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SIGCHI Supports Freedom of Movement

The ACM SIGCHI (Special Interest Group on Computer-Human Interaction) is an international society composed of scholars, professionals, and students from around the world. We value and require freedom of expression and freedom of movement to pursue our work, advance interaction technology and contribute to research, development and innovations in human-computer interaction.

We therefore oppose needless restrictions that exclude any members of our community by limiting their freedom of movement, and thus preventing them from contributing to the open exchange of ideas and advancement of knowledge.

The United States executive order of January 27, 2017 has precisely these effects. SIGCHI fully supports ACM’s statement of “Concern About  New [United States] Executive Order Suspending Visas“, and we are taking a number of immediate practical steps to mitigate the consequences of this order as long as it remains in effect. Most immediately, any authors with accepted presentations at SIGCHI-sponsored conferences who are impacted by this action — or similar actions anywhere in the world — should contact the general chairs of the relevant conference to discuss their options.

Options SIGCHI is exploring include, but are not limited to:

  1. Video presentations.
  2. Remote presentations (where available).
  3. Remote attendance and participation (where available).

If you are a presenter, and these options do not work for you, please let the relevant conference chairs know, and they will work with you to find an alternative.

We understand that there are members of the SIGCHI community who do not wish to travel to the USA to express their moral disapproval of the current circumstances. However, we strongly encourage you to participate in these conferences (such as CHI 2017 and CSCW 2017) if you are able. We believe that our conferences are a force for good wherever they are held — they promote the free exchange of ideas, celebrate diversity, and aim for inclusiveness — and we strive to mitigate external circumstances at odds with our values. And, crucially, by attending our conferences, you will have the opportunity to discuss these issues and help shape how we move forward. Otherwise, we risk additional harm to our scholarly interactions.

We also take this opportunity to note how very thankful we are for the tireless work of the many volunteers who organize our sponsored and co-sponsored conferences. Years of effort go into even the smallest of events, so we must  be mindful of this as we suggest ideas or propose alternatives. Organizers welcome your input and need your support as they work to plan and welcome thousands of delegates.

Everyone in SIGCHI who is planning future conferences and other supported events (e.g., summer schools) must and will be mindful of our Statement on Inclusiveness::

SIGCHI strives to be inclusive for all its members and potential members. Conference committees should consider conditions that might prohibit or exclude members of our community participating when making site selections.

Therefore, locations that substantially exclude or disadvantage significant segments of our community — for example, due to visa restrictions, costs, accessibility — should be avoided.

We wish all the organisers and delegates of future SIGCHI sponsored conferences well.
The SIGCHI Executive Committee (Jan 30, 2017)