[Lingtyp] ALT: code of conduct

Hedvig Skirgård hedvig.skirgard at gmail.com
Tue Nov 21 00:04:43 UTC 2017

Dear all,

While I understand the concerns about wording and timing (having a remote
vote instead of an IRL vote at the business meeting), I would greatly
appreciate it if Martin, David and others would submit an alternative
proposal instead of only critique. This discussion is otherwise in danger
of becoming derailed from the actual problems at hand and their
implications. I agree with Claire that the discussion has already become
unproductively derailed.

It seems to me that a good solution at this time is to let several people
submit and circulate suggestions and then have a definite IRL vote here in
Canberra (where some people might have to do it remotely still). I assume
that the reason for having a remote vote like this before the meeting is
because the EC is concerned that people will not engage thoroughly with the
issues until the actual business meeting, and that it will then drag out
and not reach a final decision. That's a valid concern, and probably works
well for many issues that the ALT deals with, but it seems like for this
one it is not working well. If the EC believes that it is now possible to
have a debate here on the mailing list and that it will be feasible to have
a vote (where some people will have to do it remotely) during the ALT
meeting in Canberra, then would be good.

As a junior female person in these circumstances, I am very grateful to the
EC and in particular Kristine for taking these issues seriously and
proposing this code of conduct. It is much needed, and if we want
linguistics to be a healthy research discipline where people want to stay,
we need to start addressing these issues concretely and head on. There are
many factors that influence what research gets produced, we all know that
it is not intellect alone. We are losing research colleagues because of
sexual harassment, it is in the fields interest to make it very clear to
everyone what kind of behaviour is appropriate in professional spaces.

I support Martin's concern about making the ALT more welcoming for
researchers from developing countries with struggling finances, but I don't
see how that's in conflict with this issue. I am able to both support the
EC's code of conduct and such an initiative, and I hope that Martin has
added it to the agenda for the business meeting.


*Med vänliga hälsningar**,*

*Hedvig Skirgård*

PhD Candidate

The Wellsprings of Linguistic Diversity

ARC Centre of Excellence for the Dynamics of Language

School of Culture, History and Language
College of Asia and the Pacific

The Australian National University

Website <https://sites.google.com/site/hedvigskirgard/>

On 21 November 2017 at 10:20, Giorgio Francesco Arcodia <
giorgio.arcodia at unimib.it> wrote:

> Dear colleagues,
> I completely agree with David Gil. Maybe it's just me, but I wouldn't know
> how we could define e.g. "inappropriate physical contact" in a
> culturally-neutral way. This is simply not possible. In some cultures, even
> a handshake could be perceived, or construed, as "inappropriate",
> especially between people of the opposite sex.
> I strongly believe that, unless we want to impose the values of the
> Anglophone West to all participants to all ALT conferences anywhere in the
> world, we cannot have this sort of rules.
> On the other hand, Martin's suggestion is more than reasonable, in my
> view, and I would be glad to vote to approve it.
> Lastly, I think that any conference organiser would reprimand a
> participant being disruptive/offensive/aggressive/etc. This is just
> common sense. I don't see why we need a formal, statutory investment for
> this.
> Giorgio F. Arcodia
> On 20 Nov 2017 22:04, "Martin Haspelmath" <haspelmath at shh.mpg.de> wrote:
>> On 20.11.17 19:02, Kristine Hildebrandt wrote:
>> I do urge ALT members *not* to simply assume that this Association (or
>> any other) gets to 'opt out' of this issue, so I would welcome some
>> discussion on this towards crafting revised language, either online or
>> during a special session, language that *can* eventually be adopted
>> formally.
>> Here's a proposal for a revised code of conduct (copied from the upcoming Australian
>> Linguistic Society meeting
>> <http://sydney.edu.au/arts/conference/als_2017/code.shtml>'s code of
>> conduct):
>> Conference participants will:
>>    - treat fellow participants, students, volunteers, and any other
>>    members of the public with respect, dignity, impartiality, courtesy and
>>    sensitivity;
>>    - maintain a cooperative and collaborative approach to inter-personal
>>    relationships;
>>    - respect the privacy of others;
>>    - ensure that they do not become involved in or encourage
>>    discrimination against or harassment of participants, students, volunteers,
>>    or any other members of the public.
>> For me, the main point is that there should be no threat to expel
>> participants from the conference for what they say.
>> The ALS's statement should go at least some way toward "setting the tone"
>> against anti-scientific behaviour of the kind highlighted by Claire,
>> without falling into the trap of being anti-scientific in a different way.
>> Another thing that ALT could do is introduce mandatory "harrassment
>> training" at the beginning of the conference – this is something that is
>> completely unknown in Germany and other non-Anglo-American countries, but
>> maybe it's something that the whole world needs – I'm certainly open to
>> this possibility. It would be a slight annoyance for some people, but the
>> main thing for me is that there would be no threat to expel a colleague
>> from the conference.
>> Best,
>> Martin
>> --
>> 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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