A year ago, the unnamed alleged harasser in a widely publicized incident at WisCon 37 was eventually identified as Jim Frenkel. He soon thereafter lost his position as a Tor editor.
WisCon 38 was held in May and several fans complained because the committee allowed Frenkel to attend and even volunteer in the con suite.
Now he has been provisionally banned from WisCon through 2018.
Whatever influenced Frenkel’s decision to attend this year, travel wasn’t an issue because he lives in Madison where the con takes place.
In response to the complaints WisCon agreed, “We know that we have failed very significantly in how we followed up on a couple of incident reports from WisCon 36 and WisCon 37.”
Ariel Franklin-Hudson, Wiscon 38/39 Head of Safety, apologized and explained that despite Elise Matthesen having made an official harassment report in 2013 the committee had failed to reduce it to a formal record or document:
During WisCon 37, and for many previous WisCons, WisCon Safety maintained a notebook in which Safety volunteers on duty during the convention recorded incidents as they happened — anything from loose plastic on the 6th floor party hall to a report of harassment. This informal log book was WisCon Safety’s only form of record keeping, and WisCon had no official procedure or system in place to convert those notes into a formal written record. I want to stress that the notes, and the log book for WisCon 37, were never lost or mislaid; but because they are notes only, WisCon does not have a formal written record of Elise Matthesen’s report. Reports made to Safety were transferred through the log book, and orally from Safety volunteer to Head of Safety; in large part, this was because of volunteer informality, and Safety’s traditionally minor role at WisCon, but confidentiality was also an important consideration.
Everyone in WisCon Safety and WisCon leadership from WisCon 37 through WisCon 39 understands that Elise made a formal report; this has never been in doubt.
So the fragmentary information needed to generate a WisCon Safety Incident Report was reassembled.
Her report was treated with extreme seriousness at the time, including follow-ups by Co-Chairs with both Elise and with Jim Frenkel. These follow-ups have some email trail, and the WisCon 37 Co-Chairs — Jackie Lee, Kafryn Lieder, and Gretchen Treu — have now created a formal report based on the log book notes, the email trail, and their memories. In addition, the log book notes of Elise’s report from WisCon 37 have now been entered into a formal WisCon Safety Incident Report Form; I initiated these Incident Report Forms for WisCon 38.
And now WisCon’s harassment subcommittee has provisionally banned Frenkel for up to four years —
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.
The subcommittee – Debbie Notkin, Ariel Franklin-Hudson, Jacquelyn Gill, Jim Hudson and Jackie Lee — signed the decision “as an act of transparency and an acknowledgment of WisCon’s previous failures in this regard” although they say WisCon’s policy is to keep incident subcommittees anonymous.
[Via SF Site News.]