So, I’m not going to Wiscon next year.
There are lots of things I could say, but mostly they’ve already been said. I’m glad the concom appears to be rethinking their decision, but the fact that it had to be rethought at all is, well, I’ll settle for disheartening, though a stronger word would probably do better.
I wrote a much longer post, but really, everything in it has been said by others. But to me, it all boils down to Wiscon very clearly not having a functional harassment policy. There appear to be quite a few reasons this is the case, and none of them say anything good about how Wiscon is being run.
And the fact is, I love Wiscon. I go nearly every year. Hell, my whole family loves going. I was hoping, up until I saw the committee’s announcement last week, that they’d handle this. And then, desperately, that they’d handle the reaction–clarify somehow, or (way better, because even with the ambiguity about one or four years removed, it was still a bad call, and why do we care when or whether a serial harasser can apologize or not, exactly?) issue a new decision, because better late than never, right? But the comments and blog posts that I’ve seen over the last few days have removed all doubt on that score. The dysfunction on display has been such that even if the committee issued a new ruling tomorrow, I would have no faith they’d understood what had happened and why, and no faith that any future cases would be handled any better.
(And frankly, the stuff coming out just now about how Frenkel apparently lied about the nature of any NDA he might have had with Tor? Only makes things worse. First of all, like I said above, we care about him making an apology why exactly? This keeps Wiscon attendees safe how? And second of all, the guy’s a known serial harasser, and you take his word for this? And you’re shocked when it turns out he lied? Hello?)
Anyway. The end result of all this is, I’m not going to Wiscon next year. And won’t until I see a functioning harassment policy and very possibly a new set of names on the concom.