BWAWA Code of Conduct (May 10, 2015)
General. We want our convention to be a safe, comfortable, and enjoyable experience for all of us. Most people understand the need to obey the law, follow hotel policies, prevent damage to property, and avoid annoying other people. They know that violators may have their membership revoked without refund, be ejected by the hotel, and may even be arrested by the police.
The convention committee and the sponsoring corporation neither have legal police powers nor employ trained police officers. We therefore cannot promise to protect people from predators. But we do set standards of expected behavior.
We expect everyone to behave responsibly. Any action or behavior that is illegal, causes significant interference with event operations, causes excessive discomfort to other attendees, or adversely affects the convention’s relationship with its guests, its members, its venue, or the public, is strictly forbidden and may result in revocation of membership privileges. We offer the following guidance for anyone unclear on the concept, but remember that this code is not exclusive.
Harassment. We do not tolerate harassment of the people at our convention in any form. Everyone is entitled to a harassment-free convention experience, regardless of gender, sexual orientation, disability, physical appearance, body size, race, national origin, or religion.
Harassment includes inappropriate physical contact, unwelcome sexual attention, offensive verbal comments, deliberate intimidation, stalking or following someone, making harassing photography or recording, and disrupting talks or other events. Anyone asked to stop any harassing behavior is expected to comply immediately.
A request to “stop” or “go away” means exactly that. If anyone engages in harassing behavior, the convention committee may warn the offender, remove the offender from the room, or expel the offender from the convention with no refund.
If you feel that you are being discriminated against or harassed, or if you notice someone violating hotel or convention policies, we respectfully suggest the following:
- If you feel comfortable doing so, point out the inappropriate behavior to the persons involved. Often this will solve the problem immediately.
- If you do not feel comfortable talking with the persons involved or if talking to them does not resolve the issue, please report the situation immediately to any Board Members, Convention Committee Members, or Operations Staff. Try to provide a name, badge name / number and / or physical description of the persons involved.
- In order to take action, we need to know about any incidents during the event.
Weapons. Please leave your weapon home, even if you have a license to carry it. State law permits weapons bans on private property.
- Real weapons are forbidden. This includes but is not limited to firearms, laser weapons, electroshock weapons, missile weapons, throwing weapons, clubs, and any sharpened blade bigger than a folding pocket knife.
- Practice weapons are forbidden. Wooden swords can kill–ask anyone with sword training. A samurai with a rattan sword is a threat.
- Prop weapons that can be easily confused with a real weapon are forbidden. One convention had the police SWAT team arrive when people feared the hotel had been taken over by terrorists. The convention committee is the final judge whether a prop weapon will be banned.
- Items that might be used as weapons, such as staffs and walking sticks, are not banned. However, anyone who uses anything in a threatening manner may have the object classified as a weapon, when it will be either seized or immediately taken home. Anyone who refuses to comply may be dismissed from the convention without refund.
- If the program includes a weapons demonstration, the weapons used must be approved in advance by the head of the Program Department. These weapons must be wrapped securely when transported to and from the Green Room before and after the demonstration.
- If there is a Masquerade, any questionable prop weapons must be approved in advance by the Masquerade director. These weapons must be wrapped securely when transported to and from the Green Room before and after the Masquerade.
- Wearing a hall costume does not entitle you to carry a weapon, real or fake. See event specific policies.
- Weapons may be available for purchase in the Dealers’ Room. They must be wrapped securely in transit to your room or vehicle.
- Some law enforcement officials are required to carry a weapon at all times. When questioned about the weapon, they need only present official identification and explain this requirement.
Badges. Wear your badge where it can be seen. This convention is a membership-only event, and your badge is your admissions pass to convention activities. Badges may not be shared under any circumstances; a badge is valid only for the person to whom it was issued.
Signs. Please post signs only in designated areas. Use removable painters tape ONLY. Do not affix anything to the walls of the hotel, to the elevators, or to ANY item that is hotel property, or to convention signs. Any signs found posted inappropriately will be removed and destroyed.
Privacy. We collect your information to allow the convention committee and staff to provide you better services. Your personal information will be kept strictly confidential. We will ask your consent before sharing your information with anyone outside this convention committee.
- We must retain records relating to member registration and financial transactions. Other than this obligation, at a user’s request, we will remove any information about the user from all online systems after the convention.
- Member financial payment information, e.g. credit card numbers, does not come to us through online payment systems (PayPal and Square); such information is handled exclusively by the online payment service. Credit card information submitted physically (through a signed credit card slip) is kept secure and is not shared with anyone or used for any purpose other than the membership or other transaction requested by the member.
- The Baltimore-Washington Area Worldcon Association, Inc., [BWAWA] is the sponsoring organization for this convention. BWAWA observes the laws of the United States, and the States of Maryland and Virginia and the District of Columbia, and the by-laws of BWAWA. Within the practical limits and resources of a non-profit volunteer organization, we will observe international best practices for privacy as well as transparency in relation to information-storage and privacy policies.
Sources. The Code of Conduct is a living document. We have taken suggestions from people who have complained of problems, and adopted language from several organizations, including AnthroCon, Capclave, Chicon7, and the Geek Feminism wiki. We thank them for their help, and offer our language to anyone who wants to adapt it to their needs. No attribution is necessary.