Incident Response Policy
About our Policy
Chicago Rope has established a set of guiding principles and specific procedures for dealing with situations where a member of our community reports feeling harmed or threatened by another individual. As a group whose focus is education, our approach is different from that of many other institutions. We are not an enforcement or policing organization. Our role in the community is not to conduct investigations, arbitrate disputes, or administer justice. Our staff are not formally trained in mediation or therapy, and we are not in a position to intervene in conflicts that might arise in the context of interpersonal relationships.
In addition to this policy, Chicago Rope has other policies regarding the conduct of attendees, staff, and instructors at our events. Participation in any of the educational opportunities afforded by Chicago Rope requires informed consent to all of our policies and an agreement to assume the risks associated with the activities that take place at our events.
This policy is subject to change as our organizational needs evolve. The handling of any report taken by Chicago Rope will be governed by the policy in existence at the time the report was initiated, unless all parties agree to use the most current version of this policy.
Our guiding principles are:
- To maintain a positive, inclusive, and encouraging learning environment where students feel comfortable.
- To ensure that all parties are treated fairly and with respect and dignity.
- To support our community members as they grow in their understanding. We believe that education is a process and that in order for it occur, people must be given an opportunity to learn from their actions.
In practice, there may be incidents when these principles appear to be odds with each other. Our goal in every case will be to seek a resolution in which all parties feel that their needs have been recognized, addressed, or met. If this proves to be impossible, we will attempt to strike the best balance possible, taking into account the facts available, the expressed needs of the persons involved, and our own organizational mission.
There are several ways in which a report can be submitted. These include one or more of the following: a written report, a verbal report, and an audio or video recording. Written and recorded reports may be submitted via email to email@example.com, through our website contact form, or to any individual staff member through their email address listed on our staff page. Please clearly indicate that you are submitting an official report in your message. We can accept anonymous reports submitted through these channels.
If you wish to file a verbal report, our staff will coordinate with you to arrange a meeting in which at least two Chicago Rope staff members are present. Each staff member will independently take notes. If all parties agree, the meeting may be recorded. The reporting party is free to choose whichever staff members they feel most comfortable with, subject to our staff member’s scheduling availability and willingness to serve in this capacity. A staff member who is selected may recuse themself for any reason. If this happens, the reporting party may choose another staff member in their place. The reporter may elect to have a mediator or other support person present, however this cannot be a person who is also filing a corroborating report. In cases where multiple people are filing reports about the same individual, each person’s report must be filed independently.
Note that simply having a conversation with a Chicago Rope staff member does not constitute the filing of an official report. Our staff members often interact with other community members outside of their official capacities, and their actions in these situations do not represent Chicago Rope as an organization.
Privacy and Disclosure
The contents of a report submitted to us will be kept private and will only be shared with Chicago Rope staff. Prior to filing a report, the reporting party is entitled to know who on our staff will have access to the report. The reporter may request that their report not be shared with certain members of our staff. If a Chicago Rope staff member is involved in a report as either the reporter or the subject, then that staff member will be recused from acting on behalf of Chicago Rope in its response to the report.
As part of our response to a report, we may request permission to disclose some or all of the contents of a report to the subject or to other parties. This disclosure will never occur without the express consent of the reporting party. We may also request more information from the reporter, the subject, or other sources. At any point, any party may opt out of the process or choose to stop providing information. If this happens, Chicago Rope will proceed on the basis of the information that has already been shared with us.
We take all reports seriously. In some cases, Chicago Rope may take the preliminary step of temporarily asking one or more parties involved in an incident not to attend our events while we seek further information. This step is not punitive and does not represent a finding of guilt or wrongdoing. Instead, it is intended to protect all parties and ensure that we are maintaining a safe environment for our attendees.
As an educational organization, Chicago Rope’s response to a report will be primarily focused on helping our community grow through fostering greater understanding. We will attempt to work with all parties to reach a satisfactory resolution that allows us to maintain a safe and inclusive learning environment and to ensure that everyone involved is heard and respected.
We will always start our response with a conversation. In most cases, Chicago Rope will begin by contacting the person identified in the report and letting them know about the concerns. While we can accept reports where the reporter does not consent to us informing the subject of the existence of their report, this will limit our available responses. In such cases, the report can only serve as supplemental information for us in addition to our own independent observations. We cannot take any action based solely on a report that we are not able to discuss with the subject of the report.
At the request of any party involved, Chicago Rope can communicate that the parties should not interact with each other at our events. Other possible responses that we may take will be based on our evaluation of the situation along with our ongoing conversations with all parties involved. Some of these options include restricting someone from engaging in certain activities at our events or requiring them to seek out additional education on a relevant subject. This education may be offered by Chicago Rope staff or by outside sources. We may ask that documentation be provided that this process has occurred or that a minimum standard of understanding be demonstrated prior to reaching a resolution or lifting a restriction.
This is not an exhaustive list of possibilities, and other alternatives may be considered where appropriate. If repeated attempts to reach a satisfactory resolution fail, as a last resort, Chicago Rope reserves the option to temporarily or permanently remove someone from our community.
Appeal and Review
Our decisions will always remain open to review and appeal. We recognize that individuals, understandings, and the needs of communities are all subject to change. In the case of a review or an appeal, the original reporter(s) may be contacted by staff to follow-up, unless they have requested otherwise.
Questions and Assistance
If you have any questions about this policy or how it is implemented, or need assistance in filing a report, please feel free to reach out to Chicago Rope at firstname.lastname@example.org or via our contact form on our website. We are happy to answer any questions you may have and to connect you with a staff member that can help walk you through any part of this process.