I understand, that these are old news, and that during the past two weeks plenty of way more important things had happened. But nevertheless I wanted to say, that I was very happy when I received the news which I copy below. Knowing how much time and effort it takes to organize events like this, and how exceptionally difficult is it to re-settle a conference of that size in the new place, i can only say one thing – I am very proud of the community!
Dear members of the SIGMOD/PODS Community:
On January 16 (Martin-Luther-King Day in the USA), the SIGMOD Executive
Committee decided to move the ACM SIGMOD/PODS 2017 conference out of
North Carolina to a new, still undecided location. The decision was made
unanimously by the Committee following extensive discussions with the
SIGMOD Advisory Board.
The SIGMOD/PODS community is open and inclusive. It embraces all forms
of diversity, including diversity of gender identity. Our commitment to
these fundamental principles would have been in question if we held the
SIGMOD/PODS 2017 conference in North Carolina, hence the decision to move.
The decision was triggered by North Carolina’s HB2 bill and the decision
of North Carolina’s policy makers not to repeal HB2 in December 2016.
With its decision, the SIGMOD organization follows the example of many
other organizations (science, industry, sports, and arts) to move major
events that were planned to take place in North Carolina to other
locations. A total of 68 international companies (including many companies
that employ members of the SIGMOD/PODS community around the world) and
several states of the USA have protested and taken a stand against HB2.
The Department of Justice of the United States has filed a lawsuit
against HB2 and the state of North Carolina.
It has also come to our attention that many members of the SIGMOD/PODS
community, including some of our senior leaders, have already decided to
not attend any conference in North Carolina to show solidarity with the
LGBTQ community. A conference without full participation and with only
limited discourse between the members of the community is undesirable.
Furthermore, many of our industrial sponsors are likely to not want to
be affiliated with conferences held in North Carolina. We do not wish
to strain our relations with our sponsors and friends from industry.
This decision has many practical implications for which we need your
help. We are actively working to find a new venue and will announce the
outcome as soon as possible. In the meantime, please hold back with travel
arrangements. Changing the venue might also involve changing the dates.
If you have already made travel arrangements, please contact us. We are
also looking into issues related to visas. We apologize for any
inconvenience this decision may cause and will try our best to alleviate
any resulting difficulties.
We thank the North Carolina local organizing committee, led by Rada
Chirkova and Jun Yang, for all the work that they have done so far.
Rada and Jun have graciously accepted to continue to serve as general
co-chairs of the relocated conference. Without their help, relocation
would not have been possible. The Program Committee, lead by Dan Suciu,
will continue to organize the program as planned. We are extremely
thankful to all volunteers for their commitment.
The decision to relocate the SIGMOD/PODS 2017 conference was not
taken lightly. It was made after an intense debate over the last two
weeks from which it became clear that there was no easy solution to
the issue that had emerged. We truly hope that this decision will help
unite the SIGMOD/PODS community, sending a message of inclusiveness
and respect for one another.
SIGMOD Executive Committee
K. Selcuk Candan
Christian S. Jensen
Jan Van den Bussche