Incident Report on September 23rd, 2015

On Facebook an uninvolved individual, who was not present at the event, released the details of an incident. We have enough information to believe that it is the one below.

The Facts

We received a report from an attendee about an incident of harassment at a Major League Hacking sanctioned event.  The report was received during the final expo, within two hours of the event ending.  We acted in accordance with our Code of Conduct and Incident Response procedure, which we have made public to give more insight into how we handle incidents.  These documents are based on the industry best practices of the Ada Initiative.

We collected a written testimony from the incident reporter, who alleged that the accused teammate made her “feel unwanted on the team” and “called me multiple profane names.” We informed the accused teammate that he must cease contact with the incident reporter immediately. We also informed him that his behavior was unacceptable and that he could not continue demoing with the team, and may not join the team on stage if they won any prizes.

We then collected written testimonies from the accused teammate and an additional teammate who was not reported as part of the incident. They both alleged that the incident reporter “made us feel uncomfortable” and “would say words that could be deemed offensive, but could be made in jest”.

We then confirmed that the incident reporter felt safe and informed her of our response. We also told the incident reporter that if the accused teammate were to interact with her any further, that she should bring it to our attention immediately so that we may take additional action on it. She returned to demo with the remaining members of her team. When their team won a sponsored prize, the accused teammate remained off-stage but the incident reporter received the prize on-stage, as per our instructions.

We have not received any further reports from either party about this incident.

Reasoning

In every incident that is reported, we assess the situation and take actions as deemed necessary with the event organizers and proper authorities. Based on the responses of all parties in the investigation and the lack of physical danger, we determined that separating the teammates for the final hours of the event would ensure the safety and emotional well being of the incident reporter.

In the event that we had received any additional reports about this incident, we would have escalated our response accordingly.

Developments

It has now been brought to our attention that the accused teammate joined a large group of hackers on stage to receive a university group prize. The accused and the incident reporter were from different universities.

It has also been brought to our attention that the accused teammate was present during the photo for the sponsor prize after the final ceremony was over, but we don’t have any information indicating that they spoke during this time.

We have gotten in touch with all parties involved to investigate further before publishing this post. All parties feel safe at this time.

The incident reporter brought to our attention that she was put in an uncomfortable situation because we forbid the accused teammate from having contact with her, but not the rest of the team. The accused teammate sat with the two teammates that he was not barred from seeing, forcing the incident reporter to sit alone, apart from her team. This was an abuse of the intent of our reprimand, even though the accused teammate believed he was following it to the letter. In future, we will consider this when addressing incidents. If it had been brought to our attention during the event, we would have addressed it.

If you have any questions, please feel free to email us at [email protected].

We strongly encourage anyone at any of our events who has an incident to report to contact us at [email protected]. We can only address the incidents that are reported to us.