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As a member of the ASCA Board of Directors, I have been asked to respond to critical and volatile issues recently raised on the ASCAList (subscription email forum) in relation to the enforcement of compliance with the SPP.
Since the implementation of the Standards of professional Practice and related Bylaws elements, the ASCA Board of Directors has been compelled to respond to and administrate several formal complaints. It became apparent that this was not only an overwhelming, time-consuming process for both staff and officers, but also one of indeterminate liability and cost potential for ASCA.
As a result of this realization, at its meeting on December 14, 1999, the Board appointed a task force to study and provide a recommendation
regarding enforcement of the Standards of Professional Practice (SPP). This task force consisted of Torrey Young, Dennis Yniguez and Joseph McNeil, the current SPP committee chair.
This Task Force (SPPTF) reviewed the existing bylaws and discussed a variety of options and potential outcomes in exhaustive detail. The
subject proved to be both critical and complex, and the benefits, arguments and potential consequences of the available options extremely
Ultimately, the SPPTF recommended to the ASCA Board of Directors that ASCA’s role as enforcer of the SPP be abandoned, and the Bylaws and related policy be revised to remove the duty of members to report infractions and the Board to take subsequent action.
At the meeting of the Board of Directors on May 22, 2000, the Board voted to support the recommendation of the SPPTF. Proposed changes to the Bylaws will be submitted to the membership for vote in the near future.
SUMMARY of SPPTF RECOMMENDATION: It is the consolidated opinion of the SPPTF that it is impractical to pursue enforcement of the SPP.
Disciplinary efforts are notably ineffective in forcing ethical behavior. The limited resources of ASCA would be more appropriately applied to education and communication. Enforcement action could theoretically bring about the stagnation or demise of the organization.
Regardless of the enforcement policies of ASCA, the SPP are consensual professional standards that members consent to abide by as a condition
of membership. The standards can therefore continue to be used as a measure of professional behavior by anyone who is attempting to convince an arbitrator, hearing officer, jury or judge that someone is not acting in a professional manner.
This issue will soon be presented to the general membership in greater detail than this forum allows.
ASCA Board of Directors
Member, SPP Task Force
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