January 19, 2017
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 Committees, led by Dan Suciu and Floris Geerts, 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
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