Dear Comrades, 

Recently we experienced an incident of mild harassment on our Facebook page. The individual, “Eric Steward” has been banned from the Akron DSA Facebook page.  We encourage all members to report any attempts at contact on any platform to steering immediately. This is likely a case of internet trolling. Few people actually wish to engage in harassment behavior in person.  

While we don’t consider this a threat of violence, steering has decided to proactively create a policy for how to handle negative incidents. We are currently living in the most open and accessible moment for socialism in American history.  As socialists, enjoy some legal protections in public spaces, but it is also our responsibility to protect each other.  

Our recommendation is that members record and then block any future attempts at trolling they experience and report them to the platform for violating community standards.  If you feel unsafe, you are encouraged to contact anyone you feel may help protect you, including law enforcement.    

We think it is unlikely that anyone will cause a problem at DSA meetings, we are working to clarify our plan of action for non-member disturbances at meetings.  If any incident occurs at a meeting, steering will attempt to diffuse the situation and ask the offending individual to leave. We will be in contact with library staff about how they handle removing individuals in these situations.  We strongly encourage membership not to engage with problematic individuals, and to leave the meeting room immediately if they feel there is any risk for physical violence. It is not the responsibility of membership to handle these situations.  

We want everyone to feel as safe and comfortable as possible, but we recognize the world is full of problematic individuals.  Please feel free to reach out to anyone on steering with any questions or concerns. We welcome communication; no issue is too large or small for discussion.  

In Solidarity,

Heather Hillenbrand