Present: Gatlin, Chris, Carey, Corey (facilitating), Paul, Richard, Donny, Alex, Burgess, Marilyn (minutes), Joshua, Andi, Michelle, Ryan, Jessica, Don
(Automatic) Member review of Gatlin for accruing 13 no-shows over the course of July and August.
Tabled because agenda item 2 passed.
(Gatlin) I am contesting no-shows from July which accrued during a very sudden and obligatory work trip. I paid to have my labor covered and the no-shows were automatic because the log was not signed. I understand this is still a requirement but I do not believe my membership should be revoked as a consequence.
7/05 Courtyard Clean 7/12 Courtyard Clean 7/19 Courtyard Clean 7/25 & 26 Courtyard Clean
CQ & POI: Donny: The labor was done on those dates? Richard: Gatlin was notified. Burgess: Were there other labor misses? Gatlin: yes, and I have paid those fines. Richard: He is below member review threshold if these are thrown out; this would leave 9 in 2 months. No concerns or friendly amendments. Passed by consensus.
(Hannah) Membership review of Carey Neal Dunn. (facilitated by Donny) Allegations: Assault of a member and reckless and dangerous activity by a member; willful destruction of property in spite of numerous reasons not to; use of abusive language and shouting during the disagreement; using threats of self-harm to coerce others.
Item #1: Nolan was in his place with window open and heard the activity in the courtyard, a hatchet to a bench, Carey yelling at DJ to give back his axe. When DJ came to sit on the table, DJ said to Carey that he had elbowed and pushed him; Carey said he wanted his axe back but did not contest DJ's statements. No other witnesses are present, and DJ is not interested in reviewing Carey because DJ didn't feel threatened. Burgess: Did DJ think it was the co-op's axe. Answer: Yes. Carey: DJ continued to put himself between Carey and his property (axe) even after being informed it was his. “DJ came out of his apartment yelling and screaming at me. That's why I was highly upset that my stuff was taken.” Andi: Did DJ's statement mean he wasn't interested in a membership review. Answer: he didn't sign the review. Alex: He didn't oppose the review, either.
Item #2: Paul: He destroyed part of the picnic table with the axe, and it did fall apart when moved. Richard: A couple of picnic tables were delivered to the Commons and Carey had expressed in an e-mail that he wanted to take an axe to them; others had said we should discuss it first. Carey: On the Labor Holiday, when part of the flower beds were removed Hannah wanted to put in picnic tables, but he told her that he was opposed as it would interfere with egress. She said she would bring them anyway, and he asked her to remove them, but she told him to bring it to a meeting. If she could autonomously bring them in, he could autonomously act to remove them. Corey: She should have had a yellow card, not retaliation. Gatlin: The issue is less the picnic tables than how their removal was carried out? Answer: Yes. Ryan: These were free in the neighborhood, which needed to be picked up right away, not waiting for a house meeting to decide them coming in. If we have to ask for permission that would limit free stuff coming in. Concerns: Autonomous action like this could support other autonomous actions to destroy property that is causing difficulty for a member.
Item #3: Nolan: Carey uses logic to justify things he does, like he has his own rules. Carey overheard a discussion in August, said, “Nolan, that's really stupid,” and Carey repeatedly attacked him on the basis of Nolan having more money. Later Carey member-reviewed Nolan for abusive behavior; Carey has not made any attempt to apologize. Carey's reply to Nolan: This is not how it went down; he doesn't remember the exact point, but found evidence that Nolan was classist in that discussion, and Nolan accused him of yelling when Carey said it; others did not think Carey was yelling. Burgess: was there name-calling during the incident with the picnic tables? Nolan and Paul (who saw part of it) did not hear name-calling. Richard: Sarah and Richard both felt during the August disagreement that Nolan baited Carey. Corey: what was the timeline of events? Paul: about 8:30 Carey used the axe; about 9 a.m. Carey got the axe back and DJ and others sat on the table to prevent destruction; about 12:30 they were unattended and Carey returned, there was a stand-off with DJ, and Paul (Safety Offficer) took the axe.
Item #4: Andi: “I have a problem with that, it's assuming intention, and I don't think that's fair.” Nolan: he debated writing this down, and he wishes that he had written it differently. We are not the place to address comments about self-harm, but Carey said “I should have just walked in front of traffic.” We can't make good decisions if there is a threat of self-harm, and we have to make the best decisions for ourselves. [Carey leaves] Ryan: He spent a lot of time with DJ that day, just after the events. He thinks Carey wasn't coercing but DJ was being “guilted” by Carey. Jessica: This item is not a valid one for membership review. Ryan: He heard that Daniel Miller commented on a similar hypothetical question and said it was not appropriate co-op behavior. Richard: During the altercation Carey commented that he would “off himself” if he didn't have somewhere to live, which did seem coercive. Nolan: Daniel said that if there is someone making suicidal comments we are not doing them any favors by allowing that to continue. We can't do or not do something because he's not getting treatment. Jessica: This item in particular is about how we feel, whereas the first two items are valid for a membership review. Burgess: during another membership review he commented that you don't reinforce the behavior of a bully, and this seems close to that. Paul: Daniel also said that decisions around this depend on the person, circumstances, and co-op, and we should not punish someone for “suicidal depression.” Alex: Suicidal threats are abusive.
Ryan: [recounts his recollection of events, similar to what is in the timeline above]. Burgess: Was anybody hurt? Carey seems to be the only one who claims he is hurt. [Carey returns] Richard: I'm having trouble imagining what a behavior contract would contain. Hannah (to Carey): What do you think should be on a contract?. Carey: I wasn't thinking about how this would affect other people. I would be willing to sign a short-term behavior contract saying that I won't take co-op items in my own hands without co-op policy on use of those things, not acting impetuously. Hannah: that would meet my desires for trust in the use of common space. Gatlin: Practically, if you're going to use an axe, set up a perimeter, a policy for everybody. Jessica: She thinks there was a lot of miscommunication and Carey over-reacted. Hannah: doesn't want Carey to leave, doesn't think we're close to that, wants to find an agreement that will work for everyone. Doesn't want any assaults but wants us to take care of our own. Corey: from what he's heard these events meet the legal criteria for classifiable assault, and we can't not talk about it. He would like a policy of zero tolerance, which would be a discussion in the future. Hannah agrees, but this is a situation to deal with now, and she does recognize Carey for participating. Carey: There have been assaults and threats that have in the past been ignored. That's not cool, but we turn a blind eye to certain people's actions. Alex: Should we continue to ignore assaults when we have a situation in front of us and can do something about it? Ryan: In prior situations someone who was assaultive would not get a new lease. Richard: Carey's comments implied that he felt justified in assaulting DJ. Ryan: Carey felt he was justified in his actions and felt physical pain during the tussle over the axe; DJ felt assaulted but is good at defusing situations like this. Nolan: If you are fighting over an axe, there's an obligation to recognize the seriousness and stop fighting. Paul reads a statement from Lauren: she signed the review, but she and Andy would vote against terminating his membership; he is a good roommate. Hannah: would like to co-op to have better policies, and Carey to take responsibilities for his behavior. Carey says he understands, but it felt unfair that he had to wait a whole week to take up the matter of the picnic tables in a house meeting. He would like a time frame and a plan to develop a policy during that time frame. Hannah: it may take a week to get these matters to a house, and sometimes we only have a short time to get some furniture. Corey: Write yellow cards! Ryan: They are ineffectual. Ryan also asks what we should do with the axe. Carey says he got it only for that purpose. Paul has it but has offered to give it back. Asks Carey if he would do it again, and he replies no, he doesn't expect something like that to happen again. This has been too hard on him and he doesn't think he'd have the emotional energy to pull it off again. Richard: Do you feel justified in what you did, including assaulting DJ to get your axe ack? If you had the energy would you do it again? Do you think you are right to assault someone for taking your property without permission? Carey: DJ said violence is a solution and he doesn't respect people who use diplomacy, so Carey felt he had to assert himself in order to succeed at getting the axe back.
#1: It is apparent that Carey has trouble anticipating others' reactions, which means we need to have more communication. #2: it is not unheard of for co-ops to ban items that are potentially lethal, and he would like to see something in a contract about what to do with the axe. #3: Apparently there were efforts in the days before the incident and that day to communicate. #4: DJ has never said that violence is a solution, but he grew up with it and can handle it well. #5: Carey believes that DJ will use violence to achieve a goal, and so only violence will accomplish Carey's goals. #1: I'd be okay with a behavioral contract saying no more assaults. #6: That's in the rental contract already, but I don't want to let him go, I want to give him another chance to understands that no matter what he think about another's behavior he can't assault another person; we need to strive to reach consensus. #7: No assaults, bring it to the table or go live somewhere else. #8: Carey's statement made the it sound like he would do it again. #9: In this meeting Carey described some interactions with other co-opers that they don't remember happening, so he may remember things in a way that will justify his actions. #10: It seems like Carey's issue was about the axe being his private property. #3: We could institute a behavioral contract with zero tolerance for anything but self-defense. #1: We have had other membership reviews in which we told someone they would be evicted for a behavior in the contract. #9: Carey asked for a timeline during which the co-op would make changes to policy; we should not have a timeline on the behavior of assault. (Agreement from others)
Straw poll: No action: 2. Behavior contract: 9. Eviction: 10. Suggestion: attempt behavioral contract first and move to eviction if it doesn't work. He does do his labor and has some community spirit. Not sure it will be successful because he may not be empathic with others. Comment: usually Carey shouts and walks out, but physical assault is a different thing, and he said he would do it again. Another comment: Would a contract help and work? And for what length? Query: Do we want to be a community that tolerates a little violence but not a lot of violence, or if you're part of this group but not that group? Yelling and pounding walls is abusive, but this was more than that, it was assault. Another query: would he sign a contract in bad faith if it said he would not assault anyone? Another person: I was punished in middle school for pushing someone, though he didn't get hurt. At school there is zero tolerance, and I get that. If someone has a profound emotional he may need counseling, especially if it's been diagnosed. Shoving is different from punching. There may be a line between violence we would tolerate and violence we wouldn't tolerate. Some things might be tolerable; there may be a few. Another comment: Even overt aggressive behavior is inconsistent with what we expect from each other. Another: his comments at the end – he had time between the original action and going and getting the axe a few minutes later to make a different decision. He was willing to fight DJ to destroy picnic tables. Another: he doesn't have good internal controls, which would put us in the position of having to set and maintain limits. Another: We are not capable of managing others' mental health issues. Call for a vote: deferred. The best way to establish a behavioral contract on managing his emotions is to bring him back in to see what he does in that conversation. Comment: some issues may not be addressed adequately by a behavioral contract. These problems will not go away without consequences. Another: we can write the contract without his input and if he doesn't want to sign it he will have to leave. No vote on eviction.
Discussion of behavioral contract: Recommendation for mental health evaluation or anger management therapy. Make it to the end of his lease and review at the time of his next lease. Include zero tolerance for breaking anything in the lease agreement; language: “Violation of any of these terms results in eviction.” No assaults; no destruction of any property that is not his; no guns or blades, excluding kitchen knives. No threats of violence toward persons or toward property. No violent, retaliatory, coercive actions. (Consider defining some details with concrete examples.) Suggestion: vote on time frame for each item. Mental health eval rejected. Zero tolerance for breaking any part of the lease agreement rejected. No assaults while he resides here, accepted. No destruction of any property that is not his until the end of his contract, accepted. No guns or blades on co-op property, excluding kitchen knives, rejected. Suggested alternative: We will not return the axe, but offer to reimburse him for it, rejected. No threats toward persons or property for the duration of the current lease, accepted. No violent, retaliatory, or coercive actions for the duration of the current lease, accepted.
Conference call with organizer for Rights for Homes organizer; ntify Marilyn if interested in participating
Starting tomorrow at 8 p.m. there will be a social action reading group in the Commons, to get better at talking about race and socio-economic status.