Community Agreement

Here are a few pointers for finding your feet and getting the most out of oSTEM meetings and the Slack:

1. Lurk a little. Here’s a metaphor to start with:

Imagine that you enter a parlor. You arrive late. When you arrive, others have long preceded you, and they are engaged in a heated discussion, a discussion too heated for them to pause and tell you exactly what it is about. In fact, the discussion had already begun long before any of them got there, so that no one present is qualified to retrace for you all the steps that had gone before. You listen for a while, until you decide that you have caught the tenor of the argument; then you put in your oar. Someone answers; you answer him; another comes to your defense; another aligns himself against you, to either the embarrassment or gratification of your opponent, depending upon the quality of your ally’s assistance. However, the discussion is interminable. The hour grows late, you must depart. And you do depart, with the discussion still vigorously in progress.

Kenneth Burke, The Philosophy of Literary Form

It’s meant to be about academic discourse, the ways researchers engage in a scientific conversation that always predates us, but which we can contribute to nonetheless. But (without the conflict) it also applies to participating in oSTEM. We’re all coming late to a party that’s already going on, and even the first people in oSTEM weren’t the first queers on A&M’s campus.

The best way you can find your way in is to watch and listen for a bit first. Whether that’s by exploring the various channels on the Slack, or by coming to the meetings 15 minutes early to chat with an officer, it’s easier to put in your oar once you have a sense of how the current is flowing.

2. Say hello. As with any community, you can only begin to make connections by starting with a simple hello. Strangers at meetings are friends you just haven’t met yet. In the Slack specifically, a Greetbot in the #introductions channel will announce your presence with a cute GIF – feel free to react or reply to that with a short blurb about yourself.

3. Mind your audience. oSTEM is a great and supportive community, but remember that the people you get in contact with at oSTEM may become your professional references, your co-workers, your hotel-mates, or even possibly your boss!

4. Follow our Code of Conduct.

  • Be kind, respectful, and good to people.
    • No transphobia, homophobia, biphobia, panphobia, or transmisogyny.
      • Do not deadname or misgender someone either in public or in private.
      • Do not out someone without their consent.
    • No racism, colorism, or racial slurs. No sexism, misogyny, or femmephobia. No ableism, bodyshaming, or fatphobia. No slutshaming. No classism. No hate speech of any kind.
    • No sexual harassment of any kind.
  • Demonstrate a willingness to engage and learn.
    • Anyone can make a mistake and accidentally say something hurtful or triggering. If you find yourself corrected for making this error, please try to learn from it. There is no such thing as being “too sensitive.”

oSTEM at Texas A&M seeks to create a safe space and community for all of its members. All members are free to contact tamu@chapters.ostem.org or an individual officer via Slack DM with any concerns about any other members. Conduct issues will generally be met with a warning and an opportunity to regain standing, based on administrative decision. Repeated incidents of bias or harassment will be grounds for an immediate ban from the oSTEM @ TAMU community.

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