Should Book on USFS Include a Chapter on Discrimination/Sexual Harassment?

Fellow NCFP Bloggers,

As you may know, I am editing a book to be published by the Society of American Foresters, 193 Million Acres: Toward a Healthier and More Resilient US Forest Service. It’s a collection of essays by a wide range of observers that examine the state of the agency from a variety of viewpoints and propose solutions that would address challenges the agency faces.

Clearly, one of those challenges is discrimination and sexual harassment within the agency, the topic of much discussion on this blog over the last few weeks. I have two questions for you:

Should one or more chapters of the book be devoted to this complex and difficult topic?

And who might write such a chapter? It would take someone who can be dispassionate in describing the situation and proposing realistic actions the agency might take to address the issues. It would also take someone who can complete such an essay in the near future: the book is scheduled to be published in August, and I would need a draft in the next month or perhaps six weeks.

Feedback welcome!

If you like, contact me directly at SWilent@gmail.com. All communications will be held in confidence. — Steve Wilent

5 thoughts on “Should Book on USFS Include a Chapter on Discrimination/Sexual Harassment?”

  1. Good question and suggestion Steve –
    In part this could cover the arc of how the FS has diversified over the years, the current challenges and some potential steps for moving forward. In the early ’80’s I was the Civil Rights Action Group (CRAG) rep for our district; anyone remember those days? At the Forest level we tried to address issues such as the low number of ethnic minority employees in the agency especially on districts in rural towns.
    Great progress has been made in diversity (women as Regional Foresters and not just in business mgmt.; that’s awesome!).
    Sexual harassment and related issues are important topics that it would be good for the book to address especially if it is somewhat forward looking >> Where is the FS going?
    I wonder if you could find someone who has consulted with the FS on the topic? A professional in the field.

    Reply
  2. Definitely Not!

    This is a world wide social issue not just a USFS issue. This is not a Forest Policy issue. It has nothing to do with “forestry”. These are across the board civil rights issues and therefore not appropriate for a book on the USFS and it’s role in maintaining healthy forests.

    Reply
    • I guess I disagree with you Gil.. at least a bit. The question is whether the FS has had unique challenges or dealt with them in a unique or uniquely unsuccessful way. We could say “it’s probably just the same as other natural resource agencies” but I don’t think we know that for sure. My only problem with the chapter or chapters would be that I’ve found it hard to get info, except by FOIAing (my November FOIA on something else is still being worked on) and that couldn’t happen within the time frame Steve needs it to happen.
      Here’s how I would frame it “what things (culture, procedures, etc.) does the FS need to acquire, keep or let go of , to be harassment and discrimination-free environment?”

      Reply
      • Sharon

        Re: “The question is whether the FS has had unique challenges or dealt with them in a unique or uniquely unsuccessful way. We could say “it’s probably just the same as other natural resource agencies” but I don’t think we know that for sure.”

        My premise is that men will be men and women will be women and they will continue to misunderstand each other’s intentions until the end of time. Add in hormones and a lack of self control and you have a time bomb. Based on my experiences in private industry, I doubt that the “all seeing” God finds much other than short random differences between organizations. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it 🙂

        Re: What is required “to be harassment and discrimination-free environment?”
        The bible tells us that this will always be until the second coming of Jesus.

        Reply

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