CARES Mission Statement

SIGCHI CARES exists to serve as a resource for those who experience discrimination and/or harassment in violation of ACM’s policies governing SIG activities:  policy against discrimination and harassment, policy on plagiarism, misrepresentation, and falsification; policy on coercion and abuse in the ACM publications process; and policy on roles and responsibilities in ACM publishing. CARES supports such individuals by allowing them to work with established members of the SIGCHI community, who are approachable and willing to listen and help navigate the SIGCHI and ACM reporting and accountability process. By its existence, CARES seeks to raise awareness of and deter discriminatory, harassing, or other unethical behavior and incidents related to SIG activities and publications. It seeks to support those who have had such experiences directly, offering them an open and confidential conversation, with dual intent of: (a) creating better awareness of discriminatory dynamics on the part of conference organizers; and (b) increasing accountability of conference organizers, event staff, and conference attendees. Our goal is to empower all SIGCHI community members to speak up if we observe such behavior. Note that in certain cases of imminent danger, including threats of violence, suicide, harm to children, etc., CARES committee members are required to report to appropriate authorities.

CARES Governance Policies

The CARES committee was initially formed in January 2020, and the SIGCHI Executive Committee approved and appointed an initial fourteen members (see membership). SIGCHI CARES is a committee of SIGCHI. This relationship is expected to continue in perpetuity, and any changes to the rules of governance must be approved by SIGCHI EC.

SIGCHI CARES is chaired by Shaowen Bardzell (Vice President at Large) and overseen by Helena Mentis (President).

Committee Member Responsibilities

SIGCHI CARES offers informal support and advice only. It does not formally represent individuals who have experienced discrimination in any actions. Individuals experiencing discrimination and harassment will still be responsible for initiating formal complaints to the ACM, where it will be handled according to ACM’s policies. The CARES committee may assist those who experience discrimination and/or harassment during the reporting process, it cannot serve as an intermediary in that official process and it cannot be formally involved in any aspect of the handling of the complaint by ACM. For accountability, wherever possible we will have two CARES committee members present for discussions with the reporting person, who will have the agency to choose who from the CARES committee to be involved in the conversation.

The CARES committee commits to attend a certain number of professional meetings every year. Ultimately, the CARES goal is to have at least one committee member present at all SIGCHI-sponsored conferences as well as the program committee meetings (as invited) for those conferences. To support this goal, committee members are expected to attend at least one SIGCHI sponsored event per year.

However, because SIGCHI sponsors 24 conferences, in-person participation may not always be possible. In the event that no CARES committee members are available to attend a given conference, the co-chairs of CARES will work with the SIGCHI VP for Conferences to pair one CARES member with a representative of that conference, who will be physically present at the conference, before it is held, so that the designated CARE member can train the conference representative on ACM harassment and discrimination guidelines and reporting mechanism.

During the opening remarks of each SIGCHI sponsored conferences and events, the organizing committee will announce the purpose of SIGCHI CARES, CARES committee member(s) present or the ‘person on the ground’ who an attendee can directly speak with, and any particular events the CARES members/point person will attend, so that conference/event attendees can reach out to CARES if necessary.

Committee Member Appointments

Anyone may suggest potential committee members. Committee members should be well known and respected community members to encourage reporting. Due to the personal nature of these incidents, ensuring committee members are compassionate, trustworthy, and discreet is also of utmost importance.

In consultation with SIGCHI EC, the co-chairs and current CARES committee members will vet potential committee members by seeking input from their collaborators and others who know the nominated people well.  Only after this process will new members be invited by the co-chairs to serve. New members must familiarize themselves with ACM policy against  harassment. The CARES co-chairs will inform the sponsoring organization of any changes in membership in a timely manner.

There is no upper bound on the number of CARES committee members. Committee members normally are invited to serve for a 3-year term, with a maximum of 6 years, served consecutively. Members can step down at any point with advance notice.

Ethics and Conflicts of Interest

Committee members will be held to the highest standards of conduct and discretion. They must abide by the ACM policy against harassment and any other pertinent ACM rules, their institutions’ rules, as well as any context relevant policies[1]. The reporting person’s experiences will only be shared with others on the committee if their explicit permission is provided to do so.

If an incident is reported to the ACM against a CARES committee member, and an investigation determines that the report is credible, the member will be removed from the committee.  If the committee is made aware of the complaint while the investigation is ongoing, the member will not represent CARES at conferences or any SIGCHI official events during the investigation.

If the person accused of harassment and discrimination has a conflict of interest with the CARES committee member who initially receives a report (e.g., advisor/advisee, collaborator, same institution, etc.), that committee member shall refer the reporter to another committee member immediately.

Reporting to and Oversight by the Sponsoring Organization

Although CARES will work autonomously, the final responsibility for its appropriate functioning rests with the sponsoring organization, the SIGCHI Executive Committee. The CARES co-chairs will submit an annual report to the sponsoring organization indicating the conferences and events covered and the committee members attending these meetings. Individual incident reports and conversations with committee members are confidential (with the caveat about situations of immanent danger). The CARES report will therefore summarize the nature and scale of climate and harassment concerns within the community, but without inappropriate or confidential details. To align with other ACM reporting requirements, the report will be due July 15 and will cover the ACM fiscal year period of July 1 of the prior year to June 30th.

[1] Examples include but are not limited to, UN policy on the prevention of harassment, EU’s Non-Discrimination policy, US Title IX and Sex Discrimination, the Canadian Human Rights Act on Discrimination among others.