Recently EPIC was accused of homophobia in the EPIC2017 peer review process. In the wake of this experience, and as we embark on the review process for our 2018 program, there are several things we would like our community to know:
- Members of the EPIC2017 program committee and the EPIC Board addressed this accusation immediately when it was first raised in 2017 and again last week when it was surfaced publicly by the same individual as he was invited to participate in this year’s review process. We have communicated with the individual who made the accusation. We did not find any evidence of homophobia.
- Although we found no evidence of discrimination in this case, based on our investigations we did make changes to our review process to improve communication and transparency about the system. For example, the program committee conducted “Ask Us Anything” sessions and was available on email and Slack to ensure broader access to information about the submission process. Our acceptance rate typically falls below 30% because we have so many submissions relative to the limited space available in our program. This means that we are not able to accept all the qualified work that gets submitted, and many excellent people experience rejection (including board members). We are working hard to make the review experience positive for everyone who takes the time and effort to submit.
- EPIC is a diverse community committed to understanding and addressing the ways in which power creates exclusions and repressions. We understand that discrimination can happen even in communities earnestly committed to these principles, so we will always take complaints extremely seriously and we encourage individuals to speak up about their experiences. For EPIC2018 attendees, our Code of Conduct includes instructions for reporting harassment on site.
Thank you for all you do to make our community dynamic, diverse, and responsive.
The EPIC Board
Maria Bezaitis, President
Martha Cotton, Secretary
ken anderson, Treasurer