Announcing Norwescon’s Harassment Policy

Norwescon Executive TeamBlog, Executive Team, Norwescon 37

Norwescon is proud to announce the addition of a harassment policy to our organizational rules and guidelines. For a little bit of background on the process, read on, or to view the policy itself just scroll further down this page or visit our rules and guidelines page.


While convention harassment policies have been a hot topic over the past weeks, we actually started the process of working on our policy almost a year ago, in October of 2012. A few people had noticed that we did not have such a policy (beyond a generic “reserve the right to refuse service” clause), and approached our Executive Team about whether it would be possible to create one.

While open to the idea, our Executive Team wanted to be sure that we didn’t simply adopt an existing policy that might not take into account our convention’s culture, or that might have wording that could end up becoming problematic if enforcement was ever necessary. To avoid these potential concerns, a “Safe Committee” was created and tasked with researching harassment policies, making a recommendation as to whether a policy was needed, and (if so decided) proposing a draft policy.

The committee started discussion among themselves, made a public announcement and called for community input in January, and held an open panel during Norwescon 36 so that they could gather more input from Norwescon’s attendees.

During their discussions, the committee did their utmost to avoid prejudging the answer. They looked at arguments both for and against the addition of a policy. They looked at other conventions, their policies, and what the outcomes of those policies were (when known). Many people took time to email the committee with their concerns, and the panel at NWC36 gathered more worthwhile comments.

Eventually, the committee reached a unanimous agreement to recommend adoption of a policy, and submitted a recommended policy to the Norwescon 37 Executive Team in June of 2013 for discussion at the Executive Retreat (planning meeting) in early August. The executive team made some adjustments to the policy and returned it to the Safe Committee, who then recommended a few more changes. After a final editing pass, the Executive team approved the policy, and Norwescon is proud to be able to add the finalized policy to Norwescon’s rules and guidelines.

All of the Safe committee members would like to thank each of you who contacted them with your concerns, the Executive Team for allowing them to work on this project, and all of Norwescon’s membership for your understanding and patience as the “behind the scenes” work was in progress.

Norwescon’s Harassment Policy

Norwescon strives to provide a safe and welcoming space for persons of all descriptions. Everyone should be able to have a great time, in their own way, at the convention—but not at the expense of others. As a community, we insist on behavior that respects the autonomy of each individual member.

Norwescon members and convention staff have the right to be free from unwanted harassment at the convention and while performing convention-related duties throughout the year. Harassment is behavior which focuses unwelcome attention on a person and either inappropriately crosses reasonable expectations of social boundaries, or continues after a clear showing of disinterest or a request to desist.

Harassment during the year may be reported to the Personnel executive, the person’s immediate supervisor, or the chair or vice chair. At the convention, reports of harassment are handled by convention security or the Personnel executive. Any staff member wearing a convention badge may receive a report of harassment. It is each staff member’s responsibility to treat a person making such a report with respect, and to offer to accompany the person to convention security or the Personnel executive. The Personnel executive may designate a person to receive reports of harassment on his or her behalf.

Violations of this policy may lead to a range of consequences based on the circumstances, from a warning to more serious steps, such as revocation of convention membership or banning from future conventions.

Convention staff are required to report all incidents brought to their attention. These incidents should be reported to convention security or the Personnel executive as soon as possible.