Anti-Harassment Policy & Code of Conduct

The New Story Festival seeks to nurture and promote human dignity, relationships of interdependence and respect, and a restorative, life-giving experience for all.

We are dedicated to providing a safe and harassment-free environment for all participants and have a zero-tolerance policy regarding harassment, intimidation, and discrimination. This includes all harassment, intimidation, and discrimination made on the basis of race, age, sex, gender, gender identity and expression, sexual orientation, national origin, ancestry, disability, medical condition, religion, class, body size, veteran status, marital/domestic partnership status, citizenship, or any other marginalized identity. Harassment includes verbal comments, written comments, displayed images, or behaviors such as deliberate intimidation, stalking, body policing, unwelcome photography or recording, sustained disruption of talks or other events, inappropriate physical contact, and unwelcome sexual attention.

The New Story Festival Code of Conduct applies to all situations of harassment, intimidation, or discrimination at New Story programs and activities and is applicable to all New Story participants, events and all New Story venues, including but not limited to New Story events, meetings, and online interactions. Harassment, intimidation, and discrimination at any New Story event, any one of the foregoing events, or online is prohibited.

Code of Conduct

All participants in New Story events and activities, including staff, program contributors, volunteers, and attendees, are required to comply with the following anti-harassment code of conduct. The New Story Festival Code of Conduct prohibits harassment, including but not limited to the following behaviors:

  • Deliberate intimidation, stalking, or following

  • Sustained disruption of talks or other events

  • Inappropriate physical contact

  • Unwelcome sexual attention

  • Abusive verbal comments

  • Quid pro quo – sexual harassment that occurs when one in an authority position requests sex or a sexual relationship in exchange for professional consideration or favors

Harassment does not include respectful disagreement or reasonable and respectful critique made in good faith. The New Story Festival welcomes and appreciates presentation of challenging ideas, free speech, and creative artistic expression, in the spirit of the new story of liberation, reconciliation, and nonviolence towards Earth and each other. The New Story Festival encourages members to hold one another accountable to the Code of Conduct and to take the perspectives of others seriously when a disagreement arises.

Reporting Procedures

Any person who believes there has been a violation of the New Story Festival Code of Conduct can report the offense in one or all of the following ways:

  • All New Story events will designate two Advisory Council Members who will be available during the event to provide a safe space for anyone to report an incident. The Council Members will report directly to the entire Advisory Council and Board of Directors.

  • A complainant may request assistance from any New Story Festival Advisory Council Member.

  • The New Story Festival has a dedicated email address for reporting any incident of harassment. Anyone who chooses to report an incident can email policy@newstoryfestival.com. Reports can be submitted anonymously or with identifying information. Reports should include the substance of the complaint, date, and whenever possible, a list of witnesses or a reference to the relevant URLs, if the offense occurred online. Emails will be monitored at all times, including during New Story events. The New Story Festival board of directors, with the support of the advisory committee, will fully investigate all complaints, including those made anonymously, and take whatever action is necessary and appropriate to prevent a recurrence. If a complaint is made against a member of the board of directors or advisory committee that member will be recused from the investigation. Please note, however, that the New Story Festival will not be able to follow up on an anonymous report with the complainant directly, as New Story Festival will not have contact information for the anonymous complainant. We will make every attempt to respond to a named complainant in a timely fashion.

Non-Retaliation

The New Story Festival Anti-Harassment Policy prohibits retaliation against a member of the New Story Festival community for reporting harassment, intimidation or discrimination, or for participating in an investigation relating to any complaint made. The sanctions for retaliation are the same sanctions available to address any other violation of the New Story Festival Code of Conduct.

Sanctions

The New Story Festival takes all allegations of harassment seriously. Every report will be investigated fully by the Board, who will determine the appropriate sanction*.

Sanctions may include any of the following:

  • warning the party involved that the particular behavior is inappropriate and must be ceased;

  • immediate removal from the event;

  • denial of access to New Story Festival spaces and venues on a temporary or permanent basis;

  • prohibition from future attendance;

  • expulsion from New Story events;

  • removal from New Story Boards and/or Leadership Teams, when appropriate.

*Also see Appendix A, Co-Creative Conflict Resolution. While any potential issues of harassment addressed in the New Story Festival Code of Conduct and Anti-Harassment Policy take precedence, and the Co-Creative Conflict Resolution Process applies to formal working relationships, we seek to be guided by the values outlined in Appendix A.

Confidentiality

The New Story Festival will make every reasonable effort to conduct all investigations into allegations of harassment, intimidation, or discrimination in a manner that will protect the confidentiality of all parties. Notwithstanding the above, confidentiality is not absolute, and those with a legitimate reason to know and be informed of the allegations will be so informed. Parties to the complaint should treat the matter under investigation with discretion and respect the reputation of all parties involved.

Policy on Ethical Relationships

New Story Festival owners and staff, whether paid contractors, or volunteers have a particular responsibility for modeling conscious attention to the policy outlined above, and commit to the following policy on ethical relationships:

We seek to embody relationships of equality, mutual respect, and reconciliation in which the gift of friendship and community can flourish. We seek to be accountable for our actions, authentic, compassionate, multiculturally aware, and to model integrity and leadership as service. As a New Story Festival staff member, I agree to integrate these values into my life by honoring the intent of this document.

I COMMIT THAT I WILL NOT EXPLOIT ANOTHER PERSON’S VULNERABILITY.

 This means that:

I acknowledge that a relationship may be exploitative when I take advantage of my position or experience within the New Story Festival to influence another for my gain, particularly if I know that person to be vulnerable at the time. I understand that exploitation may occur at any time, and a person may be more vulnerable to exploitation in the context of emotional openness embodied by the New Story Festival.

I commit that I will not participate in any financial, business, therapeutic, or sexual relationship that a reasonable person would consider to be exploitative.

If at any time I believe my actions might be exploitative, or if I have been challenged about my behavior, I will consult those I trust to challenge that behavior and my underlying motivations.

I am accountable for my actions. If I believe someone has exploited another’s vulnerability, I will hold them accountable. If a peer review is conducted and I am judged to have exploited another’s vulnerability, I agree that sanctions may be imposed.

I agree that personal relationships should not have undue influence over working relationships within the New Story community, and understand that limitations or guidelines may be instituted as needed if/when such relationships arise.

*The New Story Festival acknowledges the work of OMG BookFest, SCBWI, Geek Feminism, Science Fiction Writers of America, WisCon, and the Mankind Project in developing anti-harassment policies. If you have questions regarding this policy, you may send an email to info@newstoryfestival.com. Please include the words “anti-harassment policy” in the subject line. 

  

APPENDIX A

Co-Creative Conflict Resolution

 

The Vision, Mission, and Values explicitly stated in this Statement of Agreement express our core, underlying interests in connection with our work together. They represent the vision we hold that motivates us to persevere in our work, the mission we are joining forces to accomplish, the principles, constraints and imperatives that inform our decision-making, and the values with which we want to align all our actions. They collectively comprise our “Touchstone.” 

The Touchstone is meant to provide reference points to orient and focus our conversations in support of creative and productive collaborative problem-solving should we find ourselves in disagreement in the course of our relationship and work together. 

Procedure for conducting Co-Creative Conflict Resolution

  1. Informal Process. At the earliest sign of conflict, one of us will raise the issue informally with the other. We agree to meet in person if possible, and otherwise by video call, and will read aloud the Touchstone together. We then agree to make statements of affirmation about each other’s work and the progress we are making toward our shared goals. Using agreed upon processes such as the four-part Nonviolent Communication Process, and/or clearing or accountability as taught in the Mankind Project, we will seek to address the issue quickly, with respect and love for each other, and in a way that results in mutual learning, deepening understanding and respect, and an outcome that may be even better than if the conflict had not arisen in the first place.

  2. Mentored/Facilitated Conversation. If our Informal Process does not lead to an outcome that is satisfactory for both of us, we will conduct a “Mentored/Facilitated Conversation” (within seven days after the date of the informal conversation), for which we may each invite a trusted mentor  (or facilitator) to join us. We agree to use the following process for this second conversation:

    1. The person who feels the need to call the conversation for this purpose will begin by providing to the other person a brief statement of the event/action/inaction that has triggered the request for the conversation, a statement of whether (and why) the event/action/inaction appears to be out of alignment with the stated Touchstone or other terms of this Statement of Agreement, and will suggest a time for the conversation. We agree to try to keep the statement to 250 words or less.

    2. We’ll open any such conversation by first re-reading together the Touchstone and then reading the brief statement about what triggered the request for a co-creative conversation.

    3. We will continue the conversation with the assistance of our mentors/facilitators, listening and speaking thoughtfully, always in an effort to clarify and to seek a mutually beneficial and creative outcome. Not knowing what may be asked, we each dedicate ourselves to responding in Love. 

We also acknowledge and agree that mediation/collaborative proceedings are settlement negotiations, and that, to the extent allowed by applicable laws, all offers, promises, conduct and statements, whether oral or written, made in the course of mediation by any of the parties or our agents shall be confidential and inadmissible in any arbitration or other legal proceeding involving the parties; provided, however, that evidence which is otherwise admissible or discoverable shall not be rendered inadmissible or non-discoverable as a result of its use in the mediation/collaborative process.