Dear JMIH Meeting Attendees:
Over the last year the leadership of JMIH approved a code of conduct for the meeting. We also hired a safety officer to have a person outside of the JMIH to serve as an Ombud.
While most of the complaints filed at the meeting were satisfactorily resolved, one was brought forward at the end of the meeting and has had to be investigated and resolved after the meeting. There were rumors, resulting in a report, that David Hillis had bullied a postdoc (originally reported as a student) into changing his poster. After reviewing the discussion with the poster presenter and a witness, this was determined to not be the case. In fact, the presenter was upset to find out that these false rumors had begun and has sought to bring the facts to the Ombud. The postdoc’s poster was indeed later defaced by others, but David Hillis had nothing to do with this incident, and was not even present when it happened. The Ombud is currently working with the JMIH societies to address this incident with the individuals who were involved.
The remedy is that we are posting this official statement to correct the record and hopefully counteract the rumors that David Hillis acted inappropriately at the meeting – he did not. As noted by the postdoc and witness, he was supportive, friendly, and appropriate at the poster session. If you encounter anything to the contrary, please help to end the rumors by pointing people to this statement. These kinds of rumors are damaging and have resulted in harassment of someone innocent of the charges – we do not want that sort of culture at our meetings or in our field. We will continue to work with the JMIH societies to address the inappropriate behavior by other individuals involved in this incident.