February 23, 2016

For the Record: A Statement from the KaCSFFS Board of Directors

The Kansas City Science Fiction and Fantasy Society, Inc. (KaCSFFS) is the sponsor of ConQuesT, the oldest convention in the central states region. The KaCSFFS Board of Directors oversees ConQuesT, but the day-to-day operations of the convention are done by the volunteer chairs and convention committee, who change from year to year.
In light of recent issues we feel that more oversight of the convention committee as a whole is necessary by the KaCSFFS Board of Directors. This is being addressed by the current Board of Directors as we speak.
KaCSFFS is profoundly sorry that these issues arose, and the policies in place were not followed through to completion. We are taking steps to ensure that future complaints are addressed appropriately and in compliance with current policies and procedures in place.

16 comments:

  1. In the interest of transparency, can you elaborate on the controversy itself?

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  2. Thank you for providing this statement in a timely fashion. I anticipate further word as is appropriate as to the specific steps to be taken in future.

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  3. Thank you for this statement with its commitment to increase oversight of the convention committee and working to ensure that future complains are addressed appropriately.

    Is KaCSFFS also going to address the formal complaints received at the 2015 ConQuesT that I understand have been languishing these past 9 months, or is the Board limiting its commitment only to future complaints?

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  5. Complaints certainly shouldn't languish unaddressed. All involved need to be heard from. Where there has been misunderstanding, minds should strive to meet. Where there has been wrong, amends should be made, where necessary, remedies applied. And where there has not been wrong, that needs to be made clear to all concerned. And most usually that would not include the general public, much as we'd all like to know it.

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    1. Chuck, if I understand you correctly, I fully agree (and then some!) that an organization or its representatives ought not include the general public when dealing with and communicating about the specifics of code of conduct complaints. What I looked for and didn't see in the statement is any commitment to follow through on the complaints received at last year's ConQuesT. I don't need to know the details; I don't even want to know the details. But I would like very much to hear that the increased oversight currently underway includes picking up the balls that were dropped last year. It's not okay to act as though complaints received in a year when everything didn't go smoothly don't count.

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  6. Excuse me, but what issues?

    Obviously, I know, and pretty much anyone reading this statement will know, but the point is that no one should have to ask. A true apology would address "these issues" head-on, in detail, and not attempt to hide the egregiousness of the racism and sexual harassment one of your Guests of Honor reported without seeing anything happen.

    Transparency, people. It's important.

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    1. I'm reading the statement and I don't know what issues at all. I generally don't engage in drama so I haven't seen anything about it. I'm just following the ConQuesT page on Facebook since I go, but I haven't heard anything about a controversy until just now.

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  7. This is the gasping statement of a dying con.

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  8. What a horrible, lame attempt at not even an apology. It looks like you are simply trying to shuffle "recent issues" under the rug. Too self-centered to even lay out the problem to your own members. As staff of a con that *does* care, I am embarrassed, and angry about how your actions reflect badly on SF as a whole.

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  9. Lame is hearing one person's story and thinking you don't need to hear anything else. I am sure the folks in positions of responsibility will sort this out appropriately and when it is clear what apologies are owed where, including to the public, will make sure they get made. KaCSFFS and its conventions have been inclusive organizations with members from many races, many ethnic and cultural backgrounds, and from many sexual orientations, for decades, and I speak from experience going back to the late 70s, not from just one weekend at a con nor from one message I read on Facebook about people I've never met.

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    1. All the more reason for the Convention to release a follow-up statement clarifying details and specifics, apologies where required, and some indication an actual investigation took or is now taking place, and not just by the people - or spouses of people - named in the reports. This initial statement is better than silence, but it is clearly a placeholder for a follow-up.

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    2. Of course. Given the public turn things have taken, what is "most usual" isn't going to heal matters.

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  11. This whole thing is just weird. I feel I need to say something though, as someone who has been a GOH at Conquest, as well as many other cons and especially as someone who has attended ConQuesT in particular many times.

    While the beginning set-up of Mark Makes Stuff (not familiar with the fellow who claims to be a person of color... though I am unsure as to what color he is attaching himself to...), mentions is not a great start, he does claim all was taken care of... so the point there seems to be his sensitivity set-up as far as I can tell. I too have had to deal with such issues as a GOH at different places, and a quick call to the liaison or other official always gets it handled. No biggie. Never thought to make that a mood set-up for a con before, but, whatever... different strokes, right?

    Then he goes into panels with Selina and her pants. No big surprises there. Again, I never thought to think Selina was harassing me... missed opportunity perhaps...? Or the later story about Liz. In fact, all of things and more have happened to me and not once did it occur to me to report it, much less feel sexually harassed. Gee... maybe it's just me...? Or could it be the emotional set-up and expectations from the guest...? As I said, I don't know the person, Mark Who Makes Stuff.

    So, a long diatribe about inaction... though in said diatribe, he claims to want only 2 things: That those insensitive folks not be banned or anything, but that they should not be put on those sorts of panels, AND they need to know of their egregious behavior. I think they all know by now. So, #2 is done.

    Have they be consigned to only other panels...? Well, until the next ConQuesT, I think it may be hard to know.

    Not sure exactly where I am going with all thins, except that at 6 months and a very public complaint has seen half of what he wants accomplished is done, what is the point here? Complaining for the sake of complaining? Creating a new PC/Anti-PC kerfuffle? Garnering sympathies he and their colorful union/marriage? Again, I don't know these folks.

    I do know a good many of the people involved though, and I have always felt they were upstanding, open and usually knowledgeable and competent at running cons, among other diverse subjects. I really don't know that there is anything anyone can do to make a person happy, who is determined to be offended and remain unhappy.

    This too shall pass.
    Mitch Bentley, ConQuesT AGoH 37.

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