Vermont Comic Con Anti-Harassment Policy

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Vermont Comic Con is coming up, and one of the things that we’re happy to see that they’ve put together is a solid policy for conduct at the event. Conventions are increasingly taking harrassment of patrons seriously, and we’re very happy to see that VTCC has taken the time to put something like this together.

You can find the policy on their website.

Here’s what it says:

Vermont Comic Con is dedicated to providing a harassment-free conference experience for everyone, regardless of gender, gender identity and expression, fandom, sexual orientation, disability, physical appearance, political background, body size, race, religion, etc.

We do not tolerate harassment of conference participants in any form. This includes, but is not limited to: physical assault, verbal harassment, sexual harassment, stalking, unwanted physical contact, unwanted advances, or inappropriate photography. (Inappropriate photography is defined as photography where the subject feels they are being stalked, exploited, degraded, or disrespected through being photographed. While it is reasonable that photographers will be photographing costumers and other parts of the convention, should this photography become harassing or sexual in nature, the photographer will be subject to the above harassment policy.) Sexual language and imagery is not appropriate for any conference venue. Conference participants violating these rules may be sanctioned or expelled from the conference (without a refund) at the discretion of the conference organizers.

Harassment is defined by the victim. Participants asked to stop any harassing behavior are expected to comply immediately.

If you are being harassed, notice that someone else is being harassed, or have any other concerns, please contact a member of conference staff immediately. If you cannot find a staff, crew, or volunteer member to assist you, please go to the information desks located near registration or near the entrance of the exhibition floor. Please report to us before taking matters into your own hands (such as personally confronting the aggressor or posting on social media). We have professional security and they are properly equipped for these contingencies.

The individual or group may be:

Warned to cease and desist;
Asked to leave the convention, or;
Banned from the convention for any period of time (without a refund).
Exhibitors in the expo hall, sponsor or vendor booths, or similar activities are also subject to the anti-harassment policy. In particular, exhibitors should not use sexualized images, activities, or other material. Booth staff (including volunteers) should not use sexualized clothing/uniforms/costumes, or otherwise create a sexualized environment.

We expect participants to follow these rules at all conference venues and conference-related social Vermont Comic Con events.

We’re happy to see this: it defines what types of behavior are unacceptable at the convention, what steps to take if it happens, and what happens to the offender. This also appears to apply to all participants, whether it’s a costumer, attendee, volunteer or vendor.

As we noted on Twitter when we asked the convention if they had a policy (it wasn’t clearly linked on their website), this is important stuff. Far too often, (and not just at genre conventions), people are made to feel unwelcome or uncomfortable by simply showing up to have a good time – harrassment of all types has been in the news lately, especially in the genre commuunity. Too often, this is pushed aside as being not important. This is a good step.