Jacquelyn Gill, chair
Since last year, members of the concom have been hard at work developing new policies and procedures for handling harassment reports and for improving member safety and well-being at WisCon in general. Our guiding principles have been to make harassment and abuse rare, reporting easy, and follow-through timely, respectful, and reporter-centered.
One of our first steps was to implement a new Anti-Abuse Team model. The AAT will be a permanent, year-round concom department that will include a Safety representative and a historian/archivist — a model which we hope will help prevent past issues with institutional memory, mishandling of reports, and lack of follow-through. The policies that the AAT will operate under will afford improved flexibility to handle both individual reports and to address general concerns. The AAT will also strive to maintain a diverse team that reflects the diversity of WisCon’s membership.
Here are a few of the things we have been working on:
- We completely rebuilt our anti-harassment policy, working off of the Ada Initiative policy for conventions. Our draft policy is currently under review by the concom. We will also be sharing it with our membership for public comment.
- We have developed a new policy to address member conduct outside of WisCon that may threaten member safety at the convention, including doxing, outing, stalking, assault, and online harassment.
- We have been working very closely with Safety, Registration, Programming, and Volunteering so that decisions on reports (e.g., bans, programming restrictions) are communicated to and enforced by relevant departments.
- We have been working with Safety and AppDev to design a secure database for incident reports. We have also adapted our policy to include informal communications or general concerns raised about individuals or the climate at WisCon in general.
- We are re-evaluating the formal member advocate position (implemented just before WisCon 38) and have drafted some alternative policies.
- We are investigating training opportunities in advocacy, bystander intervention, and other relevant skill sets for members of the concom.
A draft document of our new policies will be available for public review in the next few weeks, so that we will have our new policy implemented in advance of WisCon 39. In the meantime, please feel free to contact me and the Anti-Abuse Team (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Safety (email@example.com) with any concerns or questions.
[Footnote: The policy and procedure revision is a separate process from the work of the subcommittee convened to consider Rose Lemberg’s report of harassment by F.J. Bergmann. That subcommittee should soon be asking the concom for the final vote. We will announce when that vote happens.]