Sunday, August 5, 2012

Statement by Readercon's ConCom

In the wake of the mass resignation of Readercon's Board, Readercon's ConCom has issued a statement vis-a-vis the Readercon Board's handling of the sexual harassment issue, overriding the Board's decision by permanently banning Rene Walling from attending. The ConCom also apologizes to Genevieve Valentine and Kate Kligman and notes:
by damaging the convention's reputation as a safe haven where harassment is aggressively discouraged and appropriately dealt with when it happens, we have upset many people who care about the convention and undermined our efforts to make the convention more inclusive and diverse. Women, members of minority groups, and younger people are often especially vulnerable to harassment, and many have been understandably put off by the perception that harassment is tolerated at our convention; we cannot claim to be welcoming them while creating an environment in which they feel unsafe.

We offer our heartfelt apology to everyone in our community who trusted us and has been hurt by our breach of trust; to everyone who once felt safe at Readercon and no longer does; to those who have linked Readercon's reputation with their own and now feel tarnished by association, especially our past guests of honor and anyone who has officially or informally promoted the convention; and to those who love Readercon and are heartbroken to see its leaders acting contrary to the convention's best interests.
The statement also promises to take future specified actions to address the general problem of sexual harassment. If Readercon implements all the steps they are proposing, that con will be a trail-blazer in the way WisCon has come to be. 

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