Oberlin Contra Dance Code of Conduct

Larks and Ravens

To provide a more inclusive dance experience for everyone, the Oberlin Contra Dance Club decided to become a genderfree dance in Fall 2017. Unless otherwise specificied, the terms "Larks and Ravens" are used instead of "Gents and Ladies". Larks stand on the Left and Ravens stand on the Right.

Gents and Ladies are inherently gendered terms. Because of this, many dancers feel pressure to dance a specific role when these terms are used. In addition, use of this terminology implies that men are Gents and women are Ladies by default, which is not true. While contra dance roles were strictly gendered in the past, Gents and Ladies no longer describe the roles in our community today. Furthermore, this is not just an issue of semantics. Some members of the community find the use of gendered terms to be awkward, exclusionary, or even hurtful. Transgender and gender non-conforming people can be affected by this issue in particular. By switching to gender-free terms, we can make this dance space more welcoming and inclusive.

If you are curious about this change, feel free to talk to an officer or email contra@oberlin.edu! You can also check out this blog post from BIDA, a large contra dance community in the Boston area that recently switched to Larks and Ravens.

NE Ohio Contra Code of Conduct

In Winter/Spring 2019, Northeast Ohio contra organizers met and drafted a unified code of conduct to be publicized at all dances in the region. Oberlin Contra Club representatives were involved in this process, and Oberlin stands by the resulting statement in addition to our own Anti-Harassment Policy and statement of inclusivity.

Anti-Harassment Policy

Oberlin Contra Club is dedicated to providing a safer dance experience for everyone regardless of gender identity, sexual orientation, disability, physical appearance, body size, race, or religion. Participants are expected to respect people's pronouns. Entering and remaining in this dance venue/event means keeping to these agreements. Event participants violating these rules may be sanctioned or expelled from the event with a refund at the discretion of the event staff.

Policy violations include:

People wishing to photograph or otherwise record our events are asked to contact an organizer so as to coordinate with people who may not wish to be recorded.

Participants asked to stop any behavior are expected to comply immediately. We expect participants to follow these rules at all Contra Club events. Exhibitors in the venues, sponsor or vendor booths, or similar activities are also subject to the safer space policy.

If a participant engages in behavior which violates this policy, the event staff may take any action they deem appropriate, including warning the offender, contacting Safety and Security, or expulsion from the event with a refund. If you feel unsafe, notice a violation of this policy, or have any other concerns, please contact a member of event staff immediately.

Staff will report violations of the Anti-Harassment policy to Rebecca Mosely, the Title IX Coordinator. Participants who want a confidential reporting option may contact Monique Burgdorf, the Confidential Sexual Misconduct Advocate at 440-775-5203.

Trained event staff can be identified by a red ribbon. Staff members receive training in Bystander Support, Peacekeeping, and Survivor Support skills. Event staff will be happy to help participants contact Safety and Security or local law enforcement, provide escorts, or otherwise help participants feel safe for the duration of the event. Staff are here to support attendees and provide access to available resources. We value your attendance.

Survivors can receive immediate confidential support by calling Lorain County or Cleveland Rape Crisis. The Counseling Center and College religious officials can also offer confidential support.

Additional Resources

Safety and Security Non-emergency Number (440) 775-8444
Safety and Security Emergency Number (440) 775-8911
Student Shuttle Service (440) 775-RIDE (7433)
Oberlin Police Department (440) 774-1061
Lorain County Rape Crisis Hotline 1-800-888-6161
Mercy Allen Hospital Non-Emergency Medical (440) 775-1211
Oberlin Sexual Offense Resource Guide
Oberlin College Policy

Safety and Security can provide free, confidential rides to the Lorain County Rape Crisis Center at any time.