Why do we have a harassment policy?
Nobody shows up for a convention with the goal of feeling uncomfortable or unsafe, and sorry that they came. But cons bring together many different types of people with different expectations and approaches to play. A harassment policy sets ground rules that everyone can recognize and follow, resulting in better games and more fun.
The 3 principles of play:
- Everyone has the right to set boundaries on themselves and their property.
- Everyone has the right to a space that is safe from any type of harassment: physical, verbal, emotional, or sexual. (Harassment can be either one serious incident or repeated incidents that together create a hostile environment).
- Everyone has the right to a space that is free from language, actions, or behavior that are racist, sexist, classist, ableist, homophobic, transphobic, or which denigrate participants’ religious beliefs and affiliations (including the lack thereof), or ethnic or national origin.
These rights are shared by anyone attending Con of the North. Infringing on these rights is harassment, and can lead to consequences up to being removed from the convention.
What if I’m being harassed at this event?
- Find a convention volunteer immediately and report it. They’ll take swift action to investigate and address the problem. (See “What happens to the harasser?”)
- If you feel as though you need other avenues to resolve the problem the volunteer will be happy to help you contact convention security and/or local police if you request them.
- If you disagree with how a volunteer or staff member implemented or enforced this policy at an event, please contact a Con of the North Magnetron. You can contact them either because you feel you were reported for a reason unrelated to harassment, or because you felt the person helping you did not deal adequately with the harassing situation. In either case, please be specific about who, what, where, and when. The Magnetron will call together at least two other Magnetrons to investigate and take appropriate actions, from a simple warning up to removing the infringing party from the convention.
What happens to the harasser?
You don’t have to keep playing with somebody who’s determined to make things unsafe for others. If someone at Con of the North is violating this policy, a Magnetron can take any action that they decide is necessary to stop the harassment ranging from a simple warning to removal from the game.
If it’s necessary to resolve the situation, the Magnetron can escalate it to onsite security who may remove someone from the convention or premises.
What if someone reports harassment to me?
The Con of the North volunteer who is the first contact for someone reporting harassment has an important responsibility in helping make the convention a safe and fun place to be. Their responsibility is firstly to help the person experiencing harassment feel safe and second to help them pursue consequences for the harasser. It is not the first-contact person’s responsibility to investigate the claim of harassment themselves or to disbelieve the person reporting. If an investigation needs to happen or the claim of harassment is contested, a Con of the North Magnetron Council member will oversee it. In such an event, the first-contact person will continue to play a supportive role to the harassed person until the incident is resolved.
Some Examples of Harassment [taken from Is it Harassment? A Tool to Guide Employees]
- Excluding a person based on a prohibited ground of discrimination.
- Preventing a person from expressing himself or herself: yelling at the person; threatening; constantly interrupting that person; prohibiting the person from speaking to others.
- Unwanted sexual advances which may or may not be accompanied by threats or explicit or implicit promises.
- Making gestures that seek to intimidate.
- Engaging in reprisals for having made a complaint under this Policy.
- Discrediting the person by spreading malicious gossip or rumors, ridiculing him/her, humiliating him/her, calling into question his/her convictions or his/her private life, shouting abuse at him/her.
- Compelling the person to perform tasks that are inferior to his/her competencies that demean or belittle him/her, setting the person up for failure, name calling in private or in front of others.
- Isolating the person by no longer talking to him or her, denying or ignoring his or her presence, distancing him or her from others.
- Destabilizing the person by making fun of his or her beliefs, values, political and/or religious choices, and mocking his or her weak points.