[Lingtyp] ALT: code of conduct

Emily M. Bender ebender at uw.edu
Tue Nov 21 14:07:37 UTC 2017

Dear all,

In case it is helpful for this discussion, here is a link to the
anti-harassment policy recently adopted by the Association for
Computational Linguistics, another international scholarly organization:


We (the ACL exec) are presently in the process of developing procedures to
follow in case of  complaints raised under the policy.  These cases are
never easy, and of course none of this is pleasant to think about.
However, it is clear that despite the fact that most people attend academic
conferences in good faith and without wishing to make the atmosphere
unwelcoming to anyone, cases of harassment do occur, and that therefore the
status quo is unacceptable.  Furthermore, it is a helpful, positive thing
for professional organizations to set expectations.  That expectation
setting in and of itself can help underrepresented groups feel more welcome
and supported (and more likely to stick around in the field).  The "worst
case" consequences in policies such as this are there to give them teeth,
but are never automatic consequences of a complaint being raised.


p.s. Here's the text of the ACL policy:


Anti-Harassment Policy
The open exchange of ideas, the freedom of thought and expression, and
respectful scientific debate are central to the aims and goals of the ACL.
These require a community and an environment that recognizes the inherent
worth of every person and group, that fosters dignity, understanding, and
mutual respect, and that embraces diversity. For these reasons, ACL is
dedicated to providing a harassment-free experience for all the members, as
well as participants at our events and in our programs.

Harassment and hostile behavior are unwelcome at any ACL conference,
associated event, or in ACL-affiliated on-line discussions. This includes:
speech or behavior that intimidates, creates discomfort, or interferes with
a person's participation or opportunity for participation in a conference
or an event. We aim for ACL-related activities to be an environment where
harassment in any form does not happen, including but not limited to:
harassment based on race, gender, religion, age, color, appearance,
national origin, ancestry, disability, sexual orientation, or gender
identity. Harassment includes degrading verbal comments, deliberate
intimidation, stalking, harassing photography or recording, inappropriate
physical contact, and unwelcome sexual attention. The policy is not
intended to inhibit challenging scientific debate, but rather to promote it
through ensuring that all are welcome to participate in shared spirit of
scientific inquiry.

It is the responsibility of the community as a whole to promote an
inclusive and positive environment for our scholarly activities. In
addition, anyone who experiences harassment or hostile behavior may contact
any current member of the ACL Executive Committee ([1]) or contact
Priscilla Rasmussen (acl at aclweb.org), who is usually available at the
registration desk during ACL conferences. Members of the executive
committee will be instructed to keep any such contact in strict confidence,
and those who approach the committee will be consulted before any actions
are taken.

This policy should be posted prominently on all ACL conference and workshop
webpages, with a notice of a list of people who can be contacted by
community members with concerns. In case of a formal complaint, the
contacted ACL representative(s) will first speak to all parties involved to
try to resolve the issue without presupposition of guilt.

Approved by ACL Executive Committee, 2016


On Tue, Nov 21, 2017 at 5:13 AM, Good, Jeff <jcgood at buffalo.edu> wrote:

> Dear all,
> In light of the ongoing debate about the proposed code of conduct, I would
> like to send a brief message on behalf of the ALT Executive Committee.
> The ALT Executive Committee recognizes the importance of allowing open
> debates on topics of relevance to the association and encourages members
> with an opinion on the proposed code of conduct to voice their views
> publicly on as they see fit. Regardless of the outcome of the vote, we
> welcome further discussion of this topic at the upcoming biennial meeting.
> We also encourage members to vote on the code (whether for or against) as
> presently proposed, and we do not plan to propose a revised code before the
> biennial meeting. Based on the discussion at the meeting, a revision to the
> code can be developed if the present code is passed or a new code can be
> proposed if the present proposal does not pass.
> Best,
> Jeff Good
> President, Association for Linguistic Typology
> _______________________________________________
> Lingtyp mailing list
> Lingtyp at listserv.linguistlist.org
> http://listserv.linguistlist.org/mailman/listinfo/lingtyp

Emily M. Bender
Professor, Department of Linguistics
Check out CLMS on facebook! http://www.facebook.com/uwclma
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