Monday, August 4, 2014

Concom decision on Jim Frenkel

The WisCon 37 and WisCon 38 concom members jointly reviewed the Frenkel subcommittee's recommendation, and, after extensive discussion and consideration of additional evidence, voted whether to clarify or strengthen the existing ban, or to make the ban permanent. By an overwhelming majority, the decision is for a permanent ban. This decision cannot be appealed. Jim Frenkel will not be allowed to return to any future WisCon conventions.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

State of the Concom, July 30th -- vote commencing

The WisCon concom has begun the voting process in its appeal of the subcommittee's decision on Jim Frenkel. In addition to reviewing the subcommittee's decision, the concom is also considering information that has been brought to its attention in the weeks since the July 18th announcement from the subcommittee. Voting will close over the weekend. The concom's decision will be announced Monday afternoon (Seattle time).

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Concom update for July 26th

We have several announcements to make as updates to our previous post:

1)  In light of the intense community response to the Frenkel subcommittee's decision, and the concom's own concern about the "provisional ban," the WisCon concom is itself currently appealing the subcommittee's decision and will vote on the matter this week.

2)  Debbie Notkin has resigned as Member Advocate, effective immediately.

3)  The Bergmann subcommittee is assessing if they can continue given the valid concerns about Wiscon's existing process.

4)  Regarding refunds of registrations for WisCon 39, we received this question via Twitter: "Will there be a policy for refunds for those of us who are against the con's current harassment actions?"

WisCon has traditionally had a fairly free refund policy for any registered members who are unable to attend.  Anyone who has registered for WisCon 39 and would like a refund for any reason can request one by emailing registration@wiscon.info.

forthcoming update

[The following was posted in the WisCon Dreamwidth and LiveJournal communities last night:]


1) The update I promised in our previous update will be posted tomorrow (Saturday late afternoon / early evening Seattle time). While I hate posting on a Friday or over the weekend, I didn't quite have all the information I needed to post yesterday. Apologies!

2) On a purely administrative note, social media postings are currently being handled by Chris ("wordnerdlabs" on Twitter).

Monday, July 21, 2014

Update From the Concom

Over the weekend, the WisCon Concom has spent much time reading and discussing the responses to the Friday announcement of the subcommittee's decision on Jim Frenkel.  We heartily thank the community for all of your insightful commentary and critique.  We are grateful to you for holding us accountable to our feminist principles.

Currently, the concom is looking at all aspects of this process and decision.  You have brought us your questions; we have questions of our own.  We are actively working on answers to them.  Answers may not come immediately, but we will keep you updated.  If possible, we'll post again before the end of the week with information about where our discussion is taking us.

We apologize again to Elise and Lauren.  Not only were you hurt by harassment at WisCon, but you have been hurt again and again by this process over the past year.  We are deeply sorry for our repeated failures.

We apologize to Mikki Kendall, whose information on a previous incident was not made properly significant in the process.

We apologize to the WisCon community.  You have been hurt by this process as well and left feeling unsafe at WisCon.  Thank you for your anger and criticism -- it's informing our discussion and moving us forward.

Moving WisCon forward from these repeated failures is hard work.  We on the concom are willing and determined to be engaged in this, although as individuals engaged in such hard work it can prove extremely difficult to not add to the ongoing harm.  We apologize for our part in causing harm, and thank you for patience that is not always so well deserved.

The concom continues to invite and value your feedback.  Comments made on this post (as well as tweets made using either @WisCon39 or #WisCon) will be sent to the entire concom.

Friday, July 18, 2014

WisCon Subcommittee Statement on Jim Frenkel

The WisCon committee has completed our harassment review process with regard to Jim Frenkel, who engaged in two reported violations of WisCon's general and harassment policies at WisCon 37, in 2013. A subcommittee of WisCon's Harassment Policy Committee has reviewed the reports, and all communications with WisCon regarding these incidents, as well as a direct response solicited from Jim Frenkel by the subcommittee.  The incoming chair of WisCon 39 has communicated the subcommittee's determination to Jim Frenkel.
 
The WisCon committee announces the following actions:
 
WisCon will (provisionally) not allow Jim Frenkel to return for a period of four years  (until after WisCon 42 in 2018). This is "provisional"  because if Jim  Frenkel chooses to present substantive, grounded evidence of  behavioral and attitude improvement between the end of WisCon 39 in 2015 and the end of the four-year provisional period, WisCon will entertain that evidence. We will also take into account any reports of continued problematic behavior.
 
Allowing Jim Frenkel to return is not guaranteed at any time, including following WisCon 42; the convention's decision will always be dependent on compelling  evidence of behavioral change, and our commitment to the safety of our members. If he is permitted to return at any time,  there will be an additional one-year ban on appearing on programming or volunteering in public spaces. Any consideration of allowing him to return will be publicized in WisCon publications and social media at least three months before a final decision is made.
 
Based on the policies adopted  by WisCon's Harassment Policy Committee before WisCon 38 in 2014, Jim Frenkel has the right to appeal this decision to SF3, WisCon's governing body. If he enters an appeal, we will make public statements both when he does so and when the appeal ruling is issued.
 
These are official WisCon actions, and will not be affected by future philosophical or policy discussions.
 
The subcommittee would like the WisCon community to know that we have been constrained both in what we can do and how we can explain it by matters of confidentiality on all sides. We believe the whole question of confidentiality in harassment complaints--who it benefits, who it protects, and who it constrains--is a matter for deep community discussion. As we continue this broader conversation in the coming months, we look forward to your involvement.
 
We have decided to sign our names to this decision as an act of transparency and an acknowledgment of WisCon's previous failures in this regard, although it is WisCon's policy that harassment incident subcommittees be anonymous.  Our choice is specifically not intended to bind or influence any future harassment subcommittees.

We apologize again to Elise Matthesen, to Lauren Jankowski, and to our membership for WisCon's substantial failures in following up on their reports and completing this process.

Please direct any questions and comments to the member advocate, Debbie Notkin, at memberadvocate@wiscon.info.
 
 

Debbie Notkin, chair
Ariel Franklin-Hudson
Jacquelyn Gill
Jim Hudson
Jackie Lee

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Subcommittee Timeline Information

We tweeted from WisCon's twitter account last week about the timeline for the subcommittee discussing complaints brought against Jim Frenkel. This information was posted in response to a number of questions we had been receiving:
 
Each harassment subcommittee will produce a public statement after it has concluded.
The Frenkel subcommittee hopes to have a decision by 7/11, private informing of involved parties by 7/15, and a public announcement by 7/18.
Now that the Frenkel subcommittee has established a process for other subcommittees to follow, the Bergmann subcommittee is in the process of being formed, and has not yet started to meet.
 

Apologies for not posting this to our other 4 social media presences sooner - the social media team was away from the internet over the holiday weekend.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Statement from Joanna Lowenstein, WisCon 38 Co-Chair

I want to apologize to the WisCon 37 co-chairs, Gretchen Treu, Jackie Lee, and Kafryn W. Lieder, and to the WisCon community, both personally and as one of the co-chairs of WisCon 38.

I apologize for not reconsidering allowing Jim Frenkel to attend WisCon 38, after having received Elise Matthesen’s report from the WisCon 37 co-chairs and Lauren Jankowski’s report via email. In retrospect, having specifically solicited our members to make reports when we were ill-equipped to respond to them appropriately was a huge mistake, and I join others in apologizing for it. My hope is that the new Safety procedures, the Member Advocate, and the Harassment Policies Committee will fix this problem for the future.

I also apologize for not working more quickly to establish the Harassment Policies Committee and revise WisCon's procedures and policies for responding to harassment reports. Because of serious personal health issues, I had to step back from active chairing in the fall and winter, which meant that the Harassment Policies Committee fell through the cracks until April, and that is something I personally regret.

Again, I want to express my apologies both personally and as a WisCon 38 co-chair.
 
-Joanna Lowenstein, WisCon 38 Co-Chair