The chair of Readercon 23, Crystal Huff, has responded to the controversy on her Livejournal:
I value safe spaces, and I am confident that this is a priority for Readercon people, as well. Many Readercon staffers are the same people who’ve been deeply involved supporters of the Backup Project. We recognize that the board’s decision with regard to Ms. Valentine’s complaint of harassment was made in haste, as was the original policy with regard to harassment at Readercon. In order to not compound errors further, we as the Readercon convention committee will be reexamining both with lots of thought and care.
She also reports, “Most of the current board members have resigned or announced their intention to resign.”
Readercon’s board of directors made the decision to ban Rene Walling for two years rather than following its announced policy of a permanent ban.
Readercon’s governing structure is a con committee of about 30 people which elects five of its members to be the board of directors. Traditionally, neither the con chair nor program chair are put on the board. Items requiring ratification by the board include GoH selection.
The Readercon harassment controversy also has been reported by Nonprofitquarterly in “Sci-fi Convention, Penn State Serve as Liability Reminders,” a post filled with sobering observations about real-world consequences:
However, if Readercon is an all-volunteer group (we haven’t located the organization on Guidestar), one wonders if the organization’s policy is a defense if one of the aggrieved con participants were to take some sort of legal action. Does Readercon have officers’ liability insurance to cover the organization against legal action? Would reference to the policy and the Readercon board’s creation of the policy in 2008 (in response to an earlier reported incident) and its actions against Walling after this year’s allegations help defend the organization against the debilitating cost of legal action?
[Thanks to Michael J. Walsh for the link.]