[PlanetKR] Short Survey on Diversity and Inclusion in KR

Judy Goldsmith goldsmit at cs.uky.edu
Wed Oct 6 18:40:35 UTC 2021

Dear Vladimir,

As a queer and female person in the greater CS/AI community, your email 
made me PROFOUNDLY uncomfortable.  I am tenured.  I can now afford to 
say that yes, I have had experiences at AI and other CS conferences that 
make me uncomfortable.  I have looked around the table or conference 
session room and thought that one of these folks (me) is not like the 
others, and voices like mine or my friends are not being heard.  I have 
heard talks that make a joke out of objectifying women's bodies, at 
times when I did not feel safe objecting.  I have objected to things in 
talks, and been scolded or shunned, or had my work at that conference 

It has been years since I attended KR, so I cannot point to specific 
incidents.  But I am in a position, unlike students and untenured 
faculty, to respond.  You are asking people to expose themselves in ways 
that make them/us feel vulnerable, just so you can make a point.

I am sure that Vanina can quote statistics about retention of women, 
people of color, members of the LGBTQ+ community, etc.  The disturbing 
homogeneity of our field is a major sign.  The lack of trust in your 
email is another sign.  Yes.  Yes, we have been uncomfortable in 
expressing, in being, who we are.  Suggesting that this might not be the 
case is another way of reinforcing our invisibility, our lack of voice 
in the community.

We are all very busy people.  Vanina and many others would not be 
spending time and energy and resources on a nonexistent problem. You can 
offer support, you can increase that workload, or you can step aside.

With all due respect,

    Judy Goldsmith

On 10/6/21 2:25 PM, Vladimir Lifschitz via PlanetKR wrote:
> Dear Vanina,
> Thank you for your email.  I am wondering why you believe that we need
> to address the problem of building "a diverse and inclusive community,
> a space where everyone can belong and feel comfortable to freely express
> who they are.”  Have you seen any signs that the problem exists--that
> any participants of our conferences do not feel comfortable to freely
> express who they are?
> Best wishes,
> Vladimir
> --
> Vladimir Lifschitz
> Department of Computer Science    Office:  (512) 471-9564
> University of Texas at Austin     Fax:     (512) 471-8885
> 2317 Speedway, Stop D9500         E-mail:  vl at cs.utexas.edu
> Austin, TX 78712-1757, USA        WWW: http://www.cs.utexas.edu/~vl
>> Dear colleague,
>> KR is striving to build a diverse and inclusive community, a space where
>> everyone can belong and feel comfortable to freely express who they are. One
>> of the first steps towards meeting this goal is the definition of a Diversity
>> and Inclusion Policy. To make sure that all opinions and points of view are
>> taken into account, we reach out for your help in completing this survey.
>> Thank you for your time, your feedback is very important in helping build a
>> diverse, open, safe and inclusive atmosphere.
>> The KR21 D&I chairs
>> Marco, Magdalena and Vanina
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