Draft Safe Space Policy
Hi Everyone, I wanted to start this topic to split of the discussion from the meeting thread where we worked on the policy as a group. I will post those group efforts here, thank you for taking the initiative on this one @Vaughn and @ColeVanD, I think it is a great example of a policy that furthers our mission statement in a positive way.
The only change I made while copying it over from @Vaughn’s post on the other thread, was strikethrough the racism verbiage, as the group consensus was not to single it out without other forms of discrimination. @megan-fenkhuber provided some excellent wording (if you don’t mind repeating it below Megan).
Instead of editing, please post comments below, for continuity sake. We can post iterative drafts here, and move the content to somewhere on the main site once it becomes official. Thanks for the contributions by all!
Edited version of Safe Space Policy from 14 Nov 2017 Members Meeting
Kamloops Makerspace Safe Space Policy
The Kamloops Makerspace is a non-profit, volunteer-run collective of unique individuals from the widest spectrum of experiences, back-grounds, ethnicity and socio-economic situations. To ensure everyone a safe, enjoyable and hassle-free experience at our Space, the following guidelines are suggested:
Please refrain from loud and belligerent behavior, including foul language.
To accommodate and make-welcome the widest range of temperaments, age groups, attitudes and personalities, efforts should be made to moderate our own actions and words. Your efforts and cooperation are appreciated - it is important to the success of our Space.
Harassment, bullying, discrimination or criminality will not be tolerated.
Bullying/harassment is defined as unwanted negative behavior, be it verbal, psychological or physical, conducted by an individual or group against another person (or persons) and which is repeated over time.
Racism is defined as prejudice, discrimination, or antagonism directed against someone of a different race based on the belief that one’s own race is superior.
Criminality is defined as behavior that is contrary to or forbidden by criminal law.
Complaints and suggestions for Board review can be made in confidence to an individual Board Member (first firstname.lastname@example.org).
Your email will be reviewed and responded to within 30 days, unless urgent action is required.
@ColeVanD, here is that list I was telling you about.
I will upload the file it came from here as well. I don’t think all of the language is directly applicable to our policy, but all of the language in here is worth thinking about, and there are a lot of things we can take from this I think.
Here is another resource that relates to this policy, and how it helps to serve the Kamloops Makerspace mission:
The idea is to really maximize one’s potential in learning, there are distinct levels of needs that must be met. By existing, the space is fulfilling the bottom tier of the pyramid. The safe space policy is aimed at fulfilling the second tier of the pyramid. Other group projects and activities we do support the third and fourth tiers of the pyramid, and the top tier is an individual journey, which can only begin in earnest once all of the other tiers are in place.
Thanks @Vaughn for bring up this policy, as I think it is timely and necessary to support all of our other goals.
While we have successful events/activities supporting the higher levels of the hierarchy, these can be undercut as we haven’t made a focused effort on creating that second tier within our culture. This work does that and will therefore help everything else that we do.
Id like to aim for having the basic Safe Space guidelines finalized and posted by Dec 12 meeting.
Also, we will include it in the New Member info package that is on the wishlist. Ideally, this package would be sent as a PDF to new members when they confirm their membership.
@Vaughn, timeline sounds great. I think makes sense to keep the policy brief as you have done so far, but add a reference to some kind of supporting document that pulls in strategies from some of the other resources people have posted.
If we the supporting document had some stuff from the posters @Grant-Fraser has posted, as well as some of the lateral violence stuff, plus had a few more strategies on working together in a group (i.e. agreeing on project scope and work breakdown), then any other policy that involved working in a group could reference it as well.
I’ve started pulling together some resources for this, and I will keep everyone posted.
Please see this forum post that relates to the the forms required for this policy.
Have you guys had a chance to look at and think about the resources that @Grant-Fraser and I posted above?
I would like the policy to follow the same basic outline as I introduced for the classroom policy at the last members meeting, any thoughts on this?
I will post the template in another thread, and link it here.
You have said you would like to have this finalized by the December 12 meeting, and I have offered to help, but so far haven’t heard back. I’m just wondering if this is where the work on the policy is happening or if it is elsewhere.
@kile: added link
unwanted negative behaviour
I’m a bit worried that this phrase is a bit vague and open ended. I think we need to list some specific types of behaviour that this might include, both to limit perceived but not intended “negative behaviours”, as well as to make it easier for people to tell when the policy is being broken, and document these events.
@kile I like vague and open ended. Otherwise we have to imagine every negative scenario and make specific rules against each one. We need to be clear that it is ultimately up to the board to decide which negative experiences need to be dealt with and in which way. Satisfaction is not guaranteed.
@Grant-Fraser, fair point.
I am okay with open ended. We cannot anticipate every scenario.
I think it is the vague part that bothers me. If we don’t define ‘unwanted negative behaviour’ at all, it seems to leave everything up to the opinion of the accuser. This could result in accusers getting fixated on every perceived microaggression being contrary to the policy as there is no benchmark, or the equally unfortunate example of a marginalized person who is experiencing bullying that does not have the verbal or written faculties to make a well articulated and documented complaint against their bully.
It is the second part that concerns me more to be honest.
I think we need to do a better job at spelling out what bullying looks like.
There is one other potential issue that I would like to raise.
Most anti-bullying policies include a real or perceived imbalance of power.
From the wikipedia link above:
One essential prerequisite is the perception, by the bully or by others, of an imbalance of social or physical power, which distinguishes bullying from conflict.
I don’t want to pass an anti-conflict policy.
Conflict is a sometimes unenjoyable—but ultimately unavoidable—part of collaborating in a group.
I think that this policy should help point to the line between conflict and bullying, or else it will be uninterpretable and unenforceable.
If someone was always wrong, and another individual insisted on pointing out factual inconsistencies in their reasoning, then based on the policy as written above, the questioner could be deemed a bully. In this hypothetical, I think it is reasonable to initiate conflict to advocate for issues that you believe are correct.
What is not reasonable, is drawing on a position of social influence not related to the conflict at hand as a means to resolving it. Also, bringing any personal issues that do not directly relate is the same thing IMO.
I’ll reach out to @ColeVanD and follow up on this one. I am hopeful we can get a basic model ready for Dec 12th.
I also have issues with the “unwanted negative behavior” phrase. I’ve seen a lot of objectively very reasonable behavior be labeled negative and unwanted from a subjective perspective.
I don’t like vague personally. I think we can and should have broad, basic and general terms that are also very clear and definite.
My main worry in this is that subjective perspectives (whether the perspective of the individual filing grievance or the board passing judgement) are given sway over objective and collectively defined policy.
I think this board and subsequent boards need clear benchmarks (like the mission statement) to guide and inform decisions on specific instances related to this policy moving forward.
If we are drafting a mushy, unclear policy, trusting the board with final judgement based on unknown or unclear criteria, why all this trouble drafting a policy?
If that’s the strategy we decide upon (not what id vote for), then why not be honest and just offer a channel for complaints and grievances at the mercy of the board?
I think @Vaughn had it right at the last meeting. We need 3 or 4 very clear, Simple but broad statements defining general terms, the board makes its decision based on the broadly applicable objective policy.
@kile we went over that lateral violence list last week. Much of it is fine with me. Save a few things that imo again give a little too much leeway to the subjective to define almost anything as violence, bullying or harassment. Sometimes sharing this planet with other beings can be upsetting or uncomfortable, and especially the younger generations are always looking to hang blame someplace. However, oftentimes its really nobodies fault, and alking others to take responsibility for our own feelings is asking far too much, especially when such transactions are written into policy.
In general i think that list drills way too deep into granular detail for the purposes of this policy. Although it was certainly worth my read to clarify where i stand and could offer a little language to help us draft a clear and useful policy.
I’d encourage everybody interested to give it a read.
@Grant-Fraser i like the two lists you posted. Neither feels exactly right to me for our purposes, but they offer a good example of simple and clear guidelines for group behavior. 6 is the magic number on both, I’d like to see us cram it into 5.
I’ll offer up the 4 agreements from Miguel-ruiz. Again, not exactly what we need. But i see it as an example of a broadly applicable (encompasses all interpersonal interactions) and clear guide.
Be impeccable with your word
Don’t take anything personally
Don’t make assumptions
Always do your best
“Don’t take anything personally” is perhaps a little deeper than most drafting or working under policies like this generally want to go. But this is plain good advice for any interpersonal interaction. I’ve seem so many of the kinds of grievances that policies like this facilitate blown up into full scale administrative war when it really should have never been taken personally.
Sometimes people are assholes to others. It usually has a lot more to do with the asshole than the other.
A long shot at barking up the wrong tree, but having something like “Don’t take it personally” would make me very pleased.
Also, don’t make assumptions…
Are you sure that person intended to hurt you? Are you sure that you understand what they meant? Perhaps the other was simply not being impeccable with their word? Maybe a conversation to clarify would be better than administrating resolution?
Again as with not taking things personally, this turns the mirror on the accuser and the spotlight off of the abuser, which can be uncomfortable for the post modern liberal mindset. I understand. I just feel responsibility should always be evenly distributed, even in cases of clear cut wrong doing.
Thanks for the feedback @Bradley-Maker I agree with everything that you are outlining.
I think for us, it might be easiest for the policy to maybe tweak the language around “unwanted negative behaviour” and add a reference to a supporting document. The supporting document could be a living document that we update as time goes on, and review periodically. It would also be a more appropriate place to put what I consider the ‘teamwork strategies’ that you and @Grant-Fraser have recommended.
I think the discretion should ultimately be left up to the board, but I agree that a clearly defined guiding document for their decisions would ultimately make for a much more consistent approach, and much more clarity around the policy.