OSFCI, and all of its events, strive to be inclusive and safe for people of all backgrounds, regardless of race, heritage, sexual orientation, gender, religion, disability, or any other category. To this end, we have a Code of Conduct that we have developed to ensure that all of our members can be aware of our intent to achieve this goal.
As some of you are aware, there was an incident during Westercon 69 in which a member did not feel safe and, as stated in our code, reported it to our staff. Unfortunately, we as an organization failed to properly realize the gravity of the incident, and we failed to follow our own noted procedures for follow-through, with both the offended party and the offender. This inaction and inappropriate handling have caused considerable distress for all of those involved, and shows that OSFCI as an organization has a great deal to learn in order to prevent and handle comparable situations in the future. One member of our convention staff violated our Code of Conduct with inflammatory remarks directed at the person who reported the event; that former staff member has been removed from their position.
While we cannot erase this incident, we are taking steps to better improve our processes, as well as our understanding of issues relating to diversity. We are taking steps to better interact with everyone, and to continue to provide an environment we believe will be safe, inclusive, and fun for everyone. Toward these ends, we are taking the following steps:
- A formal apology has been written by the offender, which will be shared publically by the end of this week (October 14th, 2016). While the Board has heard the apology, we want to demonstrate that we have worked, and will continue to work, with the individual to ensure that he understands the depth of difficulty this has caused.
- The President of OSFCI will be writing a formal statement acknowledging our failure in this matter, and reiterating our commitment to providing an open and inclusive environment. We expect to have this statement by October 15th, 2016.
- The Board of Directors and officers of OSFCI, as well as key members of the Convention Committees for all active OSFCI events, will be attending a Diversity & Equity training event, which is being presented by a third party on October 23rd, 2016. We hope this will enlighten all participants and allow us to become better able to recognize, and more prepared to prevent and to respond to, any future comparable situations. This training will set the tone for future oversight of our responsibilities and furthers our development as an organization that welcomes all peoples.
- An anti-retaliation policy will be drafted and ratified to protect people who report issues that they experience, whether those issues transpire online or at our meetings or events. We want all members to know that they can safely communicate with anyone from the Convention Committees, as well as anyone from the OSFCI Board, about any issues they experience.
- Our Code of Conduct will be updated to clarify that any use of hateful, disparaging, and/or discriminatory speech is not acceptable and will be treated accordingly.
- The OSFCI website, along with all websites for our events, will be updated with details on procedures for reporting incidents, as well as our procedure for handling the investigation of any reported incident, including an invitation for all parties to discuss the issue, privately or publicly, with the Board to ensure a timely resolution.
While we own that the responsibility for improving our organizational culture is ours, we warmly welcome and sincerely would love more involvement from members of any and all groups who have been or could be impacted by inappropriate or insensitive behavior. We appreciate any and all feedback from anyone in any community on how we can continue to improve these standards.
Our goal is to have all of this completed in time for our next event, OryCon, which is in mid-November. We look forward to continuing to run events at which everyone can feel welcome and safe. We appreciate any communities and individuals open to collaborating with us to prevent and address any future concerns.
Please feel welcome to contact us with any feedback, suggestions, or inquiries:
OSFCI Board of Directors