Safer Spaces Policy

Below is the Safer Spaces Policy of Collectively Blue (CB). The policy is written primarily to regulate how the board deals with incidents compromising the safety of all members of our community. If you have felt unsafe at any time at an event sponsored by CB, please contact the current Safer Spaces Director, Robert McCauley, or one of the other members of the Safer Spaces Committee, Erin O’Neil and Molly Quigley.  You may also choose to use the “Contact Us” form on our website.

Policy effective 4/1/2017

In order to avoid complications of enforcement, reports for anything having taken place prior to January 2017 will only be taken if they are of major offenses.

 

Safer Spaces Policy Statement

In order to provide a safer space for all attendees, regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation, religion, ethnicity, disability status, nationality, age, or any other demographic, this policy lays an operational framework for providing and maintaining Collectively Blue (CB) facilities and operations as well as mechanisms to respond to situations that violate our conduct policy.

 

Definitions

Collectively Blue (CB): The organization run by the Planning Board. This policy regulates some of the actions of both the organization and its Planning Board.

CB Events / CB-Sponsored Activities: While CB frequently occupies many spaces, only some of these are specifically CB events or sponsored by CB.  An event qualifies as a CB event anytime CB charges for entry to that event.  CB may also elect to run free events, and will denote them as such.  CB may at times promote events being run by another organization; these events do not necessarily qualify (and frequently will not qualify) as CB events.

Ban: A person who is “banned” is barred from entry to all CB events.  In the event such a person attempts to circumvent such a ban and gains entry to an event, they are subject to immediate ejection from that event without refund.

Planning Board: The organizing body of CB, which elects the Safer Spaces Committee (SSC) and assists in the enforcement of Major Actions as defined herein.  For the purposes of this document, a person is considered to be a member of the Planning Board if they attended half of the meetings in the past 12 months.

Report: A report is a document recording a single incident as described by one person.

Record: The record is the summary of all reports to date, actions taken based off those reports, and notes from SSC meetings; it is maintained by the Safer Spaces Director (SSD).

Safer Spaces Director (SSD): The lead person responsible for enforcing this policy, keeping all records, retrieving all reports, and chairing the SSC.

Safer Spaces Committee (SSC): A group of three people, chaired by the SSD, responsible for discussing the details of the record and deciding what actions to take and when, based on that record.

 

Roles

Safer Spaces Director (SSD)

A member of the Planning Board must be designated as the Safer Spaces Director (SSD) at all times.  It is the responsibility of the SSD to uphold the policies described herein.  The SSD should have at least a basic knowledge of crisis management techniques. The SSD should be the lead person in enforcing Major and Minor Actions as necessary.

Safer Spaces Committee (SSC)

The Planning Board will also designate two other members with whom the SSD is required to consult. These three members will constitute the Safer Spaces Committee (SSC), chaired by the SSD. This committee is charged with adjudicating Major Actions (described in section 5) prior to the enactment of any such action.  The identities of all members are to be publicly available on CB’s website.  

 

Collectively the three are referred to as “the SSC” in this document.

All members of the SSC are bound indefinitely to confidentiality about all reports and records of which they have knowledge.  This confidentiality requirement does not end when they cease membership, and any violation therein will be treated as a major offense . If information becomes public, members of the committee should refer to the records section.  Options for when reports may be made available is also in the “records” section of this document.

 

The Policy

Summary

CB will not tolerate harassment of any kind, including but not limited to sexual harassment, verbal abuse, assault, or intentional defamation of character.  Anyone at an event hosted by CB who engages in any such behavior will be asked to stop, and depending on the offense may be ejected from the event.  In the case of a major offense (as defined below) a person may be banned from attendance at future events for a period of time determined by the Planning Board.

The CB Code of Conduct (Appendix A) is expected to be followed by all attendees and will be enforced at all events.  It is therefore recommended that anyone attending review the Code of Conduct if they have any questions about what actions are permissible at CB events.

 

1.1 Infractions

1.1.1 Minor Offenses – While these actions may get someone ejected from a given event without a refund, they are unlikely to lead to being banned entirely.  These include but are not limited to;

Illegal drug or underage alcohol use

Verbal harassment

Excessive alcohol use

“Accidental” inappropriate touch

Attempts to circumvent an ejection or ban or intentionally aid another person in doing so

Violations of the Code of Conduct

1.1.2 Major Offenses – These are actions which are likely to lead to a ban from all CB hosted events for a length of time determined by the Planning Board, and usually have potential for reporting to the police.  These include but are not limited to;

Repeated instances of any Minor Offense

Physical or Sexual Assault

Any felony action

The SSC and the Planning Board reserve the right to use their judgement in treating any specific instance of an infraction as a Major or Minor offense.

 

2) Reporting;

Any incident brought to the attention of any member of the Planning Board MUST be recorded regardless of that member’s opinion on the significance of the event.  The record must be transferred into the holding of the current Safer Spaces Director.  Two forms have been created for this purpose.  Blank copies of these forms will be kept in the cash box for use as needed.  The long form must be used in any instance in which there is potential for legal action (any major offense, excessive consumption of alcohol, anytime 911 is called), whether or not the potential legal action includes CB itself.  In cases where legal action is not reasonably likely (most minor offenses), the short form may be used.  If in doubt, staff may ask the SSD which form to use, or use the long form.

Completed reports are to be kept in the cash box in a privacy envelope designated for their storage, which must be sealed and dated by the end of the event.

Long Form Report          Short Form Report

Reports shall include:

  • Date
  • Time
  • Person taking the report
  • Person making the report
  • Person being reported
  • Offense being reported
  • If and what actions were taken at time of report

A separate report must be completed for each individual giving a report, and for each individual being reported.

If any actions are taken either before or after the reporting process, these must be included in the report.

The contents of all reports are confidential, including but not limited to the names of persons involved and the details of the incident.  

In the case that a report of a minor offense implicates one or more of the SSC members, the Planning Board will designate a separate person to maintain a copy of that report in parallel with the standard reporting.  All such minor reports which have taken place during a SSC member’s term are to be made available during selection of a new SSC member.

In the case that a report of a major offense (including a pattern of minor offenses) implicates one or more of the SSC members, the responsibilities, access to records, and other privileges of those SSC members will be temporarily suspended while the Planning Board investigates the claim.  The Planning Board may choose one of three results for their investigation:

  1. Determine the report is insufficient to warrant action at the time. In such cases, the SSC member will return to service and a copy of the report will be held in parallel by a separate (non-SSC) designated member of the Planning Board, as for minor offenses.
  2. Determine the report to be sufficient reason to bar the implicated party from further service, but insufficient for Major Actions.  In such cases, the SSC member will be removed from their post.  The Planning Board may further choose to bar their continued membership therein.
  3. Determine the report to be sufficient for major action as detailed in section 5, in addition to the consequences of action 2.

 

3) Records Management:

All reports are to be transferred to the SSD confidentially for input into the records.  The SSD is responsible for retrieving all reports in a timely fashion.  In the case that the SSD cannot retrieve the reports within a week of their being taken, another member of the SSC should take the reports into their keeping until they are able to transfer it to the SSD.  

Records are only to be discussed among the SSC, with the exception of the Planning Board voting to look at the records of a potential SSC member.

The current SSD is responsible for maintaining all current and past records and for maintaining a summary of these records.  Summaries shall include identity of implicated parties, the infractions reported including dates, and, when available, the reporting party’s identity.  Any actions taken by the SSC are also required to be in the record.  A digital scan of reports will be kept securely by the SSD.  The SSD is responsible for taking reasonable steps to keep reports and the record secure from being accessed by any non-authorized individuals.

The current SSC is responsible for maintaining the confidentiality of the record.

Past SSC members are responsible for maintaining confidentiality of all records of which they have knowledge.

Records may only be released on a majority agreement of the SSC followed by approval of the Planning Board or by court order.  The SSC may choose, following  request of a victim or victim’s lawyer and majority vote, to disclose the portions of the record the SSC deems relevant to assist in their pursuit of legal action.  Portions of the record not relevant to their case will be redacted.  Proof of pursuit of legal action, such as a records request from a lawyer’s office, will be required.

Reports and records thereof will be retained for a minimum of 7 years.

In the case that information contained in the record becomes public due to the actions of people outside the SSC and Planning Board (e.g. a victim makes a public announcement about it), the members of the SSC shall refrain from making any public comments implying the existence of a report.  It is therefore advised that any member or former member of the SSC aware of details around a given incident either refrain entirely from comment or exercise extreme caution in that process.

 

4) Minor Actions — Minor Actions may be enacted at any time by any member of the Planning Board or host of an event without consultation. These actions include;

Speaking with an offending party about an offense and requesting them to cease.

Speaking with an offending party about an offense and educating them about ways to avoid repeating the offense.

Creating an incident report, taking down an account of the incident, or otherwise recording an incident.

Ejecting a person from an event for an offense listed in this document. Hosts are always allowed to eject a person from their property for any reason.

Calling 911 for an emergency event.

 

5) Major Actions — Major Actions can only be enacted by unanimous agreement of the SSC.  The SSC may use its best judgement in choosing actions, but should keep in mind that a greater response should be accompanied by a greater degree of evidence.

Temporary ban of a person from CB-sponsored events – Typical response for multiple instances of a minor offense.

Permanent ban of a person from CB-sponsored events – Preponderance of evidence at minimum for major offenses.

Communication with other dance organizations as to the offenses of the person in question – Preponderance of evidence of a major offense which has reasonable potential of being committed at another scene.

Reporting of a person’s actions to the police – this should generally be left to the victim to choose to do. (exception; if the police are called at the time of incident, members should report as normal for any private citizen).

Please note that public sharing of general information from the record is NOT an action allowed by this policy.  This is to reduce the potential for character assassination, libel, slander, and other forms of character defamation.

 

Reciprocity

The SSC shall adjudicate any information shared by other dance organizations regarding Major Offenses. CB reserves the right to ban individuals based on reports from other organizations.

 

6) SSC Meetings

The SSC will meet at minimum twice each calendar year to discuss any ongoing observations in the scene, minor reports which have happened since the last meeting, and any further concerns  in the community.  Notes will be taken as to what was discussed and any decisions or actions to be taken, and these notes will become part of the record.  

Any member of the SSC may call for a meeting at any time in order to decide on an action to be taken in response to recent (within the past month) reports.  This meeting must take place within two weeks of the request, and the resolution of that meeting must be recorded and made part of the record.

The SSC must meet within two weeks of any report of a major offense to discuss the report and decide on whether or not any actions should be taken at that time.  This meeting does not count towards the twice per year requirement.

 

7) Designation of the Safer Spaces Committee

Elections for the committee will be held every three years. Should a member of the SSC resign, an election will be held at the next Planning Board meeting to replace them. No permanent actions may be enacted if the committee has less than 3 members. The SSD is elected first by popular vote, followed individually by the two members of the SSC.

Any person with a report of a major offense in the record is to be assumed ineligible for a position as a member of the SSC. The current SSC is responsible for checking the record against any nominations.  

If a nominee has a report in the record of a major offense, the Planning Board may choose (greater than 50% vote) to review the reports in question when an individual is nominated for the SSC. At that time, the reports will be made available to the Planning Board, (re)investigated and the Planning Board may conclude them to be insufficient to withhold eligibility.  At minimum, all voting members must read the present report summary, and a greater than 75% majority must agree for eligibility to be confirmed.

The review process must re-occur prior to every election of the SSC for every nominee.  Any current or prior member of the SSC must be granted a new review if they wish to continue their service.

 

Election

An election will take place once every three years by nominated vote of the Planning Board following this process:

Nominations will be made for the SSD, self nominations are allowed, nominees must be willing.

Planning Board members vote on the election of the SSD by a simple raise of hands. If a nominee gains a simple majority ( 50% + 1), they are granted the title.  If a majority vote does not occur, ranked order voting will take place in which each member writes down their preferred nominees, in order, up to 3.  Nominees gain 3 points for a rank 1, 2 points for rank 2, and 1 point for rank 3 in the order.  The nominee with the most points wins.

The two other members of the SSC are elected in the same manner, one at a time.

If a member of the Planning Board has a strong objection to a given nominee, they may object and petition to block that person from being on the SSC.  If there is a 25% or greater consensus among the Planning Board to confirm this block, then that person cannot be a member of the SSC for this term.  This objection may take place at any point during the voting process, and does not need to be voiced prior to voting.

Appendix A: Code of Conduct

See the Code of Conduct page