Guidelines for Taking a Public Stance

Definitions

The OAH will define a public stance as any communication published through official OAH digital assets, including but not limited to OAH.org, official social media channels, and emails. They include any published statements, letters, op-eds, or other articles produced by or on behalf of the organization by members of its staff or Board acting in their official capacity. They may also include such written materials produced by individual members if those materials were solicited and approved by the OAH.

For this plan, issues of relevance are understood to be any topic of public discourse that may be interpreted as falling within the following Guidelines for Taking a Public Stand.

Guidelines for Taking a Public Stance

The OAH considers the following when considering taking a public stance and determining issues of relevance. These considerations guide the OAH in issuing public statements, endorsing or co-signing statements by peer organizations and professional societies, and becoming a signatory to amicus curiae briefs.  

Threats to an honest telling and teaching of history

The OAH believes that honesty and integrity must be the basis for all historical scholarship, teaching, and public presentation of history. The OAH condemns any action that undermines this and any falsification or deliberate distortion in the teaching of history which is an ethical violation of the principle of truth on which the historical profession is based.

Threats to professional practice

The OAH is a broad community for all historians of the United States, and a hub, host and incubator for rigorous and trusted American history. The OAH actively supports the equitable and respectful treatment of all practitioners of history, and access to the historical and institutional resources necessary for them to undertake this work.     

If history can provide important context for public understanding of current events or issues

The OAH believes that historians are uniquely equipped to provide insight to the present through their deep and nuanced understanding of the past. Placing events into broader historical frameworks equips public audiences with knowledge needed to understand a present moment, why it matters, and what is at stake, thereby fulfilling key aspects of the OAH mission.