- The Secular Student Alliance will make their harassment policy more public.
- The American Atheists will adopt a formal, public policy.
- Freethought Festival will adopt a formal, public policy.
- The Minnesota Atheists will adopt a formal, public policy for their events, including their convention this summer, as confirmed to me through email.
- Skepticon will adopt a formal, public policy.
Additionally, Zach Moore has announced:
The next secular event I attend or organize will have a clear anti-harassment policy or it won’t happen. Simple as that.
Ian Bushfield, president of the British Columbia Humanists, has said something similar about conventions he plans.
That’s a good start, particularly for all happening within three days, but it’s obviously not enough. If you go to conventions, look for their harassment policies. If you can’t find them, or they don’t amount to anything more concrete than “We’re agin’ it”, tell the organizers you want them to do better. Volunteer to help if you can. Then come back and tell us what they said or what kind of policy they have.
There is more in the works too.
New conferences are sprouting like weeds. This is a good thing, but it means that not everyone running a con necessarily has information on handling this stuff up front. This is true for a lot of parts of con-running, actually, which is why I’ve started a new project. The aim is to collect how-to knowledge on running a con. This will include a lot more than the professional HR aspects, of course, but it will contain those as well. I’m not sure where the information will be hosted, but it will be publicly available and hopefully linked widely.
On top of that, Jen has mentioned the idea of speakers using their clout to put pressure on the organizations that want them to speak. This is shaping up to look something like a speakers union, where speakers can sign up to endorse a number of behavioral codes independently. Speaker A could say s/he won’t speak at any event without the kind of harassment policy we’ve already been looking for and that s/he won’t make sexual advances to con staff and audience members. Speaker B could endorse those and additionally state that any event s/he speaks at will have to have approximate parity in speaker gender and representation of racial minorities.
The details of the various codes haven’t been worked out. Feel free to argue about them in the comments. People are paying attention right now. Use the moment.
If there is demand, there may be an attendee union put into place as well. This would look a lot like the speakers union but with more ease of getting on and off the list. So what do you think. Is there demand?
I’ve also seen ideas about conferences sharing or consolidating data to make it easier to identify problem speakers and attendees and to increase accountability across events. I’ve seen someone talk about meeting for event planners, though that sort of thing might be well folded into student leadership conferences, with accomplished planners sharing knowledge on panels. I’m sure I’ve seen other interesting ideas, but it’s been a whirlwind few days.
So tell me, what else may help?