authority, and such actions were inappropriate.
  • The president took these actions without disclosing or acknowledging that she has a longstanding friendship with the person against whom the CoC complaint was filed.
  • The president has been using the IAI Twitter account to voice her private opinions, speaking in the first person, as if on behalf of the Institute, without the Board’s or membership’s knowledge or direction.
  • The president has blocked members of the IA community from the IAI Twitter account, thereby silencing voices of the IAI community on an important matter, and denying those voices the opportunity to participate in a discussion in a public forum. Despite evidence to the contrary, she continues to deny having done so.
    The president has demonstrated a general inability to respond professionally in a public forum.
  • In an attempt to avoid accountability, the president has falsely stated that the IA Conference is a free-standing legal entity that is unrelated to the IAI--and implied this prevents the association from taking any meaningful action. She takes this stance despite the fact that she took actions to reopen the CoC case.
  • During this time of community crisis, the president has ignored or dismissed multiple calls from the membership to clarify the situation and respond to questions. Her few responses have been informal, unprofessional, and rather than clarifying the situation have muddied the waters and frankly deepened our distrust of her leadership.
  • The president has repeatedly stated that the issues will be handled transparently.  Yet she failed to disclose to the complainant or the community that she was willingly sharing the CoC complaint and previous complaints with the accused’s legal counsel.  This was being done without a court order. We find this a gross conflict of interest and clearly favouring one party over another.

All of the above demonstrate her inability or unwillingness to function on behalf of ALL the IAI members, as a professional, and beyond her own personal interests.

The lack of confidence in our leadership is clearly demonstrated by multiple speakers contracted for this year’s IA Conference cancelling and threatening to cancel their talks unless the Code of Conduct violation situation is resolved.

The current unprofessional leadership is hurting the community internally and making us all look unprofessional as we struggle with the difficult issues presented to this community. The IA space does not come across as safe for women, nor does it seem like a professional environment in general.

We hereby call for a special ballot measure, to be held at the same time as the general election, in February. This ballot measure will ask the members to vote whether to recall the current occupant of the position of President and, in a separate ballot measure, to elect a new President at the same time.