Dragon Con Answers Safety Concerns

Dragon Con has an antiharassment policy, and in response to “Dragon Con Safety Advice From Delilah S. Dawson”, the convention’s Director of Public Relations, Greg Euston, sent the following information about the policy, the way it’s enforced, and how people can find help at the con.

We, at Dragon Con, saw your article yesterday based on Delilah Dawson’s tweets, and hoped you would help us educate all our attendees on how best to address behavior of concern in an effort to eliminate it from our convention entirely.

We pride Dragon Con on being a safe place, where everybody is welcome and anybody can be whomever they desire. Even so, certain kinds of offensive or harassing behavior are not tolerated. To the best of our ability, we intend to eliminate inappropriate conduct from the convention. In 2014, we revised our convention policies to be clearer on this point.

We have also taken steps to make it easier to report instances of such behavior. It is very important that if you are being harassed or are in any way endangered, you report it immediately. We cannot address anything that we are not made aware of and we need whatever detail that can be provided, such as names, badge numbers or other descriptive information.

If you feel you have been harassed or have witnessed harassing or offensive behavior, please find the nearest Dragon Con volunteer. This year, all 2200 Dragon Con volunteers will be easily recognized by their purple lanyards. They will direct you to the security operation in the Marriott.

You may also go directly to the security operation – room L405/L406 in the Marriott, on the Lobby level – to report an incident. We have set up a private screening area, staffed by an Atlanta Police Department officer to counsel individuals who feel they have been harassed. We will work closely with the APD to determine the best course of action.

Dragon Con reserves the right to revoke or suspend memberships and passes. If an individual breaks the rules of the convention, he or she may be barred from the convention, either for several hours or for the rest of the event. If an individual breaks the law – city, state or federal – he or she will be arrested.

13 thoughts on “Dragon Con Answers Safety Concerns

  1. Even so, certain kinds of offensive or harassing behavior are not tolerated.

    That suggests that there are kinds of offensive or harassing behavior that are tolerated.

    Not knocking their intent; my inner line-editor just jerked his knee…

  2. I wasn’t aware that the Atlanta Police had delegated arrest authority to DragonCon. They can certainly (and should) refer incidents to law enforcement, but DragonCon will not be making the arrest decision.

  3. @ Kurt Busiek
    It wasn’t your knee. It was your fine ear. It may be just sloppiness, but the policy does read that way.
    I am uneasy about the Divine Passive (“some kinds of … behavior are not tolerated): when no human agency is visible, God takes the action described. That means no harassed congoer can identify a human to do it. This won’t make enforcement any easier.

  4. Unless I’ve missed it, I don’t see a description of what they actually consider harassment to be. In the absence of one, the use of a police officer seems to imply a definition erring towards whatever local law provides, which I seem to recall is a policy that a WFC tried a few years ago and was generally considered to be inadequate? Hopefully that’s not the case, but it was my first impression.

  5. Not to defend Dragon Con, but … the warnings from Ms. Dawson are somewhat about Dragon Con, but also about the simple fact that the con sprawls over 6 hotels in a busy downtown of a major US city and that means the con doesn’t control that space. AND that those hotels may also be hosting guests for the two football games scheduled for the weekend, which means that alcohol and frat boy spirits will be in full force.
    Booze, football, testosterone, a toxic mix at any time and in any place.
    So Ms. Dawson’s warnings are good tips for attendees, DC policies notwithstanding.
    I’ve been to downtown Atlanta and ridden MARTA a lot — as major cities go, I think it’s a pretty good one, and safer than many. That said, I wouldn’t walk through an underground tunnel late at night unless in the company of several others, preferably including a burly male or two. Because that’s the way our society rolls.
    Would be nice if it were different. I hope it will be different, some day.
    Today is not that day.

  6. “We have set up a private screening area, staffed by an Atlanta Police Department officer to counsel individuals who feel they have been harassed.”

    (a) People who FEEL they’ve been harassed? I’m pretty sure they know. I guess thanks for being upfront about not believing victims?
    (b) Not everyone who gets harassed is going to WANT to talk to the police about it, and if that’s the only option they have they’re not just not going to report it at all.

  7. If Ms. Dawson’s descriptions of attendee habits, schedules and pathways are accurate, it would seem that one relatively simply solution would be to work with the city to have police posted at or regularly patrol potential problem areas and/or for DC to provide services/staff escorts, etc.

    I think it is a con’s responsibility to control their event’s environment to the widest possible extent: work with the police (as they are to some extent) and then use internal resources to close the gaps between public law enforcement and convention community sensibilities.

  8. Until DragonCon acknowledges that they have outgrown their venue and elects to move into a more appropriate (and much larger) space, they will struggle (and probably fail) to make headway on this problem.

  9. I regularly attend DragonCon (7th time coming up). My other regular cons, Gallifrey One and CONvergence, have set a high bar when it comes to harassment policies. I, a cis woman, have never experienced nor witnessed harassment at any of these cons, so I can’t provide a comparison of how reported incidents are handled. I do pay attention to any incidents that are reported during and after the cons I attend. Based on this, I don’t see DragonCon as having a particularly high rate of harassment relative to the others, taking into account its sheer size.

    Dawson’s tips are good for any large event, and I am in no way criticizing her for bringing her experiences to people’s attention. But I would hate for her experience to discourage people from attending what I feel is an awesome con overall. Because of its massive size, I know it’s not the con for everyone, but please don’t let concern about harassment be the one thing that prevents you from going.

  10. Kaboobie: Based on this, I don’t see DragonCon as having a particularly high rate of harassment relative to the others, taking into account its sheer size.

    As you have no idea how many harassment incidents are reported during DragonCon, and no idea how many are not reported because of DragonCon’s insistence that the police be involved, or due to the lack of confidence that the report will be acted upon in an appropriate manner, there is no way that you (or anyone else) can possibly make any claims about the rate of harassment at DragonCon. 🙄

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