Accidental Injury Policy

Updated May 2, 2014

The Skepticon staff fall under Missouri Law 537.037 RSMo (“Good Samaritan Law”) for purposes of providing first aid.  Any first aid care that the staff provides is being done voluntarily by that staff member.  Pre-registering for attendance at the convention does not include guaranteed first aid. The event staff will have a first aid kit available in the main conference rooms and at the Check-In/Registration Table for self-use by any attendee or persons present at the event.

Conduct Policy

Updated May 2, 2014

In addition to complying with the Harassment Policy guidelines, Skepticon Attendees are expected to comply with the following Code of Conduct at all conference events.

We define misconduct as deliberate intimidation, stalking, following, harassing photography or recording, sustained disruption of talks or other events, disruptive arguments anywhere at the conference, personal verbal attacks, fights, physical assault, inappropriate physical contact, unwelcome sexual attention, and any other act that may cause harm to oneself or others. Assuming the absence of problematic behavior (intimidation, following, inappropriate physical contact, etc.), criticism or disagreement regarding an attendee’s belief structure will not be construed as harassment. Our conference thrives on its diversity, which includes but is not limited to: sexual orientation, gender, race, ethnicity, ability, beliefs, et cetera. Blatant instances of racism, sexism, homophobia, or other stereotyping and harmful behaviors should be reported to conference staff immediately.

“Yes” means yes; “No” means no; and “Maybe” means no. Please accept no for an answer for any request or activity. You are encouraged to ask for unequivocal consent for all activities during the conference. No touching other people without asking. This includes hands on knees, backs, shoulders—and hugs (ask first!). There are people who do not like to be touched and will respect and like you more if you respect their personal space.

Participants asked to stop any form of misconduct are expected to comply immediately. Conference participants violating this policy may be sanctioned or expelled from the conference (without refunds) at the discretion of the conference organizers. 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. Conference staff can be identified by special badges or be found at the registration/event desk. Conference staff will be happy to help participants contact hotel/venue security or local law enforcement, provide escorts, or otherwise assist those experiencing misconduct to feel safe for the duration of the conference. We value your attendance.

Harassment Policy

Updated October 1, 2012

Skepticon is dedicated to providing a harassment-free conference experience for everyone regardless of gender, sexual orientation, disability, physical appearance, body size, race, or religion. We do not tolerate harassment of conference participants in any form. Conference participants violating these rules may be sanctioned or expelled from the conference without a refund at the discretion of the conference organizers.

Harassment includes offensive verbal comments [related to gender, sexual orientation, disability, physical appearance, body size, race, religious identity], deliberate intimidation, stalking, following, harassing photography or recording, sustained disruption of talks or other events, inappropriate physical contact, and unwelcome sexual attention. Assuming the absence of problematic behavior (intimidation, following, inappropriate physical contact, etc.), criticism or disagreement regarding an attendee’s belief structure will not be construed as harassment. Participants asked to stop any harassing behavior are expected to comply immediately.

Additionally, exhibitors in the expo hall, sponsor or vendor booths, or similar activities are also subject to the anti-harassment policy. Booth staff (including volunteers) should not use sexualized clothing/uniforms/costumes, or otherwise create a sexualized environment.

While Skepticon does encourage an environment of sex positivity where sex and sexuality are discussed, we will make every effort to make our convention attendees as comfortable as possible.

If a participant engages in harassing behavior, the conference organizers may take any action they deem appropriate, including warning the offender or expulsion from the conference with no refund of any donations. 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. Skepticon also encourages attendees to report any criminal behavior directly to the Springfield Police, as well as to Skepticon staff.

Conference staff will be happy to help participants contact hotel/venue security or local law enforcement, provide escorts, or otherwise assist those experiencing harassment to feel safe for the duration of the conference. We value your attendance.

Fights & Physical Assault Policy

Updated May 2, 2014

No member of the Skepticon organizational or volunteer team is required to intervene in a fight or to attempt to prevent a physical assault.  There is no legal requirement to put oneself in danger.  There is a good chance that anyone intervening in a fight would be hurt. If anyone chooses to intervene in a physical altercation they will do so at their own risk. Per the Code of Conduct Policy, anyone involved in a physical altercation can be removed from the premises by law enforcement. If law enforcement is engaged to intervene in a fight, it is unlikely that the parties involved will be welcomed at future events.

Lost Children Policy

Updated May 2, 2014

While we have never had an issue with this at past events, Skepticon has resolved to be proactive. Please do not leave children unattended on conference grounds. In the unfortunate event that your little skeptic-in-training manages to elude their guardian’s supervision, Skepticon will use a modified version of the national ‘lost child’ procedure. The national ‘lost child’ procedure is called the Code Adam Program.

If an individual reports that a child is missing to any member of the Skepticon event staff, that staff member will refer him/her to the Organizers stationed at the Check-In/Registration table.

The Organizers will ask for the following information about the child:

• Sex

• Ethnicity

• Age

• Eye and hair color

• Height

• Weight

• Clothes worn (including shoes)

• Any distinguishing characteristics

• Location or area last seen

Once this information is obtained, the lead organizer will notify all event staff and volunteers by radio and describe the child’s physical features and clothing.   All staff will look for the child and report back by radio. A negative reply will be required.  If the child is not immediately located by the event staff, the lead organizer will contact hotel security to inform them about the lost child and request that the hotel staff look for the child.

When the child is found by one of the event staff, that staff member will report it to the Organizer leader stationed at the Check-In/Registration table.  The Organizer will reunite the child with his/her guardian.  If the child is not found within 10 minutes after notifying hotel staff or if there is anything about the circumstances that suggests an attempted abduction the lead organizer (or hotel staff) will call law enforcement.

Medical Emergency Policy

Updated May 2, 2014

If any member of the Skepticon event staff is notified of a medical emergency, the staff will report medical emergencies to the leadership team via radio.

Leadership will evaluate the situation.  It isn’t possible to set decision-making criteria in advance since every situation will be unique.  Both the Adult and the Pediatric version of the Red Cross First Aid/CPR/AED Ready Reference will be maintained on site with easy access. In addition to the Red Cross documents, the following questions will assist in decision making:

(a)  How serious is the injury or illness?

(b)  Can the victim make decisions on his/her own behalf?

(c)  Does the injury/illness require an emergency room visit?

(d)  Is an ambulance needed?  Can a friend of the victim transport him/her?

Speaker Merchandise Policy

Updated May 8, 2014

If you’re a speaker who is interested in having your books or other merchandise sold by Skepticon Event Staff on your behalf, please read through the following rules. This will ensure that your merchandise will be handled in an efficient method. Sales must be arranged in advance. Speakers who have not paid the $500 table fee are not allowed to bring merchandise the day of SK7 for Skepticon Organizers to sell on their behalf.

If a speaker chooses to act as a vendor during times they are not fulfilling their speaking obligations, they may staff it and sell their merchandise at their own discretion. However if a speaker wishes to have Skepticon organizers sell merchandise on their behalf we will handle all sales, have a table staffed at all times during SK7 (to the best of our ability), and will promote their merchandise after the speech via scheduled signings.

Skepticon will not buy their books from a publisher in order to be able to sell them at SK7.

Skepticon will take a cut or subtract fees in order to offset any costs associated with their sales.

Books or other merchandise can be mailed ahead of time to the Skepticon Headquarters. We will send an invoice to the speaker on receipt of the merchandise. If the speaker would like to review the invoice for any discrepancies all changes must be made before the start of SK7. (please allow plenty of time for shipment and mail delivery)

Skepticon and it’s organizers are not responsible for any damages incurred in shipping.

We will count inventory after SK7 ends and create a second invoice, and the speaker (or responsible entity) is responsible for signing off on the numbers before we will reimburse for sales made.

Skepticon will ship the merchandise back to any location/publisher if the speaker (or responsible entity) makes arrangements before the end of the event and pays for costs. (this will be subtracted from the sales unless otherwise arranged)

Any merchandise left behind without arrangements for shipping will be considered as a donation to Skepticon. Any funds still left in our possession by 2015 will be considered a donation to Skepticon 8.

If these policies are violated, at our discretion we can elect to not sell merchandise on a speaker’s behalf.

Weapon Threat and/or Active Shooter Policy

Updated May 2, 2014

Skepticon considers a weapon threat to be an expression of an intention to inflict pain or injury via a weapon such as a knife or gun. We do not have to see a weapon to consider it a threat. If an attendee makes a threat of weapon violence to an organizer, volunteer, attendee, speaker, hotel staff, unrelated guest of the hotel, service worker, random person in the lobby, or any other living being they will not be welcome to return to future Skepticon events.

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) defines active shooter as “an individual actively engaged in killing or attempting to kill people in a confined and populated area; in most cases, active shooters use firearm[s] and there is no pattern or method to their selection of victims.”

If the threat of weapon violence becomes real violence, ie. there is an active shooter (or someone with another weapon) that is identified, the Skepticon leadership will do the following:

1.  Notify every one of the shooter’s location.

2.  Call 911 and report

  • Location of shooter
  • Number of shooters
  • Physical description of shooter/s
  • Number and type of weapons
  • Number of potential victims

3.  Direct Skepticon event staff member  in each room to identify a room leader.  The room leader is responsible to make decisions and provide guidance for everyone in their area. The room leader will decide whether to evacuate, hide, or take action against the shooter based on the location of the shooter.

Evacuate:  Select an evacuation route that takes everyone away from the shooter and out of the building. Everyone will need to leave their belongings behind and move quietly and quickly along the route.  The room leader assigns someone to lead the group out.  The room leader is the last to leave.

Hide:  Get into a defensible room and lock or barricade all doors.  Turn out the lights and keep everyone quiet.

Take action against shooter:  This is the least preferred option.  Be loud, aggressive and fast.  Commit to the decision and do not hesitate.  Do the greatest possible damage in the least time.

Much love and credit goes to the great people at Apostacon for all their help creating these new policies!

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