Ohio’s Context: Mostly Dead?

Harassment complaints made by several attendees at Context 27 in September resulted in a publicly-announced 5-year ban of the accused staffer. However, two committee members – Steven Saus and Lucy Snyder – resigned anyway, citing the resistance of several board members of the con’s parent corporation to taking public action on the harassment reports.

The combination of internal dissent and public scrutiny caused the board of Context’s parent corporation FANACO to dissolve itself at the end of November (see Official Statement Regarding the Dissolution of Fanaco’s Board of Directors).

A new president, Mark Freeman, and the six other successors to the FANACO board thought the former leadership intended to assist in a transfer of power that would save the convention. Freeman tried to arrange for signing the state form to name another agent of record, and changing the signers on the convention bank account. But according to Freeman’s detailed statement,  published by Steven Saus, former president Jan Province has not cooperated. Last week Freeman e-mailed her this warning:

“If you fail to sign on Friday [December 26] as you previously agreed in our meeting on December 19th and on the phone with me after you stood me up on December 22nd, I will recommend to the new Board that we all walk away and make public the documentation of the events that led up to the failure to authorize a new Board.”

And how did that work out? Says Freeman —

Instead, on the day of the scheduled meeting, she had a lawyer send a rather over-the-top email to me saying that she would not sign the form and threatening me with police action if I went to her house, among other things. The new Board is, of course, now walking away.

Steven Saus, who made his own observations in a separate post, believes the convention now has no future:

…All the new people who wanted to be part of the new board, who wanted to see Context survive and thrive, realized that they couldn’t fight a (frivolous) lawsuit and simultaneously prepare a convention. Context is dead.

3 thoughts on “Ohio’s Context: Mostly Dead?

  1. The people that resigned didn’t leave after getting what they wanted. They left after they found out that there was an attempt involving the Board Chair to lessen or completely overturn the disciplinary action the Board had voted on. Meanwhile the Board delayed making a public announcement for several weeks past a deadline that had been set as a condition by a group of ConCom department heads to prevent their resignation. The Board waffled and delayed, and it cost them not just Steven and Lucy. There were at least five people that resigned.

    I don’t want the first paragraph of your post to leave anyone with the impression that two people got what they wanted and resigned anyway. That wouldn’t be accurate.

    It should also be noted that both Lucy and Steven refused to be considered for the new Board because they both wanted to avoid any controversy that their membership might cause when it came to acceptance of the new Board. They put the convention first. Sadly, that wasn’t true of other members of the old Board and ConCom.

  2. Mark: You write as if you did not register the phrase that follows “resigned anyway” which is “citing the resistance of several board members of the con’s parent corporation to taking public action on the harassment reports.” Obviously they wanted the harassment policy enforced. And that happened: the person was banned, a public announcement was made, and the harasser even wrote a public apology. If you’ve read the experiences of Readercon and WisCon you know that is an extraordinary result. However, the result was achieved by internal processes crippled by the kind of experiences you describe, and Steven Saus said he was left with no confidence that future complaints would be properly handled, as he explained here.

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