AIA Fights Discrimination in Architecture

The Washington, D.C.-based American Institute of Architects (AIA) took another step to fight harassment and discrimination in the profession. In an effort to promote the highest professional working standards throughout the profession, and among its members, AIA is launching a comprehensive review of the processes by which all honors and award recipients are selected.

The review will be led by Washington-based Covington & Burling LLP and its partner Eric Holder Jr.—who previously served as the U.S. Attorney General— to conduct a comprehensive review of AIA’s honors and awards programs and to provide actionable recommendations for enhancing program processes.

“Amidst a national movement to address safety, diversity and equity in the workplace, we want to make certain we are recognizing and elevating only the very best from our profession,” says AIA 2019 President William Bates, FAIA. “Working with Eric Holder and our AIA member advisory group will help us to identify opportunities to improve our honors and awards processes.”

As part of this endeavor, members of AIA’s Board of Directors and National Ethics Council will be working with Attorney General Holder. Those individuals include AIA 2019 President William Bates, FAIA; 2019 First Vice President Jane Frederick, FAIA; 2018-20 Atlarge- director Emily Grandstaff- Rice, FAIA; and 2019 National Ethics Council Chair Anzilla Gilmore, FAIA, NOMA.

It is expected Covington & Burling will provide actionable recommendations for AIA’s adoption. Specifically, AIA seeks to enhance the vetting process for all future honors and awards candidates, as well as members of the College of Fellows, to ensure the best possible alignment between AIA’s values and ethics and those recognized. This action will build upon AIA’s board-directed commitment to overcome inequities in the profession and improve firm culture.

“I look forward to working with the American Institute of Architects on this important project,” says Eric Holder, partner at Covington & Burling. “I applaud the AIA for its leadership.”

“With Eric Holder’s expertise and guidance, we will create an enhanced honors and awards vetting program that will serve as a model for other organizations and professions,” adds AIA Executive Vice President and CEO Robert Ivy, FAIA.

AIA is expected to announce all process changes later this year. The AIA board of directors will be responsible for reviewing the recommendations and determining the appropriate course of action. Learn more here.

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