During our occupation of Inox Dine we adopted the LaDIYfest Sheffield safer spaces policy to keep the occupation a safe and oppression-free space. We amended one area of the policy to reflect that the Free University does not have organisers, although three safer spaces volunteers were identified.
Note (12/10/16): we are currently working on a new Safer Spaces Policy, in light of discussions following the Richard Roberts Occupation.
Here is a copy of the policy, which we will use (with appropriate additions and amendments) for future actions:
“The Free University of Sheffield events are run on the insistence that all attendees will be respectful and thoughtful to all other attendees, participants and organisers. This means no individual should be made to feel uncomfortable or oppressed by any other individual’s opinions or actions. If a discussion becomes personal, we trust that participants will keep what is said inside the room and behave with kindness and consideration when responding.
We request that everyone allows space for other individuals to contribute. This means that all participants should be considerate of how much they are speaking to avoid dominating the conversation, and never interrupt other people who are sharing their views. We also encourage participants to listen to views which are different from their own, but feel confident in expressing opposition in a non-confrontational way. We are here to learn from each other.
Harassment, hostility and aggression will not be tolerated in any form and if we feel that you have overstepped these boundaries we will challenge this and you may be asked to leave. If anyone experiences discomfort or concern about something that happens at one of our events we encourage you to make one of the organisers aware in whatever way you feel able. We will take any report of such behaviour or language very seriously and you will have our support. This policy also extends to all online resources (Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Google email and mailing list, etc) attached to the Free University of Sheffield.
We hope that during Free University of Sheffield events we can be as inclusive as possible. However, we will always prioritise those who have suffered from discrimination or oppression due to their identity, background, age or (dis)ability. We recognise that people may have had negative or harmful experiences of other peoples’ behaviour; therefore if you have concerns about a specific person attending an event or feel uncomfortable with them being there due to harmful behaviours in the past, let one of the safer spaces volunteers know and we will ask them to leave. We will also endeavour to ensure that organisations advocating political positions or policies that we believe to be actively harmful or oppressive will not be asked to participate in the Free University of Sheffield events.
We hope people of all genders, abilities, ages, ethnicities and sexualities will feel welcome to participate in our meetings and events, therefore any form of discriminatory language or behaviour is not acceptable.”
We thank LaDIYfest Sheffield for providing this safer spaces policy as a public resource on their website: