All Worldcons have a collection of policies about photography and recording, insufficient funds transactions, sales on the premises, wearing membership badges, not carrying realistic weapons, and adhering to the hotel’s rules. Chicon 7 does, too – plus a major addition it has made in the aftermath of the Readercon controversy, a policy titiled “Respect for Others.”
Respect for Others
All Chicon 7 events should be a space where everyone feels welcomed and comfortable.
Discrimination (based on, but not limited to, gender, race, ethnicity, religion, age, sexual orientation, gender identity, or physical / mental disability) is not tolerated. Harassment of any kind is not tolerated. If someone tells you “no” or asks you to leave them alone, your business with them is done.
If you feel that you are being discriminated against or harassed, or if you notice someone behaving inappropriately (such as violating hotel or convention policies), we respectfully suggest the following:
If you feel comfortable doing so, point out the inappropriate behavior to the person(s) involved. Often this will solve the problem immediately.
If you do not feel comfortable talking with the person(s) involved or if talking to them does not resolve the issue, please report the situation immediately to any Chicon 7 event coordinator (i.e., Board Members, Convention Committee Members, or Operations Staff). Try to provide a name, badge name / number and / or physical description of the person(s) involved. Note that we need to know about any incidents during the event in order to take action.
Other conventions have been developing anti-harassment policies over the past few years. For Worldcons, this is new territory. The words “harass” and “harassment” do not even appear on the websites of the past several Worldcons.
What I like about Chicon 7’s policy is its clear language and pragmatism. I also feel it has a sense of sense of immediacy and engagement that is far superior to passivity of the Anthrocon policy so widely commended in recent online discussions – which really doesn’t commit Anthrocon to do anything unless a court has already issued a restraining order (!).
The awkward part is how Chicon 7 has amalgamated all of its policies into a Code of Conduct that read collectively like the “thirty-one crash landings,” a resemblance heightened by the multiple warnings that violations “may result in revocation of membership privileges.”
Repeatedly brandishing the hammer overshadows the array of responses listed within the Code of Conduct itself:
Failure to adhere to any of the above policies may result in possible consequences that include but are not limited to:
Talking with all parties involved and attempting to mediate a solution
Issuing verbal warnings
Revoking memberships and requesting that the person(s) leave the event
Involving hotel or facility staff or security
Contacting local law enforcement
Banning of attendance and membership to future Chicon 7 events, including any post-Chicon 7 events.
Admittedly, the hammer-waving may help Chicon 7 achieve its purpose of assuring members that harassment is not tolerated. The full range of issues covered by the Code of Conduct calls for a flexible range of responses, but people fresh from reading Elizabeth Bear and Catherynne M. Valente are likely to be skeptical about mediation or verbal warnings and more interested in hearing about the hammer.