Investigatory Philosophy and Procedure

Goal of a Conduct Committee investigation

Our goal is to gather enough information to be able to make a fair and reasonable recommendation whether to allow someone continued access to events or volunteer infrastructure.

Our responsibilities are to:

  • Document each incident report
  • Determine whether a report is actionable
  • Develop enough of an understanding of the situation that a recommendation can be made to the board, if needed



The goal is NOT to determine guilt or innocence.

Again, the goal is to gather enough information to be able to make a fair and reasonable recommendation whether to allow someone continued access to events or volunteer infrastructure.

While the Conduct Committee may choose not to recommend action based on a single report, multiple reports about an individual constituting a pattern of misconduct can result in a recommendation of action. We do not label people as criminals or determine whether reports are true beyond reasonable doubt.

Procedure

Anonymity

If a reporter provides information to the conduct committee but does not want us to talk to the person or persons their report is about, we cannot make a recommendation to the board on that case. We will retain the information, and may contact the reporter in the future. When is a case is being investigated we will do our best to maintain the anonymity of the reporter but cannot guarantee it.

Timeline

The Conduct Committee tries to hear multiple perspectives about some complex situations, and our volunteers often have busy schedules just like the witnesses and others they talk to. It can take several months to have a sufficient number of conversations to provide an understanding of the situation behind some reports. If you are interacting with the Conduct Committee (as a reporter, subject of a report, or witness), you can help keep our process moving by responding to emails from investigators in a timely fashion, and are welcome to check in with investigators yourself about report status.

Typical Step-by-Step Procedure

  1. When the GVIAS Incident Report Form is submitted, Conduct Committee leads are automatically notified of the report
  2. Conduct Committee Leads contact the reporter to verify the content and suggest two investigators, then assign those investigators after confirming these are acceptable to reporter.
  3. Investigators review what has been reported and contact reporter to gather further information. Investigators explain possible next steps and possible outcomes to reporter.

    • If the reporter does not want the Investigators to interview the reportee (the person the report is about) the case will be archived, and no recommendation will be made to the Board regarding this report. Should the Conduct Committee receive other reports about the same person the reporter in this case may be contacted as a witness.

  4. If proceeding to follow up the report, investigators will then talk with witnesses and the subject of the report.
  5. Investigators may also consult with character witnesses such as other event hosts, and follow up any leads of similar behaviors to establish if there is a larger pattern.
  6. Investigators bring the results of their investigation back to the Conduct Committee for consensus on a recommendation.
  7. The Conduct Committee recommends action(s) to the Board such as:

    • Provide an official warning
    • Bar a participant from volunteering in particular capacities or in any capacity.
    • Ban from GVIAS events for either one year or permanently.
    • Archive the information and recommend no action.

  8. Upon receiving a recommendation, the Board may:

    • Accept the recommendation
    • Request further detail or additional investigation
    • Pursue a different course of action

  9. Board representatives contact the reportee with an official notice
  10. The Conduct Committee contacts the reporter to notify them of the Board’s action
  11. The Board determines whether to announce the decision to the GVIAS community or other events



**Thank you to the Toronto Burning Man community and Firefly Arts Collective for their permission to adapt their conduct materials.

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