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American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics

    AIAA Member Whistleblower Policy


    AIAA is committed to maintaining an atmosphere where members are free to raise good-faith concerns regarding AIAA’s business practices and the processes followed by any member or AIAA staff, specifically: (1) reporting suspected violations of law on the part of AIAA, including but not limited to federal laws and regulations; (2) providing truthful information in connection with an inquiry or investigation by a court, agency, law enforcement, or other governmental body; and (3) identifying potential violations of AIAA policy.


    The purpose of this Policy is to provide a mechanism for members to raise good-faith concerns regarding suspected violations of law on the part of AIAA, to cooperate in an inquiry or investigation by a court, agency, law enforcement, or other governmental body, or to identify potential violations of AIAA policy; and to prohibit retaliation against members who take such actions.


    All AIAA members are overseers of the integrity of the Institute. As such, it is the responsibility of a member having knowledge of a suspected violation of law or of AIAA policy, or of unauthorized or inappropriate conduct, to report such activity confidentially to his/her committee chair or a member of the Board of Directors appropriate to his/her committee assignment or regional location or to the AIAA Policy Ombudsman (a volunteer appointed by the AIAA President). If the committee chair or Board member receives the report, then that person is responsible for either personally taking appropriate corrective action (to the satisfaction of the member making the complaint) or for relaying the report, in confidence, to the AIAA Policy Ombudsman. The Policy Ombudsman (or other complaint recipient, as identified above) will not divulge the identity of the complainant if so requested.

    A member who files a complaint must have a reasonable basis on which to conclude that inappropriate activity may be occurring. This requires that a disclosing member have some evidence that has led to a good-faith conclusion that conduct may be inappropriate. Frivolous, unsubstantiated allegations may result in discipline of the complaining member, up to and including termination of membership.

    Reports of suspected violations of law or policy will be investigated promptly and in a manner intended to protect confidentiality, consistent with a full and fair investigation.

    For any instance where a report of suspected violation is forwarded to the Policy Ombudsman, he/she will inform the AIAA President of a reported suspected violation, and the President will determine which persons are to conduct an investigation of the report. The investigating parties may be AIAA employees, AIAA volunteers, AIAA legal counsel, or some combination of these groups, as appropriate. Every member is expected to cooperate fully with the investigation. The investigating parties will notify the AIAA President and the Executive Director of their findings and recommendations, and the AIAA President shall make the final determination as to appropriate action. The AIAA President shall make a full report to the AIAA Board of Directors of all incidents in which this Policy is invoked.

    If the AIAA President is the object of the complaint, the Policy Ombudsman will ask a member of the Executive Committee to fulfill the President’s role in all phases of the process. If the Executive Director is the object of the complaint, he/she will not participate in the process.

    Anonymous Reports

    Any person may make an anonymous report. However, it should be understood that any investigation may be hampered or impractical if the reporting person cannot be identified and questioned about the allegations and related facts. As described above, all reports, including those made anonymously, must be substantiated by evidence that inappropriate conduct has occurred.


    AIAA expressly prohibits any form of retaliation, including harassment, intimidation, adverse actions, or any other form of retaliation, against members who raise suspected violations of law, cooperate in inquiries or investigations, or identify potential violations of AIAA policies. Any member who engages in retaliation will be subject to discipline, up to and including forfeiture of membership.

    Presumption of Innocence

    There will be a presumption of innocence with respect to any person implicated in a suspected violation or retaliation, and AIAA shall take steps to avoid unnecessary disclosure of allegations prior to the conclusion of an investigation so as not to unfairly harm the reputation of any person.

    Responsibility: Board of Directors / Ethical Conduct Panel.
    Adopted: 12 January 2007