Days after taking office, the newly elected board of directors of the Romance Writers of America issued an apology to Courtney Milan, an author and former board member, who was inappropriately censored in December 2019. The organization also issued an apology to its membership for the month-long escalating unprofessional behavior that resulted in the entire board of directors and staff quitting in a very public and messy upheaval.
The new board sent out an email notice of apology to all of its members, as well as posted the entire message on its Twitter account:
“The Board of Directors of the Romance Writers of America would like to offer our sincerest apology to you, our members. We understand that the past few months have been deeply painful and upsetting, particularly for our members from marginalized communities. RWA has broken your trust, and the impact of that was devastating. We are sorry for this. We will do our best to heal these wounds and regain that trust.
On April 1, 2020, the new RWA Board of Directors voted by unanimous consent to expunge both of the ethics complaints against Courtney Milan, and their ensuing proceedings, from the record. In our estimation, this never should have happened. We've issued Ms. Milan a heartfelt apology for how the proceedings were handled and for the impact of this terrible situation on her.
Our next priority will be reviewing our policies and our Code of Ethics so we can ensure they provide a safe and equitable space for our members. The organization failed and disenfranchised some of our members because of deficiencies in some of these policies and procedures, and those deficiencies must be rectified.
We want to build RWA 2.0 — and while doing that, we also must return to the work that flows from our mission-advocating for your interests, delivering top-tier education, and creating a space for you to come together as romance writers. We know how important this community is to you, especially during these uncertain times. We look forward to providing you the support you deserve.
Thank you for being with us. We will strive to serve you well."
The notice was signed by the entire RWA Board.