Civic Hall • Community Code of Conduct
Date of Last Update: November 28, 2018
The Civic Hall community is made up of mission-driven professionals, technologists, social entrepreneurs, corporate leaders, academics, city officials, statewide government offices, federal government agencies, non-profit leaders, journalists, activists, organizers and change-makers.
Civic Hall seeks a world that is more just, equitable, and democratic. It is core to Civic Hall’s mission to celebrate difference and empower marginalized people and organizations who are working towards racial, social, and economic justice. To that end, we prioritize access for and input from those who have been historically excluded from the civic process.
This Code of Conduct aims for a shared understanding of expectations and accountability, allowing us to live our values and align with our mission as a truly inclusive community which networks, builds, supports each other, learns and organizes together to solve the big problems confronting us today. Because we come from a range of experiences, across a continuum of privilege, these guidelines keep us on course to do the work.
All Civic Hall members, staff, invited speakers, guests, and vendors visiting our space are expected to abide by this Code of Conduct. This also extends to Civic Hall hosted events outside of our space, as well as our digital domains.
Our mantra is Tech + Empathy = Civic Hall. An overarching goal of this Code of Conduct is to create an empathetic and supportive culture at Civic Hall by encouraging participants to recognize and strengthen the relationships between their actions and their effects on other community members. Since communities reflect the societies in which they exist, positive, intentional action is needed if we are to confront inequality and abuses of power that permeate our society.
If you note a member of the community who has made the community more responsive, more welcome, please let us know. We build cultures brick by brick.
Civic Hall honors all gender identities, races, sexualities, body types, economic backgrounds, abilities, immigration status, religious beliefs and overall ways of human being, as we believe that diversity of experiences is key to successful collaborations.
- We are all learning to be more compassionate, empathetic beings. When someone brings your attention to problematic behavior, thank them, and apologize. Ask permission to ask for clarification or suggestions for how to do better in the future.
- Respect the agency of others, always, but especially with regards to the expression of unfamiliar or dissenting positions.
- We invite all those who participate at Civic Hall to help us create safe and positive experiences for everyone.
- As an intersectional community, we are intentional about examining the advantages one might have been able to access due circumstances such as class, family wealth, and standing in the community, along with our language and other behaviors in the course of interacting at Civic Hall.
Civic Hall Aims To Be a Safer Space
We consider impact before intent, and prioritize the safety of marginalized people over the comfort of the privileged. This means that, especially that if you are cisgender and/or a white person, you might be called out on problematic behavior. Do not confuse the discomfort this brings with being ‘unsafe.’ Take some time to step back and listen before saying or doing anything.
Communication within this space is considered private, and each member is free to decide how much, or how little, they want to share. Do not share photos, screenshots, conversations or other information shared within Civic Hall’s physical community space, its Slack membership channel or during member-only events with people outside of our community without the explicit consent of all involved. (Events that are open to the public should be assumed to be public and shareable, unless the participants ask for privacy.)
- We expect participation and engagement that is authentic and active, honest and open. In doing so, you contribute to the health and longevity of this community.
- We value civil discourse: truth, objectivity, free inquiry, and rational debate.
- We exercise consideration and respect in our speech and actions.
- Honor everyone’s identity and background, including pronouns and names. Do not assume anyone’s gender identity, racial identity, sexual preference, survivor status, economic status, background, health status, etc.
- Respect everyone’s physical and emotional boundaries. Check in in before discussing topics that may be triggering, (e.g. sexual abuse, physical violence or encounters with police) and use content warnings during presentations and events.
- Attempt collaboration before conflict. (“Yes, and…”)
- Be mindful of your surroundings and of your fellow participants. Alert community leaders if you notice a dangerous situation, someone in distress, or violations of this Code of Conduct, even if they seem trivial or inconsequential.
- Discussion of sexuality, pornography, discriminatory language, or similar is welcome only if necessary to the topic of discussion, not gratuitous; presented in respectful manner; and where participants are given forewarning and opportunity to leave the space, even if temporarily.
The following behaviors are considered harassment and are unacceptable within our community, both in physical and online spaces. We hold that harassment is oppressive behavior and do not tolerate demeaning, discriminatory, or harassing behavior and speech. In online spaces, Civic Hall holds the right to hide or delete comments and engagements that do not fit within our code of conduct.
- Sexist, racist, homophobic, transphobic, ableist, classist, or otherwise discriminatory jokes and language.
- Personal insults, particularly those related to gender, race, sexual orientation, religion, class, immigrant status, or disability.
- Posting or displaying gratuitously sexually explicit or violent material, with the exceptions noted above.
- Defying a member’s wishes with regards to privacy: Posting or threatening to post other people’s personally identifying information (“doxxing”).
- Inappropriate physical contact. Always secure someone’s consent before touching them.
- Unwelcome sexual attention. This includes, sexualized comments or jokes; inappropriate touching, groping, and unwelcomed sexual advances.
- Deliberate intimidation, stalking or following.
- Advocating for, or encouraging, any of the above behavior.
- Sustained disruption of community events, including talks and presentations.
- Violence, threats of violence or violent language directed against another person.
Consequences to Harassment:
Unacceptable behavior from any community member, including sponsors, staff, and those with decision-making authority, will not be tolerated. Repeated violations of these rules will result in any actions deemed appropriate by Civic Hall management, including warning the offender and removal from the community.
Anyone asked to stop unacceptable behavior is expected to comply immediately.
If a community member engages in unacceptable behavior, Civic Hall management may take any action it deems appropriate, up to and including a temporary ban or permanent expulsion from the community without warning (and without refund in the case of a paid event).
How Do I Report Harassment?
All complaints are taken seriously, and in confidence. During the course of everyday Civic Hall operations and at Civic Hall events, you can reach out to any staff person on site (see board near front door for staff names and photos). All complaints will be brought to the attention of our leadership team. If for any reason you are uncomfortable doing so, you can email or phone Chief Operating Officer Jessica Quinn at email@example.com. If you wish to reach out to a third-party, please reach out to Sherry Hakimi, who can act as an intermediary and deliver your feedback to us anonymously. Sherry is the Executive Director of genEquality, a nonprofit organization that focuses on gender equality and inclusion. You can reach her at CH@genEquality.org.
If you feel you have been falsely or unfairly accused of violating this Code of Conduct, you should notify Civic Hall with a concise description of your grievance sent to Chief Operating Officer Jessica Quinn at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This is an Evolving Document.
We are a growing community; in 2018 we exceeded 1,000 members. By definition this means that we are constantly iterating and welcome your input.
Civic Hall will continue to review this policy annually and include ongoing member comments so that it reflects our community’s needs. To comment or suggest an improvement, please give feedback to Jessica Quinn, Chief Operating Officer at email@example.com
The original Civic Hall Code of Conduct was developed in consultation with Deanna Zandt and was informed by the XOXO Festival Code of Conduct as well. We are especially thankful for input and feedback from: Rachel Dougherty, Aditi Juneja, Kei Williams, Jackson Bird, Adam Bard, Elana Duffy, Jeanne Brooks and others.