ISSA Chicago Chapter Anti-Harassment Policy

Why do we have an official anti-harassment policy for ISSA Chicago Chapter events? First, it is necessary (unfortunately). Harassment at events is incredibly common. Second, it sets expectations for behavior at the event. Simply having an anti-harassment policy can prevent harassment all by itself. Third, it encourages people to attend who have had bad experiences at other events. Finally, it gives event staff instructions on how to handle harassment quickly, with the minimum amount of disruption or bad press for the event.

The ISSA Chicago Chapter is dedicated to providing a harassment-free event experience for everyone, regardless of gender, sexual orientation, disability, gender identity, age, race, or religion. We do not tolerate harassment of event participants in any form. Sexual language and imagery is not appropriate for any event venue, including talks. Event participants violating these rules may be sanctioned or expelled from the event at the discretion of the event organizers/management.

Harassment includes offensive verbal comments related to gender, sexual orientation, disability, gender identity, age, race, religion, the use or display of sexual images in public spaces, deliberate intimidation, stalking, following, harassing photography or recording, sustained disruption of talks or other events, inappropriate physical contact, and unwelcome sexual attention. Participants asked to stop any harassing behavior are expected to comply immediately.

Exhibiting partners are also subject to the anti-harassment policy. In particular, exhibitors should not use sexualized images, activities, or other material, or otherwise create a sexualized environment.

If a participant engages in harassing behavior, the event organizers may take any action they deem appropriate, including warning the offender or expulsion from the event. If you are being harassed, notice that someone else is being harassed, or have any other concerns, please contact a member of the chapter board immediately. Please note, while we take all concerns raised seriously, we will use our discretion as to in determining when and how to follow up on reported incidents and may decline to take any further action and/or may direct the participant to other resources for resolution.

The chapter officers will be happy to help participants contact venue/event security or local law enforcement, provide escorts, or otherwise assist those experiencing harassment to feel safe for the duration of the conference. We value your attendance.

We expect participants to follow these rules at all event venues and related social events.

License and attribution

This policy is licensed under the Creative Commons Zero license.

This policy is based on several other policies, including the Ohio LinuxFest anti-harassment policy, written by Esther Filderman and Beth Lynn Eicher, and the Con Anti-Harassment Project. Mary Gardiner, Valerie Aurora, Sarah Smith, and Donna Benjamin generalized the policies and added supporting material. Many members of LinuxChix, Geek Feminism and other groups contributed to this work.