The purpose of the safer spaces policy is to establish an environment in which everyone feels secure and confident to contribute to FACE activities in whatever way they can. While it is not possible for FACE to create a space that is entirely free from oppression or conflict, we should all work towards creating an environment that is as close as possible to this ideal. Everyone should bear in mind a few things in order to contribute to FACE as a ‘safer space’.
If we profess to be concerned about issues of race, gender, class, and sexuality, etc., we need to live our lives in a way that proactively seeks to subvert prejudice, to undermine the very possibility that someone will feel discriminated against. This means treating people equally and respecting that everyone has something to contribute. It means not being tokenistic. This policy acknowledge the subtle (and not-so-subtle) forms of racism, ageism, sexism, ableism, classism and other forms of prejudice within our own spaces and to tackle them head-on.
(a) At meetings
The agreement is that participants will:
- Respect people’s physical and emotional boundaries.
- Always get explicit verbal consent before touching someone or crossing personal boundaries.
- Be responsible for your own actions. Be aware that your actions do have an effect on others.
- If someone is upset or offended by your actions, you need to take personal responsibility for this, regardless of whether the harm was intended.
- Take responsibility for your own safety, and get help if you need it. Safer Space Reps will be elected to act as points of contact for anyone who wants assistance. These reps will have a special responsibility for monitoring safer space issues but all FACE activists should share a general responsibility for implementing this policy.
- Children are welcome at FACE meetings and events. Participants should be aware that children may be in the space, and that their safety needs to be ensured.
- Racism, as well as ageism, homophobia, sexism, transphobia, ableism, prejudice or discrimination based on ethnicity, nationality, class, gender, gender presentation, language ability, asylum status or religious affiliation is unacceptable and will be challenged.
- FACE should endeavour to actively encourage and facilitate the participation of people who might be targets of these prejudices.
- While discussions in FACE meetings may sometimes be contentious on political questions, activists should communicate in a way which is in keeping with the values set out in this document. Discussions should be comradely and respectful regardless of political or strategic differences. Disagreement should not be personalised.
(b) Online communication
Please read the basic information about FACE that you receive on signing onto the FACE email lists, before you post anything on the list. We expect everyone who subscribes to one or more of our lists to comply with the guidelines outlined above, as well as the extra email-specific provisions set out below. The aim of these rules is to make sure that online communication is respectful and remains focused on our joint struggle against casualisation in education.
1. Messages should be relevant to the group.
2. Individuals can use the lists to post information and updates about campaigns they are involved in if these campaigns are relevant to casualisation in education and if there are good reasons to post about these issues on our lists.
3. Please include accessibility details when posting information about events.
4. Try limiting emails, and be aware how much you are posting.
5. Do not forward emails or activist information to non-activists without permission from the author. (This does not apply to public information or announcements.)
6. Private emails do not belong on this forum. DO NOT post messages intended for an individual on the list. If using ‘Reply to Sender’ in response to list mail, check whether the original sender’s name appears in the To: line of your reply.
7. In order to reduce the volume of mail on the larger network list, we encourage working groups to set up own email lists to discuss issues relating to the work in these groups.
8. Although we encourage discussion and constructive criticism, we don’t want lengthy, heated, conflictual discussion on our email lists. FACE mainly operates through our monthly meetings, so unless there is a reason (for example, urgency), activists should consider bringing contentious discussions or concerns about safer spaces to a meeting if possible.
9. Harassment is not permitted. Sending harassing messages is not only unacceptable, it may be illegal.
If the agreement is not adhered to
A space should be inclusive of every individual where possible. Where conflicts arise, in the first instance FACE is committed to conflict resolution over expulsion of activists. Where safer spaces are persistently or seriously breached, and there is clear consensus among other activists present, then this could lead activists being excluded as a last resort. An exception to this approach is if any individual or group engages in violence at a FACE event: they will be immediately excluding themselves. The FACE organising committee will ask them to remove themselves from the email lists and from all FACE activities.