Kansas Registered Offender Decision

I’m aware there have been at least 2 members over the last 12 months who have been expelled largely because we discovered they were on the Kansas Registered Offender’s List. I’m also aware that the board has received legal advice that our liability insurance doesn’t cover us in cases of sexual misconduct. So I’m surprised that, as far as I know, none of this has been communicated to our membership at large even though the board has spent significant time on this issue.

Do we now have an official policy regarding members who are on the Registered Offender’s List? If so, what is it, and if not, why not? What are your opinions on how this has been handled?

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Curt would it be okay if I split your question into its own thread so we can have a focused discussion on just that topic, instead of each individual person posting what they know in their own Q&A? It’s a complicated issue.

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Sure.

At June 2017 board meeting we were transitioning between boards so I was not running that meeting as president, but from what I remember a member had misused the woodshop. We googled his name for a photo and learned he was a registered offender. Consensus was that he should have his key access revoked for breaking our policies (leaving a mess, being a jerk, etc).

Fast forward to April 2018. We got an email from a visitor who had seen someone in our space who they knew to be on the offenders list. His offense was a disturbing one, we solicited opinions from the admin list and people had very split opinions. We turned to legal advice, where we were advised to err on the side of caution and protecting the makerspace.

The decision was made at our board meeting on May 3 [http://makeict.org/wiki/May_3_2018] and the motion that carried was:

Add a question on the membership page asking “Are you listed on the Kansas Offender Registry?” If the answer is “yes” the person can’t be a member.

We are still getting some infrastructure in place for this. It was also not an easy decision, we heard from people on all sides of what we should do. For now, security is getting photo IDs and doing a quick registry check before they issue keys. We have verified that no one else on our member list is a registered offender.

I did not blast out an email; in the newsletter I talk about good things happening in our community, not policy decisions, communicating that is another issue where I can see both sides.

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To be fair there were also 3 other members who had to have keys taken away. We do not take having to do this lightly. All of them (except the one for living at the makerspace) were done to protect the members.

I’m not questioning here specific decisions the board took regarding a particular member, I’m just wondering why none of this has been communicated clearly to our membership. I don’t believe these sorts of things should be done in the shadows. If there are any new policies or rules, everyone should know what they are and why they were enacted. Otherwise it starts to seem arbitrary and people will start responding to rumors. Also, saying it was covered in the minutes of the board meetings isn’t really a valid excuse for not clearly communicating this to our members.

Also, I’m surprised nobody running for the board has asked about the recently discovered liability exposure regarding sexual misconduct. As I understand it, Logan resigned from the board because he didn’t want to bear the potential risk on this issue by being a board member. It seems unfair to new board candidates, if the board has been advised by counsel of potential liability exposure, that it hasn’t shared that with the membership.

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It was done in an open meeeting. The offender stood and made his case. That seems pretty darned open to me. I think we need to be sensitive in matters like these. I agree with Kim. It was public enough.

You are still missing my point. I’m not asking you violate the privacy of one expelled member because he’s on the RO list. What I am asking is, why hasn’t the board communicated the outcome of something that potentially effects the safety of all of us, especially for those of us who bring our kids to the space. To me this seems just like when there’s a security event that threatens the safety of kids in a public school, the school administration always notify parents immediately of what happened and what is being done to minimize future risks. I’m just wondering why you think the board shouldn’t have done the same in this instance, that’s all.

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In the future, we could send out the board of directors approved meeting minutes the following month to the entire membership.
@curt, would that work for you? I’ve kinda thought we should in the past, but we can definitely do so going forward.

Kez Cook

Board Member
MakeICT

kez@makeict.org

@curt, I totally see where you’re coming from. Every time a policy change is voted in, would an email blast to the membership be appropriate? That might be a simple solution. Could just be worked in as normal procedure.

Kez Cook

Board Member
MakeICT

kez@makeict.org

In general I agree that members need to exercise some level of initiative to participate in administrative conversations which are generally already very open. However, given the weight of this particular issue, the difficulty in making a decision about it, and the hard-line which has now been drawn by the board, it deserves wider awareness.

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I think in general that wouldn’t be a bad idea, as long as it was put in plain english and not just sending out the often cryptic minutes from the meeting.

But especially when there is a “security alert”, I think the membership should be notified. In this latest case, there was obviously enough concern about safety that you expelled a member. We should each be given enough general information about what happened and what has been done to minimize the risk in the future. Let ME decide if I think it’s safe now, don’t make that decision for me.

Plus I think you are just increasing later liability risk by not informing the membership of a security event.

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I don’t think he’s asking for the minutes or actions of all board meetings be sent to everyone. He’s asking for security alerts to be sent to members with how MakeICT handled the situation and what the policy is towards those situations. Which is a good idea in my opinion. Members should know what security events are occurring and what is being done to mitigate them.

Somehow i did know about the registered offenders situation, but i don’t remember how.

Edit: i guess i chimed in a minute late here. For some reason the discourse wouldn’t let me click the post button. I had to close the tab and reopen a new one. Either way, i agree. It would be nice to know security alerts.

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Not sure why this would be a difficult decision to inform the members as a whole…

The more you tip-toe around this, the worse it’s going to come back and bite you in the butt…

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I agree… I bring my grandson’s here!

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To be clear, he didn’t do anything at the makerspace that violated our policies or put members at risk.

Should we notify the membership every time we revoke a key?

@kim, For security reasons, that might be a good idea.

@KezC, @kim, Although, it wouldn’t be bad to notify the membership that a key was revoked but I would hesitate to publish the specific details. Specifically naming the revoked member (with context) could be arguably slanderous. A list of revoked keys at the security desk could provide the required results.

Is there a issue with creating a policy that registered sex offenders cannot hold membership and making it retroactive? And then checking all current members against the list and revoking their membership and from this point forward we have a policy.
I believe the question was added to the application, which is fine. but what about the member who were already members before the question was added?
I personally don’t care who is was, just that is was taken care of.

Security went through memberships and we didn’t have anyone to remove.