SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (News4Utah) – The Utah Attorney General’s Office will provide a 24/7 hotline for harassment complaints during FanX Salt Lake Comic Convention in September.
The hotline is so guests, volunteers, and attendees can quickly report any inappropriate conduct or harassment during the event.
Any reports will be initially handled and resolved by the AG’s office through the hotline, if necessary, referred to the local police or FanX for further investigation. The hotline number is 1-801-834-1944.
The FanX partnership follows a similar effort by the attorney general to support the 2018 Sundance Film Festival earlier this year.
“We want our Zero Tolerance Harassment Policy to be as strong and effective as possible, and we will not tolerate any bullying, abuse, assault, or harassment of any kind,” said FanX organizers in a statement.
The initiative comes after criticism in months prior about how the company handled harassment complaints.
FanX also announced that it will be providing training and related testing for all 2018 event volunteers with the help of UCASA (Utah Coalition Against Sexual Assault), the Salt Lake County Mayor’s Office of Diversity & Inclusion, and other harassment and sensitivity experts.
FanX also recently created its new Community Council, which will support the organization in its continued effort to prevent harassment at its events and interfaces with the League of Utah Volunteers (L.U.V.), allowing these new initiatives to influence many additional events throughout Utah in addition to FanX.
The Council will immediately begin its work t review issues of education and policy leading up to the FanX 2018 conference in Sept.
The mission of the Community Council is to prevent and address any issues of bullying, abuse, assault, and harassment of any kind at all current and future FanX events and advise on any community complaints about the organizations that manage, produce, and participate with FanX. The Council also intends to provide assistance to many other participating events throughout the community.
The Council will accomplish this mission through policy and education with a focus on prevention and deterrence of any harassment before it starts. It will oversee the investigation of any incidents reported and will recommend appropriate penalties when policy violations occur. Upon request, the Council may also serve in an advisory role on the suitability of prospective guests or panelists whose behavior or statements relative to harassment, inclusiveness, or other potentially divisive issues may lead to concerns as to whether they should be invited or allowed to attend.
The Council’s founding members include:
1. Rev. Marian Edmonds Allen is Executive Director at Parity, a national LGBTQ faith-affirming nonprofit, is a co-founder of the LGBTQ Youth Continuum of Care, and has previously served as executive director to the OUTreach Resource Centers and the Utah Pride Center. She has been recognized for her decades of work with and for LGBTQ youth, including as a Petra Fellow and the 2014 Q Salt Lake Person of the Year.
2. Valerie Cameron-Walker is a strong community voice as the Morning Radio Show Host for B98.7, as well as an event management expert and an activist for the geek community, volunteers, and sexual harassment victims. She has raised money for several years for Over the Edge Salt Lake by rappelling 13 stories over the Maverick Building in Salt Lake in support of the YWCA and Salt Lake Department of Justice to support victims of domestic violence.
3. Jay Whittaker is popular comedian, actor, Air Force veteran, and FanX® Salt Lake Comic ConventionTM moderator and panelist. As host of the Incredibly Vocal Minority podcast and regular panelist on numerous others, he is a consistent voice and advocate for diversity and unwaveringly dedicated to keeping the geek community safe.
4. Kerry Jackson has worked in radio for over 30 years, including as a host of X96’s popular “Radio From Hell” and the “Geek Show Podcast.” He is also a cancer survivor and a long established and well respected “geek” in the community.
5. LaShel Shaw is an attorney at Parr Brown Gee & Loveless in Salt Lake City specializing in entertainment and media law. She graduated magna cum laude from Notre Dame University, where she worked on issues of cyberbullying, and is an officer of the Utah Center for Legal Inclusion and member of its Organizational Inclusion Committee.
6. Erika Lynn Sabrowski is a well-known personality in the local convention community and head of all volunteers for the League of Utah Volunteers, a role she has also fulfilled for FanX® Salt Lake Comic ConventionTM for several years prior to the formation of LUV. She is also a cancer survivor who is known for applying her entire heart to every program or project she enters.
7. Debra Daniels is the Director of the Women’s Resource Center at the University of Utah, Assistant VP Women’s Enrollment Initiatives, and a Licensed Clinical Social Worker with areas of expertise that include sexual assault, domestic violence, diversity, and social justice issues. In addition to her experience with the University and over 25 years of experience in the field of social work, she is the recipient of the Linda K. Amos Award for Distinguished Service to Women of the University of Utah, the YWCA Outstanding Achievement Award, and the Susa Young Gates Award from the Utah Women’s Political Caucus for contributions to women and human rights.
8. Rachel Burt, a certified Professional in Human Resources (PHR) and SHRM Certified Professional (SHRM-CP), has more than 15 years of experience in Human Resources with particular experience in sexual discrimination and harassment issues as well as sensitivity in business and employment relations. In addition to her other efforts related to these issues, she has recently been involved in conducting and leading sensitivity training sessions for FanX.
9. Debra Jenson is a professor of journalism and communications at Utah State University, a member of the board of Ordain Women, and a founder of WeExist.LGBT, an organization that works to make schools more welcoming for LGBT+ students and their families and to end the practice of conversion therapy within the U.S. She has worked professionally with Special Olympics Utah and other organizations to advocate for people with disabilities, has given a TEDx talk entitled “The Comic Universe Belongs to Everyone,” and is a regular FanX® Salt Lake Comic Convention panelist on issues of diversity.
10. Kiki Furia has been called “your nerdy BFF” and passionately pursues and promotes positivity in the nerd/geek community. When she is not cosplaying, she is gaming, podcasting with the SLC Sitdown podcast, and a frequent panelist for conventions and other podcasts. As a consultant for quality programming in afterschool programs, she holds multiple degrees with emphases in youth and community services and in creating social change for arts and cultural non-profit organizations.
FanX Salt Lake Comic Convention is Sept. 6-8 at the Salt Palace Convention Center.
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