Working Group: CARES

VERSEN CARES is a working group of VERSEN. If a violation of the VERSEN Code of Conduct occurs, VERSEN urges reporting the incident to its chair or board, as indicated on the webpage. We recognize that reporting to the chair or board can be intimidating, especially in the face of an already unpleasant experience. We have therefore established CARES: Committee to Aid REporting on discrimination, harassment, and related violations of the Code of Conduct.

The role of CARES is to serve as a resource comprising of respected and trusted people in our community who are approachable and willing to listen to and help people who experience or witness discrimination, harassment, or other violations of the Code of Conduct; 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. It is important to understand that for the matter to be reported, the person experiencing the incident must still themselves send the complaint to VERSEN where it will be handled according to VERSEN’s policies. 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 VERSEN.

The motivation in providing a standing CARES committee is: (1) people are more likely to report harassment, discrimination, or related incidents if familiar and respected members of the community are available for support, (2) 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 will usually be present at VERSEN 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 VERSEN code of conduct, as well as encourage us all to be aware of and speak up if we observe such behavior.

CARES members are always available by email to correspond and to set up a call with anyone who would like to speak with us about harassment, discrimination, or other concerns related to building and sustaining an inclusive research community.

The idea of VERSEN CARES and the above text have been adapted from SIGARCH CARES and SIGPLAN CARES.