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Baltimore Science Fiction Society Code of Conduct and Implementation Plan

(Updated January 15, 2019)

The Baltimore Science Fiction Society (BSFS) is dedicated to providing a comfortable and harassment-free environment for everyone at Balticon and other BSFS-sponsored events, as well as spaces managed by BSFS, such as digital platforms. By attending a BSFS event, all individuals are required to abide by BSFS anti-harassment rules, venue policies, and all municipal, state, and federal laws.

Harassment Policy
Prohibited behaviors include, but are not limited to:

  • Slurs and derogatory comments about a person, group, or category of people. This includes comments based on characteristics such as, but not limited to, actual or perceived race, national origin, ethnicity, sex, gender, sexual orientation, physical appearance, age, religion, ability, disability, family structure, marital status, and/or socioeconomic class.

  • Stalking, intimidation, and/or coercion of a person or persons.

  • Physical harm and/or endangerment and/or threats of physical harm and/or endangerment of any person and/or their personal effects.

  • Touching of a person and/or their personal effects -- including, but not limited to, hair, clothing, assistive devices, bags, and service animals -- without an express invitation.
Sharing space with other people requires active demonstrations of respectful conduct. Good examples can be leaving other people a clear path to an exit, moderating the volume of ones voice, limiting the expansiveness of ones gestures, and/or maintaining an appropriate physical distance.

Examples of maintaining appropriate conduct at an in-person event could include the following:

If physical contact is wished, a person could express this verbally or with a friendly gesture but is to avoid proceeding without a positive verbal or physical response. For example, extending a hand for a handshake and waiting for the other person to reciprocate.

In general, people should be aware of receiving and maintaining consent such as observing non-verbal and verbal clues that the other party may wish to end the interaction. If there is any question as to whether the other party wants to end the interaction, end the interaction oneself.

Social Media and Digital Platforms:
This policy also applies to all social media and/or digital platforms managed by BSFS. Violations of the policy may result in being banned from BSFS-managed social media, digital platforms, and/or in-person events.

BSFS may also investigate and take actions it deems appropriate based on events that occur on digital platforms outside of those managed by BSFS if BSFS believes it necessary to meet our goal to provide a safe environment.

Activities Outside of BSFS Property or Events:
BSFS may also investigate and take actions it deems appropriate based on events that occur outside of BSFS-managed spaces or events if BSFS believes it necessary to meet our goal to provide a safe environment.

Threats and physical violence anywhere are unacceptable and BSFS reserves the right to take actions to protect the safety of the attendees of any BSFS event.

BSFS will take reasonable efforts to support any law enforcement requests or court orders.

Criteria for Investigation:
BSFS will investigate potential incidents that fit one of the following four criteria:

1. The potential incident occurs at events managed by BSFS or in spaces owned by BSFS.

2. The potential incident involves individuals in a position to represent BSFS or a BSFS event.

3. A party to the event files a complaint with BSFS.

4. The BSFS Board of Directors becomes aware of any relevant allegations.

BSFS Implementation:
The BSFS Harassment policy applies to all BSFS events. Event leads are responsible for the investigation and enforcement of any complaints during their events.

Individuals may contact the BSFS President, the Balticon Chair, or any other member of the BSFS Board of Directors to report potential violations of the Code of Conduct at any BSFS event. BSFS will document the information provided, and take those actions BSFS may deem appropriate. If the individual filing the report requests no action be taken, BSFS will not take action unless a clear threat is identified.

Individuals who have other safety concerns based on events outside of Balticon or another BSFS-sponsored event (including but not limited to other conventions or conversations on social media) may also contact the BSFS President, the Balticon Chair, or any other member of the BSFS Board of Directors. The Board will document the information, investigate concerns that fall within the criteria for investigation, and take what action the board deems appropriate.

BSFS reserves the right to consult outside legal counsel.

Contact information:
BSFS Board of Directors: Full Board of Directors:
BSFS President:
Chair of the Board of Directors:
Harassment Reporting Address:

Phone: 410-JOE-BSFS (410-563-2737)

Postal Mail: PO Box 686
Baltimore, MD, 21203-0686

BSFS Events:
BSFS event leads are responsible for enforcement of the BSFS Harassment policy and other policies event leads decide are appropriate for their event. The event lead will report any potential incidents and any actions taken to the Board of Directors for review after the incident.

BSFS Reserves the Right to update this policy at any time and without notice.

Fog Machine Policy:

(Updated 7/11/2016)

Fog Machines are banned from Balticon unless their presence and use has been approved by the hotel in writing prior to the start of the convention. (Fire alarm B50)

Alcohol At Balticon Open Events:

(Updated 7/11/2016)

No alcohol allowed in open room parties or events at Balticon unless the alcohol is dispensed by a hotel employee (presumably sold by hotel as well) to ensure compliance with regulations of the local liquor board.

Collections Policy:


The Baltimore Science Fiction Society, Inc. (BSFS) maintains collections of books, periodicals, visual media, games and gaming materials, and art related to speculative fiction, including works of and about science fiction, fantasy, horror and similar ideas, as well as works by or about noted authors of works in these genres.

The holdings are subdivided for organizational purposes as:

the Library, primarily containing literary works and periodicals;

the Media Collection, consisting of visual and audio recordings on tapes, disks and similar storage devices;

the Games Collection, containing copies of board and other tabletop games;

the Role Playing Game Reference Collection; primarily containing gaming manuals; and

the Art Collection, consisting of two and three-dimensional presentations of human imagination and creative skill appreciated primarily for their beauty or emotional power.

With the exception of the Art Collection and designated items in other Collections, the materials are available to the public for reading, researching and borrowing without charge.


Donations of items for the Collections are accepted by appointment. Donations are reviewed for accession by appropriate committee for additions that will improve and enhance the Collections. BSFS generally does not accept donations of unbound issues of comic books.

Donated material not added to the Collection may be donated to other not-for-profit organizations or exchanged for monetary donations to support the direct care of the Collections. Direct care is defined as providing storage, conservation, and preservation of the Collections.

Donors are requested to label containers of donated material with counts of the items they contain. BSFS will acknowledge the quantity of material received, but will not assign a value to it.


In accordance with Financial Accounting Standards Board Statement 116, BSFS does not capitalize the value of the Collections in its financial records.

Material is only removed from the Collections (“deaccessioned”) when the designated committee determines the material does not meet the criteria for continued inclusion as part of a Collection or a better item becomes available to replace an item already owned. The proceeds of materials deaccessioned from the Collections are reserved and held for a) acquisition of material to add to the Collections, or b) the direct care of the Collections, as defined above. Purchases of materials are expensed in the period of acquisition.

The designated Collections committees track the number of items received in donations and the number of items donated to other nonprofits without recognition of revenue or expense. Due to the high level of uncertainty about the existence of value in donated items not added to the Collections, revenue is not recognized unless such material is exchanged for a monetary donation. The value of items received when items are exchanged for monetary donations is recognized as revenue in the period in which it is received and added to funds reserved for direct care of the collections.

"Balticon" is a service mark of the Baltimore Science Fiction Society, Inc.
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Baltimore Science Fiction Society, Inc.
PO Box 686
Baltimore, MD 21203-0686
Phone: (410) JOE-BSFS (563-2737)
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