Places to hold conferences

Gene Spafford spaf at cs.purdue.EDU
Sun Jun 30 09:22:03 AEST 1991

Well, for the past couple of months, I was trying to find a nice place
to schedule the next SEDMS (Symposium on Experiences with Distributed
and Multiprocessor Systems).  It's held in March, so I thought Arizona
was a nice candidate.  Unfortunately, Ellie told me that because of
the political fallout over Arizona not making the MLK birthday a
holiday in AZ, we would not be able to get the Usenix board to approve
that as a venue. California became the choice, over my mild objection.
Thus, at least one Usenix meeting decision has already been made on
the basis of "political correctness."

I think that is too bad.  To echo the comments of others, Usenix is a
technical organization.  If I have political views for OR against any
topic like abortion, gun control, clear-cut logging, gay rights, or
any other controvesial issue, I don't think it is the place of Usenix
to make a public stand *as an organization* on those issues.

If Usenix pulls out of New Orleans because of the recent legislation
there, it is making a statement that the members of Usenix don't
approve of the legislation -- and I know that isn't true.  Some don't
approve, some approve, and a lot don't care.  Why force political
views on someone else?  (there is some irony in that -- forcing
anti-abortion views on others)

If members of the organization want to make political statements, even
by going so far as to boycott meetings, then that is fine -- but it is
not the place of the *organization* to make it political.  I certainly
didn't join Usenix to lobby for any political agenda....and I will
drop my membership if the organization continues to do so.

Admittedly, if a significant number of the members decided not to
attend a meeting because they viewed the local political climate as
odious, then that should have an overall impact on the decision as to
where to hold the meeting.  But calls to move meetings already
scheduled is not appropriate without that knowledge.  

Gene Spafford
NSF/Purdue/U of Florida  Software Engineering Research Center,
Dept. of Computer Sciences, Purdue University, W. Lafayette IN 47907-1398
Internet:  spaf at	phone:  (317) 494-7825

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