RAS CARES Operations
The main focus of the committee is to act as a support for IEEE RAS members who might be victims or witnesses of misconduct. The spirit of the committee is to be friendly, supportive, accessible, and highly confidential.
The role of CARES is to serve as a resource comprising of well-known and respected people in the RAS community who are approachable and willing to listen to and help people who experience misconduct at our events; the committee members can be a sounding board for these people and can provide advice on the steps necessary to have the matter further investigated by IEEE. It is important to understand that for the matter to be reported, the person experiencing the incident must still themselves report the issue to IEEE where it will be handled according to IEEE’s policy. CARES cannot serve as an intermediary in that official process and it cannot be involved in any aspect of the handling of the complaint by IEEE.
The motivation in providing a standing CARES committee is: (1) people are more likely to report harassment or discrimination incidents if familiar and respected members of the community are available for support, (2) longer membership terms enable building experience and a record that inspires more trust for those considering coming forward about an incident, and (3) the presence of such a committee with respected and trusted members from the community assigned to watch for these issues should serve as a deterrent for such behavior as well as encourage us all to be aware of and speak up if we observe such behavior.
Roles and responsibilities
The IEEE RAS CARES members roles and responsibilities are:
1. Serve as trusted listener for the community: the members should be able to approach any of the community members and express their concerns in confidentiality.
2. Provide resources and assist community members in problem solving: be there for members to think through a problem when not sure if something warrants an official complaint of not.
3. RAS CARES members must have completed inclusion and harassment prevention, and trusted listener / coaching training at most one year before starting service on the committee, and annually afterwards.
4. RAS CARES members are expected to attend at least one of ICRA, IROS, or CASE each year. Travel for up to two CARES members to attend ICRA, IROS, and CASE may be covered by IEEE RAS according to prevailing AdCom travel support policies.
1. The RAS CARES members will be appointed by IEEE RAS President, but will operate independently. Details regarding Co-chair and member appointments are contained in the CARES Member and Appointment Practices section.
2. Complaints about the committee members shall be sent to two other committee members and/or the RAS President.
3. At every ICRA, IROS, and CASE conference, the committee will have at least two members present, either in person or via remote office hours.
4. Conference organizers will be responsible for ensuring the presence of CARES members. The present CARES members, and their contact information, will be listed on the event’s webpage and displayed prominently at the conference registration area.
5. At each conference in the opening remarks, or other event early in the meeting, a conference organizer or a CARES committee member will announce the purpose of the committee, committee members present, and some of the particular events the members will attend, if applicable. The announcement should be “inclusion positive.”
6. At conferences they are attending, the CARES members will have office hours. The community member can either come to the office hours or schedule a time directly with a committee member to discuss sensitive topics.
7. In addition, each committee member will hold monthly office hours when the committee member can be reached to discuss concerns with confidentiality.
8. RAS community members can request a meeting at any time with one of the committee members by reaching out to them directly.
Summary Report to IEEE RAS
Although CARES will work autonomously, the final responsibility for its appropriate functioning rests with IEEE RAS. The CARES Co-chairs will submit an annual report indicating the conferences covered and the committee members attending these meetings. Anonymized individual incident reports and conversations with committee members are unequivocally private. The committee will therefore provide an anonymized summary report of the activities, including the number of complaints, their nature, and summary of resolutions / actions taken to the RAS AdCom.
CARES Composition and Appointment Practices
The committee will have three Co-chairs, one from each RAS region. In the steady state, Cochairs will serve three-year terms, with one new Co-chair appointed each year, according to the region rotation. After serving as Co-chair, the Co-chair will normally remain on the committee for at least one more year. Initially, three Co-chairs will be appointed, one from each region, with terms of one, two, and three years; thereafter, all new Co-chairs will be appointed for three-year terms. If a Co-Chair needs to be replaced prior to the end of their term, a new co-Chair from their region will be appointed to serve out the remainder of their term.
Co-chairs may be drawn from the current committee or the community at large. Co-chair nominations will be solicited from the current CARES members, the RAS ExCom and RAS AdCom, and the community at large. The current CARES Co-chairs will propose the next CARES Co-chair and will request input from the current CARES members and the RAS ExCom and RAS Adcom. Co-chairs will then be approved by consensus of the CARES members and the RAS ExCom and RAS AdCom.
Committee Member Appointments
The committee will consist of at least six members, with at least two from each RAS region.
Anyone may suggest potential committee members to the Co-chairs, for instance, suggest your colleague or yourself. Committee members should be well known and respected community members to encourage reporting. Additionally, they should represent the diversity of the RAS community. Because of the gravity and personal nature of this committee, ensuring committee members are empathetic, trustworthy, and discreet is also of utmost importance.
The Co-chairs and current CARES members will vet potential committee members by seeking input from their collaborators, others who know the nominated people well, and IEEE RAS AdCom and ExCom. Only after this process will new members be invited by the Co-chairs to serve.
Committee members serve at the discretion of the Co-chairs and may be removed from the committee if they do not attend at least one conference per year, or other problems arise. The CARES Co-chairs will inform the IEEE RAS AdCom and ExCom of any changes in membership in a timely manner.
Ethics and Conflicts of Interest
CARES members will be held to the highest standards of conduct and discretion. They must abide by all their institutions’ rules, Title IX (for US faculty and students), the IEEE policy against harassment and any other pertinent IEEE rules. They may discuss incidents with other CARES members, but may not otherwise discuss incidents, unless so directed by a person reporting an incident.
If an incident is reported to the IEEE, Title IX, or other institutional body against a CARES member, and that body determines that the report is credible, the member will be removed from the committee. If the committee is made aware of the complaint while the investigation is ongoing, the member will not represent CARES during the investigation.
If the person accused of harassment has a conflict of interest with the CARES member who initially receives a report (e.g., advisor/advisee, collaborator, same institution, etc.), the committee member will refer the reporter to another committee member immediately.
Committee members normally are invited to serve for a three-year term, with a maximum of six years, served consecutively and a minimum of 3 years away from the committee before serving June 2020 4 again. Committee members who serve as Co-chair may serve longer to comply with the Cochair service policy of three years plus one year as prior-Co-chair. After three years, the Cochairs will review the service of each committee member (e.g., conferences attended) and will normally invite members to renew.