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Martin Garnar's picture

recommended changes to the Conference Code of Conduct

Hello Councilors.  I'm sharing this in my role as co-chair of the ALA Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) Implementation Working Group.  One of the recommendations that was delegated to us from the list of recommendations generated by the Task Force on EDI was to develop a statement related to EDI for conference participants.  After discussion, we felt the best way to approach this was to suggest changes to the existing Code of Conduct for consideration by Conference Services, and we also wanted to share this with Council so that you could comment on these suggested revisions, with the plan to send both our suggested changes and any feedback from Council to Conference Services to be considered at the same time.

Please note that we used the Code of Conduct from the National Diversity in Libraries Conference as a reference for our suggestions, which are largely related to the list of prohibited behaviors.  The revisions are attached to this post as a Word document showing the tracked changes.

We would like to send all materials to Conference Services by the end of August, so please make your comments by August 31st. As we know that Connect will be not fully accessible during the migration to a new platform, you are welcome to send your comments to me if you're unable to comment via Connect, so send them to mgarnar@uccs.edu.

Thanks, and please let me know if you have any questions.

 

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Revised Code of Conduct.docx17.72 KB
Trevor Dawes's picture

I wonder if we might take a more positive approach to the code?  I've suggested an edit on the attached. 

 

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Trevor A. Dawes

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Revised Code of Conduct-tadrev.docx19.78 KB
Martin Garnar's picture

Thanks, Trevor.  We'll share this suggestion with Conference Services.

Martin Garnar
IFRT Councilor

Andromeda Yelton's picture

(I was directed to this because I was involved in drafting the current Statement, in part because of my experience on the advisory board of the Ada Initiative, which was involved with advocating for similar conference policies internationally; I'm not a Council member, and I'm speaking on behalf of myself and not LITA here.)

  • I'm glad this version keeps the line on how creating a good culture is a shared responsibility (this is easily my favorite line in the current version).
  • I appreciate the addition of a prohibition on recording people without permission (although I would be more inclined to frame it as a privacy right, protecting people from being filmed or photographed, than as an intellectual property one)
  • I see what you're getting at with the "social structures of domination" part but I think that will be incomprehensible to anyone who isn't already steeped in social justice discourse, and a policy of this nature needs to be clear and meaningful to a broad audience
  • I do not endorse the blanket prohibition on sexual images in public spaces. There are instances where that sort of imagery is on-topic. For instance, LJ ran an article on erotica collection development a while back; a conference presentation on that topic might reasonably include sexual imagery in a way that is not inappropriate. The GeekFeminism blog phrases its analogous restriction as "Gratuitous or off-topic sexual images or behaviour in spaces where they’re not appropriate", for instance. This is a hard clause to write, but I do think it's important to acknowledge, particularly in a profession that values intellectual freedom, that there *are* times when sexual content is on-topic and professionally appropriate.
  • Is there a mechanism for anonymous reporting?
  • The enforcement section is a bit vague on what range of actions is available.
  • I also worry about an enforcement mechanism which is at the sole discretion of one person. Conferences with codes of conduct generally have staffs of duty officers to ensure that someone is on duty all the time, but also that no one has to be on duty continuously for long periods.
  • This is a question external to the scope of the policy, but I am curious as to the training that the director of conference services has with respect to code of conduct enforcement (it's challenging work and I've seen some conferences mess it up pretty badly, even with the best of intentions - again, this is part of why it's good to have a group of people, all trained, involved).

Thanks for your work on this! Codes of conduct are best as evergreen documents that receive continual attention and buy-in from their communities, so I'm glad to see continued conversation.

LITA Board of Directors, 2013-2019; President-Elect, 2017-2018
http://andromedayelton.com
@ThatAndromeda

Martin Garnar's picture

Andromeda, thanks for raising these questions. Regarding enforcement, we're not suggesting any changes -- all the enforcement language is from the current document.  We also had some questions about the vagueness, but were focused on the EDI changes we were charged with suggesting.

Martin Garnar
IFRT Councilor