OWHE COMMUNITY CARE GUIDELINES

Oregon Women in Higher Education (OWHE) is dedicated to providing an empowering experience for everyone who participates in our community both in-person and online. Because we respect the dignity of all of our members, value their safety and security, and strive to be an inclusive community, we do not tolerate harassment of members or event participants. Our Community Care Guidelines define the gender-affirming, difference-bridging, discomfort-embracing, vibrant, and challenging but a harassment‐free experience we collectively work to create. We also outline the procedures for addressing issues within our community (online, at the conference, or at other events), should they arise. We believe that We - as a community - keep each other safe, and we’re dedicated to enacting community care in all that we do.

Gender Identity

The experiences of folks with marginalized gender identities remain at the center of OWHE activities and events; this includes women-identifying, gender non-conforming, and folks with gender minorities. Our goal is to elevate the visibility and leadership of our community in an industry where historically we have been underrepresented or invisibilized. Our community is multi-generational, multi-geographic, multi-racial, gender-diverse, and politically dynamic. We are respectful towards all members of our community and expect that respect to be returned.

Roles & Responsibilities of Allies/Accomplices

This community welcomes and challenges allies and accomplices. We believe our work is more effective when we collaborate with allies/accomplices. We accept all gender identities and expressions as full members of our community and at our events as long as they make space for and center the experiences of folks with marginalized gender identities (discussed in the previous paragraph), and their actions fall within these OWHE Community Care Guidelines. We ask that all members reflect on their own social position (e.g., class, language, body, legal status, etc.) and be an ally to people whose identities may not match your own. 

Allyship is about actively reframing knowledge and actively changing power dynamics. Allyship is a working verb, not a passive noun. Please engage these practices:

  1. Learn, even when you feel confused or uncomfortable.

  2. Listen while recognizing the social and informative value and assets of marginalized voices in conversations.

  3. Educate yourself instead of asking others to educate you.

  4. Don’t take credit for ideas originated by people on the front lines.

  5. Act like an ally when no one is watching.

  6. Acknowledge your privilege.

  7. Contribute resources: Time. Money. Knowledge/Information. Visibility. Opportunity.

OWHE Spaces and Events

  1. Are a safer and respectful environment for all participants.

  2. Are a place where people are free to fully express their identities.

  3. Ask participants to presume that everyone’s ideas, skills, and contributions have value.

  4. Ask participants to learn new concepts from people who come from different contexts.

  5. Encourage participants to offer affirmative and augmenting “yes/and” responses.

  6. Encourage participants to actively solicit consent during an interaction.

  7. Encourage members and participants to listen as much as we speak.

  8. Prioritize access for and input from those who have been excluded from leadership.

  9. Prioritize experiential and lived knowledge.

Demographic Data and Community Visibility

OWHE exists to promote and facilitate meaningful connection, personal growth, professional advancement, and systemic change for all Oregon folks in higher education. 

Internally, we use demographic data about our community to understand and optimize the diversity of our programming and community. We highlight the analysis of feedback from historically underserved identities when strategic planning for the future. We share optional demographic data from our membership, including conference registration, at the annual conference. Publicly, we share demographic information from speaker bios, already-public profiles and blogs, recorded talks, and information shared for the purpose of public communication.

An individual may always opt-out of disclosing their demographic data in the conference registration or at any point during their membership experience.

Photography, Video, and Social Media

It is our mission to promote the visibility and leadership of folks and gender-nonconforming people (and our allies) in higher education. We record photographically (and occasionally via video) and share these images online so we can achieve our purpose as an organization. 

Those who do not want to be photographed may excuse themselves from posed group photos and avoid the situations our photographers are recording: stages, microphones, tech demos, and audience Q&A. We also provide stickers to indicate a preference for not being photographed. However, those who are highly concerned about being photographed at the conference may also approach photographers directly to communicate that. We aim to respect each person’s privacy while also representing our community, promoting people, and showcasing the work that we do.

As COVID-19 has changed the way we often connect with each other, members will always be notified if a Zoom session is going to be recorded and will be given the opportunity to turn their video off and/or change their screen name prior to and at any point throughout the recorded session.

How We Define Harassment 

OWHE is dedicated to providing a harassment-free experience for everyone regardless of gender identity and expression, sexual orientation, ability, skillset, physical appearance, body size, race, age, nationality, citizenship status, the experience of colonization, or religion. We do not tolerate harassment of volunteers (including board members), presenters, members, and participants. Our expectation is for all involved with OWHE to actively seek cross-cultural understanding and welcome everyone to learn from interpersonal accidents as we cultivate an understanding of one another’s experiences.

OWHE seeks to provide a harassment-free environment through all of our platforms - in-person and online - including our community slack channels, webinars, online conference, and zoom rooms.  

Harassment includes but is not limited to: racial microaggressions or slurs, dismissive or demeaning verbal, written, or pictorial communication; exhibition of graphic sexual images; deliberate intimidation; stalking; following; “outing” someone (disclosing personal information) without their consent; harassing photography or recording; sustained disruption of talks or other events; inappropriate physical contact; persistent misgendering after pronouns are shared; gender binarism; biological essentialism; unwelcome sexual exhibition or attention; unwarranted exclusion; zoom bombing; and patronizing language or action.

Reporting Harassment:

If you are being harassed, notice that someone else is being harassed, or have any other concerns, please contact an OWHE organizer immediately at conference@owhe.org. You may also reach out to them in person, if you see an OWHE organizer nearby. 

If you cannot reach an organizer and/or it is an emergency, please call 911 and/or remove yourself from the situation.

You can also contact OWHE about harassment at owheboard@owhe.org, and feel free to use the communication template below. The above OWHE email accounts are overseen by the Board of Directors, who are more than happy to directly support you with any questions, comments, or concerns regarding harassment. 

How We Respond to Harassment 

If a participant engages in harassing behavior, the event organizers may take any action they deem appropriate, including warning the offender or expulsion from OWHE events and spaces. OWHE organizers commit to responding as quickly as possible. 

OWHE organizers will be happy to help participants contact hotel/venue security, provide escorts, or otherwise assist those experiencing harassment to feel safe for the duration of the event.

An OWHE Board member or volunteer will be present in all online spaces during the conference to make sure logistics run smoothly. As such, they will practice appropriate interruption within the online context, including muting or removing participants from the zoom room they are in.

OWHE Board members and volunteers acknowledge that we are not always in a position to evaluate a given situation at our conference or in our spaces. However, we are hopeful that by providing these guidelines, we are establishing a community that jointly adheres to these values and can provide an environment that is welcoming to all.

 


Communication Template for Anti-Harassment Reporting 

 

SUBJECT: Harassment alert at {{EVENT NAME}}

 

I am writing because of harassment at an OWHE event, {{NAME, PLACE, DATE OF EVENT}}. {{Please feel free to share any details regarding what behavior was in violation and the circumstances surrounding the incident if this is not time-sensitive; otherwise, please include these details in a follow-up email.}}

 

You can reach me at {{CONTACT INFO}}. Thank you.

Email us at owheboard@owhe.org to help us make our community stronger, and this Code of Conduct even better.

 

These Community Care Guidelines are derived from the Code of Conduct for Lesbians Who Tech.

Connect with Leaders

Networking with women, non-binary, and trans leaders in the state of Oregon will enhance your professional experience. We look forward to creating opportunities to meet, connect and develop together.

Engage in Professional Development

Participate in opportunities for professional growth through educational programs that are provided by our campus contact network right on your campus, in your region or at a state wide gathering. The focus is on providing you with the leadership skills and mentoring necessary to lead.

Lead Change in Higher Education

Higher education in the state of Oregon provides a dynamic environment where women, non-binary, and trans people can impact change. Whether in the community college, 4-year institution, public, or private, we want you to be a part of shaping the future of higher education by empowering and affirming your leadership abilities.