BSFS Reports Results of the Code of Conduct Investigation Concerning Balticon 56

The Baltimore Science Fiction Society (BSFS) Board of Directors today issued a statement about their investigation into “Stephanie Burke’s comments at Balticon 56 and our senior staff’s treatment of Stephanie Burke.”

They determined Burke’s statements on Balticon 56 program did not violate the Code of Conduct. They also looked at the actions of two “Senior Staffers” and determined one “acted courteously” but the other violated the Code of Conduct and “will be barred from volunteering for Balticon for a period of 2 years and from serving as a Department Head for an additional 2 years.”

The full text of the press release follows:


The BSFS (Baltimore Science Fiction Society) Board of Directors (Board) Investigation Team, (consisting of Paul O’Neil and Leona Thompson) have concluded their investigation into Stephanie Burke’s comments at Balticon 56 and our senior staff’s treatment of Stephanie Burke. The Board has reviewed their findings and recommendations and made the following decisions:

Of the complaints against Ms. Burke, our Investigation Team determined there were no Code of Conduct violations. Witnesses confirmed that she was speaking of her own experiences and not making general statements about another individual or class of people. Speaking one’s own truth is not a violation of our Code of Conduct. Ms. Burke is welcome to be a program participant in the future. Again, we apologize for the manner in which the reports were communicated. 

The BSFS Investigation Team and Board of Directors have found that Senior Staffer 1 who approached Stephanie Burke prior to her panel and asked her to step away acted courteously and in accordance with our policy. Senior Staffer 2’s behavior during the discussion violated our Code of Conduct. The Board has determined that Senior Staffer 2 will be barred from volunteering for Balticon for a period of 2 years and from serving as a Department Head for an additional 2 years.

BSFS gives every complaint equal attention and will not tolerate inappropriate behavior at any BSFS-related event, including Balticon. All members and guests are encouraged to bring such matters to the Board’s attention at any time, without fear of any adverse action being taken against them for doing so.

The Baltimore Science Fiction Society, Inc. is an all-volunteer 501(c)(3) organization founded in 1963. BSFS holds an annual convention, Balticon, during Memorial Day weekends in Baltimore, MD. In addition, BSFS offers a 14,000+ lending library at its building in eastern Baltimore City, as well as ongoing events featuring book discussions, movies, anime, and gaming. The calendar of events is available at www.bsfs.org.


File 770’s previous coverage of the events and issues is here:

7 thoughts on “BSFS Reports Results of the Code of Conduct Investigation Concerning Balticon 56

  1. Like all of these incidents, the one that is still injured without recourse is Stephanie Burke. She gets an apology and nothing more. That’s too bad. If Balticon and the other cons are going to establish codes of behavior and codes of ethics (not the same thing) they need to ensure that their staff are trained and capable of determining if a violation occurred.

    I don’t know what would make it better for Stephanie Burke. Perhaps she knows, or perhaps she doesn’t know either. Character assassination is very hard to get off your clothes, and your mind.

  2. I’ve been attending Balticon since 1985. I’m heartbroken to feel I need to give it up, but the way they treated Stephanie Burke and the total non-apology they gave her is forcing me to do so.

    Who’s going to be next? Me? A newbie I’ve brought to the con to show how wonderful Fandom is? Another long time fan who has no malice in them?

    Let’s try a real apology and accepting some responsibility.

  3. “You tell me how wonderful Athens is, yet here you are, living amongst us. Why is that?”
    “Because the Athenians have become the most ill-mannered and litigious pack in the whole world! Nobody could stand to live there!”

    –Aristophanes

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.