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 a member of the current Safer Spaces team.  You may also choose to use the “Contact Us” form on our website.

 

Policy effective February 4, 2020

Safer Spaces Mission Statement

In order to provide a safer space for all attendees, regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation, religion, ethnicity, disability status, nationality, age, relationship configuration, 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.

Confidentiality

We take confidentiality very seriously, and we understand that individuals’ physical safety may be at stake when making a report. The following information from any report will remain confidential to the Safer Spaces Committee:

  • Name of the person who made the report

  • Name of the person who was harmed

  • Specifics about the incident itself

The following information may be shared in order to inform the Planning Board, the community, other organizers, or other parties who need to know in order to keep the community safe:

  • Name of the person who violated the policy

  • General nature of the transgression (i.e. “was giving alcohol to minors”)

  • When instituting a permanent ban, or in other cases where an action or consequence taken requires disclosure: patterns of behavior or a specific violation

All members of the Safer Spaces Committee (SSC) are bound 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 Management section. Options for when reports may be made available is also in the Records Management 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, racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, classism, ageism, ableism, or defamation of character. Any person at a CB hosted event found acting in a way that violates these values will be asked to stop and/or 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, as determined through the process outlined in the consequences section.

The CB Code of Conduct (Appendix A) is expected to be followed by all attendees and will be enforced at all events. CB recommends anyone attending a CB event review the Code of Conduct. It is available online and a physical copy is on display at every CB hosted event.

Infractions, Possible Actions, and Consequences

Infractions

Infractions may occur during CB hosted events, non-CB hosted events between members of the dance community, or online / on social media.

A. Minor Offenses – These include but are not limited to:

Illegal drug or underage alcohol use

Excessive alcohol use

Verbal harassment

Inappropriate touch, regardless if accidental

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

Violations of the Code of Conduct

B. Major Offenses – These include but are not limited to:

Repeated instances of any minor offenses

Use of racial slurs

Extreme violations of the code of conduct

Physical or sexual assault

Any criminal action

The safer spaces committee and the board reserve the right to use their judgement in any particular situation. Each situation is unique, and so the committee will consider the context and specifics of the incident when making decisions.

Possible In-The-Moment Actions

The following parties are empowered to take actions on behalf of the CB code of conduct and safer spaces policy: hosts (property owners or named individual on rental contract), trained report-takers, the Safer Spaces Committee. At CB events, non-CB events involving members of the CB community, and online, actions may be taken by these individuals at any time without consultation by members of the safer spaces committee and/or the board.

A. Actions – These include but are not limited to:

Speaking with an offending party and requesting them to cease

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

Creating an incident report

Ejecting a person from an event

Calling 911 for an emergency event

Calling the safer spaces director for consult

Possible Consequences

Consequences will be decided by the SSC and reported to the board. In cases when the SSC recommends a permanent ban, the board will vote to approve that decision by simple majority.

A. Consequences include but are not limited to:

Temporary or permanent ban from all CB events

Disclosure of the ban to other dance organizations, potentially including the nature of the offense(s) [see reciprocity statement below]

Requiring further training in related topic (i.e. racial bias training)

Removal from leadership position (i.e. teaching, hosting, board member etc.)

Reporting to the police*

* We cannot report on behalf of other people. For example, in cases of assault, we cannot report for a survivor. We can report for the business and as private citizens. “Bobby McBoozy gave alcohol to minors at our event” is reporting on behalf of the LLC. Anything affecting the business can be reported as a volunteer/ employee, anything else will be reported as a private citizen or witness.

Reciprocity

Collectively Blue reserves the right to share information, including but not limited to, bans, depersonalized summaries of reports, and the nature of offenses with other organizations. Collectively Blue reserves the right to ban individuals based on reports from other organizations.

The Reporting Process

A. Summary

Any incident brought to the attention of any trained person must be recorded regardless of that person’s opinion on the significance of the event. Reporting forms can be found in the cash box and online at the Collectively Blue website.

When taking a report, the highest and best option is to write down as much information as possible, including the reporter’s name. The second option is to write down as much information as possible but exclude the reporter’s name and allow for anonymous reporting. If the reporter doesn’t want anything written down, the third option is to call the safer spaces director and verbally share the information.

Reports should only be taken by individuals who have received training. The safer spaces director will host an annual training for volunteers to learn how to take reports with trauma-informed active listening skills. Volunteers will wear some kind of designation at CB events (wristbands, buttons, etc.).

Whenever a report is taken, the safer spaces director will be notified immediately. If the safer spaces director is not present at the event, they will be informed via text or phone call.

B. Should a Report Implicate a Member of the Safer Spaces Committee, Trained Reporting Person, Board Member, or Owner

In the case that a report implicates a member of the safer spaces committee, trained reporting person, or other board member, the remaining members of the board will designate a new committee to handle the report, made with any non-implicated members of the committee and additional members as needed. This new committee should include input from the owner of CB, as they are financially and legally liable. All responsibilities, access, privileges, and duties of the accused individual are suspended until the replacement committee comes to a decision.

In the case that a report implicates the owner of CB, if the owner is willing to work with the SSC on a resolution, the chair of the Planning Board will temporarily take over as many of the owner’s responsibilities as is feasible (ex. presence at community events, decision making within the board, event planning, etc.) until the conflict is resolved. Some duties may not be removed from the owner, such as tax liability and state LLC licensing, as the SSC does not have legal authority to remove the owner from those duties. If the owner is implicated and is unwilling to work with the board to resolve the conflict, the planning board reserves the right to form a new organization.

Three possible outcomes include, but are not limited to:

  1. Determine the report is insufficient to warrant action at the time. In such cases, the accused will return to their duties

  2. Determine the report to be sufficient reason to remove the accused from their position and/ or the board, but not constitute a ban from Collectively Blue events or other disciplinary action.

  3. Determine the report to be sufficient for a ban from all Collectively Blue events or other disciplinary action, including removal from the board and/or the safer spaces committee.

Records Management

A. Whenever a report is taken, the safer spaces director will be notified immediately. If the safer spaces director is not present at the event, they will be informed via text or phone call. The safer spaces director has one week to retrieve the report and meet with the safer spaces committee to discuss further action. In the case the safer spaces director cannot do so, they will notify the reporter about the delay and/or another member of the committee will be appointed.

B. The current safer spaces committee is responsible for maintaining the confidentiality of the record. All past members are held to an expectation of confidentiality.

C. Reports will be retained for a minimum of 7 years.

D. In the case that the 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 Chair of the Planning Board, the Owner, and the SSD will draft a public statement with the minimum necessary details. Any member or former member of the SSC aware of details around a given incident should either refrain entirely from comment or exercise extreme caution in that process.

E. In the case of a permanent ban, the banned individual will be added to the list of banned people. This list will be available to those who need to know (i.e. door volunteers). Door volunteers will not be expected to enforce this ban, but will be expected to alert the on duty report-taker should a banned person show up at an event.

Meetings

A. The safer spaces committee will meet within a week of a report, virtually or in person. Should it not be able to meet, the reporter will be notified of the delay and given the date of the meeting.

B. The safer spaces committee will meet at least once a year to review reports, opportunities for improvement, feedback from the community, and any necessary changes to the policy. This policy is a living document and should be revised to reflect the needs of the community.

Appendix A: Code of Conduct

See the Code of Conduct page

 

Appendix B: Definitions

Collectively Blue (CB): The parent organization, registered as an LLC that is currently owned by Emily (Lindy) Bowen.

CB Events / CB-Sponsored Activities: Any event planned by the CB board is a CB event. This includes but is not limited to lessons, dances, house parties, regardless of venue. Events must be advertised as CB events. This does not include private events such as private lessons or informal social engagements not planned by the board.

Ban: A ban excludes a person from all CB events. In the event such a person attempts to circumvent such a ban and gains entry to an event, they will be ejected from the events without a refund.

Board: The organizing body of CB. The board elects the Safer Spaces Committee (SSC). A person is considered to be a member of the board if they attended 6 planning meetings in 12 months.

Report: A report is a document recording a single incident of misconduct. Reports are kept confidential.

Record: The record is the summary of all reports to date, actions taken, and notes from SSC meetings. The record is kept confidential.

Safer Spaces Director (SSD): A member of the board responsible for enforcing this policy, keeping all records, retrieving all reports, and chairing the SSC. The SSD should hold a basic knowledge of crisis management techniques.

Safer Spaces Committee (SSC): A group of three people, chaired by the SSD.