anti-harassment policy

The Victoria Poetry Project Society (VPPS) is dedicated to providing a harassment-free experience for everyone. We do not tolerate harassment of participants in any form.

This code of conduct applies to all VPPS members and individuals considered to be part of our community, meaning individuals who have not paid an annual membership due but are present at shows, meetings, and/or other VPPS events. For the sake of clarity, all aforementioned individuals are referred to as “members” in this policy. This code also applies to VPPS spaces, including, but not limited to: our email lists; our social media pages; shows of all kinds; all of our meetings; team practices and meetings; workshops hosted by and/or affiliated with us; and informal social gatherings of the Society, both online and off. Anyone who violates this code of conduct may be sanctioned or expelled from these spaces at the discretion of the Anti-Harassment Team.

Some Victoria Poetry Project Society spaces may have additional rules in place, which will be made clearly available to participants. Participants are responsible for knowing and abiding by these rules.

Harassment includes:

  • Offensive comments related to gender, gender identity and expression, sexual orientation, disability, mental illness, neuro(a)typicality, physical appearance, body size, age, race, or religion
  • Unwelcome comments regarding a person’s lifestyle choices and practices, including those related to food, health, parenting, drugs, and employment
  • Deliberate misgendering or use of ‘dead’ or rejected names
  • Gratuitous or off-topic sexual images or behaviour in spaces where they are not appropriate
  • Physical contact and simulated physical contact (e.g., textual descriptions like “*hug*” or “*backrub*”) without consent or after a request to stop
  • Threats of violence
  • Incitement of violence towards any individual, including encouraging a person to commit suicide or to engage in self-harm
  • Deliberate intimidation
  • Stalking or following
  • Harassing photography or recording, including logging online activity for harassment purposes.
  • Sustained disruption of discussion
  • Unwelcome sexual attention
  • Pattern of inappropriate social contact, such as requesting/assuming inappropriate levels of intimacy with others
  • Continued one-on-one communication after requests to cease
  • Deliberate “outing” of any aspect of a person’s identity without their consent except as necessary to protect vulnerable people from intentional abuse
  • Publication of non-harassing private communication

The Victoria Poetry Project Society prioritizes marginalized people’s safety over privileged people’s comfort. The Anti-Harassment Team reserves the right not to act on complaints regarding:

  • “Reverse” -isms, including but not limited to: “reverse racism,” “reverse sexism,” and “cisphobia”
  • Reasonable communication of boundaries, including but not limited to: “leave me alone,” “go away,” or “I’m not discussing this with you”
  • Communicating in a “tone” you don’t find congenial
  • Criticizing racist, sexist, cissexist, homophobic, transphobic, or otherwise oppressive behaviour or assumptions

Anti-Harassment Team

The Anti-Harassment Team is a three-person committee selected by our board of directors (BOD), to be elected and ratified at the first meeting of every fiscal year and at any point if a vacancy occurs. The committee, which includes the Grievance Coordinator, shall be made up of two additional members of the community, and are not required to be members of the BOD. If a member of the committee becomes an aggrieved party in a grievance case, the most senior member of VPPS’s staff (executive director) or BOD who is not an aggrieved party shall step in as an ad-hoc member of the committee for that case; if there is no clear staff or board member to step in as an ad-hoc member for a case, the BOD shall vote on and ratify a member of the community to take the position.

Reporting

If a member of the Victoria Poetry Project Society is harassing you, you notice that someone else is being harassed, or if you have any other concerns, please contact the Anti-Harassment Team at vppgrievance@gmail.com. If the person who is harassing you is on the AHT, they will recuse themselves from handling your incident. We will respond as promptly as we can.

This code of conduct applies to all VPPS spaces, but if a member of VPPS is harassing you outside our spaces, we still want to know about it. We will take all good-faith reports of harassment by VPPS members seriously. This includes harassment outside our spaces and harassment that took place at any point in time. The Anti-Harassment Team reserves the right to exclude people from the Victoria Poetry Project Society based on their past behavior, including behavior outside Victoria Poetry Project Society spaces and behaviour towards people who are not a member of the Victoria Poetry Project Society.

In order to protect volunteers from abuse and burnout, we reserve the right to reject any report we believe to have been made in bad faith. Reports intended to silence legitimate criticism may be deleted without response.

We will respect confidentiality requests for the purpose of protecting victims of abuse. At our discretion, we may publicly name a person about whom we have received harassment complaints, or privately warn third parties about them, if we believe that doing so will increase the safety of Victoria Poetry Project Society members or the public. We will not name harassment victims without their affirmative consent.

For the time being, reports believed to be made in good faith and received by the Anti-Harassment Team will be stored solely in the Team’s email account, to be accessed only by the Team, until proper and safe storage is secured.

Consequences

Participants asked to stop any harassing behavior are expected to comply immediately.

If a participant engages in harassing behavior, the Anti-Harassment Team may take any action they deem appropriate, up to and including expulsion from all Victoria Poetry Project Society spaces and identification of the participant as a harasser to other Victoria Poetry Project Society members and/or the public.