After this weekend’s CONvergence 2019 in Minneapolis is over, the committee will introduce changes to its code of conduct that will consider people’s conduct elsewhere than at CONvergence itself when administering antiharassment and other related policies.
They regard the changes as part of the effort to encourage diversity, inclusion, and to make people feel safe when they attend the con.
The committee outlined the effects of the new philosophy in a mass email:
…Our purview will no longer stop at the end of the convention, but rather we will hold our members to account for their behavior and themselves year round. Unacceptable actions and behavior will not be tolerated whether they happen at the convention or abroad; if it is harming people, if it is damaging to our community, it is not acceptable, and we will address such actions and behaviors swiftly and fairly.
At the same time, we will handle with compassion those of our members who do not intend to, but nevertheless, transgress some boundaries through ignorance or failing to evolve with the times. We will assist, as far as possible, our members who need extra help and guidance in changing and becoming better. We stand the best chance of helping our members to evolve constructively and will compassion and our goal will be to assist in the redemption of those honest and sincere enough to recognize their issues and seek assistance….
Lauren Sindt, Director of CONvergence’s Hospitality Division previewed some of the new language, and also explained to File 770 why the new policy will be implemented after this year’s event:
We do have new language for that section of our policy language. However, unfortunately, it was not finalized until after our 2019 guide went to press. As such, we will not be updating the language that you reference until after the convention. It is important that all of the published policies are consistent during the convention itself,
However, the new policy will state that CONvergence is not responsible for solving disagreements and interpersonal problems that may arise between individual members outside of the convention but that CONvergence reserves the right to deny membership to any individual found to have behaved in a manner contrary to the Core Values of CONvergence and any event within or adjacent to the local community, or who is deemed to pose a legitimate threat to the safety, inclusivity, or overall health of CONvergence, its membership, its parent organization, or event venues.
We will also be encouraging members to contact the CONvergence Operations department or the Board of Directors with any concerns that they may have about specific individuals or their presence at the convention.
Sindt gave several reasons for the change:
There are a variety of factors that went into the decision to make this statement to our membership. There has been an overall philosophical shift within our organization that has been building momentum, often behind the scenes, for the past several years. With our move to a new location and the overall theme of reinvention for the 2019 convention, this seemed an appropriate time to make our current perspective, expectations, and philosophical underpinnings clear to our membership.
As more and more conventions rolled out antiharassment policies this past decade, committees have generally taken the position of enforcing their codes of conduct only on those trying to join their specific convention. That has caused some fans to question why they should feel safe attending their local con if someone banned elsewhere is still able to join. But another aspect is: Can their local con get the information they need to evaluate someone’s CoC violation at another convention? It will be interesting to learn how CONvergence works out all the issues involved.
[Thanks to TYP for the story.]