SRE Network Takes Small Step Toward Fixing Malfeasant Member Problem

Following yesterday’s post about SRE Network and their malfeasant member organization, they released an updated statement and policy recommendation on NDAs (linked below). While this is a good start, the work isn’t done, and I don’t believe SRE has done enough yet.

To SRE leadership:

A few primary points I think still need to be addressed, especially in light of this member that has been actively malfeasant, lied to SRE leadership about the extent of the harassment they enabled, and continued to promote the perpetrator on several occasions.

1) There needs to be an acknowledged difference between an institution that has in the distant past been malfeasant and has joined in good faith to gain access to experts and resources that can help bring them in line with best practices, and organizations like this member organization that have very recently been malfeasant, and whose malfeasance is ongoing.

2) Your policy recommendations on past nondisclosure agreements are not good enough. The commitment should be public, so they can be held publicly accountable should they attempt to later enforce the nondisclosure agreement.

3) Your policy is vague on what constitute appropriate channels. Appropriate channels for disclosing sexual harassment or abuse are whatever channels the victim deems appropriate. The public voiding of the NDAs should be unequivocal and unconditional. It’s not for the malfeasant organization to determine what is and isn’t an appropriate channel for the disclosure of sexual harassment or abuse.

4) Your member page is very vague on what membership in SRE entails with respect to what SRE membership does and doesn’t mean for member organizations, particularly the fact that clearly SRE membership in no way guarantees even any sort of commitment to compliance with policy recommendations, and with respect to what SRE expects of its members. Whether you intend it to or not, this results in the impression that SRE membership is an acknowledgement of of a member organization’s safety, which as you said in this statement is not the case. This should be very clearly and explicitly corrected on your membership page.

5) There needs to be a procedure for removing members from the network. You can claim until you’re blue in the face that the goal is to encourage members, however malfeasant, into compliance, but at some point allowing the membership of a malfeasant organization that resists any sort of meaningful compliance is not only harmful to the image of SRE, and not only reflects poorly on other member organizations and SRE advisors, but actively hurts the people harmed by the member organization’s malfeasance. There has to be a limit after which a member is expelled. There needs to be a process and procedure for removing malfeasant members. It’s unreasonable and embarrassing to run a network committed to safety respect and equity where any member can flout the recommendations and continue to retain membership.

I look forward to seeing these issues corrected in the very near future.


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