The remaining board members of the Romance Writers Association resigned on Wednesday and a special election for a new board has been slated for next month.
The announcement comes after months of tumult over the suspension of Courtney Milan (pictured above), a romance writer who raised concerns about racism in another romance novel. Though Milan’s suspension was ultimately rescinded in late December, the initial suspension was met with such outcry that eight board members of color had resigned in protest at the time. In January, the RWA also canceled its 2020 RITA Awards and accepted the resignations of president Damon Suede and executive director Carol Ritter.
And on Wednesday, the remaining members of the board tendered their resignations.
“We believe that the Board must have the trust of the membership and that this is the best way forward to achieve that. We believe RWA can and will be a place of inclusion and respect. We tender our resignations in support of the organization and its mission,” the former board members said in a joint statement.
The board resignations will not impact an ongoing independent audit into the ethics complaint and investigation that led to Milan’s suspension, the statement also said. A special election to replace the board will begin on March 13, with voting closing on March 20. The results will be announced on March 23.
Milan, responding to the announcement on Twitter, said that the resignations “could have happened a month earlier” and expressed concerns about how the special election would be run. (Milan did not immediately respond to a request for comment.)
Did they even put policy in place for a special election? Is there a functional leadership development committee? Who’s gonna run for President?
— Courtney!!! Milan ???? ???? ????????⛸ (@courtneymilan) February 12, 2020