August 2019 Board Notes




Board Attended: John Koniges, Kim Hofer, Tristan Anderson, Kevin Ehrler, Michelle Clark, Anthony LaBerge, Jay Bottem
Board Absent: Secretary
Observers: Troy MacDonald, Erick Hofer, Heather Bufkin, Lauren Gannann


Meeting called to order 18:30

Recap off cycle board actions and votes:

  • CONFIRM VOTE: Confirm vote to suspend SG


  • CONFIRM VOTE: Confirm vote to ban SG from all of ATC


  • CONFIRM VOTE: Social Media message to Staff (sent via email)


Open Session:

  • None

Planned Discussions from scheduled visiting parties/ATC Partners

  • None

Equipment Rental Requests

  • Anime Fusion

    • Sent request last week.  Lauren has only heard back from one department head so far (com com).  

    • Tech (present) says no more wireless mics.  Not enough speakers for all panel kits (~5).  

    • VOTE: For approving list - with updated list from Tech and pending approvals from other department heads.  John motioned, with Tristan 2nd. VOTE PASSED BY ALL PRESENT MEMBERS.

  • Furry Migration

    • Has added 2 presto pots and 2 roasters to their existing request

      • Michelle is fine with this update

    • Wanted to add 4 panel room kits

      • Tech is alright with this

    • VOTE: For approving this update, motioned by Lauren, 2nd by John.  VOTE PASSED BY ALL PRESENT MEMBERS

    • Lauren will send updated contract.

Director Updates

  • Anime Detour (Troy)

    • Budgets went out.  Some budget items shifted between departments.

    • Setting up a meeting with executives and Kim to get budgets into submittable form.

    • Discussions for space allocations for new sq ft.

  • Charities 

    • Not Present/No Update

    • John:  We haven’t done due diligence with this position.  We haven’t sent out request for position yet.  

    • Kim still waiting for budget needing to be spent, was supposed to have an email out to team.

      • Kim to reach out to Anton again.  And John to follow-up if no contact.

    • John to reach out to ATC Staff about this position, and reach out to Anton to let him know.

  • Clubs (Erick)

    • Will get budget requests out to individual club leaders

    • Looking to get more clubs together

  • Community (Lauren)

    • Going to Obon this Sunday.  Got confirmation we have a table there, (same spot as last year!).  

    • Little volunteers, and little information to talk about.

    • Equipment requests going

    • Meeting with SBC (Lauren and Michelle) (Sexual Violence Center).  Forwarded to board email what they have been talking about. Basically they are willing to do anything to get the word out for organization.  If we want to have a table for them like we do the red cross/nami/mcad we could have them out there. They are also willing to send volunteers incase we have an incident of sexual violence at our conventions.  If you are a victim and you go to a hospital in mpls/stpaul you will be offered a volunteer at the hospital from the SBC. They’ll work with anyone whether it’s a fresh incident or 20 years ago.  

      • Request to Troy to make space to give them a table.  Troy believes it won’t be a problem. ACTION Troy to check into this.

      • Request to reach out to ComCom to contact with this group.  ACTION Troy to check into this.

    • In addition for a fee talking about possibilities of training.  They have 2 possible trainings to offer. Training of what rape culture looks like, possibly now, and closer to con how to respond to a sexual violence victim.

      • Unable to give exact rates at the time, but thinks it’s in the 100-200$/hr training, and if we provide the space have as many as we want in the room.  We could then invite partner organizations as well.

    • They are willing to let us broadcast the fact we are working with them to the extent we wish to broadcast it.

    • Lauren to continue sheparding this as a community resource.

    • ACTION: Troy to come up with a selection of meeting dates to bring back to the SBC for training.

  • Media Relations

    • Not Present/No Update

    • Still looking to step down, no applications yet.

    • Quick update:  No time for them to do the newsletter yet.

  • SOS (Heather)

    • No Update.

    • Have a drive-in this weekend to handle the food leftovers.

    • Sketched out the budget

  • Finance (Kim)

    • ATC Coordinators budget did go out ~5:30pm.  Due back on Sept 10th.

    • Kim may need to meet with everyone individually.

    • Budgets for Charities/SocialMedia went out to Anton/Äge.

    • Hand out:  Financial Handouts.

    • Should be turning corner of more income vs expenditures now.

    • BANK: $198,704

    • SCHOLARSHIP: $1,460

    • LEG: $12,742

      • $1902 scheduled to be the match to the LEG account, made towards last week of SEPT.

    • Kim: Looking for PDF of last year’s program book.

      • ACTION: Troy to get this to Kim

      • ACTION: Troy to get letters of agreement from EMT/Police for next year to Kim.

    • Cat willing to discuss with us about the Directors Insurance/Omissions insurance.

ACTION: John requests coordinators get webpages on the ATC page.

15 minute break struck due to it only being 1912.

Updates on Current Board Projects

  • Future meetings dates on Agenda

    • ACTION: John to fix calendar dates on Agenda

  • ATC policies cleanup needed, link on board page section

Anime Detour Attendance Cap

  • Troy recommonds to raise cap, it’s not something we should be trying to hit.  When we used to hit it, didn’t help us then or now. Our goal is to get people to come to the convention.  We need to show growth. 90 person growth last year does not a convention make. Normally cap addresses fire code.  Our staff to guest ratio is very favorable throughout the community, we have over 250 staff, so isn’t an issue. Hotel doesn’t have any concern raising attendance will have stress on them.  

  • John goes through notes about attendance cap (included here)

    • Regarding the Attendance Cap,  I feel we do not need to raise it.  We only had an increase of 90 attendees from 2018 to 2019 (6229 vs 6319). There is still plenty of room for people to attend with a 7000 cap.  I would like to see us budget for 7000, and maybe use any extra money that would have been used for budgeting for 7500 to upgrade/buy new equipment that will make things better for the convention.

    • Attendance cap: I strongly feel at this time that the attendance cap has served its purpose and is of no further use to us as an event. It has become less of a planning tool and more of a security blanket that people cling to because "it's just how we do it." We can reasonably anticipate growth based on past-year numbers now that we are past the transition from the Doubletree to the Hyatt (and well past hitting the cap), and we should never have a goal of "turning away attendees." The cap is a relic of the past, and as an organization and an event we should be looking to the future, not clinging to a policy born of a venue that no longer even exists. At a bare minimum, the cap should be raised this year, but with a plan to phase it out completely. We do not need it anymore. The Thunderbird is gone; it's time to move forward and leave this outdated restriction behind us.

    • I would like to give my opinion about the Anime Detour attendance cap.  I believe this cap should be done away with or if we must have a cap, have the cap set at that hotel maximum capacity. We have held on to this tradition since the early years.  This made sense when we were in smaller hotels and the capacity was a lot smaller.  

    • Why are keeping the cap now?  Is it because we can say Anime Detour "sold out"?  Are we worried we won't have enough staff to accommodate a potential increase in size? Anime Detour is a large enough convention that growth is important and to limit any potential growth can be hurtful, that would include putting a cap on registration. As far as staffing goes, Detour has over 250+ staff.  We have more staff listed than most conventions of our size, it would be up to the dept heads to reallocate there staff hours or request/recruit for new staff if there was a significant size increase. However, Anime Detour's growth has been stagnant. We haven't had any significant growth in the past few years.  Even in this recent year we had less than 100 new registrants. Because of these reasons, I feel it is unnecessary to keep the attendance cap at Anime Detour.

  • John had conversation with Clarissa.  And one of the concerns she had was budgeting badges.  John recommended if they buy 15k badges and carry them over to the following year and buy upkeep.  Does not feel it would impact as much after this, if she is allowed to be budgeted this way.

  • Heather:  Are there reasons to not just get rid of it?

    • John: Only place we could set it would be fire code?

  • Michelle: Did not experience this but know of conventions that had a huge burst of growth and then were not able to cope with it.  

  • John: at that point we run out of badges before hitting code

  • Have to handle costumes can take up space of up to 3 people

  • Troy:  Hyatt can’t state one hard/fast number, depends on people in rooms, etc...  At least doing away with year/year planning of it. Believe it’s antiquated.  Could set high limit of like 10,000 to handle large growth.

  • Lauren:  Yes at Thunderbird hotel was 3000, at DT it was 11k, we kept it cap’d because a significant portion of our population thinks CONvergence was feeling too crowded and didn’t want it that way.  So unless you want to keep feeling of small/mid sized convention no reason to keep the cap.

  • Some places use like 10-15% increases to find existing bottlecaps to ensure proper scaling.  That way nothing breaks only gets stressed. We are in a hotel that nobody has as much experience in, so incremental growth may be useful.

  • Hyatt has over 8k in banquet configuration convention space.  They’ve run a 12k convention before and is a limit of what they were comfortable with.

  • John thinks we should as ATC remove the cap, and let AD manage their own cap.

  • VOTE: John motions that ATC delegates the CAP size to Anime Detour, 2nd by Tony.  VOTE PASSED BY ALL PRESENT MEMBERS 

Revise ATC Anti-Harassment and Incident Policies

  • Been brought to the attention, written so it sounds like it only covers AD.

  • Wants to rewrite policy to be more inclusive of all ATC sections.

  • Give more power to coordinators to add to their own policies

  • ACTION: Michelle volunteers to chair this effort, with Jay and Tristan backing her up.

  • John thinks we may need to split the policy into sections like things we don’t allow, and a seperate policy about if you violate policy what steps are taken/enforcement policy.

  • Michelle wants to call in her legal contacts for this.

  • Also have it cover what happens if you violate this policy if it doesn’t occur at an ATC event.

  • Different policy:  What do we require of ourselves when these policies are violated.  Keep our events safe. Notify public. How to deal with people from public accusing someone of something not through courts.  People coming to vice chairs about attendees bringing things up

  • Christina:  What do we do about staff that’s on a registered sex offender list and they aren’t telling us, how do we handle this?  

  • MN Furs doesn’t deal if it’s outside of con, but it’s often a violation of law if they are in such an event and it’s a law enforcement then.

  • If you are checking your list, and not keeping up on it, then we may open ourselves up to legal liability.

  • Don’t be hyper specific on things.

  • Troy:  Is this something we’ll have our staff sign?

    • Today we had them sign something once and done.  Looking to do it annually.

    • Troy can make this change himself since intake has been AD historically.

    • Diana: Do we want to have ATC look at this kind of form for all of ATC?

    • John recommends looking at using Detour as pilot.

    • Christina: Would like the verbage changed to be more specific like “are you violating some sort of law/probation/felony/etc...”

    • ACTION: Michelle will be caretaker of taking this document from Detour to ATC.  

      • John to assist

    • ACTION: Next meeting we are looking to have something fairly substantial (anti-harassment policies) to review, does not need to be final, but state to give feedback.  October meeting to vote on. If there’s substantial rewrite push to November.

Revisit and looking into Social Media message sent to staff

  • Looking at notice the ATC Board and AD Executive team drafted sent out July 9th to general staff

  • Notice to staff, but also restrictions on social media

  • See the purpose of this message.

  • However the way it was worded some people feel we are using the Anti-Harassment policy as a weapon and looking to ban people talking about it.  

  • Hesitant to say if you work with AD, to hold to some standard.

  • Troy: We had people who were messaging people involved in these incidents.

  • We need to document when they break the rules, and based on severity go through.

  • Email was more a reminder of how/why we do it.

  • If you were messaging/shaming/etc not wanting in community.

  • You have the right to feel upset/hurt/emotions and we have no right to tell them to stop.  People under us are not expected/wanted to reply.

  • Dean (MN Furs): At MN Furs didn’t have a seperate harassment policy, but added it to their code of conduct.  It was easier to tell people that. They have staff handbook. If you call out something with harassment and directly quoting it, it’s going to raise defenses of staff.

  • Cyn: thought what you put out was spot on.  It’s hard since we are fandom. If you are higher levels of convention you are tied to convention, and can’t just say personal opinion.  It’s legal actions. Peoplen’t don’t understand that.  

  • Troy:  Reminder when we put out our policy we had complaints too.  We should listen to/see what we can change. It was a serious situation and required a serious reaction.

  • Tristan: Primary concern raised to him was policing people’s private social media profiles.  Used these phrases intentionally, “Harassing/provoking/shaming” actions that intended to be harmful and these are not acceptable. 

  • Troy: added caveat, someone posting something on their private facebook and getting deluged by staff members.  They have a right not to get that from our staff.

  • We don’t want to be police of facebook/twitter/etc.

  • Diana: People were coming to us about complaints about this.

  • John:  If you do things that violate our code of conduct and we get reports, we will do an investigation.

  • Heather: It all falls under the updated harassment policy in general.  Whether it’s to their face or posting on social media. We aren’t going to watch everyone’s everything, they can say what they want, they just need to be aware of these things may result in some sort of consequences.

  • Does ATC need to investigate these, or AD?

    • Think coordinate should do it first, but if there’s concerns can go higher.

  • Dean at migration if you identify yourself as a rep/staff/sharing internal information as organization you are accountable to it.  If people link you to the organization you are responsible/held accountable. Once a year refresher/reminder helps out with the people.

  • Christina:  With the email that was sent out was there any follow-up with those people?

    • To be followed up on Troy’s side.

  • Tristan: at our discretion.  And wants coordinators to communicate with board about these.

  • John: Violations of these policies should bubble up from coordinators to board.

  • Troy: Caveat, be aware of who you are messaging.  They are probably staff. Be aware of who you are messaging.  That’s one staff harassing another staff.

  • John: Attended to attendees as well.

  • FurryM handles several a year at times.  Usually it’s just “stop it”. Need ability with code of conduct.  

  • Dean: 3 strike system.  This is our code of conduct, here are the requirements, have an understanding within your community.  

  • Michelle: 3 strike system, is a traditional thing, verbal, written, and that's it.

  • John:  How do we want to proceed?  Build into existing documentation Michelle is working on.

  • ACTION: John to fold into previous topic and go over next month.

  • Jay: Clarification, this is Anti-Harassment, Code of Conduct, and intake form (acknowledgement/signing)

  • GLOBAL ACTION:  If you have things to bring up/topics/ideas please email Michelle.  

  • Christina to forward existing code of conduct back to board.

  • Dean willing to assist/answer questions.

Alex’s email/Secretary

  • Interest in secretary but would need meeting to be moved to Monday.

  • However GPS is filled up in these rooms on Mondays.

  • Issues with existing members moving back to Mondays as well.

  • ACTION: John to respond to Alex.

John has an item for closed session.

John motions to adjourn public section.  Public Meeting Adjourned at 20:19