Pandora Society Safety Policy Procedures

Pandora Society Procedures for Addressing Reported Violations of the Symposium Safety Policy

These procedures are in effect as of 1/1/2015. Pandora Con Safety Committee will annually review these procedures and amend them as needed.

Who receives reports?

Initial reports can be made to any staff member or directly to the safety phone number.

 

How do we handle reports made at the convention?

If a general staff member receives the initial report

The general staff member will:

  1. Ask whether the person making the report needs medical care, and call 911 or the proper medical number if they do. (If the person appears to be injured or in shock but refuses medical care, call someone so a trained medic can assess their state. We cannot force medical care on anyone unless it’s an emergency, but some emergencies are not immediately visible to laypeople.)

  1. Ask the person what can be done to help them feel safe in the moment.
  2. Ask the person to relocate to the designated quiet space or to a quiet space of the person’s choosing (such as their hotel room or a friend’s room).
  3. Invite the person to call a partner, friend, or other supporter if they don’t already have someone with them.
  4. Tell the person that they are going to make a call that will summon two responders: a Security Staff Member (SSM) and a member of the Pandora Con Safety Committee (PCSC) (ask if they have a gender preference of these people).
  5. Call the proper people.
  6. Wait with the person until both of the responders arrive.

When the responders arrive, the procedures person will ask whether the person making the report would rather the general staff member stay or leave, and abide by those wishes.

If the person making the report calls the reports number

The call will reach the responders directly. They will begin with the above steps 1–4 over the phone, ask the individual to withdraw to a location where they feel safe or provide directions to designated quiet space, and remain on the phone with the individual until they are all in the same space.

Once the responders have met the person making the report

The two responders will:

  1. Identify themselves and their roles (SSM and PCSC person), and make certain that the person making the report is comfortable with both individuals handling the report and vice versa. If there are concerns, summon alternates.

The SSM officer will:

    1. Confirm that the person making the report has received any appropriate medical care or other urgent care, and help them get anything they still need. All other actions will be delayed until the person’s immediate needs are met.
    2. Explain that the SSM’s job is to listen to, support, and advocate for the person making the report.

 

  • State that the responders may disclose the name of the person making the report or the nature of the report to the safety committee, involved members of the Pandora Society, and any witnesses who are asked to provide information to Pandora Society regarding the report. In addition, if there is no way to take action regarding the report without revealing the person’s name to the subject of the report, and if Pandora Society’s safety committee chair decides that taking action is necessary for the safety of convention attendees, the name of the person making the report may be disclosed to the subject of the report. Pandora Society will protect the person’s confidentiality in all other respects.

 

  1. State that there will be no reprisals from Pandora Society for making or not making a report.
  2. State that they are available to help the person making the report if they would like support with actions such as:
    1. Involving hotel security (through whom the police can be contacted).
    2. Calling the Area Rape Crisis Center hotline (the listener can provide the number) or other hotline.
    3. Seeking medical treatment by calling 911, or going to a hospital.

The PCSC person will:

  1. Explain that the PCSC person’s job is to handle practical matters so the SSM can provide support without distraction.
  2. Provide a sheet summarizing Pandora Society’s procedures for handling reported code of conduct violations, including a URL for the complete procedures document.
  3. State that we only handle reports pertaining to code of conduct violations.
  4. State that if the PCSC person feels that the subject of the report poses an active danger to con-goers, they will need to take action.
  5. Outline possible immediate actions, subject to ratification by the safety committee chair or their designated alternate:
    1. Summoning witnesses to obtain more information about what occurred.
    2. Banning the subject of the report from the convention currently taking place.
    3. Telling the subject of the report they are required to modify their behavior (e.g. stop doing a problematic thing, avoid a person or people).
    4. Involving hotel security.
    5. Involving local law enforcement.
  6. State that after the convention, the safety committee chair will convene a working group of 4–6 people, including both responders, and that group will determine whether to take any long-term action.
  7. State that if action is going to be taken, they will have to disclose the identity of the person making the report, and provide a summary of the report, to the subject of the report. If this disclosure is made, we will instruct the subject of the report not to approach the person who has made the report.

If, after these statements, the person wishes to continue with their report, the two first responders will listen to the report. The PCSC will be responsible for taking notes.

After the report is made

The SSM will:

  1. Offer to let the person making the report stay in the quiet space for as long as they would like.
  2. Ask the person if they would like to summon a supportive person (if they haven’t already) before they return to the convention.
  3. Ask the person for their phone number and email address.
  4. Provide the SSM’’s own contact information and make certain the person making the report understands that at any point during the convention, they can call the SSM or the safety hotline for help and support.

If the person making the report witnessed the incident but was not targeted or otherwise directly affected by it:

  1. The PCSC should attempt to contact the person or people who were targeted or otherwise directly affected (asking the person making the report for help, if appropriate).
  2. Once that person or those people are contacted, the two responders should start these procedures from the top for each person, calling on alternates if needed.

If the person making the report can identify (other) witnesses to the incident:

  1. The PCSC person will attempt to contact them. It is up to the PCSC person how to make contact attempts, how many times to try, and how long to wait before moving on without that witness’s contribution.
  2. The PCSC person will inform the witnesses that their names and the information they provide will only be released to involved members of Pandora Society.
  3. Both responders will interview any reachable witnesses in the secondary quiet space with minimal prompting, telling them only that someone has made a report about [person]’s behavior at [place and time]. The person who made the report should not be present for these interviews. If it is necessary for the SSM to stay with the person who made the report, the interviews can be conducted by the PCSC person alone.
  4. The PCSC will ask the witnesses for contact information and ask whether they wish to be informed of Pandora Society’s actions in connection with this report.

After any witnesses have been interviewed

The SSM chair and PCSC chair or designated alternates and provide them with complete notes about the report and any witness interviews.

If the PCSC and the SSM chair or designated alternate believe that the subject of the report may pose an immediate threat to the physical or emotional safety of one or more people at the convention, they will:

  1. Find the subject of the report and request that they move to the secondary quiet space. Invite the person to call a partner, friend, or other supporter if they don’t already have someone with them.That person may not interfere with the interview process.
  2. Tell the subject of the report that a report has been made, provide a summary of the report, and ask how the incident unfolded.
  3. Step aside and privately decide whether immediate action needs to be taken.
  4. Inform the subject of the report of their decision, and enforce it.
  5. Inform the convention chair of the decision, as well as anyone else who needs to know (e.g. registration if membership is being revoked, hotel security if someone is being asked to leave the premises and not come back).
  6. Inform security staff of the decision; SSM will then inform the person who made the report and any witnesses who asked to be kept informed.

After the convention

The PCSC chair will assemble a working group of 4–6 representatives of the Pandora Society, PCSC committee, and security staff which will include anyone involved in the original incident. The group will then review the incident. This review is not intended to revisit the fundamental questions of what happened and whose version of events is more credible, because those determinations were already made based on first-hand observations at the time of the incident. It is simply to assist the group in making their determination regarding long-term actions, if any.

The group will:

  1. Read the original notes taken by the PCSC person.
  2. Interview the responders and any other convention personnel who were involved in handling the original report.
  3. Contact the person making the report, any (other) witnesses, and the subject of the report for more information if necessary.
  4. Determine whether long-term actions are necessary. These may include:
    1. Banning the subject of the report from the convention for one or more years, or permanently.
    2. Requiring the subject of the report to change their behavior for one or more years, or permanently.
    3. Instructing the PCSC committee to review and possibly amend parts of the code of conduct, policy, and procedures to handle previously unanticipated situations.
    4. Making a public statement regarding Pandora Con’s actions during or after the convention.
  5. If long-term actions are required, bring the decision to any other member of Pandora Con official staff.
  6. Draft a statement on the group’s decision. Simultaneously email the statement to the subject of the report, the individual who filed the report, and any witnesses who asked for updates (using BCC to obscure individual addresses). Post the statement on the Pandora Con website and social media if the group feels it is necessary and appropriate to do so.

How do we handle reports made after the convention?

Reports will be made to noharm@thepandorasociety.com.  The PCSC chair will convene a working group to handle these as described above.

What do we feel is an appropriate response to a particular type of incident?

This overview is not definitive; each individual situation will have nuances that cannot be captured in a one-size-fits-all set of procedures.

We will abide by our code of conduct, our policy on handling reports, and this procedures document when handling all reports. Pandora will always offer the person making the report as much support as we can, and will treat them and their report with respect (including safeguarding confidentiality). Our default is to treat all reports as if they are true.

Sample actions and reactions

  • If someone has been physically or verbally assaulted and wants to call the police, we will assist them in doing so by involving hotel security and waiting with them until the police arrive.
  • If we determine to our satisfaction that someone has committed physical or verbal assault, we will revoke their membership and ban them from convention premises.
  • If we suspect but are not certain that someone has committed physical or verbal assault, we will ask security to monitor the individual’s behavior closely and alert us if there is any cause for concern. We will also inform the individual that security will be watching them, and remind them that they are required to abide by Pandora Con’s Symposium Safety Policy if they wish to remain at the convention.
  • If we determine to our satisfaction that someone has misbehaved in a problematic but not egregious way, we will remind them that they are required to abide by Pandora Con’s Symposium Safety Policy if they wish to remain at the convention.
  • If a person’s behavior is acceptable except when they are around a specific other person, and if their misbehavior is not sufficient to justify immediate eviction, we will ask them to keep their distance, as follows:
    • If the subject of the report is in convention space (including a program room, the vendor hall, the hotel lobby, or an open-door party at the hotel, Et Al) and they realize that the other person is in that space, the subject of the report must immediately leave the space.
    • The subject of the report may not initiate interaction of any kind (including calls, texts, emails, and passing messages through third parties) with the other person while at the convention.
  • If anyone about whom a report has been made declines to be interviewed, we will revoke their membership and ban them from convention premises.
  • If we believe that an individual poses an active threat (physical or otherwise) to one or more people at the convention, we will revoke their membership and ban them from convention premises.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Skip to toolbar