Minn-stf Anti-harassment Policy

Preamble

This policy covers Minn-stf sponsored events, including regular meetings of the membership, board meetings, and convention committee meetings, most of which are hosted in members' homes, and other Minn-stf-sponsored events held in more public venues, such as picnics and pool parties. It also covers conventions held under Minn-stf auspices, such as Minicon and the fallcon.

Principles

Minn-stf acknowledges that interpersonal relationships in social settings are complex. Not everyone likes everyone else, and not everyone agrees with everyone else. Disagreements, friction, and vigorous debate are expected. However, interactions that become hostile or coercive do not have any part in a healthy social environment and Minn-stf commits to addressing problem behaviors.

Harassment is difficult to define, and attempts at an exact definition are subject to rules-lawyering, so we won't attempt to do that. However, repeated unwelcome behaviors are mostly likely to be construed as harassment. If someone asks you not to touch them, not to talk to them, or not to refer to them in a way that they find objectionable, and you persist in doing so, you may be harassing them. Actions that are sufficiently egregious (assault, truly hateful language, and comparable actions) fall under this policy, even if only one occurrence has been noted. In the end, harassment is judged primarily by the person who feels harassed, and actions are more important than intent.

Outside of conventions

If you are being harassed, it is your choice whether to deal with it on your own or seek support or assistance from Minn-stf. If you choose the latter, please notify the host of the event, a Minn-stf officer, or a board member of the problem. In all cases, we will try to work with all parties to eliminate the problem behavior. Actions taken may include warning or banning, either temporarily or permanently.

Rules for conventions

Each Minn-stf convention shall publish a public policy and also have an internal policy, both approved by the board for that convention. (Each convention in a named series counts as a different convention.) These policies shall cover only what occurs in the convention venue as part of the convention itself, its set-up and/or tear-down. Any incident that occurs outside this scope, including those at convention committee meetings, are handled as per the above 'outside of conventions' section.

The public policy must consist of at least the above Principles section, verbatim, followed by information about how the convention implements these principles. The internal policy must include the following: who is responsible for looking into reports; how they will look into them, including the process and the timeline thereof; how the progress and conclusions thereof will be communicated to the harassment reporter and reportee and to the public; and how multi-year recommendations will be communicated to the board regarding harassers. The internal policy will be provided, upon demand, to members of Mnstf or the convention.

The board will use these recommendations to make decisions about whether to ban people from future Minn-stf conventions, either temporarily or permanently, or take other corrective actions. We will maintain these recommendations, and other records from each convention, in order to track persistent problems, and will make them available to each upcoming Minn-stf convention as appropriate. The board will not announce bans or publish a list of banned people, but will, at its discretion, privately answer yes or no if asked if a specific person has been banned. Likewise, we will not, under ordinary circumstances, publicly comment on any ongoing research regarding harassment complaints. However, in exceptional cases, we may do so to correct incorrect information.

Harassment Information Transfer Between the Board and Conventions and Multi-year bans from Our Conventions

1) Within a month of a convention, the chair or appropriate department head shall send the board all records about incidents of harassment and/or other bad behavior, a reference list of all involved people, and a summary report of these incidents giving the number of incidents, types of interventions, and general sense of things.

a) Once this report has submitted, any further complaints coming to light will be handled by the board rather than the convention staff.

2) Each convention will report to the board if it feels that someone ought to be banned from one or more future conventions. It will also report on people whose behavior might warrant a ban later if it proves to be a pattern.

3) The board will review these recommendations and potentially institute a ban that covers one or more future conventions.

4) The board can institute bans without any convention recommendation.

5) Each convention is free to ban people regardless of a board ban. As with all convention decisions, the board can override this by a 2/3 majority. It is expected that bans are not instituted lightly. A convention may not override a board ban.

6) The board will provide relevant records from previous conventions to upcoming conventions no less than a month before the convention. The board will use its judgement as to what records are relevant.

(This version effective 24-June-2017.)