World Fantasy 2015: Harassment Policy Update

Written by Natalie Luhrs

I'm a lifelong geek with a passion for books and social justice.
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October 28, 2015

So this happened this morning:

screenshot-www.facebook.com 2015-10-28 21-33-06

This change in policy has not been sent out to the membership and I have not yet received a response to my email, not even to acknowledge receipt (I will be following up on that later this evening).

I have concerns. They will be using the policy from last year’s convention in addition to the one they developed with the legal advice of the Sarasota Springs authorities.

What does this mean? Will they still be calling the police if someone were to report harassment? There are a lot of behaviors that don’t rise to criminal offenses but which are violations nonetheless and should be dealt with. I really would like to know how they’re going to make this work.

I’m not sure why all these people are lauding the convention in comments, because this doesn’t fix anything. The adoption of last year’s policy on top of the piss-poor garbage policy they developed complicates reporting behavioral issues and they still haven’t notified their paying members of this policy change.

I recognize that the convention committee is probably stretched extremely thin at this point and doesn’t have a lot of extra bandwidth but–to be blunt–they got themselves into this position by posting a garbage policy to begin with when they literally had years to develop one. Years.

I continue to be extremely bothered by the lack of communication from the convention committee to the membership and the fact that I still cannot find anyone’s name on the website–I only know that Mr. Berlant is the chair of the convention because someone told me that he was via email.

This is just ridiculous and it’s no way to run a convention.

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1 Comment

  1. Selki

    Facepalm-inducing update from this morning:
    https://www.facebook.com/groups/196747267179090/permalink/431877546999393/

    Reiteration of police / “legal” advice to call police to report any incident and incorrect reiteration that no one on concomm / volunteer staff is trained to recognise differences between (in)civil and criminal harassment (at least one staff/volunteer member was trained via Arisia). Statement further down that reporting harassment to constaff may result in reporting to police. The decision to pass it on to the police is in the hands of the person taking the report (or higher up in con staff), not the person making the report. No acknowledgement of how chilling this makes it for anyone to bring any concerns about harassment to attention of con staff/volunteers.

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  1. The World Fantasy That Was — Pretty Terrible - […] as for the harassment policy? Completely non-existent at the convention.  Wasn’t in the program book, wasn’t posted […]

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