Log in

Have an account? Log in above.

Want an account? Join Us 

  • Home
  • Anti-Harassment and Bullying

‚ÄčSelect Bylaws Policies and Statements to return to the other selections.

Broad Universe
Anti-harassment and Bullying Policy

Policy Statement
Broad Universe is committed to fostering a harassment-free environment where all Supporters are treated with respect and dignity. Harassment is a form of discrimination that is offensive, impairs morale, undermines the integrity of Broad Universe's mission and causes serious harm to the productivity, efficiency and stability of our organization.
All Broad Universe supporters have a right to interact in an environment free from discrimination and harassing conduct, including sexual harassment and bullying. Harassment on the basis of a supporter's race, color, creed, ancestry, national origin, age, ethnicity, religion, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, physical attributes, physical or mental ability or disability, status in the military, marital status, gender identity or expression, sex, sexual orientation, social, economic or family status is expressly prohibited under this policy. Many of these subjects are also illegal under Section 111.31-111.39, Wisconsin Statutes where Broad Universe is incorporated.
Not all interpersonal conflict or disagreements will constitute harassment. Supporters can and will disagree with each other, often vehemently. However, a deliberate pattern of harassment at Broad Universe will not be tolerated. Supporters who are found to have harassed another individual may be subject to disciplinary action and/or expulsion. This includes any Supporter who: interferes with the resolution of a harassment complaint; retaliates against an individual for filing a harassment complaint; or files an unfounded harassment complaint intended to cause harm.

This policy applies to all current Supporters of Broad Universe and applies to all behavior that is connected to Broad Universe's activities, including within the Broad Universe online and in-person spaces and activities, including but not limited to forums, meetings, trainings, workshops, parties, luncheons and dinners, conferences, forums, convention dealers room tables, Rapid Fire Readings, business trips, or other Broad Universe-sponsored activities or any online or physical space facilitated by Broad Universe.


Harassment is:

  • Intentionally offending or humiliating someone physically or verbally;
  • Threatening or intimidating someone; or
  • Making unwelcome jokes or comments about someone’s race, color, creed, ancestry, national origin, age, ethnicity, religion, gender, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, physical attributes, physical or mental ability or disability, status in the military, marital status, gender identity, sex, sexual orientation, social, economic or family status.

Sexual harassment is:

  • Offensive or humiliating behavior that is related to a person’s sex, gender orientation, gender identity or expression, or physical appearance;
  • Behavior of a sexual nature that creates an intimidating, unwelcome, hostile or offensive environment;
  • Behavior of a sexual nature that could reasonably be thought to put sexual conditions on a supporter's opportunities;
  • Inappropriate physical contact that may be perceived as 'sexual' in nature;
  • Unwelcome sexual attention.

Bullying is:

  • Deliberate or intentional behavior using words or actions, intended to cause fear, intimidation, or harm.
  • May be repeated behavior and involves an imbalance of power.
  • The behavior may be motivated by an actual or perceived distinguishing characteristic, such as, but not limited to: race, color, creed, ancestry, national origin, age, ethnicity, religion, gender, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, physical attributes, physical or mental ability or disability, status in the military, marital status, gender identity, sex, sexual orientation, social, economic or family status.
  • Bullying behavior can be:
    • Physical (e.g. assault, hitting or punching, kicking, theft, threatening behavior)
    • Verbal (e.g. threatening or intimidating language, teasing or name-calling, racist remarks)
    • Indirect (e.g. spreading cruel rumors, intimidation through gestures, social exclusion and sending insulting messages or pictures by mobile phone or using the internet. Any form of cyber bullying)
    • Doxing (e.g. the intentional release, or threat of release, of sensitive personal information gleaned from Broad Universe activities for the purposes of causing embarrassment, public humiliation, fear, or harm)

Responsibilities and Expectations
Broad Universe is a non-profit, volunteer organization comprised of unpaid staff and layperson volunteers. Nothing within this policy should be construed as giving an affected person a right or legal cause of action against Broad Universe for any harm. However, the Broad Universe Motherboard will do its best to provide a harassment-free environment as guided by this Policy and its By-Laws which can be found online at:

Broad Universe Supporters are responsible for:

  • Treating each other with respect;
  • Reporting harassment to the Broad Universe event organizer who is responsible for overseeing an Event or Forum or, if necessary, directly contacting the Motherboard;
  • Cooperating with a harassment investigation and respecting the confidentiality related to the investigation process;
  • Broad Universe Supporters can expect:
  • To be treated with respect at all Broad Universe sponsored events, forums and activities;
  • That reported harassment will be dealt with in a timely, confidential and effective manner;
  • To have their rights to a fair process and to confidentiality respected during a harassment investigation; and
  • To be protected against retaliation for reporting harassment or cooperating with a harassment investigation.

Broad Universe Motherboard is responsible for:

  • The administration of this policy;
  • Reviewing this policy annually, or as required; and
  • Making necessary adjustments to ensure that this policy meets the needs of the organization.
  • Ensuring that this policy is applied in a timely, consistent and confidential manner;
  • Determining whether or not allegations of harassment are substantiated;
  • Determining what corrective action is appropriate in substantiated harassment complaints .

Broad Universe Forum & Event Organizers are responsible for:

  • Fostering a harassment-free environment and setting an example about appropriate forum behavior;
  • Keeping a copy of this anti-harassment policy available at events, especially convention tables.
  • Dealing with harassment situations immediately upon becoming aware of them, whether or not a harassment complaint has been made;
  • Reporting any harassment situations or complaints to the Motherboard as soon as possible
  • Communicating the process for investigating and resolving harassment complaints made by supporters should the need arise;Taking appropriate action during a harassment investigation, including separating the parties to the harassment complaint, when appropriate; and
  • Ensuring harassment situations are dealt with in a sensitive and confidential manner.

Procedures for Addressing a Harassment Complaint

Informal Warnings at Broad Universe Sponsored Events and Forums
Any Broad Universe volunteer staff can issue a verbal warning to a participant (whether they are a Supporter or non-Supporter attendee) at a Broad Universe -sponsored forum or event that their behavior violates Broad Universe's anti-harassment policy (i.e., an internet 'guest' who jumps onto a Broad Universe forum to leave opinions that are inflammatory for the sole purpose of creating controversy (i.e., 'trolling,); a heckler at a Rapid Fire Reading; harassment at a Broad Universe book table; harassing conduct at a Broad Universe-sponsored panel; harassment at a Broad Universe sponsored party or luncheon, etc.). Informal Warnings should be reported to the appropriate Forum Moderator and/or Event Organizer as soon as practical and either directly or eventually to the Motherboard.

The report should be made in email to the Motherboard and include:

  • Identifying information about the person who is harassing and the person who was being targeted (if known);
  • The approximate time of the harassing behavior;
  • The time and date the warning was issued ;
  • The behavior that violated the policy;
  • The circumstances surrounding the incident;
  • Your identity and contact info;
  • Other people involved in or witnesses to the incident;
  • Any action taken, such as verbal reprimand or referral to the Motherboard.
If the Broad Universe forum or event was sponsored by a larger agency, such as a conference or professional association, it must be reported whether the incident was reported to that sponsor, the action taken, and copies of any paperwork the sponsor organization may have gathered.
Presentations or similar events should not be stopped for one-time gaffes or minor problems, although Broad Universe supporters should speak to the Moderator afterward to make them aware. However, Broad Universe supporters should take immediate action to politely and calmly stop any presentation or event that repeatedly or seriously violates the anti-harassment policy. For example, simply say "I'm sorry, this presentation cannot be continued at the present time" with no further explanation.

Filing a Formal Complaint
If an incident is unable to be resolved informally, any Broad Universe supporter may file a harassment complaint by contacting the Broad Universe Motherboard.
The initial complaint may be verbal or in writing, but if the Supporter wishes for the Motherboard to take action, they must follow up by contacting the Broad Universe Motherboard in writing by sending an email to with the following information:

  • Identifying information (name/ pen name) of the participants;
  • The offending behavior;
  • The approximate time and date of the behavior;
  • A detailed timeline outlining the circumstances surrounding the incident;
  • People involved in the incident;
  • Screenshots or other evidence, if available;
Complaints should be made as soon as possible but no later than one year of the last incident of perceived harassment, unless there are circumstances that prevented the supporter from doing so. Circumstances need to be included in the written complaint.
The Broad Universe Motherboard will email the alleged perpetrator that a written harassment complaint has been made against them. The notification will provide details of the allegations that have been made against him or her.
Every effort will be made to resolve harassment complaints within 7-14 days. The Broad Universe Motherboard will advise both parties of their decision, and the reasons, including barriers to making a decision of they are not able to.

Informal Mediation
Wherever appropriate and possible, the Broad Universe Motherboard will attempt to assist the parties to informally resolve their differences before proceeding with a harassment investigation. Mediation is voluntary and confidential. It is intended to assist the parties to arrive at a mutually acceptable resolution to the harassment complaint.

If mediation is inappropriate or does not resolve the issue, a harassment investigation will be conducted by the Broad Universe Motherboard. The investigator appointed from the Motherboard will interview the person who made the complaint, the person the complaint was made against, and any witnesses who have been identified. All people who are interviewed will have the right to review their statement, as recorded by the investigator, to ensure its accuracy.
The investigator will prepare a report that will include:

  • A description of the allegations;
  • The response of the person the complaint was made against;
  • A summary of information learned from witnesses (if applicable); and
  • A decision about whether, on a balance of probabilities, harassment did occur.
This report will be submitted to the Motherboard and kept on file. Both parties to the complaint will be given a copy.

Substantiated Complaint
If a harassment complaint is substantiated, the Motherboard will decide what action is appropriate.
Remedies for the supporter who was harassed may include an oral or written apology from the perpetrator and/or the Motherboard.
Corrective action for the supporter found to have engaged in harassment may include:

  • a reprimand;
  • a ban on participation in BU activities, including but not limited to Rapid Fire Readings, convention tables and online forums
  • a suspension of supporter status;
  • a revocation of supporter status
If supporter status is revoked, all annual dues paid to Broad Universe for the year will be forfeit without a refund.
Both parties to the complaint will be advised, in writing, of the decision.
Should situations arise that require the Motherboard to make a public statement, the Motherboard will work to protect the confidentiality of the people involved in the incident.

Privacy and Confidentiality
All parties to a harassment complaint are expected to respect the privacy and confidentiality of all other parties involved and to limit the discussion of a harassment complaint to those that need to know.
Broad Universe and all individuals involved in the harassment complaint process will comply with all requirements of our Privacy Policy to protect personal information.

Limitation of Legal Liability
Broad Universe is a non-profit, volunteer-run organization who has adopted this Anti-Harassment & Anti-Bullying Policy in an attempt to set a standard for its supporters to follow. This policy is aspirational in nature, a guideline stating how we wish to conduct ourselves as “ Broads. ” However, Broad Universe's adoption of this policy does not grant any supporter or non-supporter a legal cause of action against Broad Universe or any supporter beyond that which may already exist under current state or federal law.

Applicable Law & Forum
Broad Universe is incorporated as a non-profit organization under the laws of Wisconsin. Any ambiguity not heretofore spelled out shall be resolved using a choice of Wisconsin law. Should any person wish to initiate a cause of action based on this Policy, the legal forum shall likewise be designated in Wisconsin.

Broad Universe will review this policy and procedures on an annual basis, or as required, and will make necessary adjustments to ensure that it meets the needs of all employees.

Accepted by the Broad Universe Motherboard January 2021

The Broad Universe Literary Coalition, Inc., a 501 (c) (3) organization

Copyright Broad Universe 2000-2022 - Privacy Policy  - Contact Us

Powered by Wild Apricot Membership Software