[Lingtyp] ALT: code of conduct

Martin Haspelmath haspelmath at shh.mpg.de
Mon Nov 20 14:09:48 UTC 2017

Thanks to the EC for its efforts, but I would strongly urge all ALT 
members to vote AGAINST the code of conduct.

Such codes of conduct may be needed, but the present formulation is 
incompatible with free science.

There is no definition of "harrassment" (just some examples of what 
harrassment is), and the formulation "offensive comments related to 
aspects of identity" is terribly vague.

On the basis of such a code of conduct, almost anything that is 
controversial could be construed as violating the code, so anyone could 
be expelled from the conference, even though they are trying to make a 
serious contribution to science.

It's completely unclear who has the authority to "find conference 
participants in violation", and how participants could defend themselves 
if wrongly accused. I would not want to attend a conference with such 
rules, as I would not feel safe to express my (potentially 
controversial) scientific ideas.

So the present formulation is completely counterproductive and dangerous 
for ALT.

I am aware that in Anglo-American culture, such codes of conduct are 
more and more widespread, but there are big cultural differences. In 
most parts of the world, precarious employment and restrictions on 
travel are much more urgent problems that are worth thinking about. I 
suggest that ALT's EC consider also other options to make people feel 
welcome at ALT conferences, e.g. to increase the participation fees for 
participants from rich countries substantially, in order to alleviate 
the outrageous obstacles to conference participation that many 
(potential) ALT members face.

I'm all for addressing the problem of harrassment, but only if it clear 
what exactly consitutes harrassment, and if there is no threat of 
expelling participants from ALT conferences. (Or if there is such a  
threat, then there should be a due process, as we're used to in free 
societies, rather than an arbitrary decision by some unspecified 
authority.) Maybe there should be a larger discussion at the ALT 
conference, or on the LINGTYP List.

Best wishes,

On 20.11.17 14:24, Kristine Hildebrandt wrote:
> Dear ALT members:
> We have two important items up for vote. Both items are contained in a 
> single electronic ballot, which can be found here:
> https://siue.co1.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_6id2p5qEU7W3tzf
> This link allows you to vote exactly once, and the origin of the vote 
> is untraceable (ie. the vote is anonymous to me when I collect the 
> results).
> Item 1:
> Of the six current Executive Committee members, three are rotating 
> off, and need to be replaced (Felix Ameka, Isabelle Bril, Keren Rice). 
> Three continue for another term: Silvia Luraghi, Stepehen Matthews, 
> Felicity Meakins.
> The ALT nominating committee identified and consulted with three 
> nominees for the EC: Mark Dingemanse, Rachel Nordlinger, and Ljuba 
> Veselinova.
> When you go the e-ballot, you will see brief bio-sketches of the three 
> nominees. You can vote for all three together, or for any individual. 
> And even if you do not vote for any nominee, you can still vote on 
> Item #2 (below).
> We are grateful to both the outgoing EC members, and to the Nominating 
> Committee (Nick Enfield, Nina Dobrushina, Martin Haspelmath, and 
> Claire Bowern) for their work for ALT.
> Item 2:
> The ALT Officers (Jeff Good, Dmitry Idiatov, and me), in consultation 
> with the EC have drawn up a code of conduct statement to be added to 
> the ALT statutes. Please vote either for or against the adoption of 
> this code.
> *Voting is now open as of this email. The deadline to vote is Tuesday 
> December 5 at 5pm Central Standard Time.*
> Thank you!
> -- 
> Orche
> ('Thanks' in Manange)
> /Kristine A. Hildebrandt/
> /Associate Professor, Department of English Language & Literature 
> <http://www.siue.edu/artsandsciences/english/>//
> /
> /Secretary, Association for Linguistic Typology 
> <http://www.linguistic-typology.org/>
> /
> /Editor, Himalayan Linguistics 
> <http://escholarship.org/uc/himalayanlinguistics>/
> Check out our Manang Languages 
> <https://mananglanguages.isg.siue.edu/> project page!
> /Southern Illinois University Edwardsville/
> /Box 1431
> Edwardsville, IL 62026 U.S.A.
> 618-650-3991 (department voicemail)/
> /khildeb at siue.edu <mailto:khildeb at siue.edu>
> http://www.siue.edu/~khildeb <http://www.siue.edu/%7Ekhildeb>/
> _______________________________________________
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Martin Haspelmath (haspelmath at shh.mpg.de)
Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History
Kahlaische Strasse 10	
D-07745 Jena
Leipzig University
IPF 141199
Nikolaistrasse 6-10
D-04109 Leipzig

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