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MEC Statement

posted Jan 30, 2019, 5:54 PM by Andrew Robinson
Convocation Harassment Policy

Harassment is any behavior that intentionally threatens, alarms, or harms you or another person.

If someone harasses you and you tell them to leave you alone, their business with you is done. If they do not leave you alone as you have requested, their actions may be grounds for a complaint of harassment. All harassment claims will be investigated to the best of our ability.

Any complaint of harassment should be brought to the Information Table (located in the Upper Great Room next to Registration) as soon as possible after the incident. If a member of our Security Staff is nearby when the incident occurs, please bring it to their attention and identify the person harassing you if they are still in the area. The Security Staff member will then escort you to the Information Table where a member of the Operations Team in conjunction with our Security Team will take your report.

Violation of any of this policy will result in consequences up to and including the revocation of an attendee’s membership without refund; a possible permanent ban from all future ConVocation events and contact with appropriate legal authorities. ConVocation reserves the right to deal with each matter individually, in a manner deemed fit by the MEC Board of Directors.

We use this language to make sure we can address any action that makes someone feel harassed. If we list out 12 harassing behaviors, we limit ourselves to what WE feel would make someone feel harassed and what matters is what makes ANYONE feel harassed.

If a matter has been brought to our attention, we have dealt with it. When someone complained that they had been groped and admitted that it may have been unintentional, we pulled the perpetrator aside and when it was clear there was no safe way for them to leave the hotel that night, they were walked to their room, told they were to stay there until the next day and were not going to be allowed to return for the remainder of the event.

We cannot deal with situations that are not brought to our attention. If someone comes back after two years and says "my friend says this happened two years ago by some anonymous person" we are unable to act based upon that information.

Regarding the situation with Michelle: A serious matter involving allegations of abuse and a staff member were brought to the attention of the MEC board. We took the matter very seriously and decided we needed to take very quick and specific action. Out of concern for the many privacy issues involved and the overall good of the community, we decided to handle the matter internally, but make no mistake about it, we did act. We acted with the knowledge that we would be subjecting ourselves and this event, which we have poured our hearts and souls into, an event which means so much to so many members of this community, to a risk of attack and criticism from all sides. However it must be known that at no point was the decision to not have Michelle as a FP this year a punitive one. Nor did we know that she felt it was, by her own acknowledgment her reply gave us no reason to believe she felt that way.

Every decision we make cannot be perfect. Are there different ways things could have been handled differently or better? Of course! However, those alternate routes arise with the benefit of hindsight, a luxury that we did not have.

We are a small group of people who debate and disagree and try to come to the best decisions we can. We take commentary and feedback from our attendees, our teachers, our critics and our supporters and we try to make better decisions. We change and grow, but an event of this size and this much momentum doesn't change overnight. We have people who have been with us since the beginning who want somethings to always stay the same, we have new attendees and teachers who want us to change everything because they see new possibilities. We work to balance all of this and to keep this event being someplace that over 800 people want to come to each year, because without you, we are nothing and we have nothing.

You, the public, make this event happen for each other. Without you we are 8 people working endlessly to have teachers come and present to empty rooms. Without you, our Guests of Honor would not have the amazing interactions that keep them wanting to come back each year. We are here to serve you and to serve this community and we will continue to do so to the best of our ability for as long as you allow us to, but understand that we are just 8 people who have to make decisions for 800 and if you do not like our decisions, we will listen to you. We will do what we can to keep improving and making sure ConVocation is an event that everyone is proud to call their home.

We stand for this community, we have held ourselves to the standards that MEC has stood for for over 20 years. To be a safe place for everyone in our community to come together to learn and share knowledge of as many paths and traditions as we can find people to represent.