Conduct Committee FAQ

Who can file a report?

Anyone who was directly affected by or witnessed behavior that was dangerous or harmful to you or others.

What can I report?

Any behavior or pattern of behavior that you feel contravenes the Greater Vancouver Interactive Art Society (GVIAS) Code of Conduct, including behaviour that you believe is unsafe or harmful to you or others, makes you feel afraid or threatened, or could endanger GVIAS’ ability to continue to hold events. Some examples of that:

  • Physical Endangerment and/or Violence
  • Sexual Misconduct
  • Intimidating or Threatening Behaviour
  • History of Prior Misconduct
  • Non-Consensual Intoxication
  • Predatory Behaviour
  • Misuse of Position or Authority (Real or Perceived)
  • Trespassing
  • Disregard, Misuse, and/or Theft of Event Property
  • Disregard, Misuse, and/or Theft of Participant’s Property
  • Endangering GVIAS’ ability to continue to hold events
  • Other Violations of the Code of Conduct

 

Who can I make a report about?

Anyone whose behavior contravenes the Code of Conduct. All reports will be handled equitably, regardless of who is involved or their role.

What is the timeframe for reporting an incident?

Reports may be made to the Conduct Committee within one year of the date of the incident. Incidents that are reported more than one year after the date of the incident may still be reported to the Conduct Committee, though they may only be acted on in exceptional circumstances and at the sole discretion of the Conduct Committee.

Can I make a report about things which happened outside GVIAS events?

Yes. If you feel any individual’s behavior in other, non-GVIAS contexts suggests they might present an ongoing concern to the GVIAS community, express your concerns at any time using the same GVIAS Incident Report Form.

How do I report an incident?

At any time, you can report an issue by using the online GVIAS Incident Report Form.

For immediate issues at Burn In The Forest or Dustcovery, please approach any Ranger. At BitF, participants can submit a BitF Incident Reporting Form, with the checkbox, “Refer to Conduct Committee” checked off, if they wish.

If you have questions about how or whether to make a report, contact the Conduct Committee at conduct@gvias.org

What will happen when I make a report?

The Conduct Committee is a group which will look into your report and, if requested, talk to the people involved, and may make a recommendation for action to the GVIAS Board of Directors. For example, if you request an investigation, the process may look like:

  • The Conduct Committee leads will receive your report and determine whether it can be investigated.
  • The leads will contact you to verify information and to verify potential investigators.
  • The leads will check with the investigators to ensure there are no conflicts of interest.
  • Once assigned, the investigators will explain in detail what the possible outcomes are as well as next steps.
  • Unless you wish to simply provide information, the investigators may interview witnesses and the reportee (the person the report is about).
  • Where possible, the Conduct Committee seeks to work with involved parties using restorative or transformative options, rather than recommending punitive measures.
  • You will be informed of any action the Board takes in connection with your report.

 

Process Flow Chart:

Flow Chart

What kinds of incidents must the CC report to law enforcement?

The only events the CC must report to law enforcement are those involving harm to a child.

  • If such a report is made to the CC, it will be immediately reported to law enforcement and the CC will set aside the file until any official investigation is concluded.
  • At such a time, if the reporter wishes CC to pursue (regardless of the outcome of any official investigation) they will pick it up again and it will go through the CC investigation process.

 

What can I do if I want to remain anonymous?

Anonymous reports can be made if you do not wish for any follow-up. Anonymous information can be useful when it contains verifiable facts, but information with no contact information is of limited usefulness in our process. An investigation will not be started from an anonymous report; however, the information will be kept on file.

How are investigators selected to follow up on a report?

Each member of the Conduct Committee has a different set of skills, experience and training that they bring to the table and the leads will do their best to match a pair of investigators to a given situation. We also aim to distribute the work evenly among the members of the Conduct Committee.

What can result from making a report?

If an investigation has been requested and conducted, the Conduct Committee can make recommendations of action to the Board. Recommendations could include:

  • Education
  • Facilitated conversation
  • Restorative and/or transformative justice processes
  • Provide an official warning
  • Restrict a participant from volunteering in particular capacities or in any capacity
  • Revoke access to GVIAS events for either one year or indefinitely
  • Archive the information and recommend no action

 

Certain recommendations from the Conduct Committee may not need Board approval – though the Board will be informed. These may include:

  • Education
  • Facilitated conversation between involved parties
  • Recommending no action

 

The Board reserves the right to take the following actions at any time:

  • Request that someone who is behaving in a way that contravenes the Code of Conduct change their behaviour, in the form of an official warning
  • Restrict someone from volunteering in particular capacities or in any capacity.
  • Revoke access to some or all events.
  • Revoke tickets to events.
  • Involve venue security.
  • Involve local law enforcement.
  • Deny access to GVIAS events temporarily or indefinitely.
  • Choose not to take action.

 

While some of these actions may be taken by event organizers at the time an incident occurs, others may result from investigations and discussions undertaken by the Board and Conduct Committee. We will do our best to balance the needs of all involved parties and the needs of the event when they conflict.

If any involved parties are dissatisfied with the outcome, they may appeal the decision directly with the Board. The ability to appeal a decision to the Board may be affected if an individual refuses to participate in the investigation process.

What will not happen if I make a report?

We will keep your identity confidential and will not reveal details from your report without your explicit consent in order to obtain information about the incident or take action related to the incident. See our confidentiality policy for more details.

We will not take any sort of retaliatory action against you for making a report in good faith.

We will not make a recommendation for action without interviewing the person the report is about (the reportee), or at least giving the reportee the option of being interviewed.

What will happen if someone makes a report about me?

While we will always err on the side of safety and take all reports seriously, we do not assume that a report being made automatically means that any corrective action needs to be taken.

The Conduct Committee will receive the report and, if an investigation is requested, assign two investigators. They will interview you and discuss what the next steps are, as well as what the possible outcomes could be. The investigators will also interview witnesses and the reporter. The Conduct Committee will not recommend the Board take any action without first interviewing you (or giving you the option of being interviewed). You will be informed of any action the Board takes in connection with the report, including taking no action.

If any involved parties are dissatisfied with the outcome, they may appeal the decision directly with the Board. The ability to appeal a decision to the Board may be affected if an individual refuses to participate in the investigation process.

If after interviewing you the Conduct Committee determines that no violation occurred, we will inform you that no action will be recommended to the Board.

Intentionally making a false report is a violation of the GVIAS Code of Conduct, and will be investigated.

What if the reportee is hesitant to participate in the process?

Participation is one of the 10 Principles of Burning Man. The goal of the Conduct Committee is to help people come together after conflict. We do encourage individuals to participate and share their perspective with the Committee. Based on our charter, we do strive to use restorative or transformative justice to resolve situations.

If, during an investigation, the reportee (person that a report was made about) refuses to participate in the process with the Conduct Committee, the investigation will still continue without their perspective. Recommendations from the Conduct Committee will still be made to the Board. The ability to appeal a decision to the Board may be affected if an individual refuses to participate in the investigation process.

What does the Board Liaison do?

The Board Liaison acts as a single point of contact with the GVIAS Board for the Conduct Committee, and are responsible for bringing the Committee’s recommendations to the Board. They are not involved in receiving reports, conducting investigations on behalf of the Conduct Committee, and are only privy to the same information that is provided to the board.

How does the Conduct Committee maintain confidentiality?

In addition to the Confidentiality Agreement that everyone on the Conduct Committee must sign, we work to limit the number of people who can see any given report. A typical investigation would look like the following:

  • The report is sent directly from the form to the three leads
  • If an investigation is warranted, the report will be shared with two investigators from the Committee
  • After an investigation is completed, the case is anonymized (“Person A”, “Person B”, etc.) and then discussed with the full Conduct Committee to determine a recommendation for the Board
  • Recommendations to the Board will be kept anonymous, and only upon the Board deciding to take action will the identity of relevant individuals be revealed to the Board

 

What if I don’t want a particular member of the Conduct Committee to see my report?

The current list of Conduct Committee members can be found here. All reports made through the online form will go to the three Conduct Committee leads. If you wish for your report to be kept confidential from one or two of the leads, you may email the other lead(s) directly with your report. The leads will contact you to discuss the report before sharing it with any other Committee members; at that time you may request that your report be kept confidential from particular individuals.

 

What if there is a conflict of interest?

If a member of the Conduct Committee (regarding an investigation) or the Board (regarding a decision) has a conflict of interest or is involved in a particular situation, they will be recused from that particular matter and will not have access to the related report. If either the reporter or reportee feels that a member of the Conduct Committee or the Board may have a conflict of interest regarding a situation, this can be discussed with the leads.

The list of GVIAS Board members can be found here and the list of Conduct Committee members here.

What does the Conduct Committee not do?

  • Act as judge & jury – the Conduct Committee comes from a restorative justice framework to make recommendations to the Board, who are responsible for any final decisions
  • Guarantee a specific outcome
  • Provide or act as legal counsel
  • Provide counselling or support services. We do maintain a list of external support services, and there are also members of our community who may be available to assist.

 

What sort of timeline can I expect?

We strive to respond to all incoming reports within one week to confirm receipt and discuss next steps with the reporter.

We cannot make any guarantees about the time that it takes to investigate a report. As such, there may still be outstanding reports or investigations prior to GVIAS events.

For a third-party perspective, from Firefly’s 2016 Conduct Committee ‘Year in Review’, they noted that the average length of investigation was 7.5 months.

Outside support services

 

If you have any suggestions for services that should be included on this list, please contact us at conduct@gvias.org.

Amendment of Process

This is a living document and is subject to review and revision.