Extraordinary General Meeting - 2015-08-01

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Society Extraordinary General Meeting minutes for August 1st, 2015 at
Location: 1820 Pandora Street, Vancouver BC

Resumption of EGM held on Tuesday, September 28th 2015


Attending: Robert P., Michael G., Brian M., Michele W., Nancy W., Michael F., Adrian W., Trevor M.

Trevor W. McKeown, facilitator / Trevor W. McKeown, scribe

Discussion regarding Ban Policy

Comparison of draft prepared by Mike G., edits by Trevor M., and proposals by Brian M., resulted in a revised version incorporating further suggestions and concerns from Michele. The major change from Brian's version was the deletion of the paragraphs referencing the role and responsibilities of an ombudsperson. It was agreed that policies shouldn't be created referencing an ombudsperson until the office of ombudsperson was actually referenced in its own policy. The role of ombudsperson in this context was also adding a further complication to the ban appeal.

Several concerns with language and process were addressed.

After much discussion of the many options available, the following text was agreed to by CONSENSUS.


Definition of “Ban”: A person who is banned is prohibited from entering Free Geek premises, and is prohibited from participating in any Free Geek related activity or event until the ban expires (voting privileges, accessing mail lists, attending Free Geek sponsored meetings and social events).


Bans fall into two general categories:

1. Immediate Bans: these are reserved for dangerous, threatening, illegal, harmful or legally risky behaviors, including but not limited to stealing from Free Geek, unauthorized destruction or copying of Free Geek property or stored data, pirating software or media, threatening or violent behavior, and serious violations of policy. No warning is required.

2. Violation of Policy: these are breaches of Free Geek Code of Conduct including but not limited to foul language, or disruptive and inappropriate behavior. In serious cases, an immediate ban may be warranted (e.g. sexist, racist or discriminatory behavior). In less serious cases a written warning or a verbal warning with a witness present should be issued to the person in question. If the behavior still continues, a ban may be issued.


1. Any staff member or director may issue a ban to anyone they have reason to believe has committed an act that meets the above criteria. A ban should specify the reasons for the ban, how long it will last, whether there was a warning issued, and information on who to contact and how to appeal the ban (if applicable).

2. A written report of all bans is to be filed with accompanying information including, but not limited to, date of ban, name of banned individual, name of person issuing ban, video records if available, evidence of wrongdoing, documentation of warnings issued including name of issuer, name of witness(es), reason for ban, and duration of ban. This documentary evidence is to be preserved in the Free Geek administrative office with a hard copy summary on file for future reference if required.

3. In the event that the banned person is a director, a meeting of staff and directors must be called by the secretary or executive officer, upon reasonable notice, and a consensus (80% majority in favour, the banned director abstaining) is required to uphold the ban. If the ban period extends to, or beyond, the next AGM, the director will be asked to resign.

4. Staff cannot be banned unless their contract is first terminated (i.e. fired). Staff are covered under the “Staff Disciplinary Policy and Procedure” and the Employment Standards Act. This is ultimately handled by directors with input from other staff and members. Upon loss of their employee status, they are considered regular members and can be banned.


1. Customers and clients may not appeal immediate bans under section A.1. Members and volunteers have the right to appeal, with the following restrictions.

2. A written appeal is to be directed to the society secretary electronically or at the society's registered address, within three weeks of the ban. Appeals will be accepted after that time only at the discretion of the Board of Directors. The secretary will schedule an appeal meeting within a reasonable period of time during which time the ban remains in effect. A written appeal must include a rationale as to why the ban should be overturned or ban period reduced.

3. Appeals are to be adjudicated by a three-person panel composed of at least one staff member and one director, and a third director, staff member, or member selected randomly. The three persons cannot have been directly involved in the incident. The banned member has the right to attend the appeal meeting. The staff member or director who issued the ban is required to attend but is not a voting member of the panel. The society secretary or another director is to attend to fill the role of facilitator and to record the ban rationale, appeal presented, and the panel decision.

4. In the event that the banned person is a director, an appeal is to be adjudicated by a five-person panel composed of a director selected by the directors, a staff member selected by staff and three other members selected randomly from the current membership roll.

4. The appeal meeting must allow time for the ban issuer to clearly present the evidence and justification for the ban; for the banned member to then rebut and refute the issuer's presentation, and to provide reason why the ban should be overturned or ban period reduced; and for the panel members, at any time during the meeting, to cross examine both parties and further discuss the incident leading to the ban.

5. The Free Geek Code of Conduct will be in effect for all panel participants. If the facilitator is required to issue two warnings, a third warning will result in the participant's removal from the meeting and the meeting adjourned. The appellant will be deemed to have lost the appeal.

6. The panel is to be allowed time for private deliberation and to vote, by simple majority, on whether to overturn or uphold the ban, or to change the ban period. Both parties, and the society secretary are to immediately be advised of the decision, and the decision entered into the record.

7. There is no appeal from the panel decision.


1. A banned person who enters the premises is to immediately be politely instructed to leave. Banning is a serious issue and a failure to leave should immediately result in the police being asked to remove the banned person.

2. Violating the conditions of a ban during the ban period may result in the ban period being reset (starting over), without appeal.

PROPOSAL to adopt the Ban Policy and appeal process was approved by CONSENSUS.

Adjournment: 2:10 pm.