On Saturday, November 17, 2018, the NCTE Standing Committee Against Censorship sponsored a session at the NCTE Annual Convention titled “Disproportionately Censored: A Conversation with YA Authors Who Write about Race, Gender, and Sexuality” (Session L.06). During the session, one of the panelists unexpectedly expressed abhorrent homophobic views that run counter to NCTE’s well-published beliefs. While NCTE firmly believes in promoting diverse perspectives and supporting intellectual and academic freedom, we do not tolerate or condone beliefs that are bigoted at their core. We want all of our members to know that NCTE and its leadership unequivocally reject bigotry in all forms.
This letter is a formal denouncement of what took place in session L.06, and it outlines next steps.
Since the time of the session on November 17, we (NCTE’s current president and 2018 Program Chair, Executive Director, and staff) have been working together to learn, listen, and identify deliberate action steps. This included reaching out to the session chair, the moderator, and each panelist and inviting conversations to understand more specifically what took place.
The three clear opportunities to address this beyond the 2018 NCTE Convention are:
- We will reexamine our processes surrounding program selection and how presenters are informed of and agree to our Mutual Respect & Anti-Harassment Policy.
- We will create a guide for panel moderators that articulates what can and should be done to create safe learning spaces for both presenters and participants.
- This topic will be an important part of the next in-person Executive Committee meeting (February 2019).
NCTE invites further feedback here, and we appreciate the contributions our community has shared over the past week.
Franki Sibberson, NCTE President & 2018 Convention Program Chair
Emily Kirkpatrick, Executive Director