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Committee to Aid REporting on discrimination and haraSsment policy violations.


SIGPLAN CARES is a subcommittee of SIGPLAN. 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 or the ACM President, CEO, or COO. 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 therefore established CARES: Committee to Aid REporting on discrimination and harassment policy violations.

The role of CARES is to serve as a resource consisting of well-known and respected people in the programming languages community who are approachable and willing to listen to and help people who experience discrimination and harassment at our events; the committee members can be a sounding board for these 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 CARES committee cannot serve as an intermediary in that official process and it cannot be involved in any aspect of the handling of the complaint by ACM.

The motivation in providing a standing CARES committee is: (1) people are more likely to report harassment or discrimination incidents if familiar and respected members of the community are available for support, (2) unlike conference chairs, the members of the CARES committee will be chosen largely for their commitment and record on the targeted issues, (3) longer membership terms and an (eventually) established committee enable building experience and a record that inspires more trust for those considering coming forward about an incident, (4) committee members are expected to be physically present at our main events and work with event leaders to publicize their role, and (5) 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 behavior that violates the ACM code of conduct, as well as encourage us all to be aware of and speak up if we observe such behavior.

A blog post provides background about the formation of the first CARES committee in the architecture community and this blog post talks about harassment some members of that community have experienced. The SIGARCH/SIGMICRO CARES committee led to foundation of the SIGPLAN committee.


SIGPLAN CARES is first appearing at POPL 2020. At POPL (Wed Jan 22-Fri Jan 24), a member of CARES attending POPL will be present from1:30 to 2:30 at a CARES desk near registration. Community members who have had an experience with discrimination or harassment are welcome to come and speak with the committee about their experience. Alternatively, the community member may email a committee member to speak about an experience over the phone or set up a confidential meeting.

At POPL 2020, three members of the SIGPLAN CARES committee will be present: Alexandra Silva (University College London), Hongseok Yang (KAIST), and David Walker (Princeton University).