USQ Update

USQ Update

Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion Fall Update

Updates on fall DEI committee projects.

Members of US Quidditch’s diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) committee have been meeting weekly with DEI Committee Coordinator Brandi Cannon since the formation of the group in August. “The committee is excited to bring new strategies that push USQ to be more diverse and inclusive in every aspect of the sport. Our committee is diligent in wanting to improve our community, and that process started with bringing personal and shared experiences to the table to help inform us on how to act in the best interest of players, volunteers, and spectators alike” shares Cannon.

Progress on action items set at the start of the season are detailed below. Cannon’s long term vision and goals for the team continues to evolve as this committee dives deeper into projects; “the DEI committee will be resuming their work in late winter to continue progress on the DEI pillar goals. Top priorities include implementing expanded affinity groups beyond social media; creating anti-bias training programs for referees, coaches, and eventually players; plus continuing to hold space for conversations involving marginalized community members focused on how USQ can make quidditch more accessible, inclusive, and safe. We’re proud of the work we’ve been able to do in the last few months and look forward to what 2021 will bring.”

Action Items

In July, USQ and MLQ identified seven pillars for DEI initiatives. Additionally, USQ also identified initial and follow up action items to focus on in the fall. Below are updates on those action items and the progress being made by committee members. 

  1. BIPOC feature in September
    1. From September 15th to October 15th we celebrated Hispanic/Latnix Heritage Month by highlighting stories from members of the quidditch community. Interviews were conducted by Carlos Elarba and graphics designed by Faby Echeverria.
    2. Holiday spotlights have also been incorporated into social media, with research conducted by Vidisha Jha and graphics designed by Yingzhe Guo. 
  2. Census
    1. The community census released in July is currently under review by the committee. Shirley Lu has been leading these efforts by providing resources to sort and analyze the data. This data will be factored into league updates and strategy for upcoming seasons.
  3. Increased visibility and incorporation of gender pronouns
    1. As mentioned in our May 2020 DEI team update, USQ will be moving to include gender pronouns in all USQ staff and volunteer email signatures. We will also be working towards including gender pronouns on USQ event volunteer forms and individual member registration. You can read more about this initiative in our previously shared May update.
  4. Review of DEI aspects relating to Rulebook 14
    1. The rules team made adjustments from a DEI perspective to Rulebook 14 before its release last month, this was led by Taylor Gibbs. DEI and rules team will continue to collaborate as future editions of the rulebook are released.
  5. Affinity groups
    1. Providing a safe space for individuals of similar identities to connect is important for the growth of our sport. These spaces will give opportunities for individuals to share their experiences comfortably with others who may have similar experiences. These spaces can make way for discussions that lead towards continued change for quidditch and the experiences individuals have within it. Natasha Connerly has been working on the structure for these conversation spaces and is eager to begin the process of selecting moderators and kicking off conversations soon.
  6. Update of harassment policies
    1. USQ will update its current harassment policy. This includes the reporting process, added transparency on action taken on reports, and clarity on action that can be taken on certain issues––in particular issues related to racial harassment and cyberbullying. Additionally, USQ aims to work more collaboratively with MLQ and quidditch conference leaders on harassment issues as they arise.
  7. Livestream commentary program with DEI accountability
    1. USQ will be creating an inclusion rider, which is a set of accountability metrics,  for all regional and national USQ broadcasts. This rider will coincide with the new livestream commentator training pipeline. Angela Song is currently working with Livestream Coordinator Michael O’Connor on the development of this program and rider. 
  8. Board recruitment with BIPOC focus
    1. Since its founding as a nonprofit in 2010, USQ’s board of directors have been majority white. This group is involved with many key decisions for our sport and responsible for the long-term vision and financial health of this organization. Diversifying this group is critical to USQ’s diversity and equity commitments. In October, Christian Barnes, Brandi Cannon, and Kristin Ladia joined the board of directors. Applications for board members are also now being accepted year round.
  9. Create a DEI resource page on the USQ website
    1. USQ will create a virtual space for our community to have access to resources focused on further learning about DEI related topics. These resources are currently being compiled by Carlos Elarba, Angela Song, and Meg Romine.
    2. Starting the week of November 30, keep an eye on USQ’s Instagram for a special interactive social media campaign highlighting our DEI pillars. 
  10. Improve evaluation of safety for BIPOC members at event locations
    1. When hosting events, USQ wants to ensure its members feel safe, not only in the host city but in the surrounding areas, in terms of travel. USQ’s bid manual has been under review by Taylor Gibbs and Brandi Cannon prior to it’s upcoming release.
  11. Update of brand guidelines
    1. Ensuring there is diverse representation in USQ’s media is important. In the past, our brand guidelines typically focused on gender representation. It is an internal document that defines how our organization should be presented visually in various mediums. Being more intentional to expand that representation to race/ethnicity as well is important for recruitment and retention of our BIPOC community members.
  12. Creating and sharing training opportunities focused on anti-racism and implicit bias
    1. USQ plans to offer a series of learning modules focused on different DEI topics on the new DEI webpage.These learning modules will include anti-racism and implicit bias modules. These learning modules will be available for coaches and referees and strongly encouraged to be completed by other community members, once available. This effort is being led by Taylor Gibbs in collaboration with Coach Member Coordinator Fiona Wisehart and Referee Coordinator/Lead DEI Strategist & Referee Coordinator for MLQ Christian Barnes.  
  13. Incorporate more accessibility features for USQ media and resources
    1. USQ wants to ensure that our media and resources are easily accessible for anyone, regardless of ability. Making our information easier to access for those with sight, hearing, or learning disabilities, for example, will be a priority for this season. The results of the accessibility review and the list of changes USQ is making will be posted on our website, as a resource for teams, conferences, other leagues, and the rest of our community. Initial practices being folded into operation include providing transcripts for recorded USQ+ programs.

Next steps and progress on these action items can be found below. USQ will provide regular reports to the public on the progress of these action items. The next update will be posted in January.

Department

Initiative

Focus

Next Actions 

Progress

Deadline

Communications BIPOC features Spotlight Finished Hispanic/Latinx Heritage Month. Continue with holiday and heritage month features. 100% Completed
Gameplay Rulebook 14 updates Equity, Inclusion, Safety Reviewed current rules and suggested rules and made changes prior to release. 100% Completed
Office of the ED Board recruitment  Inclusion, Recruitment, Retention, Leadership Continuing outreach to potential candidates (application can be found here) 90% Ongoing
Events  Improve evaluation of safety for BIPOC members for event locations   Safety  Evaluate and update current event bid manual and process  90%  December 2020
Member Services Census Recruitment/Retention, Inclusion, Leadership Continue to evaluate data 75% January 2021
Member Services Affinity groups Inclusion, Equity, Learning Opportunities Identify groups and moderators who will meet throughout the season and create meeting times 70% January 2021
Member Services Increase visibility and incorporation of gender pronouns Inclusion, Learning Opportunities Incorporate gender pronouns to member registration 85% January 2021
Communications Livestream training program Inclusion, Learning Opportunities, Spotlight Finish DEI component of training program, review draft of final program 75% January 2021
Office of the ED Update of harassment policies Safety, Equity Evaluate current policy, research other NGB policies, make updates to policy and process 30% Spring 2021
Office of the ED Create a DEI resource page on the USQ website Learning Opportunities Identify topics to be covered on this webpage, research and gather resources 5% Spring 2021
Communications Brand guidelines Spotlight, Inclusion Update USQ brand guidelines 15% Spring 2021
Member Services Creating and sharing training opportunities focused on anti-racism and implicit bias Learning Opportunities Collaborate with MLQ, coach and ref team to research current training modules available, evaluate if a new module needs created 10% Spring 2021
Communications, Member Services, Events Incorporate more accessibility features for USQ media and resources Inclusion, Equity Continue to evaluate current media and resources that can be improved 20% Spring 2021