Conferences bring a large group of diverse people together. Even though we all have a love of costumes in common, we come from varying backgrounds. Remember that someone that you see only once or twice a year or have only just met, may have a different comfort level – verbally, visually, and physically – than you do.
SAFETY ISSUES FOR CONVENTIONS
By Howard LaBore, retired Sgt/Hostage Negotiator SDPD
We want everyone to have a safe and enjoyable time at Costume College. The world has become unpredictable as people are acting out in violent manners due to domestic and terror related issues. Large venues can be targets of these events. Your leadership wanted to share ideas with you in case an event like this happens at Costume College or any gathering you may be attending.
If you are in a situation:
1. RUN: Know where the exits are at the event and have several different escape routes in mind in case your 1st choice is blocked. Once you have reached a safe place away from the incident, call “911” and give Law Enforcement any information that could help First Responders (location, number of suspect(s), suspect(s) description, weapons, any injuries).
2. HIDE & BARRICADE: If you are unable to exit safely, find a room that can be locked from the inside. Put furniture/items blocking the door. Turn off the lights. Turn off cell phones. Be quiet. Wait till Law Enforcement arrives to escort you to safety.
3. FIGHT: If confronted with a person trying to harm you, you need to fight for your life. Use anything available to defend/protect yourself (chairs, books, lamps). Control the hand with the weapon. Work as a team to control the suspect. We have not received any threats against our group and do not anticipate you needing to use these tactics but they are good safety precautions to keep in mind. Have a great time at Costume College.
–Your Leadership Team.
All Costume College attendees under the age of 18 must present signed permission from a parent or guardian to attend. If under the age of 16, the attendee must be accompanied by an adult to all classes.
Minors who are 16 or 17 do not need to have an adult attend all the same classes with them, but a parent or guardian must be at the hotel at all times while the minor is in the hotel.
If a parent or guardian of a minor needs to or decides to attend all the same classes as their minor, they must also be a registered student. Please inform the Student Liaison at firstname.lastname@example.org to let them know (so that you can be grouped together for all Limited classes and tours).
Any attendee under 18 who wishes to attend a Tour must be accompanied by an adult (additional fees will apply).
Any action or behavior that causes significant interference with convention operations, excessive discomfort to other attendees, or adversely affects the convention’s relationship with its guests, its venues or the public is strictly forbidden and may result in permanent suspension of membership.
—What is harassment? —
Harassment is generally any behavior that causes discomfort or alarms or threatens another person or group. Here are some examples of harassment:
~Offensive verbal comments about sex, pregnancy, gender, gender identity, gender expression, sexual orientation, sexuality, or marital status.
~Offensive verbal comments about physical or mental disability, physical appearance, or body size.
~Offensive verbal comments about race, color, ancestry, national origin or religion.
~Offensive verbal comments about age, genetic characteristics, or a history or diagnosis of cancer. (The characteristics listed in these four bullet points are the “protected characteristics.”)
~Sustained disruption of classes, talks or other events.
~Leering, staring or suggestive gestures.
~Stalking or following someone around a public area without their consent.
~Repeated requests for dates or requests for sexual favors.
~Showing sexual images or carrying out sexual activities in public spaces.
~Epithets, slurs, negative stereotyping, offensive jokes or offensive visual materials related to a protected characteristic.
~Any written, visual, or graphic material that denigrates or shows hostility or aversion to an individual or group because of a protected characteristic.
~Photographing or recording someone when you have been asked not to.
~Uninvited physical contact, including touching, grabbing, patting, pinching, hugging, kissing.
~Threatening to physically attack someone.
~Graphic verbal commentaries about an individual’s body, sexually degrading words used to describe an individual, or obscene letters, notes, or invitations.
~Harassing communications via letters, phone calls, e-mails, text messaging or social media.
~Prohibited harassment includes gender-based harassment of an individual of the same sex as the harasser.
WHAT DO I DO IF I AM BEING HARASSED?
In some cases, you may find the harassment stops if you clearly say ‘no’ or ‘please leave me alone’, or simply walk away. We would appreciate it if a Costume College Committee or CGW Board member was informed right away to help us identify any repeat offenders.
If you continue to be harassed, don’t hesitate to ask for the Dean or the President. We will mediate the situation, help you contact venue security or law enforcement, or otherwise assist you to feel safe during the conference.
Costume College will not retaliate against an individual for coming forward with a complaint of harassment.
—What should I do if I see someone else being harassed? —
Ask the person being harassed if they are okay. Offer to help them find an appropriate board or committee member to report the problem to or stay with them while someone else finds help. During the registration process on site, look for the photos of board and committee members, so you will know who can help in case such a need arises.
—What can I do if someone accuses me of harassment? —
Participants asked to stop harassing behavior must comply immediately. If someone makes a complaint against you, listen, and be aware that your actions may not have come off as you intended them. If this has occurred, be prepared to apologize, sincerely and without qualifiers. Please understand that, in such a situation, the safety of guests is the highest priority.
When you are in classes, you don’t need to wear a costume, as they can be a distraction to other students and keep you from getting the most out of your class. Dress for comfort. It is always recommended that you have a sweater, jacket, or wrap. Hotels can get very cold.
When donning a costume or deciding what to wear to an event, in the hallways, and public spaces, try to think of Costume College as a PG-13 event.
Costume College engages several professional photographers who act in an official capacity for the convention. Official Roving Photographers take candid pictures at events, classes, and in public spaces. Official Event Photographers take posed portraits of attendees in a designated area. Candid photos are available after the convention and digital copies are included as part of your registration fee. Posed portrait prints are available on demand at the event for a small fee.
As at any public event, photographs of participants and their guests are taken and posted online. There are so many people taking photos that there is a real possibility that your photograph may be taken by Costume College photographers or attendees and thereafter posted on the Web. By attending Costume College, you give your consent to the posting of such photographs by us or others and waive all rights and claims with respect to the posting of such photographs.
While we have no control over other peoples’ websites, Costumer’s Guild West, Inc. does not list names with the photos on our website. If you would like a photo posted on the Costume College or CGW website removed, please contact the Web Team at email@example.com and it will be taken down.
It is harassment to continue to photograph someone who specifically asks you not to take photographs of them or their belongings. If someone asks you not to take such a photo, please comply with their request. For more information regarding our harassment policies see our harassment policy.
Unofficial photographers (that is, photographers not officially engaged by Costume College) are allowed at the event. Unofficial photography is limited to the public areas of the convention with the exception of the marketplace. No unofficial/professional photography is allowed in the marketplace due to space/crowd flow issues. Unofficial photography may not disrupt events or impede the flow of foot traffic. Unofficial photographers may not monopolize areas intended to be used as photo ops by all attendees.
Unofficial photographers are not required to purchase registration to Costume College, although they are welcome to do so. An unofficial photographer who has paid registration is welcome to enjoy the event but must follow our general event policies. Unofficial photographers with paid registration may take pictures inside classrooms for personal use only, and then only with the express permission of the individual teacher. An unofficial photographer without paid registration may operate in Costume College’s public spaces only.
Unofficial photographers may not use any equipment other than their camera such as tripods, stand lights, free standing light rings, etc. while taking photographs at Costume College.
Unofficial photographers may not charge money at Costume College or in the hotel for their pictures, though they may hand out business cards to attendees. No financial transactions for goods or services may take place between attendees (whether registered or not) onsite.
Unofficial photographers may be asked to cease taking photos or to leave at any time.
These policies are subject to change at any time without notice.
Costumes sometimes come in the form of characters with weapons, and in many cases, these weapons look quite real. Convention operations prefers that these items be peace bonded. A peace bond is a very visible lock or tie on a realistic looking weapon to make clear to security and to police that it is not intended to be used for violent purposes. The peace bond will usually come in the form of a zip tie over the trigger such that it couldn’t be pulled or holding a bladed weapon in the sheath. If you have a costume with a realistic-looking weapon, please stop into Ops to have them check it.
~All weapons must conform to state and federal law.
~All weapons must be non-functional.
~Weapons may not be pointed at another person except in a non-threatening manner for the purposes of exhibition or photographs.
~Weapons or Costumes that are deemed by Ops to be a safety hazard for any reason will be banned.
~Use of a weapon in an inappropriate, negligent, or threatening manner is forbidden and may result in suspension of membership.