Monday, October 08, 2018

A new sexual harassment policy for TCS conferences.

One of my most visited posts is the anonymous post by a theoryCS colleague describing her own #metoo moments inside the TCS conference circuit. It was a brutal and horrific story to read.

Concurrently (I don't know if the blog post had an effect, but one can but hope it helped push things along), a committee was set up under the auspices of TCMF (FOCS), ACM, SIAM, and EATCS to
Draft a proposal for joint ToC measures to combat discrimination, harassment, bullying, and retaliation, and all matters of ethics that might relate to that.
That committee has now completed its work, and a final report is available. The report was also endorsed at the FOCS business meeting this week. The report is short, and you should read it. The main takeaways/recommendations are that every conference should
  • adopt a code of conduct and post it clearly. 
  • recruit and train a group of advocates to provide confidential support to those facing problems at a conference
  • have mechanisms for authors to declare a conflict of interest without needing to be openly specific about the reasons. 
There are many useful references in the report, as well as more concrete suggestions about how to implement the above recommendations. This committee was put together fast, and generated a very useful report quickly. Well done!

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