Present: Walter, Christian, Walter, Nolan, Rebecca, Barak, Serene, Corey (facilitator), Burgess, Vaidy, Brian, Bernard, Don, Catty, Yarrow, Alex, Hannah, Davionne, Paul (minutes)
Chris (second meeting, accepted), Jordan (second meeting, accepted), Antonio (second meeting, accepted).
Amend the minutes to reflect that the partner organization coordinator and a representative of Front Steps come to a meeting to discuss further.
(Richard, Burgess, Vaidy) Member review of Brian for:
Richard: Primarily a harassment complaint. There were several instances immediately, then some followed up. I think it was Sunday the 3rd. Myself, Christian, Vaidy, and Paul were there in parts. Brian got angry very quickly and was intoxicated. After some crosstalk he invited Vaidy to repeat himself to Brian's face. Brian came back afterwards and put his weight on Vaidy's chair, angrily, before walking around brooding.
Brian: How does that constitute a threat?
Richard: I think that's so common it doesn't need an explanation.
Brian: I interpret it differently, as say it directly to me instead of to your friends. Implying I support sexual assault because I disagreed with you?
Richard: Next morning I woke to discover a urine pile outside my door. I had some idea who it was, confirmed by Burgess, who came up to me and asked me if I had angered Brian.
Burgess: I had zero knowledge of the night's events. While out for my morning cigarette, I went to let Richard's cat inside to his unit. About 30-40 minutes later I went back outside and Brian came out. He looked livid and furious, so much so that I went back inside. I came out 10 minutes later and took a peek in the breezeway, and the urine was there. Cats don't pee 20 times; the volume wasn't cat-like. I then told Richard this story. It's a narrow bracket of time. I'm comfortable thinking Brian is responsible. By the way, the urine wasn't just in front of Richard's door - it was in the common area, it was in our area.
Bernard: Did anyone actually see Brian do this? Not speculation, not because of the anger. (No video, no witnesses.)
Brian: I was upset, because an officer of the house badgered and berated me. He said Hannah shits the bed, that Hannah called Serene a white girl, that I support sexual assault. And Vaidy continued to troll, mock, be condescending, and when I've talked to people about his behavior they said, “Oh, that's just Vaidy.”
Davionne: OK, we found urine on Richard's door. Why didn't we find it on Vaidy's door?
Brian: I didn't urinate anywhere. I did wake up real upset about being mistreated and talked down to, spurious and inaccurate comments. Paul grinned and laughed while they continued to berate me. Richard had grabbed a Topo Chico from me last night.
Richard: No I didn't.
Brian: After that Topo Chico … I had Sunny D and vodka left over from the night before, which I poured on Richard's front door. Because I was furious. But I'm happy we were able to work that out.
Facilitator: Let's be aware that we're not
Richard: So basically, “Aha! It was a substance that looked like urine, but was not urine.” We still have the ongoing harassment.
Brian: Does ongoing mean up to this moment?
POI: We'll discuss that.
Vaidy: Do I need to do anything procedural as a signatory on this review?
Richard: I confronted Brian about this incident, and demanded he apologize or leave. He called me a pussy, denied peeing at the doorway, and told me to fuck off. I decided that was not fruitful and avoided him afterwards. He's hung around my door multiple nights, unscrewed my porch light to the point the cover fell off. Someone asked me if Brian was sleeping in the breezeway, and they couldn't tell because it was pitch black. I never turn off my night light.
Brian: I never unscrewed your light. I've never fallen asleep at the breezeway.
Damienne: Err, that was me asleep up there. I apologize.
Bernard: All of this involves people and how they voted in a heated membership meeting and it feels like targeting to me. Nobody should be being targeted because of how they voted.
Brian: You've suggested that talking about what lead to the incident isn't relevant. I think it's incredibly relevant that my anger that night was caused by an officer and the Steward of this house. If we can't trust officers there's a big problem.
Walter: We know there's some speculations, and we know some facts. There was a conflict. It got heated, there was alcohol involved, there might've been mediation but now it's come to the house. I don't think these actions necessarily imply We're not in high school.
Paul: I don't think it's about the membership meeting that people were discussing. It was your reaction to that, and whatever you think justifies your anger, you poured sticky liquid on another door, and it sounds like you didn't apologize for it. That's a part of it.
Vaidy: The meeting was about a threat, which must be perceived, and sleeping and urinating. Me, Christian, Paul, Richard, and Brian, were there at various parts. I heard an intense discussion. I wanted to find out what the discussion was about, and things got super-heated. I asked questions I think should be asked. There was an extreme change of dynamics I wasn't aware of at the end.
Hannah: I heard my name came up in the context, in a hurtful context. I'm kind of taken aback. I expressed an opinion trying to be respectful to everyone involved. I know it's not the topic of discussion but I wanted to make that clear. We get the culture we deserve.
Gatlin: Conversations can be difficult. Getting angry, suggesting physical violence, using one's size to threaten. No, asking whether you actually said threatening words is besides the point. There is no universe where threatening physical violence in response to a conversation is acceptable.
Brian: I do not believe “say that to my face” is a threat of physical violence. What I find upsetting is that because of my size I'm considered threatening when I was surrounded by three people. I made no physical threats. Chris, can I ask you to tell me what you told me the day before?
Chris: There was one comment made by Richard, and a response by Brian, and I apologized to Brian for asking questions at that point, which seems to have escalated the issue - immediately afterwards is when it turned from a discussion into an argument. I didn't realize at the time that you considered it people ganging up on you.
Nolan: Brian, you've focused entirely on your own feeling and perspectives, and haven't even tried to understand the perspectives of others.
Vaidy: You asked someone, me, to come and tell you that to your face. Did I offend you?
Brian: Absolutely. You asked me many questions, you asked me the same question over and over. It was inappropriate.
Vaidy: I didn't hear what you said, so I'm sorry I didn't hear you threaten you.
Brian: Some threat, if the person I was saying it to didn't even hear me.
POI: Your interpretation of a threat is irrelevant, it's the perception of the person who feels the threat that's relevant. Everyone who has heard that phrase and dealt with that phrase knows that it's a threat.
Barak: We should start discussing straw polls to decide how to move forward.
Richard: Concerning the point of him using his physical presence. It's worth repeating that after Vaidy did not repeat himself to Brian, Brian went to Vaidy's chair and put his weight on it while staring Vaidy down. All we've heard from Brian is why he was justifiably angry.
Brian: I am sorry to the co-op for pouring out old Sunny D and vodka, and making someone clean that up. Saying that I support sexual assault because of a vote I made up. Vaidy has been perfectly kind except when he's doing whatever's he's doing at this meeting. Richard and Vaidy and Paul were having fun attacking me and making me feel unwelcome and saying I support sexual assault.
Brian: I didn't urinate anywhere; I didn't expose myself. I apologize to the co-op; that's a bummer to clean up. I didn't threaten anyone and acting like my size is a threat is a problem. And it's not acceptable for an officer to act like that.
– Brian exits ; entering straw poll discussion –
Barak: I think this can be dealt with using a behavioral contract: Brian and all the other members involved should go to mediation.
Gatlin: He's been very angry at this meeting. It's consistent with him becoming extremely angry with discussions. He leaned on Vaidy's chair and stared at him. Let's not forget that.
Richard: I'm not sure how to handle this with a behavioral contract. He also said that this is just the way he talks. Shall we expect more threats he doesn't consider threats going forward, then?
Walter: I didn't see much evidence from this meeting that he's willing to change.
Burgess: I did talk to him about the urine thing before this. Flat denial, nothing about lemonade.
Alex: I saw similar behavior from him. I agree with Richard that, “That's just the way I talk” is not a good sign. I don't see a behavioral contract being enough.
Hannah: I'd second a behavioral contract. He did acknowledge the Sunny D incident. I don't think he did anything evictable from a conventional landlord, which is my standard. Seems minor to me.
Vaidy: We can disagree. It's the manner in which one disagrees. With the way he reacts to disagreement, I don't have confidence to tell him when he's wrong, or to tell him, “no.”
Nolan: I don't think the “conventional landlord” standard applies. I think we have a higher standard here, because we work and live together. I don't think a behavioral contract is going to work; it's all about him. He's not working in good faith.
Burgess: My personal opinion is that if he seeks help through a behavioral contract, I would strongly encourage him to also seek help for alcohol addiction.
Barak: We should put faith in our mediation system to allow those people involved to talk it out.
Richard: I tried to talk to him privately, and he called me a pussy and told me to fuck off. For the record, this altercation was just a few days into his membership, and he was already threatening to assault people. He just signed the harassment policy that week.
Straw poll, behavioral contract wins.
Suggestions for behavioral contract stipulations:
1) Banned from the breezeway at all hours.
2) No using degrading or abusive language.
3) A curfew outside during quiet hours.
4) No threats of physical violence.
5) Mediation between Brian, and Richard, Vaidy, Paul and Christian.
Term length: Remainder of his lease (less than 6 months).
All behavioral contract stipulations pass.