[Lingtyp] ALT: code of conduct

Alice Gaby alice.gaby at monash.edu
Wed Nov 22 07:32:00 UTC 2017

Dear all,

I have drafted many responses to this thread, but each one is superseded by
further posts before I send it. So here are some undrafted thoughts sent in
haste before it happens again:

a) I support the establishment of a CoC and the justifications that have
been previously offered;

b) While we can't assume a universal definition of what constitutes
harassment, that doesn't lessen the need for a CoC or argue against our
ability to develop one that will make ALT events more inclusive and
welcoming for all ALT members (including or even especially those from
non-"Anglo-American" backgrounds). I certainly don't think it is "immoral"
to institute a CoC, though of course it will evolve over time and should do
so in ways that reflect the culturally diverse membership of ALT. (With
this in mind, I would find it helpful if people who find the proposed CoC
culturally imperious would cite specific aspects of the CoC that are
problematic from the perspective of specific cultural groups);

c) The CoC will likely not prevent the behaviours it is designed to
discourage, nor do I imagine (or hope) that it's going to result in people
being regularly expelled from meetings. But having such a policy is a
reminder of expectations of professional conduct (if a presenter thinks
they should include a photo of a woman in a bikini or a racist cartoon in
their slides to 'wake the audience up', this might make them think again).
In my experience, there are very few harassers, considerably more
harassees, and many, many more bystanders. Explicit guidelines about
professional conduct enable those uncomfortable bystanders to speak up at
the time which can help prevent situations from escalating.


On 22 November 2017 at 17:58, Denys T. <denys.teptiuk at gmail.com> wrote:

> Dear all,
> I don’t think that acknowledgement of the imperfectness of some points in
> CoC is a denial of harassment. I think, the authors have shaped well the
> problem of this CoC, and as Peter wrote in one of the first e-mails, to
> avoid long discussions of what went wrong, we should’ve first voted whether
> ALT needs this sort of CoC and if yes, what wording it will have after all.
> I guess, everyone should acknowledge that CoC is not an ultimate solution
> for the lack of harassment of any kind, nor its (CoC’s) lack leads to the
> increase of the harassment cases.
> As it was well pointed out, some cultures might not be even aware of the
> term *harassment *or have different understanding about the issue than
> the majority of colleagues from west. The same goes to the difference in
> understanding one’s behaviour. For instance, pointed out in one of the
> e-mails question "in which hotel a person stays" was a bit odd personally
> for me, because it sounds like a possible conversation between two people
> who happen to travel from abroad to a possibly new place they have never
> been visiting before, and out of curiosity one happens to ask another where
> (s)he stays. But it does not necessary mean that person to whom the
> question was addressed should necessarily specify all the details about the
> place (s)he stays at (including room or an exact address of the
> hotel/hostel/apartment, etc.), or see in such a question a possible
> harassment move. That is why it is important to either define precisely
> what is expected to be as an (in)appropriate behaviour in such cases, or
> rather restrict ourselves to the general norms where respect towards
> colleagues is taken for granted by whoever becomes a member of ALT, which,
> I guess, is already the case with the most of the ALT members.
> To sum up, I guess, the same dangerous is denying harassment as calling
> any sort of behaviour a harassment. As a possible suggestion from a new
> member of ALT and a young male scholar how the issue of harassment can be
> addressed inside ALT, I would suggest rather having a sort of hotline
> during the conference where a colleague who is in the risk zone to be
> mistreated could have a chance to turn to with the issue. And I guess, it
> is wrong to expel people from the conference without having some sort of
> procedure where a person who is suspected in a harassment could also have a
> chance to explain his or her point of view on the issue.
> Wish y’all good and productive day!
> Best wishes from foggy Tartu,
> Denys Teptiuk
> _______________________________________________
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> Lingtyp at listserv.linguistlist.org
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Director, Graduate Research Program in Linguistics and Applied Linguistics
School of Languages, Literatures, Cultures and Linguistics
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