The Committee of Presidents of Statistical Societies (COPSS) is retiring the R.A. Fisher Award and Lecture, effective immediately. Dr. Kathryn Roeder, the announced recipient of this award for 2020, will receive the COPSS Distinguished Achievement Award and Lectureship, to be presented during the COPSS Awards and Address Session at the Joint Statistical Meetings that will take place virtually on Wednesday, August 5, 2020.
We take this action to advance a more just, equitable, diverse, and inclusive statistical community. It represents an important first step in a more comprehensive commitment to future diversity and inclusion across the generations in the statistics profession. We acknowledge that not all statisticians will agree with this action. The path of equity and inclusion stimulates diverse perspectives on the substance, pace and content of an issue, and consensus can sometimes be impracticable. We emphasize our shared commitments to move forward to ensure a fair and equitable society and profession by starting with these steps:
• Request the 2020 JSM Program Committee to create a COPSS special invited session with experts exploring Fisher’s role, and the role of statistics more broadly, in eugenics from diverse perspectives and how these different lenses perceive this history in our 2020 society. The session would be archived for public viewing on the COPSS website.
• Convene a diverse committee of experts and members of our societies to create guidelines for naming / renaming COPSS awards and to suggest action-oriented strategies to increase and commit to diversity, equity and inclusion in our profession.
• Create a public repository of discussion and teaching material on diversity and inclusion as well as on the history of statistics with respect to eugenics. This repository will be available to teachers and researchers to raise awareness and to promote a more welcoming, respectful and stimulating environment for all our members.
The COPSS leadership acknowledges the differing passions and viewpoints on this matter and appreciates that everyone involved seeks positive outcomes for our respective societies and our profession. We recognize Fisher’s fundamental contributions in establishing statistics as a scientific discipline. We heard the voices of those who argued for further deliberation before finalizing a decision. We have confidence that we will all work together to achieve our common goal of a fair, just, and equitable society and profession.
See http://copss.org/ for more info.