The following letter was disseminated to LSA members on Friday, July 17th.

Dear LSA Members,

This is a tumultuous time for everyone, on many fronts.

The LSA Executive Committee is grateful to all who have been expressing their views on current pressing events in the discipline, prompted by an anonymous open letter sent out on July 3 from [email protected]. The ensuing responses and discussion have shed light on areas in the discipline and the Society that are in need of examination and further work. We hope that members will continue to discuss these issues with civility, mutual respect, and a suitable sense of openness, all necessary if progress is to be made.

It is important that certain misunderstandings and misinformation be corrected. First, the open letter was not from the LSA, but to the LSA, sent to the Secretariat on the evening of July 6. Second, the LSA did indeed send a response on July 9 to the unidentified author via the anonymous gmail account from which the letter was sent. Finally, the recent message from the Executive Committee to the membership, despite alternative interpretations placed on it by some, was not intended to be a rejection of the open letter, but rather an affirmation of our collective values and principles. 

We on the EC recognize that time is of the essence, but also that steps taken to make things better must be thought through very carefully. We need to put measures in place not simply to address current concerns, but also to apply to future situations. We are moving forward with the creation of task forces using the existing structures of the LSA, specifically the Committee on Committees and Delegate Appointments, which is made up of your elected representatives. They are aware of the perspectives raised by those who have voiced their views to the Executive Committee and have been charged with ensuring that the task forces are constituted in an inclusive and representative manner. We will let you know as progress is made. For the moment, though, the “Media Experts” page has been taken down completely, as we set about addressing the whole concept of such a page--its purpose, its name, its structure, and such--rethinking it from the ground up.

The EC is especially concerned about bullying and issues of differential power in the discipline at a time when some members of the Society, particularly junior members, are feeling vulnerable. To foster a healthy discipline, it is crucial that all members be aware of the potential for harm and that we work together to prevent it. 

Executive Committee

Linguistic Society of America