Post a "Code of Conduct" on the TAM site
  • Petitioned JREF & DJ Grothe

This petition was delivered to:

JREF & DJ Grothe

Post a "Code of Conduct" on the TAM site

    1. Kyle VanderBeek
    2. Petition by

      Kyle VanderBeek

      San Francisco, United States

I love the skeptic community, the JREF, and TAM. I intend to attend my 5th consecutive TAM this summer. But I am disappointed that the JREF and its current president, DJ Grothe, have not taken the matters of unwanted and inappropriate behavior head on.

We have ample evidence that sexual harassment can be a problem at atheist and skeptical events.  Skepchick Elyse was offered sex by strangers while working at an event.  Presenters have been told who to steer clear of in the green room. Both prominent and average members of the community (both men and women) have been affected by harassment in a variety of ways.  There is no controversy in stating that we do not want our gatherings to become hostile places.

What seems to be controversial is dealing with this potential (even likely) problem head-on and in advance of the event.  Simple preventative measures and a clearly stated code have immeasurable benefit with little or no cost.  It should be clear to all attendees that the community cares, and that out-of-bounds behavior will not be tolerated (even with paid admittance).

We should not wait until something bad happens and then react in an improvised manner. We should police our own, be forthright about the basic rules, and ensure safety and fun for everyone.

Before the last Amazing Meeting, the JREF posted a very limited code of conduct to its web site.  With this petition I ask the JREF to post a complete and comprehensive Code of Conduct directly to the Amazing Meeting web site and link to it under the FAQ section.  Consistent with this code, I would also like there to be designated volunteers available at the even to handle violations in a amicable but firm manner.

Please refer to this example policy for a useful starting point.

Recent signatures


    1. A lawyer's perspective on conference anti-harassment policies

      Kyle VanderBeek
      Principal Engineer

      A very interesting conversation with a lawyer about policies. I was intrigued and a little concerned, but it does seem that such a policy could be published without assuming "duty of care" or liability for the JREF.

    2. Still no policy

      Kyle VanderBeek
      Principal Engineer

      TAM 2012 is less than two weeks away! It is very exciting to see the site updated with a more complete schedule and speaker list, as well as a lot of questions answered in the FAQ. What's still missing? A code of conduct that can give comfort and security to all attendees and won't restrict the fun we can all have.

      Come on, DJ! Post a policy and clear the air!

    3. Skepchicks abandon TAM

      Kyle VanderBeek
      Principal Engineer

      The failure of the JREF to proactively handle harassment has lead Skepchick Rebecca Watson to pen this piece and decide not to go to TAM this year.

      Failing to deal with the comfort of all attendees weakens the movement.

    4. Reached 10 signatures


    Reasons for signing

    • Mark White MIDDLETOWN, MD
      • over 2 years ago

      A very reasonable idea. (Also, the petition letter states that it's the 4th consecutive TAM attendance for all signers, but I will actually be a first TAMmer.)


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