Several months ago I started to write SEA’s anti-harassment policy. It morphed a little bit as I realized that “no harassment” was a perfectly good goal for cons, but not sufficient for a group that sometimes discusses contentious issues. We debated names for a while until I finally arrived at the “Be Excellent To Each Other Policy.” Several other groups have requested a copy of this and it’s hard to share as a FB doc, so I’m reproducing it below.
Looking at it now I’m shocked at how legalistic it is, I think it’s a combination of I was freshly worried from a QALY discussion and my mom’s a lawyer.
The “Be Excellent To Each Other” policy
It is the goal of Seattle Effective Altruists that all members feel safe and respected at all times. This does not preclude disagreement in any way, we welcome differing points of view. But it does preclude personal attacks, unwanted touching (unsure if a particular touch is wanted? ASK), and deliberate meanness. This policy applies to all members, but we are conscious that some people have traveled a more difficult road than others and are more likely to encounter things that make them feel unsafe, and are committed to countering that.
If you are wondering if something you are about to say follows the policy, a good rule of thumb is that it should be at least two of true, helpful, and kind. This is neither necessary nor sufficient, but it is very close to both.
If you find something offensive (including but not limited to: racist, sexist, homophobic, transphobic, ableist, etc) or it otherwise makes you uncomfortable (including but not limited to harassment, dismissal, unwanted romantic overtures), we encourage you to speak up at the time if you feel comfortable doing so. We hope that all our members would want to know that they have said something offensive. If you do not feel comfortable speaking up at the time, please tell a membership of the leadership (currently John, Elizabeth, and Stephanie) as soon as possible, in whatever format you feel comfortable (in person, facebook, e-mail, etc). Depending on the specifics we will address it with the person in question, change a policy, and/or some other thing we haven’t thought of yet.
If someone tells you they find something you (or someone you agree with) said offensive, you do not have to immediately agree with them. But please understand that it is not an attack on you personally, and quite possibly very scary for them to say. If you did not mean to be offensive, express that, and listen to what the person has to say. if you are a bystander, please convey your respect and support for both people without silencing either.
If you did mean to be offensive, leave. Deliberate personal attacks will not be tolerated. Repeated non-deliberate offensiveness will be handled on a case by case basis.
SEA is not in a position to police the behavior of our members outside our meetings and online presence (e.g. the facebook message board), and will not intervene normal interpersonal disagreements. But if you feel unsafe attending a meeting because of a member’s extra-group behavior (including but not limited to threatening, stalking, harassment, verbal attacks, or assault), please talk to the leadership. We will not have group members driven out by others’ bad behavior.
This is a living document. We can’t foresee all possible problems, or remove the necessity for judgement calls. But we hope that this sets the stage for Seattle Effective Altruists as a respectful community, and encourage you to talk to us if you concerns or suggestion