how to make ISBA conference safe for all?

As Kristian Lum’s courageous posting of her harrowing experience at ISBA 2010 and of her resulting decision to leave academia, if not thankfully research (as demonstrated by her recent work on the biases in policing software), is hitting the Bayesian community and beyond as a salutary tsunami, I am seeking concrete actions to change ISBA meetings towards preventing to the largest extent sexual harassment and helping victims formally as well as informally, as Dan Simpson put it on his blog post. Having discussed the matter intensely with colleagues and friends over the past days, and joined a Task Force set immediately on Dec 14 by Kerrie Mengersen in her quality of President of ISBA, there are many avenues in the medium and long terms to approach such goals. But I feel the most urgent action is to introduce contact referents (for lack of a better name outside the military or the religious…) who at each conference could be reached at all times in case of need or of reporting inappropriate conduct of any kind. This may prove difficult to build, not because of a lack of volunteers but because of the difficulty in achieving a representativity of all attendees towards them trusting at least one member well enough to reach and confide. One section of ISBA, j-ISBA, can and definitely does help in this regard, including its involvement in the Task Force, but we need to reach further. As put by Kerrie in her statement, your input is valued.


2 Responses to “how to make ISBA conference safe for all?”

  1. What’s slightly confusing is that ISBA took S’s name off the ballot a few weeks, but then didn’t (appear to) take further action. If they believed that S was a problem why not do more? If they didn’t believe that S was a problem, why remove his name.

    The current statement, while nice, appears to be a reaction to the very public medium post.

    • Thanks. It appeared this week that there is no code of conduct or provisions for excluding members, or for banning attendance to a meeting, in the ISBA regulations, in opposition to the ASA or the RSS, although the later society’s regulations are quite vague about members behaving inappropriately. This gap in the by-Laws should change soon as a consequence. Evidently falling short from solving the whole and larger issue.

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