Ending a 38 year association with WisCon, Jeanne Gomoll resigned from the convention committee and the board of its parent organization, SF3, on October 5. “Leaving it has broken my heart,” she wrote.
Gomoll was chair of WisCon 20 (1996) and 30 (2006), and served as President of SF3 from 1992 to 1994 and 2010 to 2013.
Gomoll made the announcement on WisCon’s Facebook page and also sent a copy for use by File 770. After an introductory paragraph paraphrased above, the rest of her statement says:
2014 has been a strange year. In August I was honored by Loncon 3 as a guest of honor at the 72nd World Science Fiction Convention, in part for my work on WisCon’s concom. But during the con, a part of me was thinking about the situation back home and sometimes I felt a bit as if I was attending worldcon using a secret identity.
Through the summer and early Fall of 2014 a complicated, painful, and very intense conversation raged about how we should deal with fellow members who caused damage to the con. A number of people resigned from the concom in the midst of the conversation, including three past chairs and several others who have held major responsibilities. The surviving concom has done a remarkable job recently in recruiting to fill open positions and I frankly regret that I will not get the chance to work with some of the new folks. But the loss of both experienced hands and institutional knowledge will make it a difficult year.
I will not engage in discussion about the substance of our disagreement here. I have always felt that in any volunteer organization, the people who do the work have the right to choose the process for that work. So I will leave the discussion to those who it most affects now. In brief, I disagreed with the process that was chosen by the majority of the concom and so I felt I had to resign.
Working on the concom is a very different thing than attending WisCon. The two are intimately connected of course. But my resignation from the concom does not affect my support of WisCon. I will be forever proud of my work on WisCon and for the space it offers the feminist science fiction community and its allies. I count myself lucky to have worked on WisCon for as long as I have, and hope that it continues for many more years. I plan to attend WisCon 39 in 2015 and many future WisCons.
Who among us didn’t see this coming? Jeanne has been laudably cautious in her wording, because it is moral attitudes and deliberate ignorance to which she is objecting, rather than an institution she has been such a major part of.