If we do our [research] well, reality will appear even more unstable, complex, and disorderly than it does now.
- Jane Flax
Quick Links to Policies
The Root Cause Research Center (RCRC) is a platform on which grassroots leaders, impacted community members, and liberation seeking people may stand, speak, co-create, and gather. In order to defend and extend our human rights both online and offline, and foster a culture of accountability, transparency, veneration, belonging, and freedom, we have written this comprehensive data policy to govern our practices. This policy was generated after consulting several resources on data equity and design justice. We also took notice of data policies that upheld a strong agenda for human rights and that reflected the digital future that we would like to see. Please see our Data Accountability resources page for more information and to get a list of resources used to develop these policies and practices.
As a grassroots-led research platform, our number one priority in planning research projects, events, incubators, etc, is to ensure that we take all necessary and appropriate steps to protect vulnerable and at risk groups. We are committed to creating and maintaining both brave and safe spaces for dialogue and debate that individuals may participate in without fear of intimidation or threat of reprisal. As an organization that leans into transformative justice and that sees conflict as both inevitable as well as a source of creativity, we aim to protect individual human rights. Though institutions have the right to report any issues they have when interacting with people or information on our platform, we recognize that not all conflict is harm and that institutions critically differ from individuals. Of these differences, power is the most important to highlight, which is why we prioritize protecting vulnerable, marginalized, and/or disenfranchised groups. We also recognize that, while many impacted people may exist in institutional spaces, those spaces provide access to material resources that people outside of institutions lack. It is because of power dynamics and access to material resources that RCRC elevates non-institutional people in our work. It is not an indictment of individuals who happen to work in those institutions.
Below are some important considerations and processes that we have developed to ensure that RCRC is a space that is both inclusive and safe for individuals both on and offline.
The Root Cause Research Center (RCRC) is committed to fostering, cultivating, and preserving a culture of accountability, transparency, veneration, belonging, and liberation.
We believe that the people most impacted by an issue are best positioned to discover the root causes and solutions of that issue. Impacted people are the most qualified investigators on our team. The collective sum of our lived experiences, knowledge, inventiveness, self-expression, unique capabilities, and insights allow us to do extraordinary work.
We embrace and encourage every team member’s differences in age, color, disability, ethnicity, family or marital status, gender identity or expression, language, national origin, physical and mental ability, political affiliation, race, religion, sexual orientation, socio-economic status, veteran status, and other characteristics that make that person unique.
To hold strong to these principles, our transformative accountability strategy includes:
The promotion of direct contact/discussion and open face-to-face contact between staff, board members, and affiliates;
Assuring that strategic decision-making is made collectively by staff, board, and affiliates by regularly reporting projects and creating opportunities for input and discussion;
Using policy and strategy-making as a means of learning and development;
Understanding that conflict is inevitable as well as a source of creativity;
Regularly checking to make sure that the alignment of how we treat organizational members is congruent with values expressed in work; and
By calling attention to power dynamics (place-based, role/hierarchy based, etc) when opening a meeting.
RCRC’s equity initiatives are applicable—but not limited—to our practices and policies on recruitment and selection; compensation and benefits; professional development and training; promotions; transfers; social and recreational programs; layoffs; terminations; and the ongoing development of a transformational and healthy work environment.
Race & Class Statement
We believe in foregrounding the intersectional lens around race and class to build resilience in combating systems of oppression through justice and abolition, rather than focusing solely on veneer diversity metrics. In recognition of the lingering damage caused by racist strategies employed within the American Labor Movement, both historically and in the present, as well as the ongoing class issues grounded in White supremacy (i.e. respectability politics, colorism, assimilation pressures, etc) that exist in some Black spaces, we have chosen this intersectional path. Working foundationally at the intersections of race and class, RCRC is building resilience, collective power, and cross-racial solidarity across the state of Kentucky, and inevitably, across the American South.
Corporate Engagement Policy
Guiding Principle: The Root Cause Research Center (RCRC) will not accept gifts, enter into partnerships, or accept support that will compromise its commitment to its mission and essential values, as articulated in the organization’s strategic framework.
Definition of corporate engagement: “Corporate” refers to for-profit entities and related non-profit entities such as foundations and trade associations. “Engagement” includes grants, contracts and other transactions that provide for mutual legal obligations, and acceptance of donations including money, property and in-kind contributions. Engagement also includes strategic partnerships, corporate sponsor recognition, joint messaging, product certification, product endorsement, and cause marketing. Corporate engagement does not include routine commercial transactions with vendors or the sales of goods produced by RCRC in the open market. If there are doubts about whether a relationship would be covered by this policy, the question should be referred to our Co-Principal Investigators at the earliest possible opportunity.
Review of corporate engagement opportunities: Both Co-Principal Investigators will review all corporate engagements with the guidance of pertinent fiscal agents. They may authorize some categories of corporate engagement in advance. All other engagement opportunities will be approved on a case-by-case basis. The Co-Principal Investigators may refer unusual or controversial engagements to the Board and/or Accountability Council. Employees and other persons acting on behalf of RCRC are expected to inform the Co-Principal Investigators before initiating or responding to a corporate engagement opportunity and to provide full and complete information so that the engagement opportunity can be properly assessed.
Assessment of corporate opportunities: The following factors will guide the review of corporate engagements:
The nature of the engagement, including fiscal and programmatic control, level of investment, reasonability of conditions or restrictions, and any unusual financial or legal risks.
The extent to which the engagement is likely to advance RCRC’s core objectives, provide support for important programs and lead to a significant, productive relationship.
The extent to which the engagement is likely to affect the independence, reputation, or integrity of the entire institution and the availability of methods to reduce the risk of any adverse impact.
RCRC will not enter into corporate engagements that violate any federal, state, or local law, are financially unsound or could expose RCRC to unacceptable liability or other adverse consequences.
The Co-Principal Investigators will continually evaluate ongoing corporate engagements. They will report periodically to the Board.
RCRC hosts events, conducts research projects, and launches incubators each year. The majority of our events are free and open to the public, meaning that anyone can register and attend. While public registration allows us to be inclusive, we recognize, on the other hand, the potential implications this may have for participants who have taken considerable risk to be present and participate. We also recognize that registration platforms (like Eventbrite) and some registration processes may make interested participants feel as if they need to use a dead name in order to attend an event or function. We are currently working to address these facets and appreciate your feedback to help us develop better registration practices.
Participating in an incubator: Though our incubators culminate in a public Community Research Expo, the sessions leading up to this event—unless noted otherwise—are closed to the public. The application process—which includes a structured interview—to join an incubator varies based on the incubator’s topic and supporting partners. Every incubator, whether on housing justice, violence prevention, or cooperative economics, has a target community in which recruitment begins. The purpose of this is to make sure that applicants meet the eligibility criteria concerning their lived-experience of historical and systematic oppression connected with the topic area. To learn more about the incubator please click here.
This will go into effect on April 27, 2020. If you are interested in attending one of our public events, but need to protect your identity for safety purposes, please reach out to RCRC staff so that we may give you a red lanyard or special name tag. Participants wearing a red lanyard or special name tag will be given additional protections in the public space. Their attendance will not be documented or made public, and we ask all participants to refrain from filming, photographing, or posting on social media about any other participant without their express permission.
In every session, moderators, or organizers will announce the level of privacy expected from participants, which may range from open attribution, to chatham house rules, to no attribution. All participants should listen to and respect these guidelines.
Revoking Tickets Policy
RCRC aims to create inclusive spaces that are open to the public. However, as a means to maintain the safety of these spaces we do reserve the right to revoke tickets, confiscate credentials, or otherwise deny entry or restrict entry to any RCRC event, at any time. We may take these steps in the event that an individual or their organization:
presents an unacceptable threat or risk to any member of the RCRC community, event attendees, organizational partners, and staff members of sponsoring organizations;
is found to be in violation of our code of conduct;
is involved in illegal, unethical, or violent activity, or
otherwise acts contrary to our values.
In all cases, this decision will be a thoughtful and considered action and the decision to revoke access to RCRC events will be taken very seriously.
Code of Conduct & Violation Reporting
RCRC is dedicated to creating and protecting safe spaces for people, online and off. We strive to treat people with dignity, decency, and respect, and to build a community for everyone, free of discrimination, marginalization, and intimidation— regardless of gender identity and expression, sexual orientation, nationality, status, origin, race, ethnicity, religion, age, disability, or physical appearance. We do not tolerate harassment in any form.
This Code of Conduct embodies our commitment to uphold these principles and outlines our expectations and our response. We also hope that this policy will promote a culture of belonging that values difference, dignity, collective responsibility, shared-power, mutual-learning, and respect, and will enable each of us to contribute to a safe and inclusive shared space.
Participants and stakeholders of the RCRC community are expected to understand and abide by this Code of Conduct. Anyone who is found to have violated this policy may be sanctioned or asked to leave RCRC spaces as a result.
We believe that it takes courage to report cases of harassment, and we salute that courage. We also understand that community members and users at risk, including victims of harassment, often are in a less privileged position than the person conducting the harassment, and face more barriers to speaking out, including social stigma. We commit to continually improving our support for survivors and efforts to prevent future harms.
Please reach out to our Code of Conduct Coordinator here for any questions or feedback you may have about our Code of Conduct.
This policy is effective as of April 23, 2020. RCRC reserves the right to update this policy, and will strive to notify all affected stakeholders of any changes.
What represents a violation of the Code of Conduct?
RCRC prohibits harassment, including sexual harassment, of any kind. Harassment is any verbal, nonverbal, or physical conduct designed to control, threaten, intimidate, silence, or coerce. Harassment includes but is not limited to:
Offensive or unwelcome comments, including epithets, slurs, negative stereotyping, and discriminatory remarks disguised as humor, based on gender identity and expression, sexual orientation, race, ethnicity, religion, age, disability, or physical appearance;
Distribution, display, or discussion of written or graphic material that ridicules, insults, or shows hostility or disrespect toward an individual or group because of gender identity and expression, sexual orientation, race, ethnicity, religion, age, disability, or physical appearance;
Deliberate “outing” of any aspect of a person’s identity without their consent;
Deliberate misgendering or use of rejected names;
Intimidation or silencing, including sustained and deliberate disruption of discussion;
Threats of violence or incitement of violence, including encouraging a person to commit suicide or to engage in self-harm;
Stalking or following, including repeated one-on-one communication despite requests to cease, unwanted photography or recording, and tracking and logging online activity without consent;
Failure to safeguard confidential or privately shared information, including publication of private communication without consent;
Unwelcome sexual attention, including innuendoes, suggestive comments, jokes of a sexual nature, sexual propositions, lewd remarks and obscene gestures, and requests for sexual favors (including repeated and unwelcome requests for dates);
Distribution, display, or discussion of any sexually suggestive written or graphic material, including emails, photos, text messages, and tweets, that is gratuitous, off-topic, or shows hostility or disrespect toward an individual or group;
Unwelcome physical contact including inappropriate touching, tickling, pinching, petting, brushing up against, hugging, cornering, kissing, fondling, and forced sexual intercourse or assault.
Attempts at intimidation, retaliation or retribution to someone who has
Filed or responded to a report of discrimination or harassment.
Appeared as a witness in the processing of a report.
Served as a coordinator of a report.
Encourage, support, or assist violations of this Code of Conduct
Gaslighting, scapegoating or deflecting. We will consider patterns of passive aggressive behavior to also be harassment, particularly if the behavior marginalizes or invalidates another person or group’s perspective.
When and where does the Code of Conduct apply?
This Code of Conduct applies in all RCRC programs, events, and spaces, including websites, mailing lists, social media platforms, coalitions, and convenings such as the Community Research Expo or Radical Thinkers speaker series, digital security clinics and workshops, and any other fora that RCRC hosts, both online and off.
RCRC’s Code of Conduct team makes decisions on the basis of reported behaviour taking place at RCRC spaces — or beyond — that violates the values enshrined in our Code of Conduct.
How to contact us about a violation
If you are being harassed by a participant or stakeholder of the RCRC community, notice that someone else is being harassed, or have concerns about other conduct, please contact us as soon as possible. RCRC has designated staff for receiving reports and has established a procedure for handling incidents of harassment.
Contact us in person: You can reach out to Jessica Bellamy or Josh Poe. We will work to ensure your safety, privacy, and the confidentiality of the report itself and the information that you are sharing.
Contact us using this form: You also have the option of sharing information via an online form. What you share will be received by RCRC's Code of Conduct Team.
Contact us via email (including encrypted email): You can share information via email by clicking here. Again, what you share will be received by RCRC's Code of Conduct Team.
In each of these cases, you have the option of providing your contact information if you would like to be available for further follow-up, or to be kept informed of any actions that have been taken.
We understand that talking about an incident that you experience or witness can be upsetting. We will make every effort to respond with sensitivity and respect, and we encourage you to share the information in any way that makes you feel comfortable, including bringing someone along to support you when you contact us. You will not be asked to confront others or engage in the response process for a violation of the Code of Conduct.
How we respond to information about violations
We work to stabilize the situation As soon as we get information about a possible violation of the Code of Conduct, we will immediately take any steps necessary to ensure the safety of the reporting individual/survivor(s), and of the community, which may include: taking the survivor(s) to a safe location; calling law enforcement, medical services, and other emergency services; and/or asking the object of the report to leave the premises.
We initiate the review and response process After stabilizing the situation, and as soon as possible, our Code of Conduct Coordinator will initiate the response process, and with the support of the Code of Conduct team, will review the information that we have received, including determining whether we need additional information.
We determine what action is needed, including remedy After carefully considering factors such as the content, nature, and threat level of the incident, and evaluating the available information, we will determine a course of action, including deciding whether and which remedy is appropriate. Potential remedies include warnings; denying funding and support; removing a speaker from an event; or banning a participant from future events. If a remedy or the timing of it puts the safety and confidentiality of the reporting individual(s)/survivor(s) at risk, our team will take that into consideration and prioritize preventing further harm.
Who is on our Code of Conduct team?
All members of our Code of Conduct team are available to help if you want to report an incident, and they are each empowered to take immediate steps to stabilize a situation.
Our Code of Conduct Coordinator serves as the point-of-contact for communications and follow-up, working with the other members of the Code of Conduct team, to reach resolution of an incident. In addition, the Coordinator may also consult with members of RCRC’s team (which includes the Accountability Council and Board) if that is necessary for resolution. If anyone responding to an incident is involved in the incident of abuse or harassment -- or we identify any other conflict of interest -- that team member will be recused from handling the incident.
At times, the Code of Conduct team may consult with our trusted support network of survivors and experts on how best to handle and resolve difficult cases. In such an instance, we will only share information that is necessary for appropriate guidance, and strictly uphold the confidentiality of the reporting individual and survivor(s), and the privacy of the individuals involved.
For the purpose of protecting survivors of harassment, RCRC will not name survivors without their affirmative consent.
During and after the report handling process, RCRC and those involved will protect the confidentiality of the information we receive, the privacy of the individuals involved, and the wishes of the reporting individual insofar as is legally possible, and as is compatible with the safe implementation of the chosen remedy and protection of the community.
In addition, any notes or documents written by or received by the person(s) conducting the report handling process will be kept confidential to the extent possible and according to any applicable existing state or federal law.
The exceptions of the Code of Conduct violation are: Presentation or discussion of graphic content related to sexuality or sexual activity, including pornography, is permissible if it meets all of the following criteria:
it is necessary to the topic of discussion and no alternative exists and
it is presented in a respectful manner, especially towards minorities and vulnerable communities.
Specifically for the display of pornography, the following additional criteria must be met:
RCRC has specifically granted permission in writing and
attendees are respectfully given ample warning and opportunity at the beginning of the session, to leave beforehand.
Data Usage Policy
Last Modified: April 23, 2020
RCRC advocates for your right to privacy, and we work to protect your privacy when you visit our websites and engage with us, online and offline.
We wrote this Data Usage Policy, and will update it as necessary, to let you know how we protect your personal data and keep it confidential.
We do not rent or sell visitor or donor information to third parties. We will not transfer or share this information unless compelled by law, and we will vigorously challenge any subpoena or other demand by government or private organizations or individuals to access it.
This Data Usage Policy applies to RCRC, and all of our staff members, contractors, interns, board members, Accountability Council members, Community Researcher incubator participants, fellows, and others who are bound by confidentiality agreements with RCRC (“we” or “us”).
List of Sections
Collection of Information
Use of Information
Disclosure of Information
Third-Party Service Providers
Links to Other Websites
Updating or Removing Your Information
Changes to this Data Usage Policy
COLLECTION OF INFORMATION
We strive to collect as little personal data as we need to further our mission.
When you submit information on our site using third-party forms, like the registration form powered by EventBrite, the schedule by Sched, or the Google Forms to propose program sessions, data may be collected by those vendors and processed subject to their terms of service.
USE OF INFORMATION
RCRC does not sell, rent, or lease your personal data under any circumstances.
RCRC uses the information you provide to us to conduct research, enable us to send you communications concerning events, or to connect you with valuable resources and advocates concerning inequities that you have personally identified.
We do not have full credit card numbers available to us, displayable or downloadable. Credit card information is stored by payment providers as noted on payment pages.
DISCLOSURE OF INFORMATION
Any subpoena or attempts by government agencies or private sector organizations to gain access to any information that you give us will be vigorously challenged.
In the unlikely event that we are required by law to disclose the information that you have submitted, we will attempt to provide you with notice (unless we are prohibited from doing so) that a request for your information has been made in order to give you an opportunity to object to the disclosure. We will attempt to provide this notice by email, if you have given us an email address or by phone if you have provided us with that information.
We will vigorously challenge requests for access to information about users of our site that we believe to be improper.
THIRD-PARTY SERVICE PROVIDERS
Program Submission Form Using Google Forms: https://www.google.com/intl/en/policies/privacy/
Webhosting by Wix: https://www.wix.com/about/privacy
Conference Ticketing and Registration by Eventbrite: http://www.eventbrite.com/privacypolicy/
Scheduling by Sched: https://sched.org/about/legal/privacy-policy
LINKS TO OTHER WEBSITES
RCRC uses social media and social networking services to advance our work. These applications require the use of third-party service providers.
RCRC’s website and services are not intended for, or designed to attract, individuals under the age of 18. We do not knowingly collect personally identifiable information from any person under the age of 18.
Through Google Drive RCRC employs security measures to protect the loss, misuse, and alteration of the information under our control. According to Google, secure data centers protect all data stored through the cloud to their servers. Data is encrypted during transfer from our computers and remains encrypted while it sits on their Google Drive servers. According to All Things Secured.com, “Google Drive uses 256-bit SSL/TLS encryption for files in transit and 128-bit AES keys for files at rest. In layman’s terms, this means that Google uses a stronger encryption (256-bit) when you’re uploading, downloading or accessing the files which are stored on Google Drive. When they’re not being messed with, a lesser-but-still-strong 128 bit encryption is used.”
RCRC also uses the two-step verification process and staff members are required to fully log out of their accounts when they use shared or public computers to access the drive.
Although we make every effort to store information collected by RCRC in the securest of operating environments, no organization or website can guarantee complete security. Therefore, if you believe that you may be at risk by putting your name or other personally identifying information to a form on the site, we would encourage you to consider the implications before doing so.
UPDATING OR REMOVING YOUR INFORMATION
You retain the right to view and request copies, deletion, and modification of the personal data we collect from you. Contact us by clicking here to start exercising these rights.
CHANGES TO THIS DATA USAGE POLICY
This Data Usage Policy may change from time to time. However, any revised Data Usage policy will be consistent with RCRC’s mission.
We will post any Data Usage Policy changes on this page and, if the changes are significant, we will provide a more prominent notice (including, for certain changes, an email notification announcing and explaining said changes to our Data Usage Policy).
This is our first Data Usage policy, published on April 23, 2020. Copies of older policies will be archived on our site for continued review.
In an effort to create the most secure website possible, we welcome your feedback and input on our Data Usage Policy. If you have any questions about this Data Usage Policy, please contact us by clicking here.