Tag Archives: concom

update from subcommittee reviewing harassment report

Chris Wallish
Media & Communications

The subcommittee convened to consider Rose Lemberg’s report of harassment by F.J. Bergmann is beginning to wrap up its work.  Finalizing conclusions and recommendations will yet take several weeks.  The last stage of the process begins with the concom voting on whether to accept the subcommittee’s final report and recommendations.

The subcommittee’s next update will be an announcement when the concom begins voting.

planning WisCon 40

Andrea Horbinski and s.e. smith 
Co-Chairs, WisCon 40

We’re celebrating 40 great years in 2016 and we can’t wait to see old and new faces!

WisCon wouldn’t be what it is without all the wonderful members who make it home every year, from those who have been attending for decades to newbies who are just getting ready for their first Con. As we prepare with some special events behind the scenes, we’d also like to hear from you — what do YOU want to see at WisCon 40?

We welcome your nominations for guests of honor, comments, and ideas, big and small, by 5 January 2015. You can comment here, comment on Facebook, or Tweet at us — as well as emailing directly to chairs@wiscon.net.

Come build WisCon with us

Alexandra Erin
Media & Communications

Who runs WisCon?

You do.

WisCon is your con. It’s run by you, for you. Every year, it takes the hard work of a dedicated band of volunteers to make the convention happen, but every year, through your efforts we can make the con that much better for everyone. We have a need for volunteers with many different skills and all levels of experience. Fresh voices and enthusiasm are just as needed as old seasoned hands. Whether this is your first WisCon or your fifty-first*, you can become a part of the heart of the con by volunteering.

While you can step up to help the day of the con by just putting yourself forward when someone asks for help, the best way to get involved in on-site volunteering is send an email to volunteers@wiscon.net and let us know that you’re interested.

But we also have an immediate need for people who are willing and able to step up and take on essential roles in the running of the con. By volunteering for one of these positions, you will step into the Convention Committee (ConCom), the overarching committee that does the work to make WisCon happen. You will become a part of planning discussions and decision making throughout the year, in addition to your at-con role. This means that you’ll have a direct hand in shaping WisCon 39 and the future of WisCon beyond. While these positions do require you to take on responsibility, this also means you’ll have a support network and the expertise and experience of other ConCom members, or at least some sympathetic brains to pick.

If you’re interested in joining a particular department, just send an email to recruitment@wiscon.net,

Right now, we have a particular need for people to fill the following roles:

  • Organizer for the WisCon Writer’s Workshop.  The workshop  traditionally takes place on the Friday before the con, and gives up-and-coming and newer writers a chance to share their work and have their stories critiqued by a pro writer.
  • The front desk needs some people willing to take a lead position for At-Con Registration. You can become a personal hero to one of the tireless heroes of the con by taking responsibility for the registration desk for just half a day during the con. This position requires you to be able to answer questions about the con with knowledge and confidence, and be prepared to handle all forms of payment for same-day registration sales. This is the perfect role for someone who likes to meet people, share information, and help people out. If this position interests you but you feel you lack the experience, the registration desk always has a need for helper minions. Feel free to put yourself forward during the con.
  • WisCon traditionally ends with an After-Con Party, but this party doesn’t just happen! We need someone to organize it. Remember, this is a wind-down affair, so you wouldn’t need much in the way of activity planning, but while there’s a potluck of food leftover available from the rest of the con, some fresh refreshments will have to be lined up. The main thing about this party is that it happens after many people’s brains have handled all the pressure and responsibility they can in one long weekend, so we need someone who will take charge of lining up food, setting it all up, and closing it all down.
  • We need a Banquet Liaison for the hotel. In the months before the con, your responsibility will be to collect information about furniture layouts and menus required for catering services by different groups, and follow up as necessary during the con when reality diverges from expectations. Requires organization skills, communication skills, and an ability to follow-through and encourage others to do so.
  • The Art Show requires a lead for set-up, as well as “understudies” who can assist in running it and also step up to lead if needed during the con.
  • We need an Ad Salesperson for the Pocket Program book & souvenir book.
  • Do you have experience in non-profit funding? We are building a team with experience in Grant-Writing and Fundraising.
  • We need additional volunteers to run the Gaming Area, preferably enough to have one person to take lead for each night. You would be overseeing the set-up, clean-up, and operations of the gaming area.
  • A Pre-Con Head for the Green Room to organize the schedule for the Green Room, set up volunteer time slots and work with the Volunteer Coordinator to fill them before the convention begins. You will also set the menu for the Green Room and may make changes to its layout as necessary.
  • Programming can always use more people!
  • In order to ensure the Bake Sale comes off, we need someone who can act as a second to the organizer with an eye towards taking over the role in the future. Due to external uncertainties, there is a chance you may become the primary organizer on-site at the con.
  • Last but certainly not least, our current ConCom chairs (Mikki Kendall & Levi Sable) would like a 3rd or even 4th Chair for WisCon 39 to share duties and expertise.

If you’re interested in filling any of these roles and joining the ConCom, send a query to recruitment@wiscon.net. For general volunteering during the con, send an email to volunteers@wiscon.net.

*Time travelers are by definition always welcome.

Jeanne Gomoll leaves the concom

Jeanne Gomoll has announced her resignation from the WisCon concom:

I resigned from the WisCon planning committee and from the SF3 Board on October 5, 2014. To put it mildly, this has been a momentous decision for me.

You can read the full text below or on Facebook. If you’re on Facebook and would like to leave a note for Jeanne, you can navigate from that link to the version of the announcement she posted on her personal page.

Jeanne has done an absolutely tremendous amount of work on WisCon over the years. It’s hard to imagine we would have reached 38 WisCons without her. We are deeply grateful for her continued support.

My resignation from the concom does not affect my support of WisCon. I will be forever proud of my work on WisCon and for the space it offers the feminist science fiction community and its allies. I count myself lucky to have worked on WisCon for as long as I have, and hope that it continues for many more years. I plan to attend WisCon 39 in 2015 and many future WisCons.

Continue reading Jeanne Gomoll leaves the concom

Subcommittee requests additional information

As one of the concerns brought up regarding the Frenkel decision was that all available reports were not considered, the subcommittee convened to consider Rose Lemberg’s report would like to ask if anyone has additional information about the events publicly discussed by Rose Lemberg [http://rose-lemberg.livejournal.com/354919.html] and Saira Ali and Alex Dally MacFarlane [http://sairaali.livejournal.com/201577.html] that they would like to make WisCon aware of at this time.

We do have Rose Lemberg’s report, Saira Ali and Alex Dally MacFarlane’s open letter to WisCon, and WisCon’s other correspondence with Rose Lemberg, FJ Bergmann, Saira Ali, Alex Dally MacFarlane, and other witnesses. If you have additional statements or information, please email it to safety@wiscon.net by Monday, October 6.

Thank you.

Update from subcommittee

The subcommittee reviewing Rose Lemberg’s report of harassment by FJ Bergmann is continuing its deliberations, while being mindful of the ways in which the first subcommittee’s process was flawed. We believe that WisCon owes all involved parties, and the WisCon community, a resolution to this matter sooner rather than later, given how long this situation was neglected by WisCon. All subcommittee members will be involved in deciding what information should be reviewed, we will be very mindful of WisCon’s Statement of Principles and our commitment to member safety, and the WisCon concom will be reviewing our recommendations for action before the decision is finalized.

Concom decision on Jim Frenkel

The WisCon 37 and WisCon 38 concom members jointly reviewed the Frenkel subcommittee’s recommendation, and, after extensive discussion and consideration of additional evidence, voted whether to clarify or strengthen the existing ban, or to make the ban permanent. By an overwhelming majority, the decision is for a permanent ban. This decision cannot be appealed. Jim Frenkel will not be allowed to return to any future WisCon conventions.

State of the Concom, July 30th — vote commencing

The WisCon concom has begun the voting process in its appeal of the subcommittee’s decision on Jim Frenkel. In addition to reviewing the subcommittee’s decision, the concom is also considering information that has been brought to its attention in the weeks since the July 18th announcement from the subcommittee. Voting will close over the weekend. The concom’s decision will be announced Monday afternoon (Seattle time).

Concom update for July 26th

We have several announcements to make as updates to our previous post:

1) In light of the intense community response to the Frenkel subcommittee’s decision, and the concom’s own concern about the “provisional ban,” the WisCon concom is itself currently appealing the subcommittee’s decision and will vote on the matter this week.

2) Debbie Notkin has resigned as Member Advocate, effective immediately.

3) The Bergmann subcommittee is assessing if they can continue given the valid concerns about Wiscon’s existing process.

4) Regarding refunds of registrations for WisCon 39, we received this question via Twitter: “Will there be a policy for refunds for those of us who are against the con’s current harassment actions?”

WisCon has traditionally had a fairly free refund policy for any registered members who are unable to attend. Anyone who has registered for WisCon 39 and would like a refund for any reason can request one by emailing registration@wiscon.net.

forthcoming update

[The following was posted in the WisCon Dreamwidth and LiveJournal communities last night:]

1) The update I promised in our previous update will be posted tomorrow (Saturday late afternoon / early evening Seattle time). While I hate posting on a Friday or over the weekend, I didn’t quite have all the information I needed to post yesterday. Apologies!

2) On a purely administrative note, social media postings are currently being handled by Chris (“wordnerdlabs” on Twitter).

Update From the Concom

Over the weekend, the WisCon Concom has spent much time reading and discussing the responses to the Friday announcement of the subcommittee’s decision on Jim Frenkel. We heartily thank the community for all of your insightful commentary and critique. We are grateful to you for holding us accountable to our feminist principles.

Currently, the concom is looking at all aspects of this process and decision.  You have brought us your questions; we have questions of our own.  We are actively working on answers to them.  Answers may not come immediately, but we will keep you updated.  If possible, we’ll post again before the end of the week with information about where our discussion is taking us.

We apologize again to Elise and Lauren.  Not only were you hurt by harassment at WisCon, but you have been hurt again and again by this process over the past year.  We are deeply sorry for our repeated failures.

We apologize to Mikki Kendall, whose information on a previous incident was not made properly significant in the process.

We apologize to the WisCon community.  You have been hurt by this process as well and left feeling unsafe at WisCon.  Thank you for your anger and criticism — it’s informing our discussion and moving us forward.

Moving WisCon forward from these repeated failures is hard work.  We on the concom are willing and determined to be engaged in this, although as individuals engaged in such hard work it can prove extremely difficult to not add to the ongoing harm.  We apologize for our part in causing harm, and thank you for patience that is not always so well deserved.

The concom continues to invite and value your feedback.  Comments made on this post (as well as tweets made using either @WisConSF3 or #WisCon) will be sent to the entire concom.

WisCon Subcommittee Statement on Jim Frenkel

The WisCon committee has completed our harassment review process with regard to Jim Frenkel, who engaged in two reported violations of WisCon’s general and harassment policies at WisCon 37, in 2013. A subcommittee of WisCon’s Harassment Policy Committee has reviewed the reports, and all communications with WisCon regarding these incidents, as well as a direct response solicited from Jim Frenkel by the subcommittee.  The incoming chair of WisCon 39 has communicated the subcommittee’s determination to Jim Frenkel.
The WisCon committee announces the following actions:
WisCon will (provisionally) not allow Jim Frenkel to return for a period of four years  (until after WisCon 42 in 2018). This is “provisional”  because if Jim  Frenkel chooses to present substantive, grounded evidence of  behavioral and attitude improvement between the end of WisCon 39 in 2015 and the end of the four-year provisional period, WisCon will entertain that evidence. We will also take into account any reports of continued problematic behavior.
Allowing Jim Frenkel to return is not guaranteed at any time, including following WisCon 42; the convention’s decision will always be dependent on compelling  evidence of behavioral change, and our commitment to the safety of our members. If he is permitted to return at any time,  there will be an additional one-year ban on appearing on programming or volunteering in public spaces. Any consideration of allowing him to return will be publicized in WisCon publications and social media at least three months before a final decision is made.
Based on the policies adopted  by WisCon’s Harassment Policy Committee before WisCon 38 in 2014, Jim Frenkel has the right to appeal this decision to SF3, WisCon’s governing body. If he enters an appeal, we will make public statements both when he does so and when the appeal ruling is issued.
These are official WisCon actions, and will not be affected by future philosophical or policy discussions.
The subcommittee would like the WisCon community to know that we have been constrained both in what we can do and how we can explain it by matters of confidentiality on all sides. We believe the whole question of confidentiality in harassment complaints–who it benefits, who it protects, and who it constrains–is a matter for deep community discussion. As we continue this broader conversation in the coming months, we look forward to your involvement.
We have decided to sign our names to this decision as an act of transparency and an acknowledgment of WisCon’s previous failures in this regard, although it is WisCon’s policy that harassment incident subcommittees be anonymous.  Our choice is specifically not intended to bind or influence any future harassment subcommittees.
We apologize again to Elise Matthesen, to Lauren Jankowski, and to our membership for WisCon’s substantial failures in following up on their reports and completing this process.
Please direct any questions and comments to the member advocate, Debbie Notkin, at antiabuse@wiscon.net.

Debbie Notkin, chair
Ariel Franklin-Hudson
Jacquelyn Gill
Jim Hudson
Jackie Lee