We have reached the one month mark of the incident at the 8/3/19 La Queer party. To those involved in the Transformative Accountability process, thank you. It takes bravery and emotional labor to give testimony, provide constructive feedback, and support those in your circle. Though the undertaking can be turbulent, these are necessary steps for improving systems and culture.
According to CSPC policy, we uphold the privacy and anonymity of its members. The inquiry process and this statement are no exception. What follows is intended to reveal the organization’s actions while omitting identifying information.
It should be known that an extra layer of complexity exists with the inquiry we are conducting. The incident led to a conflict of interest between the CSPC and the Pan Eros Foundation, which is the organization that operates and rents out the Gallery Erato venue where we hold our parties. Despite this conflict of interest, the CSPC vows to proceed with the highest level of integrity and seeks to work toward the best possible outcome that assures growth and a healthy community for whoever is willing to rise to the occasion. The CSPC considers itself among those that need to operate at a higher standard.
The following is a timeline of incident responses:
8/3/19: Incident at La Queer
8/4: Posting on FetLife by one of the participants
8/5: Emergency leadership meeting
Reviewed the report, posts, emails, and relevant information
Disclosed individual and organizational conflicts of interest, determined how each person should participate moving forward
Created an action plan according to the Transformational Accountability (TA) framework
8/5-8/7: Posts and comments were deleted from CSPC’s FetLife group due to discrimination, doxxing, and misinformation. New posting and commenting was disabled due to lack of leadership bandwidth to properly monitor.
8/6-8/19: Scheduled and received testimony from incident stakeholders. Processed asks of stakeholders regarding the incident and how they were willing to participate. Evidence documented and evaluated according to CSPC’s HR policy.
8/12-8/14: BoD prepared for what could be an influx of attendees at the 8/14 Board Meeting. Processes were created and extra time given to ensure all voices who wished to speak would be heard.
8/14: Board Meeting. Common narratives included the need to make safer spaces for our queer members, and how volunteers are burning out due to a dearth in numbers and insufficient processes...which are not unrelated matters.
8/16: House Rules posters for parties were created and posted at the All In party as well as at all future CSPC parties. (Suggested at 8/14 BoD meeting)
8/19: Internal incident report submitted by EC Lead to BoD
8/20-ongoing: Event booking process transitioning to requiring proposed parties to have commitments for key volunteer positions before securing rental booking. This will more effectively ensure volunteers fit the party theme. (EC feedback)
8/21: New FetLife group rules were drafted.
8/25: Decision reached to incorporate the report into a broader inquiry into current policy, including but not limited to historic incident reporting practices.
8/29: Incident participants put on sabbatical until BoD reaches resolution.
8/31: Drafted, approved, and posted regular Progress Reports in an effort to improve transparency. (Suggested at 8/14 BoD meeting)
The BoD decided to engage with a Transformative Accountability process, which takes time. It carefully addresses personal biases, secondary trauma and self care as well as taking reports in ways that do not compound harm, conducting a fair inquiry, and designing a process where they are not re-victimizing people, compounding trauma or shunning "bad actors" but educating and assisting in monitoring better behavior patterns for all. Including the behaviors of the organization at large.
Transformative Accountability includes calling the community, organization and leadership into accountability to address their role in how an incident came about. It calls for a 360 inquiry as to where we need to make improvements to do better in the future to prevent repeat incidents. Transformative Accountability addresses the need for transparency, in instances where transparency is appropriate. It helps leaders identify how to best go about community transparency, for each unique situation, without violating the privacy, or autonomy, of those involved.
On 8/25, the BoD resolved to extend the inquiry beyond the isolated La Queer incident. This will involve auditing CSPC’s policies, procedures, and the culture that allowed this situation to occur. The inquiry will conclude with an action plan for the CSPC as well as the La Queer incident participants. Until then, participants have been placed on sabbatical from the CSPC as the BoD conducts a deeper inquiry.
To clarify a Transformative Accountability Sabbatical: A sabbatical is not "suspension" and is not intended to be punitive. A sabbatical, by definition is "a break or change from a normal routine"; and in an academic sense, a time used for rest, research and learning. In the Transformative Accountability process sabbatical is not being used interchangeably, in meaning, focus or to "soften” the word suspension. It is a time for the person who engaged in inappropriate behavior to take a break from actively engaging with the community at large to reflect and learn. As an organization, we have a responsibility to create a clear path for better practices and ensuring that those who participate in the CSPC are part of creating a safer space for the community at large. We will be working one on one with leadership, and those involved in the incident if they choose to engage, on a plan for future participation at the CSPC.
The CSPC is committed to taking necessary steps to improve the safety of our spaces. This is the organization’s highest priority outside of standard daily operation. Leadership have and will continue to put in “overtime” (we are all volunteers) to make timely progress, however we appreciate your patience as bandwidth is finite.
There will soon be a call for members to join the Policy Disappearing Task Force to review current and create new policy that will better serve the needs of the CSPC community. This will be a unique opportunity to have a far reaching voice in how the organization operates. Stay tuned for more details.
Moving forward, the BoD will release a frequent Progress Report which will contain snippets of where we are with the inquiry. Monthly, there will be an Inquiry Report that compiles the above points in great detail, along with commentary and new disclosures. Both reports will be posted here.
Thank you again for caring about this process and the health of our community.