[PlanetKR] Short Survey on Diversity and Inclusion in KR

Markus Kroetzsch markus.kroetzsch at tu-dresden.de
Wed Oct 6 21:00:31 UTC 2021

Good evening,

First, let me thank Marco, Magdalena, and Vanina for their work. This is 
(as first reactions clearly show ;-) a relevant and useful thing to 
have: to gather a better understanding of potential problems in our 
community; to support those who encounter actual obstacles in working in 
our area; and generally to grow our research community without 
compromising on scientific quality or topical focus. It's also a fairly 
standard aspect of professional event organisation in the 2020s, so I 
don't see a need to have fundamental arguments here.

Secondly, let's keep in mind that, especially in email communication, we 
should assume good faith and noble objectives on all sides (even when 
not justified: if anyone then feels misrepresented by our positive 
interpretation of their intentions, they can always send another email 
to clarify ;-). Saying this might be redundant here, but reading the 
recent exchange (as informative as it was), I could see some more and 
some less productive directions to continue this discussion ;-)



On 06/10/2021 20:40, Judy Goldsmith via PlanetKR wrote:
> 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 
> dismissed.
> 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
>> _______________________________________________
>> PlanetKR mailing list
>> PlanetKR at kr.org
>> https://kr.org/cgi-bin/mailman/listinfo/planetkr
> _______________________________________________
> PlanetKR mailing list
> PlanetKR at kr.org
> https://kr.org/cgi-bin/mailman/listinfo/planetkr

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