World Fantasy Con 2016 Publishes Policies, Announces GoHs

The 2016 World Fantasy Convention, which will be held October 27-30 in Columbus, Ohio, announced three of its Guests of Honor today.

  • Mercedes Lackey
  • Larry Dixon
  • L.E. Modesitt, Jr

The committee also responded to criticism for failing to post a Code of Conduct or an accessibility policy before the February 1 rate hike by publishing both today.

These statements are on the registration page.

Code of Conduct:

We do not tolerate harassment of the people at our convention in any form.

In order to take action, we need to know about any incident during the convention.

Everyone is entitled to a harassment-free convention experience, regardless of gender, sexual orientation, disability, or physical appearance.

Harassment includes, but is not limited to, inappropriate physical contact, unwelcome sexual attention, offensive verbal comments, deliberate intimidation, stalking or following someone, making harassing photography or recordings, and disrupting talks or other events.  Anyone asked to stop any unacceptable behavior is expected to comply immediately.

A request to “stop” or “go away” means exactly that.  If anyone engages in harassing behavior, the convention committee may warn the offender, remove the offender from the room, or expel the offender from the convention with no refund at the Chairs’ discretion.

If you feel that you are being harassed, or if you notice someone violating hotel or convention policies, we respectfully suggest the following:

  1. If you feel comfortable doing so, point out the inappropriate behavior to the persons involved.  Often this will solve the problem immediately.
  2. If you do not feel comfortable talking with the persons involved or if talking to them does not resolve the issue, please report the situation, in person, immediately to the Operations Staff, or a Convention Committee member.  Try to provide a name (found on all badges) and/or a physical description of the person or persons involved.
  3. In order to take action, we need to know about any incident during the convention.

The Code of Conduct they’ve adopted is nearly identical to the 2014 WFC’s anti-harassment policy, which was reviewed as a successful model at the time.

And the committee’s statement about accessibility says:

The philosophy of our Accessibility Policy is about giving equal access to everyone.

The Hyatt Regency Columbus is an ADA compliant hotel. They have a limited number of ADA hotel rooms for different needs, these are available on a first come first serve basis. The hotel also has public “facilities” that are ADA compliant.

We have made arrangements for signing to be available (upon request) for GOH panels and the Sunday Banquet.

We have reserved the ADA ramp for the Sunday Banquet.

We will have a local phone number on the website for members to make their own arrangements, at their own expense, for mobile wheelchairs (scooters / mobies). We are doing some pre-pricing and will put the number on the website once we have it.

Mari Ness, who earlier opined that four out of the last five World Fantasy Cons have had accessibility issues, made this response:

Earlier today, before the policies were posted, she explained her reasons for making an issue about WFC’s delay in providing an accessibility policy, and for not assuming the legal requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) will avoid all problems:

I haven’t registered yet for World Fantasy Con because I use a wheelchair and I don’t know if the convention will be accessible. “Held in an ADA facility” isn’t enough; I’ve had accessibility issues in ADA facilities.


What I HAVE asked for, repeatedly, is some form of public statement from World Fantasy Con about their accessibility policy. And I have done this because of repeatedly running into accessibility concerns at previous World Fantasy Cons.

And because last year, I paid the same price as other members, and didn’t get the same access to the convention. I had to stay on ground level while my fellow panelists got to go up on the stage.

That’s the moral wrong: I’m paying the same, but I’m not getting the same access.

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8 thoughts on “World Fantasy Con 2016 Publishes Policies, Announces GoHs

  1. IOW: We panicked when we got called out, so we quickly copy/pasted some stuff we found elsewhere. People said they liked what 2014 did, so we used that for the consent policy. But, hey, don’t worry, we’re still just giving lip service to disabled people!

  2. Why, look at that. February 2nd and policies appear *POOF* as if by magic! This truly must be the World Fantasy Convention.

  3. Kudos to the current WFC committee for actually realising they messed up.

    The bad:

    The harassment policy looks good, and the additions they’ve made to the boilerplate ones actually look good and improves on it. The main issue relates to one I had earlier on their web site: no names are listed for the committee. So much of harassment policies comes down to trust, and that eventually rests in the people being named responsible.

    The disability access policy is far from finished. A good accessibility policy is likely closely tied to the actual facility, so it lists the various problems, facilities, and mitigations that are being made. It should also link to the accessibility statements of any facilities used, if they have one. (Yes, the Hyatt regency has one.)

  4. For what it’s worth, my experience has been that being “ADA-compliant” and being “accessible” are different animals altogether. I can’t count the number of times I’ve been in a bathroom which meets ADA but isn’t practically accessible, even for someone on crutches, let alone someone in a chair or a scooter (I have experience with all three and accessible for one isn’t accessible for the others). Anyone attending this WFC should check with the hotel for specifics.

    Of course, I’m in 1595, where “accessibility compliance” doesn’t exist, so what do I know?

  5. Forgot to check the box. In 1595, we missed these things. In 2194, the head gerbil compels us to check the box.

  6. Well, I’m glad to see that they got things up. Will they offer the lower (pre-2/1) rate to those who were waiting on this info before registering? I hope so, as it would be kind of jerky to say “since you had to wait until after rates went up to know if you could even attend in your wheelchair, we’ll be charging you an extra $75”

    Also, I think their harassment policy is pretty good. It’s concise, to-the-point and easy to read quickly.

  7. I notice the “accessibility” doesn’t address the issue of having ramps available for panelists who need them. It also doesn’t request panelists or GOH or others who will be part of programming contact the concom to make needed arrangements.

    I’m just not feeling the caring by WFC on this.

    I think more boards need to make having these policies part of the bidding. There is a FB group dedicated to conventions and accessibility issues. There are templates for harassment and accessibility policies available. We shouldn’t need scandals before registration is over to get policies in place. We really don’t need ongoing scandals at conventions to make policies a norm since its in everyone but a harassers best interest to have them.

  8. Wow, that Access Policy is so obviously the result of 5 minutes responding to Mari Ness’s points rather than any serious thought about the issue I actually feel less confidence in their access provision rather than more!

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