[hackerspaces] Sex Offenders at a 'Space

Volatile Compound volatilecompound at gmail.com
Wed Feb 18 07:26:58 CET 2015

On 2/17/15 9:43 PM, David Cake wrote:
> You might be right - given the litigiousness of US culture -

Litigiousness is *far* from being a uniquely American phenomenon, and I 
am specifically speaking to this from the English-speaking European 

> but you
> might also be opening yourself up to discrimination suits as well.

That's doubtful.  Without getting into playing recursive games of 
'what-if', when it's possible to demonstrate that a specific person's 
recorded behaviour is a factor influencing the decision to exclude them 
from a particular place, there is no discrimination, only internal 

Bear that hackerspaces are generally private, not public entities.  That 
means that they can reserve the right to refuse entry to anyone, at any 
time, and for any reason.  If they wanted to ban someone from attending 
who wanted to come by and make cakes for gay weddings, they would 
typically be within their rights to do so.

> If you are concerned about legal liability, it is a a good idea to get
> the advice of a lawyer.

Agreed.  And as far as I am aware, no lawyers have yet weighed in with a 
legal opinion on this thread, which means that any given opinion is just 
that - opinion.  Yes, I am including myself in that caveat.

> It is not good governance to make decisions
> based on layman’s opinions about legal issues (which doesn’t mean you
> should always take a lawyers advice at face value, not all lawyers are
> great and a lawyers job is to recognise legal risk, not to balance it
> against other factors).

Also agreed.  However:

> But if you feel you know what your membership wants, you should probably
> do what they want.

Except that we're now getting into the grey areas of where governance 
should start and end.  At the risk of repeating myself, hackerspaces are 
generally private entities, not public.  Right of refusal of admission 
reserved as a result.

> Quite possibly you have other members who have
> committed thefts or crimes of violence in the last 7 years, but they are
> not required to inform you.

Perhaps not, at least by legal requirement.  However, it's generally 
safe to say that most reasonable people do not want to be surrounded by 
thieves, violent people, or sex offenders.  Your opinion may differ, but 
part of the point of governance of a private organisation such as a 
hackerspace is to protect the membership that contributes to the 
well-being of the space, and does not pose a threat to its continued 
well-being.  The aforementioned categories of persons generally run 
contrary to that goal.

Repeating words said earlier in this thread: hackerspaces aren't there 
for rehab purposes.

- skroo.

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