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What You Need to Know About GCLS’ New Code of Conduct

Like many organizations, the Golden Crown Literary Society adapted to the COVID-19 pandemic by pivoting our events and activities from in-person to online. Our annual conference was held virtually in 2020 and 2021 and we have hosted monthly panel discussions and even a trivia game via a regular Virtual Series. While online events can never replace the excitement and engagement of in-person activities, they do provide greater access to many of our members and others who are unable to travel to a conference or other gathering.

In order to ensure that all GCLS events and activities—whether in-person or virtual—provide a safe, inclusive, informative and fun experience for participants, the board of directors recently approved a Code of Conduct developed by members of GCLS’ Diversity and Inclusion Committee. This code provides our members and all event participants with clear guidance on how we can respect one another’s individual identities and provides reassurance that GCLS will not condone harassing and offensive behaviors.

The following FAQ provides more details about the Code of Conduct and how GCLS will respond to any complaints.

Why do we need a Code of Conduct?

As GCLS grows, we have more capacity to hold a variety of events and sponsor more activities. The Code of Conduct ensures that those who participate can feel safe and respected at all GCLS sponsored events. The board has had some feedback and complaints in the past about harassing behaviors and the Code provides us with a process for receiving and responding to these types of complaints.

What behaviors does the Code of Conduct prohibit?

The Code prohibits harassing behaviors defined as bullying, stalking, deliberate intimidation, offensive verbal or written comments, unwelcomed sexual attention, inappropriate and non-consensual physical contact, and sharing of sexual images without consent. It prohibits the sharing of literature or other writing that seeks to demean, ridicule or humiliate others. It also specifies that advocating for or encouraging these behaviors will not be tolerated.

Can you be more specific about the kind of literature or writing that violates the Code?

The Code provides the following definition: “Literature that perpetuates, glorifies, or promotes racism; dehumanizes someone's race, gender, gender identity and expression, age, sexual orientation, disability, physical appearance, body size, ethnicity, or religion. Literature that perpetuates, glorifies or promotes sexual assault, rape, or sexual violence.”

Are there any behaviors that the Code of Conduct encourages?

The Code of Conduct asks that we all value GCLS as an inclusive organization by treating one another with respect and dignity, by ensuring that all voice are heard, by using people’s chosen pronouns and identities, and by complying with health directives issued by the board (including social distancing, mask wearing, and not wearing excessive perfumes or colognes).

What will GCLS do when somebody violates the Code of Conduct?

If a board member witnesses prohibited behavior, they will ask the person to stop immediately. Complaints submitted to the board will be investigated. If a violation has occurred GCLS will determine the appropriate sanction or restorative action, which may include mediation, education, a warning, removal from an event, denial of access to GCLS spaces and venues, prohibition from future speaking engagements, or revocation of membership.

How do those who either witness or are themselves the target of these behaviors lodge a complaint to the GCLS board?

Complaints may be communicated to a GCLS board member either in-person, via email ‘report at goldencrown dot org‘ or clicking here, and putting: ‘Code of Conduct Violation’ in the subject line, or through an anonymous online incident form. The Code includes a phone number that can be used in emergencies. GCLS prohibits any retaliation against all those who submit complaints on behalf of themselves or others.

If you have questions or ideas on ways that GCLS can be more accessible and inclusive, please feel free to reach out to the members of the GLCS Diversity & Inclusion Committee by emailing ‘diversity-inclusion at goldencrown dot org’ or clicking here.

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