With very little comment, here are the results of the Code of Conduct survey, which sought responses from ALA Conference attendees. I asked ten questions, referring to experiences with ALA Code of Conduct violations at conferences. The violations could occur before or after the dawn of the CoC. Responses were anonymous. I never saw anyone’s name or place of work or ALA division or any other identifying information (unless the person insisted on including it, which happened in some cases. I will not include these specifics in upcoming posts). According to Survey Monkey, I received 321 responses.
Many of the questions were taken directly from the Code of Conduct itself. Wording and phrases that some respondents described as “vague” were often cut-and-pasted from the CoC. For example, many survey-users asked for me to define “harassment”, but I deliberately used the wording from the actual CoC. I added very little embellishment or clarification. I admittedly botched questions 5+6, regarding the treatment of those who speak at ALA panels and the like. I was trying to cover every term and phrase that the CoC mentioned, but I should have approached the questions in a different manner. Sadly, once the first person answers your survey, Survey Monkey no longer allows you to edit your questions. My apologies. I did glean some good anecdotes from questions 5+6, but I won’t be sharing the statistics from those questions as they’re unhelpful and irrelevant.
For those who hadn’t seen the original survey, I will now post the questions (even my botched 5+6), followed by a series of charts (some by Survey Monkey, one by me as I try to pick out common themes in the user-submitted anecdotes).
- Sexual orientation
- Gender Identity
- Gender expression
- I haven’t experience or witnessed any harassment or intimidation
- Other (please specify)
3. Have you experienced sexual harassment at an ALA conference? (required)
c. No, but I have witnessed an attendee being sexually harassed
4. If you answered yes to the above question, how did the sexual harassment manifest itself? Check all that apply.
- Unwelcome sexual attention
- Physical stalking
- Virtual stalking
- Unsolicited physical contact
- Other (please specify)
5. As a speaker at ALA (whether in a panel or a meeting), have you been yelled at or threatened? (Here’s the botched question. If I had asked it differently, I would have gotten some numbers that would actually be helpful. But I didn’t.)
c. No, but I have witnessed the above scenario
6. If you have answered yes to the above question, please describe the scenario.
7. While attending an ALA conference, if you have been harassed (sexually or otherwise), intimidated, touched against your will, threatened, stalked, or have experienced any sort of scenario that has made you feel uncomfortable or unsafe, OR you have witnessed such a situation, did you report your situation to ALA staff? (Respondents could check as many as they wished)
- Yes, but no one responded
- Yes, and action was taken by ALA staff
- No, but I contacted local law enforcement or an organization (a hotline or something similar)
- No, but I confronted the harasser
- No, but someone else confronted the harasser
- No, because I did not know who to contact
- No, because the situation felt unsafe
- Other (please specify)
8. If you have experienced a situation at an ALA conference that made you feel unsafe or uncomfortable, but it has not been described in the above questions, please elaborate in the comment box. Answers will, of course, be kept anonymous.
9. If you have felt unsafe at an ALA conference, has it discouraged you from attending further conferences?
10. What do you think the American Library Association could do to better address harassment at conferences?
And now, the numbers:
I made this chart regarding the individual responses of Q10: “What do you think the American Library Association could do to better address harassment at conferences?”:
Most of the responses fell into the “other” pile at 35.78%. Next, at 22.04%, respondents mentioned making the reporting of CoC incidents easier. Over 10% of respondents wanted there to be consequences for the actions of harassers. 6.42% talked about the need for signage about the CoC and/or a visible number to call when CoC violations occur. Nearly 12% called for security or a visible ALA staff presence (i.e., ALA staff with easily visible name-tags or the like). 2.75% thought that the presence of one or more “safe spaces” might be helpful. 6.42% mentioned having anti-harassment/harassment prevention training for ALA conference attendees. Over 3% of responses simply stated that they, nor anyone they know, have ever seen a CoC violation.
In following blog posts, I’ll explore some of the actual comments submitted by conference attendees. I will also discuss possible next steps for ALA, its members, and others who attend conferences.
~Love and Libraries, Ingrid