Bold Urban Renaissance Network
Code of Conduct
v 1.1, 9/4/2019
Who We Are:
Bold Urban Renaissance Network is the 501c3 for Chicagoland’s Burning Man community. Our community is large and diverse, and B.U.R.N. strives to serve as a central hub for the various sub communities.
B.U.R.N. Code of Conduct:
This Code of Conduct (CoC) is a living document outlining expectations for participants (including individuals who attend, volunteer, and organize) and their behavior at B.U.R.N. events. This CoC also applies to our social media accounts, meet & greets, and all other on-and-offline activity hosted or organized by Bold Urban Renaissance Network. This Code of Conduct and the B.U.R.N. Operations Team make no attempt to establish legal or incontrovertible guilt or innocence, only to help determine whether or not a participant poses a threat to others, inclusive of Bold Urban Renaissance Network itself. B.U.R.N. will continue to update this Code of Conduct as we and our community learn and grow.
Bold Urban Renaissance Network expects all participants to create and maintain a space that is welcoming for all ticketed attendees, volunteers, and hosts. We explicitly honor diversity in age, gender, gender identity and expression, culture, ethnicity, disability, language, national origin, neurodiversity, political beliefs, profession, race, religion, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, and technical ability. This list is not intended to be exhaustive, and we will add to it as needed. We will not tolerate discrimination of any kind.
We are an event inspired by and founded upon the Burning Man 10 Principles. We believe open and enthusiastic consent is the foundation from which all other principles grow. Consent is the base we build upon: without it, our community will crumble. We have zero tolerance for consent violations.
Participation in this community and event is open to all ticketed attendees; however, continued attendance will be revoked if a participant fails to respect other attendees, violates this code of conduct, behaves in a way that endangers themselves, the event, or the broader community, or makes others feel unsafe, threatened, or harassed.
While we aim for radical inclusion, it can only exist when all people are treated with dignity and respect. We reserve the right to refuse admission or remove participants (without refund) from an event to protect and support the community.
Engagement Expectations (including, but not limited to):
Our community is built upon consent. Remember: ask first! Consent is:
Ask before you do anything to alter another person’s experience. This includes but is not limited to: taking pictures of people; ask before touching their outfit, hair, or body, even just to admire; ask before hugging someone; ask before touching a pregnant woman’s stomach; ask before sharing trauma or something potentially triggering.
Be considerate and respectful of fellow participants and the community around the event.
Refrain from non-consensual demeaning, discriminatory, or harassing/threatening behavior.
Be mindful of your surroundings and of your fellow participant’s safety.
You are responsible for your own experience. Be capable (and willing) to say no. Community is built on communication, so communicate your boundaries!
‘I wasn’t in my right state of mind’ is not an acceptable excuse for violation of these expectations
Threats against individuals or the hosting organization, or violent or threatening behavior of any type (including those made on Social media) will be reviewed and are grounds for dismissal and ban. Unacceptable Behavior (including, but not limited to):
Any non-consensual physical contact or action that directly affects another person’s experience in a negative manner or in a manner to which they did not consent.
Harassment, undesired attention, or deliberate intimidation (including but not limited to unwelcome or offensive verbal comments, particularly those related to gender, age, sexual orientation, disability, physical appearance, body size, race, and religion).
Predatory behavior (including but not limited to any unwanted and non-consensual form of attention, intimidation, and harassment by photography/recording, stalking, verbal or physical abuse, and inappropriate physical contact).
Violence against people or other’s property.
Vandalization/tagging/destruction of art exhibits (including climbing on any structure not designated as climbable by artist and event organizers).
Abuse/neglect of B.U.R.N. events or venue property, physical or intangible, such as vandalism, theft of event property, ticketing process abuse, or impersonating a lead/event-organizer/support staff.
Disrespecting the community surrounding the event (such as dumping trash in local dumpsters, trespassing, or repeated violations of the event’s sound ordinance).
Wanton, flagrant, or repeated disregard for one’s own safety or well-being in a manner that demands the intervention of other participants, community members, volunteers or outside agencies, such as intervention by local law enforcement or fire department staff.
Repeated or egregious violations of any and all policies put in effect by event organizers.
While incidences of harassment and assault can happen at BURN-sponsored events, a majority of the issues facing our community begin outside of our events. If BURN Ops receives credible information from a member of the Chicago Burning Man community that another member of our community is a safety risk to others, we will take appropriate steps to maintain a safe space for all participants. Understanding that gross miscommunication, overstepping of boundaries, violations of consent, abuse, and predatory behavior can take many forms, BURN Ops does not have a set list of actions to take; instead, we will work with the accuser and the accused to come to the best possible solution.
Bold Urban Renaissance Network exists to serve and support our community, both victims and offenders, in overcoming the harm that has been done to them - but our first priority is to create safety. Individuals who have been credibly accused of consent violations may be temporarily or permanently banned from BURN events. Individuals who have violated the consent of others should:
Acknowledge what happened
Acknowledge how it impacted the other person
Have concrete next steps for personal growth and change to ensure the consent violation doesn’t happen again
Make amends in alignment with the reasonable requests of the victim (therapy, distance, etc)
If you are interested in accountability and restorative justice, you may find the following article helpful: https://www.tamarapincus.com/consent-violation/.
And, there is a private mental health agency that offers specialized treatment to offenders: The Center for Contextual Change. The Human Awareness Institute also offers workshops on creating safer space for nourishing interactions, prioritizing consent, community, and relationship building.
Consequences of Unacceptable Behavior:
Unacceptable behavior will not be tolerated. This includes expressions of this behavior at an event (as well as pre- or post-event via digital, analog, or face-to-face communication) and at other events sponsored by Bold Urban Renaissance Network.
Anyone asked to stop unacceptable behavior is expected to comply immediately.
If a participant engages in unacceptable behavior(s), the event organizers may take any action they deem appropriate to ensure the safety of the event and its participants. This action may include expulsion from the event without refund, revoking tickets, or removing a volunteer from their shift.
If a participant’s behavior is found to be predatory or hazardous to the community/event, an expulsion for the present or following years may be instituted. This expulsion may be partial, complete, or a role-based ban (volunteering, event organizing, etc). B.U.R.N. reserves the right to work with other regional Burns on CoC violations.
There may be an opportunity to appeal and show progress towards resolution of these issues after the following year’s event.
If you notice that someone else is being subjected to harassment, abuse, or other unwanted attention or behavior, follow the 5 D’s of Bystander Intervention
Direct Action: Speak up. You may want to directly respond to harassment by naming what is happening or confronting the harasser. This tactic can be risky: the harasser may redirect their abuse towards you and may escalate the situation. Before you decide to respond directly, assess the situation: Are you physically safe? Is the person being harassed physically safe? Does it seem unlikely that the situation will escalate? Can you tell if the person being harassed wants someone to speak up? If you can answer yes to all of these questions, you might choose a direct response.
Distract: Distraction is a subtler and more creative way to intervene. The aim here is simply to derail the incident by interrupting it. The idea is to ignore the harasser and engage directly with the person who is being targeted. Don’t talk about or refer to the harassment. Instead, talk about something completely unrelated.
Delegate: Ask for help!
Report your concerns to or through a Ranger, ESD volunteer, or B.U.R.N. events organizer; these individuals are prepared to assist participants and listen to your concerns. All reports will remain confidential.
If perpetrator of unacceptable behavior is a member of Bold Urban Renaissance Network organizers, board, volunteers, rangers, or staff, you may request a neutral third-party member of our community (chosen in conjunction with B.U.R.N.) to review the case in question to avoid conflict of interests.
If you would like to call in law enforcement or need professional medical treatment, B.U.R.N. events will support you taking that action.
Delay: Even if you can’t act in the moment, you can make a difference for the person who has been harassed by checking in on them after the fact. Many types of harassment happen in passing or very quickly, in which case you can wait until the situation is over and speak to the person who was targeted then.
Document: It can be really helpful to record an incident as it happens to someone, but there are a number of things to keep in mind to safely and responsibly document harassment. Check out this tip sheet from WITNESS for more details.
First, assess the situation. Is anyone helping the person being harassed? If not, use one of the other four D’s.
If someone else is already helping out, assess your own safety. If you are safe, go ahead and start recording. A few tips:
Make sure to keep a safe distance.
Film landmarks (e.g. a street sign or subway platform sign or car number).
Clearly state the date and time that you are filming.
Hold the camera steady and hold important shots for at least 10 seconds.
Most importantly, ALWAYS ask the person who was harassed what they want to do with the recording. NEVER post it online or use it without their permission. There are several reasons for this. Being harassed or violated is already a disempowering experience. Using an image or footage of a person being victimized without that person’s consent can make the person feel even more powerless. If the documentation goes viral, it can lead to further victimization and a level of visibility that the person may not want. Also, posting footage without a victim’s consent makes their experience public – something that can lead to a whole host of legal issues, especially if the act of harassment or violence was in some way criminal. They may be forced to engage with the legal system in a way that they are not comfortable with. Lastly, the experience could have been traumatic. Publicizing another person’s traumatic experience without their consent is no way to be an effective and helpful bystander.
* A note about safety: We don’t ever want you to get hurt trying to help someone out. Always think about safety and consider possibilities that are unlikely to put you or anyone else in harm’s way.
If you are interested in learning more about our Consent Team, which will meet quarterly beginning January 1st, 2020, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.