The ethical contract is the fundamental and inviolable principle of the scientific association, civic institution and the whole society in general. Following the ethical principles, the most important of which are protection and preservation of human dignity and security, is a vital responsibility beyond all other social responsibilities. It is seminal for every individual in society to undertake it. For this reason, deviating from it will result in social reaction against its violators.
Recently on social media, there have been accusations of sexual misconduct against Mr Kameel Ahmady, a member of Iranian Sociological Association and the director of the sociology of childhood group, who has allegedly sexually abused female colleagues during social projects. From the beginning that these allegations came out, Iranian Sociological Association’s board of directors, which has been sensitive to the proper observation of scientific, ethical and professional standards, meticulously investigated the case and in a session held on Sunday, September 6, 2020, came to the following conclusion:
Judging the allegations requires detailed legal and civic investigation, and due to the available evidence (such as the documented narratives of women who were sexually abused, the explanatory note published by Mr Ahmady himself and other information gathered by some of his colleagues), it is obvious that there has been at least a certain form of misusing one’s position of power while being the director of the project as well as misusing the relationships that were built out of trust which isall strongly and ethically unacceptable. This behaviour has resulted in sexual abuse of some of the younger (female) colleagues in the project and has violated the ethical standards in conducting scientific research.
For this reason, while attentive to the fact that protecting all members of society from abuse and harm is of utmost importance, and also in order to keep the collaborative scientific research environment safe from all forms of misusing power and authority such as sexual abuse, the Association is responsible to take proper action toward this issue and, consequently, and until proper legal or civic judgment-which Mr Ahmadi has himself welcomed-revoke his membership in Iranian Sociological Association and following it, revoke his directorial position in the sociology of childhood group.
It is crucial for the scientific community to be sensitive to the issue of sexual abuse and carry out research in order to recognize different aspects of sexual misconduct in multiple societal environments and to prevent them from happening. In addition, based on social responsibility, there should be plans provided to educate and empower women and children as well as supporting those hurt. Most importantly, it is crucial to help the scientific environments in becoming a safer space and react more forcefully against future misconducts by compiling a chart for professional scientific research ethics specifying the norms and deviations from norms related to the professional behaviouras well as evidence of sexual abuse.
Iranian Sociological Association welcomes any form of collaboration with other scientific associations, public associations and legal institutions in order to actualize the above-mentioned issues.
Iranian Sociological Association
September 10, 2020.