AHA Policy on Revoking Prizes and Awards (2019)

The AHA Council reserves the right to revoke prizes and awards at its discretion, pursuant to the policy outlined herein.

The AHA Council may choose, at its discretion, to revoke an award or prize should it become known that the recipient has been convicted of a relevant criminal offense or is confirmed to have engaged in professionally unethical behavior, as a result of which the ongoing association with the recipient is likely to negatively reflect on the AHA. Confirmation of such behavior must come in the form of a formal governmental, judicial, or institutional finding, such as an investigation by a university's ethics committee, or an admission by the individual. The AHA Council has no obligation to undertake an investigation of a recipient prior to the awarding of a prize. Prizes may not be revoked posthumously. Consideration for revocation of a prize requires a direct relationship between the criteria for the prize and the offense in question.

The AHA Council may also choose to revoke an award or prize should it receive confirmation of prior conduct on the part of the recipient, such as evidence of plagiarism or falsified citations, which violates the AHA's Statement on Standards on Professional Conduct. Confirmation of such a finding must come by means of a formal institutional or judicial finding, admission by an individual, or an investigation conducted by an ad hoc committee appointed by the President in consultation with the AHA Council. The appointment of any such committee shall be at the discretion of the Council as described below.

Procedure for Revocation of Prizes and Awards

Any AHA member who reasonably believes that an AHA award should be revoked in accordance with this Policy on Revoking Prizes and Awards may request in writing that the AHA consider revocation. Requests for revocation should be sent to awards@historians.org, including supporting documentation when possible (such as institutional reports, public records, and personal testimonies from those who claim unethical behavior has transpired). The request will be placed on the agenda for the next meeting of the appropriate Council division of oversight.

After considering the request, division members will vote either to

  1. Dismiss the revocation request;
  2. Recommend revocation of the prize to the AHA's Council at its next meeting; or
  3. In cases of allegations of scholarly misconduct, request that the President appoint an ad hoc committee of three specialists in the relevant field to investigate further. The findings of the ad hoc committee will be submitted to the appropriate division, who will then vote on whether to recommend revocation to the Council.

Should steps 2 or 3 be initiated, the recipient of the prize or award will be notified that revocation of the prize is being considered and will be offered the opportunity to submit a written response for consideration by the Council.

All requests for revocation of prizes will be discussed in executive session. A prize may be revoked at any meeting of the Council by a resolution adopted by a two-thirds majority of the Council.

Communication of a decision to revoke a prize will be handled on a case-by-case basis. At a minimum, the prize winner's name will be removed from the AHA's website and the decision will be recorded in the minutes of the relevant division or Council meeting(s).