Code of Conduct

The Code of Conduct Committee

In order to make our community and events safer, more inclusive, and more transparent, members of the POrtalBurn Board of Directors (BOD) developed a Code of Conduct. Prior to the implementation of a Code of Conduct Committee (CoCC), the Board addressed conduct issues directly based on participants' requests for involvement. After POrtalBurn 2017 it became evident that a more transparent, official, and community driven process was necessary for addressing conduct issues. The call was made for volunteers to form a Conduct Committee with a minimum of three people, and a maximum of seven. The Board took the initiative to develop the initial Code of Conduct to help ensure that, at a minimum, it would support continuation of the event. Any further development of the Code of Conduct continues to be committee driven, with approval by the Board. Board approval is required to ensure any potential legal concerns are addressed appropriately.

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The following POrtalBurn Code of Conduct is applicable to all participants. The POrtalBurn BOD may, at their discretion, ban individuals or take other actions for reasons outside of those listed here.

  1. POrtalBurn is guided by the Ten Principles of Burning Man.
  2. At all events organized by POrtalBurn, participants are responsible for their own behavior and resolving their own issues. If a participant does not feel they can resolve their issue, they are encouraged to ask a Ranger for assistance in determining how to resolve the issue.
  3. POrtalBurn strongly encourages behaving in a manner that allows other participants to feel, and be safe.POrtalBurn will not tolerate any behavior that jeopardizes its ability to hold the annual burn and other community events.
  4. POrtalBurn encourages radical self expression and welcomes the stranger, and we share an expectation that all participants will work to create a space that is welcoming for everyone.

    Examples of behavior that are unacceptable include but are not limited to:

    1. Consent Violations - touching someone without their permission, taking photographs of someone without their permission, adding substances to someone's food or drink without their permission, etc.
    2. Stalking/Harassment/Intimidation/Threatening - if someone tells you to leave them alone, respect that. Don't follow them around or continue to talk to them.
    3. Endangering Others - failing to stay outside the safety perimeter during a burn, failing to supervise minors in your care, violating the fire safety guidelines, reckless operation of motor vehicles, etc.
    4. Theft or Intentional Destruction of Property - if it's not yours, and it's not clear that it's a gift, either leave it alone or turn it in to lost and found. POrtalBurn has a variety of artwork, including interactive pieces, for the community to enjoy; don't intentionally damage any of it.
    5. Hate Speech and/or Discrimination - No one principle can exist at the expense of the other. For example, your radical self expression does not supersede radical inclusion. If you don't understand this by now, you will experience radical exclusion.
Here is a fun video that will help explain consent.

If you would like to report a violation please select link below

Reports received before October 1st will be addressed by the CoC Committee active during that year's event. Reports received between October 1st and December 31st will be held for the next year's CoC Committee to address.

The Conduct Committee is guided by the POrtalBurn Code of Conduct, which was established by the Board. Our mission is to provide the community with a vehicle to address conduct issues they feel are detrimental to the well being of our participants, and ensure the community&pos;s ability to hold our annual Festival and other events. The responsibilities of the Conduct Committee include:
  • Refine the process for investigation of reports under our Code of Conduct
  • Suggest changes, when needed, to the Code of Conduct to the Board of Directors
  • Investigate reports in a thorough, confidential, and respectful manner
  • Resolve reports by making recommendations to the Board of Directors
The Conduct Committee priorities are:

  • Event Sustainability
  • Participant Safety
  • Confidentiality
  • Clear Process
  • Communication
Conduct Committee members will review applications for new committee members, vet applicants by soliciting community feedback, and request approval by the Board of Directors before accepting new members.

Types of reports and complaints that are handled by the Conduct Committee will include: non-consensual dosing, threats of violence, sexual assault, physical assault, abuse of power, and unsafe behaviors at POrtalBurn events that threaten event safety and continuity.

We ask that applicants be able to dedicate the time necessary to address reported issues, and to actively participate in scheduled Conduct Committee meetings.
The Conduct Committee, established Spring of 2018, is served by a dedicated group of volunteers that have been vetted by the Board of Directors with input from the POrtalBurn community, and will sign a confidentiality agreement in order to receive and investigate reports of misconduct at a POrtalBurn event.

The annual committee selection process:

  • Step 1: Call for next year&pos;s candidates after the AfterBurn report is completed. Requirements for consideration include:
    • Must have attended POrtalBurn in the last 2 years
    • Must not currently be banned, suspended, or sanctioned
    • Each candidate provides a statement to aide the initial vetting process
    • Two weeks allotted for candidate submissions
  • Step 2: Existing CoC Committee selects nominees
  • Step 3: Solicitation for community feedback
    • The CoC Committee makes a public post requesting community feedback and input
    • Two weeks allotted for feedback
  • Step 4: CoC Committee selects committee members taking community feedback into consideration, and BOD reviews and approves those selections.

    • The BOD recommends considering a process that includes a community vote for new committee members. The founding committee cannot identify a reliable system for community voting; if one is found in the future, that committee will determine the value of implementing a community vote for new committee members and the process used.
While details of any investigations or names of those involved will not be published by the CoC Committee, an annual report will be published, keeping the community informed of (at a minimum):
  • The number and types of reports submitted for investigation
  • An anonymized summary of the CoC Committee decisions and actions taken on reports submitted for investigation
Our responsibilities are to:
  • Document each incident report
  • Determine whether a report is actionable
  • Develop enough of an understanding of the situation that a recommendation can be made to the BOD, if needed

The goal is NOT to determine guilt or innocence. All incidents will be investigated in a timely manner following the event. That said, everyone on the COCC is a volunteer and it sometimes takes a while to thoroughly speak with all people involved and involves complex subject matter. If a report has been submitted, check-ins on the status of the report are welcome. POrtalBurn and all POrtalBurn events abide by New York State law and must report any incidents that endanger the welfare of children.

Typical Step by step procedure

  1. When the POrtalBurnIncident Report Form is submitted, COCC leads are notified of the report.
  2. A COCC Lead then contacts the reporter to verify the content and assure them that their confidentiality and anonymity is protected under signed contract.
  3. The COCC then discusses the report and determines an appropriate course of investigation.
  4. The COCC lead will contact the reporter to explain possible next steps and possible outcomes to the reporter.
    • If the reporter does not want the Investigators to interview the reportee (the person the report is about) the case will be archived, and no recommendation will be made to the BOD regarding this report. Should the COCC receive other reports about the same person the reporter in this case may be contacted for follow up.
    • Investigators may talk with the subject of the report if that is requested and warranted.
    • Investigators may also consult with character witnesses such as other event hosts, and follow up
      any leads of similar behaviors to establish if there is a larger pattern.
    • If the reporter is anonymous the report will be reviewed and archived.
  5. Investigators bring the results of their investigation back to the COCC for consensus on a recommendation.
  6. The COCC recommends action(s) to the BOD such as:
    • Provide an official warning
    • Bar a participant from volunteering in particular capacities or in any capacity.
    • Ban from POrtalBurn events for either one year or indefinitely.
    • Archive the information and recommend no action.
  7. Upon receiving a recommendation, the BOD may:
    • Accept the recommendation
    • Request further detail or additional investigation
    • Pursue a different course of action
  8. BOD representatives contact the reportee with an official notice
  9. The COCC contacts the reporter to notify them of the BOD&pos;s action