Defend Education cannot fully meet its goals if it is not fully inclusive, or if it leaves any demographic feeling marginalised, unrepresented, or unwelcome. This safe space policy is designed to ensure that meetings take place in a considerate and relevant manner, without participants being undermined for discriminatory reasons.
If someone violates these agreements three times, they will be asked to leave the space. The three-strike policy can be bypassed if a serious infraction of these agreements happens, to the extent that someone feels unsafe.
Examples of serious infractions include, but are not limited to, harassment, bullying, theft, sexual harassment, sexual assault and threatening or violent behaviour. Defend Education takes all violations of these agreements seriously, so please do not hesitate to make your concerns known.
1. To ensure that the safer space policy is followed, it is imperative that the chairing process is not impeded.
2. Discrimination of any kind is unacceptable and will be challenged.
This includes, but is not limited to: racism, ageism, homophobia, biphobia, transphobia, sexism, body-shaming, slut-shaming or ableism. Similarly, prejudice based on ethnicity, nationality, class, gender identity, gender presentation, language, ability, asylum status, political or religious affiliation will not be tolerated.
3. Respect each other’s physical and emotional boundaries. Always get explicit verbal consent before touching someone or crossing boundaries, regardless of the intentions behind the contact. Sexual harassment or sexual assault will lead to the perpetrator being banned from meetings and police involvement, if desired by the victim(s), will be fully supported. If you encounter any kind of harassment or assault please let us know, so that those responsible can be dealt with.
4. Be aware of the social space you occupy, as well as the positions and privileges you may be conveying, including racial, class and gender privilege.
If a member of a liberation group requests that you change your use of language regarding topics about their liberation group, please be respectful and change your use of language. If you are unsure as to the reason your language was inappropriate or offensive, please politely ask.
5. Avoid assuming the opinions and identifications of other participants.
Examples include, but are not limited to, assumptions regarding sex, sexuality, gender identity, preferred personal pronouns, neurotypicality, able-bodied status, socio-economic background, relationship model and religious beliefs.
6. Recognize that we try not to judge, put each other down or compete.
7. Be aware of the language you use in discussion and how you relate to others.
Try to speak slowly, clearly and use uncomplicated language. Please do not applaud people as it impacts on the accessibility of events. If you are unsure of the terminology relating to another’s circumstances it is generally preferable to seek clarification, rather than risk using inaccurate or stereotyping terms.
8. The group endeavours as much as is feasible to ensure that meeting spaces are as accessible as possible to the widest range of people.
Where it is allowed by the venue, there will be a supervised quiet/safe space room available at every event. In addition to this, if there has not been an access break in the previous 90 minutes, or if the atmosphere of a meeting has become counter-productive to reasoned discussion, then an access break of no less than 10 minutes must be taken by everyone, if requested by any one person.
9. Conferences, training events and workshops are alcohol- and illicit drug-free.
There shall be no consumption of alcohol in the venue during the specified conference, training event or workshop times. Social events organised outside of these by Defend Education will allow the consumption of alcohol, unless stated otherwise by Defend Education.
10. Foster a spirit of mutual respect: listen to the wisdom everyone brings to the group and treat people with respect.
11. Give each person the time and space to speak.
In large groups, or for groups using facilitation: use the approved hand signals to indicate you wish to speak. These hand signals will be clarified at the start of each discussion.
12. “Respect the person; challenge their behaviour.”: whilst a person’s behaviour may be problematic, everyone deserves to be treated with dignity and their behaviour does not negate that fact.
13. While ground rules are collective responsibility, everyone is also personally responsible for their own behaviour.
With respect to the SWP:
Defend Education believes that the visible presence of SWP materials makes spaces unsafe for many of those present, in light of the rape apologism and sexism rife within the party.
As such, any members of the SWP are expected to attend only as students or workers, not as members. This means that all papers, placards and other branded SWP materials must be left behind, or those carrying them will be asked to leave.
We hope that this is respected in the name of a hospitable environment during both the meeting and the demonstration.