I have a number of problems with D.J. Grothe’s apology to Rebecca, but there’s a little something that’s eating at me:
One way we worked to combat problems was by publishing a code of conduct for our particular event last year (http://www.randi.org/site/index.php/jref-news/1354-with-tam-right-around-the-corner-some-important-announcements.html).
That phrasing is decidedly odd. Not “a code of conduct for TAM”. Not “a code of conduct for JREF events”. But “a code of conduct for our particular event last year”.
That sent me on a little quest. The discussion about TAM anti-harassment policies started on Twitter the same day I suggested events should have such policies in place.
JREF hasn’t responded to the last tweet in the nearly two weeks since Kim’s request. Interestingly, though, this has the same past-tense wording as D.J.’s apology.
His comments on my post asking women to comment on why they might not be going back to TAM?
(6) TAM is the only major skeptic or atheist or humanist event so far that has ever had a harassment/Code of Conduct policy. Last year’s statement was distributed to all attendees in the TAM printed program.
Still past tense. The closest thing I can find to D.J. talking about policies for this year are in an exchange in the comments on Ashley Miller’s blog.
Ambidexter: I handle sexual harassment complaints at my company. When someone feels they’ve been sexually or in any other way harassed, then company policy is for them to write a statement giving who, what, when and how. Perhaps JREF and TAM might consider doing something similar. I’d be happy to send a copy of our statement form to JREF for them to develop their own form.
D.J.: Thank you. We’d love to see that. We felt our statement last year at the con was clear but possibly it was not clear enough. Please send to email@example.com.
Now, this past tense verbiage could all be D.J.’s way of trying to remind people that TAM had a policy first. I, however, don’t have a lot of trust left on this issue. I would like to see JREF answer some basic questions about their policies.
- Does JREF intend to have an anti-harassment policy that applies to TAM this year and in future years?
- Will this policy include information for staff and volunteers on how to take reports of harassment? (See the sample policy I previously recommended for information on how simple that can be.)
- When will this policy (assuming there will be one) be posted where people who are considering coming to TAM can easily find it?
No, I’m not asking D.J. these questions behind the scenes. I’m doing it this way because it’s important, at this point, that these questions be answered transparently. If any of you do ask him more privately, please share the answers you receive.