Australian Skeptics National Convention 2012 – Conduct Policy

Policy on Conduct at Events

Australian Skeptics (Victorian Branch) Inc

Purpose and Scope of Policy

The Australia Skeptics (Victorian Branch) Inc is committed to holding events that are safe and hospitable.

We expect all participants in our events and activities, including anyone sending electronic messages, to observe high standards of courtesy. As skeptics, we have ideals of critical thinking and rational behaviour. It is not compatible with these ideals to be intellectually dishonest. The same goes for being offensive to anyone, especially fellow-skeptics; but even implacable opponents. We should set an example to all members of the community, and especially to certain quarters who are keen to criticise any secular movement.

This policy applies to speakers, organisers, volunteers, and attendees of our events. “Events” for the purpose of this document includes any meeting or gathering organised by the Australian Skeptics (Victorian Branch) Inc to which non-members are invited.

Hostile Conduct

In general, hostile conduct includes any abusive conduct that has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with another person’s ability to enjoy and participate in the event.   In the case of longer events such as conventions, this also includes related social events.

Hostile conduct includes:

* significantly disrupting a scheduled event by repeated interruption of a speaker;

* offensive attitudes expressed to, or harassment based on race, gender, sexual orientation, disability;

* repeated unwanted sexual advances;

* uninvited and unwanted physical contact;

* and stalking.

This policy is applicable to attendees conduct on social media (and other communication forms) including communications that take place outside of the time and location of an event.

Robust discussions and critical examination of the beliefs of other attendees is anticipated at our events. This does not constitute hostile conduct. The Australia Skeptics (Victorian Branch) Inc promotes critical reasoning and the free exchange of ideas.

If a person engages in hostile conduct, appropriate remedial action will be taken which may include expulsion from the event. Threats of hostile conduct that are made prior to an event may result in exclusion from that event.

Reporting Hostile Conduct; Investigations

If you experience or witness discourtesy or harassment in connection with one of our events please advise the organisers. Even if you do not want us to take action on your behalf, we would prefer to know what has occurred.

At smaller meetings, volunteers and organisers, including the person(s) in charge of the meeting, will be clearly introduced at the beginning and/or will be wearing identifying name tags. At larger events such as conventions, volunteers will wear distinct clothing identifying them as volunteers and/or will be identified in the convention program.

At larger events, phone numbers for hotel/venue staff, local law enforcement, and local emergency medical personnel will be provided to convention attendees to facilitate prompt response to complaints and/or requests for assistance.

Reports of hostile or harassing conduct will be promptly addressed. On some occasions, where volunteers witness hostile conduct, they may take immediate remedial action. Where a report of hostile or harassing conduct is made to volunteers after the conduct has occurred, reasonable measures will be taken to establish the facts. This will typically include discussion with witnesses, if any, and the person accused of engaging in the hostile conduct. Enquiries into hostile or harassing conduct will be carried out as confidentially as possible given the circumstances.

Record-Keeping

Australia Skeptics (Victorian Branch) Inc will make a written record of all complaints/incidents as soon as practicable. These records will be used in connection with implementing this policy. These records will be maintained by the Secretary of the Australia Skeptics (Victorian Branch) Inc and will not be disclosed to individuals outside of the organisation except as required by law.

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