ACM SIGGRAPH is creating SIGGRAPH CARES: Committee to Aid REporting on discrimination and harassment policy violations. All SIG events and communications abide by ACM’s policy against discrimination and harassment. If a violation of this policy occurs, ACM urges reporting the incident to the event chair, the ACM President, CEO, or COO. Because we recognize that reporting to a conference chair or an upper level ACM administrator can be intimidating, especially in the face of an already unpleasant experience, we have formed CARES to be a group of people in the computer graphics community who are approachable, willing to listen and ready to help people who experience discrimination and harassment at our events. The inaugural chair of CARES will be Alain Chesnais, a long-time volunteer for both ACM and ACM SIGGRAPH.
The committee members can be an advisor for people and can provide advice on the steps necessary to have the matter further investigated by ACM. It is important to understand that for the matter to be reported, the person experiencing the incident must still themselves send the complaint to ACM where it will be handled according to ACM’s policy. The ACM SIGGRAPH CARES committee doesn't serve as an intermediary in the official process and it cannot be involved in any aspect of the handling of the complaint by ACM.
The motivation in providing a ACM SIGGRAPH CARES standing committee is:
- People are more likely to report harassment or discrimination incidents if familiar and respected members of the community are available for support,
- Unlike conference chairs, the members of the ACM SIGGRAPH CARES committee will be chosen largely for their commitment and record on the targeted issues,
- Longer membership terms and an established committee enable building experience and a record that inspires more trust for those considering coming forward about an incident,
- Committee members are expected to be physically present at our main events and work with event leaders to publicize their role, and
- The presence of such a committee with respected and trusted members from the community assigned to watch for these issues should serve as a deterrent for such behavior as well as encourage us all to be aware of and speak up if we observe such behavior.
ACM SIGGRAPH is following in the steps of SIGARCH and SIGMICRO by instituting ACM SIGGRAPH CARES as sub-committee of our newly formed Diversity and Inclusion Standing Committee, chaired by Tony Baylis.
A blog post by Sarita Adve, Chair of SIGARCH, provides more background on the formation of their committee and why the ACM SIGGRAPH EC felt we should also follow suit.