Organizer Resources and Education for a Safer Community

Organizer Resources and Education for a Safer Community

Written by Kelly (kupo!)

1.Introduction to Educational Resources

A lot of tournament organizers (TO’s) started hosting tournaments just so that they could get together with their friends and play games together. Through their efforts they would see their communities grow and thrive, without considering the possible dangers as well. I don’t think any of us realized the scale of responsibility that would go along with hosting tournaments. Recent events have really shown us what can happen if we as organizers are not educated and prepared to prevent and handle tough situations regarding attendee safety. It’s our responsibility to be educated on how to properly protect the minors and most vulnerable in our communities, as well as how to properly address situations where that safety was compromised.

Thanks to Kyle Nolla (aka Dr. Piggy) and the Smash Bros. Code of Conduct team, there is a master folder with a lot of incredibly helpful educational content. These documents provide education on:

  • The purpose of a code of conduct within a community, and what goes into making one
  • Defines the different kinds of sexual misconduct, as well as painting very clearly the definition of consent
  • Identify any potential bias a TO may have towards victims who report sexual misconduct/violence
  • How to identify abuse
  • Common stereotypes and misconceptions around sexual abuse and domestic violence

The full compilation of resources can be found here, but I wanted to highlight some of the most important topics to be educated on, and the corresponding resources.

2.Defining Aspects of Sexual Misconduct

Setting a clear definition for yourself and your community is super important before even forming a code of conduct. This is important for all types of misconduct that is covered in a code of conduct, but it’s especially important when handling allegations for sexual misconduct. This way your community knows clearly what kind of behavior falls into the threshold of misconduct, and helps to keep your community safe. It’s important to have a clear understanding of what qualifies as consent and assault so that you are more equipped to prevent situations from happening. This can also help you to be prepared and educated in order to properly handle allegations.

This document is the sexual misconduct policy for Northwestern University. It’s a great resource to see what an in-depth process looks like to handle sexual misconduct, but I found the “Definition” section the most interesting. It was really helpful to and easy to understand, to see what the definition of important topics such as consent and sexual assault. 

The document defines:

  • Consent
    • Capacity to consent
      • It’s incredibly important to identify what may cause someone to not have the capacity to consent. This document clearly defines different situations where someone may not be able to voluntarily or involuntarily provide consent.
    • Aspects of valid consent
      • It defines valid consent as: “consent is present when clearly understandable words or actions manifest a knowing, active, voluntary, and present and ongoing agreement to engage in specific sexual or intimate contact.” It also provides clear examples of what it means to have knowing, active, voluntary, and present and ongoing agreements. This is a really great resource to reference when handling any allegations so you can have the clearest understanding of what situations are valid consent vs. not. 
  • Sexual misconduct as forms of:
    • Sexual assault
    • Sexual Exploitation
    • Dating/Domestic Violence
    • Sexual Harassment
    • Stalking

This document is a great example of a fleshed out policy to help address sexual misconduct. It should be a great resource for TO’s to reference when creating their code of conduct, but also an educational resource to understand clearly the high level concepts of consent and sexual misconduct. I highly recommend all TO’s to review this document in order to clearly define these concepts for yourself and your community, so you can properly act on reported situations in the future.

3.Identifying Bias & Misconceptions of Sexual Assault

There are a lot of stigmas when it comes to sexual assault, as well as a lot of internal biases you may not realize you have. This document is a great exercise to ask yourself some questions to identify these biases. This document appears to be tips for the prosecution handling a sexual assault case, and the questions they should ask potential jurors to “review the myths and facts about sexual assault, and reacquaint yourself with the preconceived ideas our society members operate out of every day.  Design your voir dire to address, and hopefully dispel, the myths which are affecting your case.”  

It can help you acknowledge and dismantle any internal biases or misconceptions you may have.

For a more thorough deep dive of the myths including sources and education, I recommend Judges Speak on Ruling Sexual Assault Cases. This document covers what judges wish they had known before ruling over sexual assault cases. It describes and debunks common myths and misconceptions, with a lot of sources to look into as well. I would view this as required reading for anyone handling allegations of assault in their community.

4.Code of Conduct Training

Beyond educating themselves on sexual misconduct and the myths about them, TO’s should also spend time learning about the code of conduct process itself. None of us when we become TO’s are trained on how to create and enforce a code of conduct, or how to properly handle incoming reports. It is incredibly important to make sure that TO’s are handling reports quickly and professionally.

Before you can even create a code of conduct for your community, it’s important to understand its purpose and goal. At the end of the day, a code of conduct is meant to protect the most vulnerable of the community, and is not a method to punish someone for their actions. It’s also important to properly educate yourself on how to handle code of conduct reports in a way that is not harmful to anyone involved. 

These resources are incredibly important because not only will they help communities create codes of conduct, it will also provide adequate training and guidance on how to enforce it as well. Just creating a code of conduct is not enough – it’s important to consistently and publicly enforce it. 

5.Keeping You Community Safe

I again want to thank Kyle Nolla and the rest of the Smash Bros. Code of Conduct panel team for putting in an amazing amount of time and effort towards compiling these documents and providing resources for the organizer community at large. I highly recommend all organizers do their due diligence and read through as many of these resources as possible in order to properly foster a safe and welcoming environment for our communities. You can view the full SSB Code of Conduct as a resource here, and the short summary here.

6.Additional Resources

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