Safer Spaces Policy

Updated 2021-07-25

Preamble

Motor City Swing is committed to maintaining a dance community that is safe, inclusive, and respectful.

Maintaining this environment is the responsibility of the whole community. Therefore, all MCS attendees are required to follow our Code of Conduct at all times. Keep in mind that this code is not a set of guidelines, it is a set of enforceable rules. By attending an event hosted by MCS, you agree to follow the Code of Conduct and abide by this Safer Spaces Policy.

Note that in addition to the Code of Conduct, we have a set of Class Rules that are in force during all MCS classes. Like the Code, these are rules, not guidelines.

Terms and Definitions

The following terminology applies throughout this document:

  • “Motor City Swing”, “MCS”, and “we” refer to Motor City Swing LLC.
  • “Attendees” and “you” refer to any person present at any event hosted by Motor City Swing.
  • The board is the governing body of Motor City Swing.
  • Officers are individuals who have been authorized by the board to oversee a specific event on behalf of Motor City Swing. They have the authority and responsibility to enforce all MCS rules and policies throughout the event. All board members are also officers.

Unless otherwise noted, all responsibilities of MCS will be carried out by the board, the Safer Spaces Director, and/or the presiding officer of an event.

Policies and Procedures

The rules that all attendees must follow are defined in our Code of Conduct. The remainder of this Safer Spaces Policy details our procedures for enforcing those rules.

Reporting a problem

Regardless of the severity, please feel free to bring your conduct-related concerns to any officer of Motor City Swing. If you are unsure who the officers are at an event, any of our volunteers (including instructors, DJs, and welcome desk volunteers) will be able to tell you.

We will address these issues with the strictest confidentiality. Your courage in coming forward can keep incidents from being repeated.

What you can expect if you bring an issue to us:

  • Complete confidentiality (unless we believe that someone is in immediate/direct danger). Specifically, this means we will not disclose your identity, the identity of the accused person, or the nature of the complaint to anyone outside of the board and the officer to whom the complaint was made.
  • The officer will fill out an internal and confidential incident report (description of the event).
  • You will be asked how you would like the situation to be handled (see the next section for how we will handle these issues).

No action will be taken against the accused without the approval of the complainant, unless it is a matter of immediate danger or if multiple people have reported the same person.

Enforcement procedures

In the event of a violation of our Code of Conduct, the violator will be handled in any of the following ways:

  • Watched but not approached (i.e. we keep an eye on them)
  • Spoken to about their behavior
  • Removed from the event
  • Temporarily banned from MCS events
  • Permanently banned from MCS events
  • Reported to local law enforcement

The decision of which action to take will be made at our discretion, but we will always make an effort to use the least-severe approach that will still resolve the problem.

Additionally, we reserve the following rights:

  • We may report any person who has violated our policies to the leaders of other organizations, so they can be prepared to handle the situation appropriately if that person attends any of their events. If this is necessary, it will be done in strictest confidentiality: in particular, we will not disclose the identity of complainants.
  • We may preemptively ban any person from attending MCS events based on information we have received about their behavior from other organizations. MCS may choose to contact the accused and inform them of the decision ahead of time but is not obligated to do so.

Appeals

If you feel you have been treated unfairly in any Safer Spaces enforcement, you may request that the board review your case by contacting a Motor City Swing board member or contacting MCS directly. You will be asked to provide an account of the incident and why you believe your treatment was unfair.

The board will review the case by our next regularly scheduled meeting (usually within one month); any sanctions or penalties imposed will remain in effect until that time. The board’s decision on the case is final and may not be appealed.

Our responsibilities and limitations

Motor City Swing can and will involve itself in all of the conduct issues listed above, particularly if they occur at our events. We cannot, however, get involved in interpersonal issues and feuds. Furthermore, it is important for complainants to understand that, while we take action on issues of harassment, we cannot act as a personal support network, we are not trained therapists or social workers, and we need to spend the bulk of our time running Motor City Swing.

Credit

We would like to thank the Mobtown Ballroom in Baltimore, MD for their detailed, comprehensive Code of Conduct. Many of our rules and procedures are inspired by their document.