Steven Saus Comments on Resignation

While writing about the resignations of Steven Saus and Lucy Snyder from the Context committee yesterday I contacted Saus with questions I had about his decision. He provided these additional insights.

File 770: I read your resignation post, and half a dozen related posts you’ve written lately, trying to understand why you resigned. You make the proximate cause clear enough. But due to your efforts the harassment complaint was acted on and a person banned. If you stayed on the committee, would you have been able to do that if a new complaint arose? In every case I’ve ever heard about there has been resistance to actually carrying out the policy (as Hines’ cartoon [here] illustrates). From the outside, it would have seemed that you succeeded in overcoming that resistance. Which is not the same as changing their minds, but is that required? One of your own posts would say no. If you are willing to comment, I’d appreciate it.

Steven Saus: We did succeed in overcoming the resistance, but barely, and in a case with multiple reports and multiple witnesses for each report. I did not have confidence that any future reports of harassment — especially if they did not have as many witnesses – would be treated seriously by the convention staff.

You are correct; I did say that we do not need to change people’s minds.  But in this case, their *actions* must be uniform and predictable.

When Board members refuse to sign a statement they all agreed to, when Committee members still refer to harassment as “He was guilty of being OLD,” or insist that a report would not be valid if not made during the convention (for three examples out of many), that creates a great deal of doubt about what their future actions will be.

Convention goers need to know that if they report harassment that it will be taken seriously. They should not have to guess which members of the convention staff will ensure their report is taken seriously… or which members of convention staff will dismiss their concerns.

Convention goers need to be able to trust ALL of the convention staff to do the right thing, regardless of personal feelings.

I did not have that trust any longer, and so I felt I had to resign.