[PlanetKR] Short Survey on Diversity and Inclusion in KR

Wolter, Frank wolter at liverpool.ac.uk
Fri Oct 8 06:38:07 UTC 2021

Dear Vladimir,

Let me respond directly to your question what prompted us to create the administrative mechanism described in the policy document. It was my initiative as President of KR Inc. from 2018 to 2020 to form a subcommittee of the KR Steering Committee tasked with developing a diversity and inclusion policy for the KR conferences. I personally was (and still am) excited about this initiative because I strongly believe in supporting everybody in our community and because the feedback for existing initiatives such as "Women in KR", the Doctoral Consortium, travel support for students, has been extremely positive. My idea was (and is) to develop such activities in a more consistent and systematic way. In the subcommittee we discussed numerous ideas of what could be done. We believe that having Diversity and Inclusion Chairs will enable the KR community to develop such ideas and initiatives and also learn from past experience (rather than always start from scratch). I also believe it's a great idea to do a survey (many thanks Marco, Magdalena and Vanina!) to gather ideas and find out what the KR community wants.

I hope this answers your question.

Best wishes,  Frank

-----Original Message-----
From: PlanetKR <planetkr-bounces at kr.org> On Behalf Of Vladimir Lifschitz via PlanetKR
Sent: 08 October 2021 02:00
To: PlanetKR at kr.org
Subject: Re: [PlanetKR] Short Survey on Diversity and Inclusion in KR

Dear Judy,
Dear Markus,
Dear Sean,
Dear Gabriele,

Thank you for taking the time to comment on my message to Vanina.  I was sorry to learn from Sean's email that his life in Texas brought him so much pain.

I must point out, on the other hand, that much of what Judy and Sean wrote about is not directly related to my question.  I wanted to clarify what prompted us to create the administrative mechanism described in the policy document--was it an incident at one of KR conferences?  Then I agree that creating the positions of Diversity and Inclusion Officer and DI Chairs is justified.

But there is another possibility: maybe we are simply doing what everyone else is doing this year.  If this is what is happening then we need to think about this initiative twice.  The tendency to suspect bigotry in every organization by default, without evidence, is widespread today, but it is irrational and unhealthy.  This is a bad idea whose time has come, to use John McCarthy's expression.

This is why my question is important.

Best wishes,

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

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