Community Guidelines 2015
Language Connection Australia Ltd. has a strict set of guidelines for the behaviour of participants and rules to allow everyone to enjoy a safe and welcoming environment.
We update the Community Guidelines below regularly, to reflect the needs and concerns of our community If you choose to participate at our events we will that assume you agree with the Community Guidelines, as such, please make sure that you are familiar with them.
We are a not-for-profit organisation which helps language learners improve their confidence and proficiency, make new friends and engage with the community. Our mission is to connect people through language and broaden their cultural horizons. To do this we rely wholly on volunteers.
Please Respect Participants
We all come to language exchanges for different reasons, with different goals. That said, we still want many of the same things. For example, everyone wants to feel safe and comfortable, and at the same time they want to enjoy themselves.
Our volunteers create this atmosphere with your cooperation. No participant, guest or volunteer deserves to be upset or feel belittled by any other person during our exchange. Many people will be at the exchange for the first time, some may have recently arrived in Melbourne and be particularly unfamiliar. If you are in doubt whether something is appropriate, if you wouldn’t say it in a classroom then you shouldn’t say it to anybody at Language Connection. The same holds for behaviour, if you wouldn’t do it in front of your teacher, then you shouldn’t do it at our events.
Participants, guests, and volunteers all give their time, effort, and resources from their own kindness and are under no obligation to provide this to you, both during and outside of the exchanges.
Please Obey the Law
The property of Language Connection is provided for you to use, but not to abuse. Language Connection does not own any of the premises used for the events, and we are bound by the terms and conditions for venue hire. We will not tolerate any of the following:
- damaging property
- drug use
- religious discrimination
- sexual harassment including unwanted sexual attention
This list is not exhaustive. Harassment of any kind is not tolerated. You are responsible for your own behaviour. If someone tells you “no” or asks you to leave them alone, your business with them is done. We are bound by venue hire and the welfare of all participants, and reserve the right to eject any participant.
Please Report Harassment
If someone makes you or someone else feel unwelcome or uncomfortable, please report them and what they did to the event coordinator, or the facilitator at your table. The coordinator will be sitting at the table by the door and is always available. All of our volunteers know the community guidelines and are being trained to handle harassment at the exchange. When making a report, please:
- Report the incident (preferably in writing) to an exchange volunteer – all reports are confidential.
- When reporting the event to a volunteer, try to gather as much information as available, but do not interview people about the incident – volunteers will help you to collect information
- The important information is:
- The name, or description, of the person who was harassing you, or other people
- What they were doing
- When the incident happened
- The circumstances surrounding the incident
- Other people involved in the incident
The volunteer team will work together to work out the best course of action, which may involve ejecting the harasser(s) from the event, cancelling any membership(s) and banning them from returning to future exchanges.
Language Connection too often receives reports from participants that they and other people, often their friends, are harassed over social and other media, by both exchange participants and non-participants. As much of this happens outside of the exchanges it is regrettably outside of our control. However, we will use our judgement and reserve the right to exclude participants who we believe demonstrate inappropriate behaviour online. In this case we reserve the right to ban the participant from all LC social media including Meetup and Facebook, and from coming to LC events.
Please don’t be afraid to speak up, we can only help you if we are aware of the harassment
If you receive harassment from a participant, please send your complaint (along with a screenshot, if possible) to firstname.lastname@example.org, and, if it goes against our Community Guidelines we will respond to the incident as if it had occurred during one of our exchanges. We will keep your identity anonymous.
If the incident happens with a participant or non-participant on social media, we also recommend you block the offending account(s) and report them to the moderator and the website in question.
Please Come to Learn
Our exchanges are popular, partly due to the efforts of our volunteers and partly due to our dedicated participants coming to practice their language. Sometimes our volunteers need to make sure participants come for the right reasons, and sometimes our events become crowded and we can’t accommodate everyone. For these reasons, if you come to any of our events and are unwilling to comply with the purpose or guidelines of the exchanges, then we will ask you to leave. If you do any of the following, we will ask you to leave:
- preach religious beliefs, especially for conversion
- recruit for commercial or political organisations
- make unapproved commercial promotions
- pressure participants into giving their contact details, especially for ‘picking up’
- attempt to poach LC participants for other exchanges
People come to our exchange to practise their language, some come to make friends. However, not everyone comes to make friends and their main reason for coming is to practise. Nobody is obliged to give their contact details to you. It they do, it may only be out of politeness or a sense of pressure. Because of this, if you do want to ask somebody for their contact details, where possible, please wait until after the exchange and be understanding if they refuse.
Please Seek Our Help
We have volunteers at all exchanges, usually one at each table and one at the door. They can answer your questions and provide general assistance. If you encounter behaviour which goes against these guidelines, or makes you worried or feel awkward, please let one of the volunteers know. At their discretion, the volunteers can ban anyone, for any length of time, if they believe that person disturbs the enjoyment of other participants.
Language Connection is a not-for-profit organisation, everything we receive goes towards our costs, including rent, with the aim to provide you the best space and environment to practice your language. To this end, we charge an event fee. Language Connection reserves the right to introduce new fee structures, with the interests of the long-term stability and affordability of our events.
If you believe that the atmosphere and services at our events do not suit your needs, you are not obliged to stay. Language Connection Volunteers can choose to waive your attendance fee in this case, including a pro-rata refund on your membership, if you have one. Anyone who is banned or ejected from Language Connection Events is not entitled to a refund of any attendance fees.
Please Respect Our Decisions
Language Connection is interested in new activities in the pursuit of Our Mission. If you have any suggestions on how to improve our events, or for new ideas, please tell one of our volunteers, we’re happy to hear any reasonable request. Any of these suggestions and requests must not oppose Our Mission or any of the Behaviour Guidelines.
These Community Guidelines are partially adapted from this anti-harassment policy created by the Ada Initiative and other volunteers.