CARES mission statement The CARES committee was established to encourage a welcoming harassment-free research community at professional meetings sponsored by SIGSOFT. By its existence, it seeks to discourage bad behavior and offer a friendly ear for community members to discuss their experiences confidentially.
CARES governance policies The remainder of this document outlines the policies for governance of the CARES committee, including chair rotation, membership, autonomy, and conflicts of interest on the CARES committee.
The CARES committee was initially formed in 2022 by SIGSOFT. The SIGSOFT executive committee appointed the initial members (Joanne Atlee (Co-Chair), Alexander Serebrenik (Co-Chair), Kelly Blincoe (Co-Chair), Andrew Begel, Gail Murphy, and Bonita Sharif).
The CARES committee is sponsored by SIGSOFT. This sponsorship is expected to continue in perpetuity, and any changes to the rules of governance must be approved by the SIGSOFT Executive Committee. However, CARES operates autonomously to increase the trust of all community members, to which the committee will offer support only in the best interests of the people who report incidents, and not for any other reason. CARES governance seeks to strike a balance in acknowledging the need for this autonomy, while also the need for support and stewardship by the SIGSOFT Executive Committee.
Committee member responsibilities The CARES committee commits to attend a certain number of professional meetings. Ultimately, the CARES goal is to have at least one but preferably two committee members present at all conferences sponsored by SIGSOFT, 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 such sponsored event per year. In unusual circumstances, travel and registration funding allowances may be available from SIGSOFT to cover the attendance of up to two CARES committee members in case no CARES committee members were otherwise planning to attend a guaranteed sponsored conference.
At each conference in the opening remarks, or other event early in the meeting, a committee member will announce the purpose of the committee, committee members present, and some of the particular events the members will attend. The announcement should be “inclusion positive.”
Committee co-chairs In steady state, at least two co-chairs will always serve. Each co-chair will serve for three years and appointments will overlap by 1.5 years, so that there will always be a serving co-chair with at least 1.5 years of experience. After serving as co-chair, the co-chair will normally remain on the committee for at least one more year.
Co-chairs may be drawn from the current committee or the community at large. The current co-chairs will propose the next committee co-chair and will request input from the current CARES committee members and the SIGSOFT Executive Committee. Input should be provided in a timely manner. Co-chairs will then be approved by consensus of the CARES committee members and the SIGSOFT Executive Committee.
Committee member appointments Anyone may suggest potential committee members to the co-chairs, e.g., suggest your colleague or yourself. The SIGSOFT Executive Committee may also propose members. Committee members should be well known and respected community members to encourage reporting. Because of the gravity and personal nature of this committee, ensuring committee members are empathetic, trustworthy, and discreet is also of utmost import.
The co-chairs and current CARES committee members will vet potential committee members by seeking input from their collaborators, others who know the nominated people well, and the SIGSOFT Executive Committee. Only after this process will new members be invited by the co-chairs to serve. New members are encouraged to take inclusion and harassment prevention training courses. The CARES co-chairs will inform the SIGSOFT Executive Committee of any changes in membership in a timely manner.
There is no upper bound on the number of committee members. A lower bound of six members is suggested.
Committee members normally are invited to serve for a 3 year term, with a maximum of 6 years, served consecutively and a minimum of 6 years away from the committee before serving again. Committee members who serve as co-chair may serve longer to comply with the co-chair service policy of three years plus one year as prior-co-chair. After 3 years, the co-chairs will review the service of each committee member (e.g., conferences attended, etc.) and will normally invite members to renew.
Committee members serve at the discretion of the co-chairs and may be removed from the committee if they do not attend at least one conference or PC meeting per year, or other problems arise.
Ethics and conflicts of Interest Committee members will be held to the highest standards of conduct and discretion. They must abide by all their institutions’ rules, the ACM policy against harassment, and any other pertinent ACM rules. They may discuss incidents with other committee members, but may not otherwise discuss incidents, unless so directed by a person reporting an incident.
If an incident is reported to the ACM or other institutional body (that we become aware of) against a committee member, and that body 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 during the investigation.
If the person accused of harassment has a conflict of interest with the committee member who initially receives a report (e.g., advisor/advisee, collaborator, same institution, etc.), the committee member will 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 SIGSOFT Executive Committee. The CARES co-chairs will submit an annual report to the SIGSOFT Executive Committee indicating the conferences covered and the committee members attending these meetings. Individual incident reports and conversations with committee members are unequivocally private. 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.