AOM is a robust institution, with 80+ years of history. It has established policies and procedures for business-as-usual activity; it has also established policies and procedures for changing when non-routine events demand it. AOM officers are elected into their roles by AOM members and, upon accepting those roles, AOM officers agree to abide by the AOM Constitution (i.e., AOM's system of By-Laws, regulations, rules and governance principles). These policies are not mere "reminders;" they acknowledge the integrity of the AOM as an institution and, importantly, the deep commitment that officers have made to serve the membership and to respect the trust the membership places in us to always put the institution ahead of personal beliefs, values, or preferences.
The work performed by the AOM President (and indeed all of the AOM officers) involves a great deal of leadership agency to work on complex unstructured problems characteristic of a large international organization. Many actions that were taken in support of members and other scholars affected by the immigration and travel ban and leading up to the decision by the Board of Governors to revise the policy on taking stands have gone unreported. As previously mentioned in these FAQs, these actions reflect a great deal of thoughtful reflection and analysis balanced by a desire to act as expediently as feasible.
Critics who argue that AOM should have taken immediate action to "oppose" or "condemn" the travel ban are implicitly suggesting that there was a consensus among AOM members that AOM should take these actions. This is not an accurate description of the AOM membership. It is true that a group of members encouraged AOM to take such action. But, even among AOM members who personally opposed the travel ban, there was not consensus that AOM the "institution" should revise its policy on taking stands.
Reflecting back on the events of 2017, the institution listened carefully to its members, acted with unprecedented speed to critically review its own procedures, and change them both to better meet members' needs and to preserve the integrity of the institution, and through it all maintain transparency in its communication with its members.