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HAI's Commitment to Holding Ourselves Accountable

We know that real change requires a rigorous review and oversight of our own internal protocols, practices, and decision-making processes in funding, recruiting, hiring, promotions, fellowships, and everyday exchanges where decisions large and small are made.

Moreover, we know that the distribution of funding alone is an insufficient marker of commitment unless accompanied by an ongoing examination of funding criteria and the demographics and research foci of those we fund.

We are not simply waiting on “good intentions” nor the advocacy of a few to implement these internal reviews; we are building them into our funding protocols and oversight.

We commit to: 

  • Working closely with the Provost and other departments and programs to support faculty hires whose work focuses on the impact of race in the U.S., including in STEM fields. This, as well as hires of  faculty whose research includes the study of race that is not solely about impact, is a priority for HAI and the university.

  • Formalizing “equity checks” (e.g., How does it benefit society? Who does it benefit? Who is/might be most impacted? Does it address or advance equity and justice?) in the criteria used to evaluate hiring and funding applications as well as events and activities that HAI supports.

  • Creating space and time to listen to and learn from the perspectives and experiences of HAI community members of color — faculty, staff, fellows, students — to create a transparent and inclusive culture within the Institute: HAI leadership regularly participating in anti-bias and social justice work; developing a shared vocabulary around common terms and social concepts; and engaging with historical and social scientific resources to foster deeper understandings of race, racism, and anti-racist work that can also amplify Black voices and other historically marginalized presences. Stanford is a national research hub for these resources through CCSRE, African & African American Studies, and the Digital Civil Society Lab. Additional resources include Raceworks through the Center for Comparative Studies in Race & Ethnicity and other toolkits through Sparqtools from the Social Concepts Lab at the Department of Psychology, Stanford’s Office of Faculty Development, Diversity and Engagement, the School of Medicine, the Graduate School of Business, the Center for Racial Justice at Stanford Law School, the Provost’s IDEAL initiative, and others.

  • Creating an online resource library jointly with CCSRE that includes and expands this anti-racist education to include an understanding of intersectionality, recognition of our neurodiversity, and impact of all forms of discrimination including, among others, xenophobia, homophobia, transphobia, and bias based on gender and ability. This understanding includes the relevance of these issues to STEM fields and not just the humanities and social sciences. 

  • Creating a list to provide university committees charged with naming or renaming spaces and places on campus of the names of Black people, underrepresented minorities, and women who have contributed to the development of AI at Stanford or beyond; this effort is to correct histories of both technology and Silicon Valley that erase their contributions.

  • Creating a public, regularly updated HAI Diversity Dashboard based on our internal information as well as data from the Office of Institutional Research and Decision Support and IDEAL dashboards’ aggregated data to help us track grant applications/selections, leadership and staff demographics, number of events related to diversity, etc., to give us evidence-based baselines and metrics for progress.

  • Creating a HAI Community Cabinet that includes Black and underrepresented scholars, students, and alumni, as well as active community and external members engaged in issues and topics directly related to AI and issues of diversity, inclusion, accessibility, and community.

  • Hiring a HAI Inclusion, Equity, Justice Strategist, a joint position with the Symbolic Systems Program. Crucially, the individual will invite, initiate, and coordinate the commitments we are making today and in the future, keep abreast of current research and resources on campus and nationally, network with campus and community partners, track our progress, provide accountability metrics and audit timetables, and rigorously analyze our funding programs to ensure that relevant projects by people of color, especially Black people, are sought out and supported in both numbers and grant size. The Strategist will structure regular seminars, speaker series, and workshops on the relevant topics, build out diversity-related content and engagement opportunities on the HAI website, ensure feedback loops with the HAI community at large, and generally work with the HAI leadership to ensure diversity efforts become part of our everyday practice and culture.

  • Hiring a dedicated staff member in no way should deflect from the fact that diversity cannot be delegated; research is very clear that a high percentage of any group must be actively engaged in anti-bias efforts to be successful. An effective Strategist will ensure that engaging diversity and the openness to critique does not fall to one or a handful of people but is understood as a shared community value and among HAI’s highest priorities.



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