“A shared foundation of law is the basis of all civil societies.” – K. N. Singh
CONvergence is dedicated to providing a safe and comfortable convention experience for everyone. Harassment of any kind, including physical assault, battery, deliberate intimidation, stalking, or unwelcome physical attentions, will not be tolerated. If people tell you “no” or to leave them alone, your business with them is done.
Leave them alone. Do not follow them or attempt to disrupt their convention experience in any way. If you continue to attempt to have contact with those people, you may be removed from the premises.
CONvergence is not responsible for solving any interpersonal problems that may arise between individual members. In general, we can take no action to prevent a person from attending the convention unless that person has made a specific and credible threat toward the convention itself. If you feel that a threat exists against your person, we advise you to seek a restraining order against the individual in question and to involve the host hotel itself (security staff specifically) and the municipal police department in advance of the convention; otherwise, we recommend simply avoiding that individual.
If that individual stalks, harasses, or attempts to assault you at the convention itself, you may report that individual to a member of Operations (they will report it to the hotel’s security staff who will get the police involved if necessary) or you may report it to hotel security directly, and the appropriate action will be taken. Conversely, any attempt to have an innocent person removed from the convention by falsely accusing him or her of threats will be itself treated as an act of harassment and will be dealt with appropriately. The responsibility for settling interpersonal disputes lies solely with the individuals involved, and CONvergence will not tolerate being used as a leveraging point in such disputes.
Pets are not allowed at CONvergence. This means NO dogs, cats, birds, ferrets, snakes, banthas, etc. While one pet is usually not a problem, we would soon have many pet related problems if we allowed them.
The DoubleTree has a policy that allows pets. However, during the convention they have agreed to follow our policy.
Effective March 15th 2011, the Federal ADA definition of “service animal” has changed. For the final rule published, please follow this ADA link: http://www.ada.gov/service_animals_2010.htm Or for a more direct and clear statement of the ADA definition follow this advocacy link: http://servicedogcentral.org/content/changes
CONvergence follows this final ruling and its clarifications. For this print version of the Operations Manual, information from the above links is appended at the end of this policy or are within this policy, but are not as fully comprehensive as what is online.
Key changes include the following:
1.Only dogs or small ponies (not kidding!) will be recognized as service animals.
2.Service animals are required to be leashed or harnessed except when performing work or tasks where such tethering would interfere with the animal’s ability to perform.
3.Service animals are exempt from breed bans as well as size and weight limitations.
4.Though not considered service animals, businesses are generally required to accommodate the use of miniature horses under specific conditions.
Existing policies that were clarified or formalized include the following:
1.Dogs whose sole function is “the provision of emotional support, well-being, comfort, or companionship” are not considered service dogs under the ADA.
2.The use of service dogs for psychiatric and neurological disabilities is explicitly protected under the ADA. (Please note: the above website clearly defines that a service animal for psychiatric and neurological disorders must be trained to “do work” and “perform tasks”. Please see the section titled Doing “Work” or Performing “Tasks” contained within the definition of Service Animal, located in Subpart A—General, Section 35.104 Definitions. for a clear definition of what this entails.)
3.”The crime deterrent effects of an animal’s presence” do not qualify that animal as a service animal and “an animal individually trained to provide aggressive protection, such as an attack dog, is not appropriately considered a service animal.”
If your service dog meets these requirements, it will be issued a Service Animal Badge from Registration once verified by the Bridge. The next immediate step is to report to the Bridge with the service dog to check in for the weekend so that you and your service animal have as few interruptions as possible by staff verifying that you’ve complied with the policy. We look forward to having you both at our convention and will do our best to work with you to make the experience the best it can be for everyone!
Excerpts from: http://www.ada.gov/service_animals_2010.htm
Service animal means any dog that is individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability, including a physical, sensory, psychiatric, intellectual, or other mental disability. Other species of animals, whether wild or domestic, trained or untrained, are not service animals for the purposes of this definition. The work or tasks performed by a service animal must be directly related to the handler´s disability. Examples of work or tasks include, but are not limited to, assisting individuals who are blind or have low vision with navigation and other tasks, alerting individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing to the presence of people or sounds, providing non-violent protection or rescue work, pulling a wheelchair, assisting an individual during a seizure, alerting individuals to the presence of allergens, retrieving items such as medicine or the telephone, providing physical support and assistance with balance and stability to individuals with mobility disabilities, and helping persons with psychiatric and neurological disabilities by preventing or interrupting impulsive or destructive behaviors. The crime deterrent effects of an animal´s presence and the provision of emotional support, well-being, comfort, or companionship do not constitute work or tasks for the purposes of this definition.
§ 35.136 Service animals
(a) General. Generally, a public entity shall modify its policies, practices, or procedures to permit the use of a service animal by an individual with a disability.
(b) Exceptions. A public entity may ask an individual with a disability to remove a service animal from the premises if–
(1) The animal is out of control and the animal´s handler does not take effective action to control it; or
(2) The animal is not housebroken.
(c) If an animal is properly excluded. If a public entity properly excludes a service animal under § 35.136(b), it shall give the individual with a disability the opportunity to participate in the service, program, or activity without having the service animal on the premises.
(d) Animal under handler´s control. A service animal shall be under the control of its handler. A service animal shall have a harness, leash, or other tether, unless either the handler is unable because of a disability to use a harness, leash, or other tether, or the use of a harness, leash, or other tether would interfere with the service animal´s safe, effective performance of work or tasks, in which case the service animal must be otherwise under the handler´s control (e.g., voice control, signals, or other effective means).
(e) Care or supervision. A public entity is not responsible for the care or supervision of a service animal.
(f) Inquiries. A public entity shall not ask about the nature or extent of a person´s disability, but may make two inquiries to determine whether an animal qualifies as a service animal. A public entity may ask if the animal is required because of a disability and what work or task the animal has been trained to perform. A public entity shall not require documentation, such as proof that the animal has been certified, trained, or licensed as a service animal. Generally, a public entity may not make these inquiries about a service animal when it is readily apparent that an animal is trained to do work or perform tasks for an individual with a disability (e.g., the dog is observed guiding an individual who is blind or has low vision, pulling a person´s wheelchair, or providing assistance with stability or balance to an individual with an observable mobility disability).
(g) Access to areas of a public entity. Individuals with disabilities shall be permitted to be accompanied by their service animals in all areas of a public entity´s facilities where members of the public, participants in services, programs or activities, or invitees, as relevant, are allowed to go.
(h) Surcharges. A public entity shall not ask or require an individual with a disability to pay a surcharge, even if people accompanied by pets are required to pay fees, or to comply with other requirements generally not applicable to people without pets. If a public entity normally charges individuals for the damage they cause, an individual with a disability may be charged for damage caused by his or her service animal.
(i) Miniature horses. (A) A public entity shall make reasonable modifications in policies, practices, or procedures to permit the use of a miniature horse by an individual with a disability if the miniature horse has been individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of the individual with a disability.
(B) Assessment factors. In determining whether reasonable modifications in policies, practices, or procedures can be made to allow a miniature horse into a specific facility, a public entity shall consider–
(1) The type, size, and weight of the miniature horse and whether the facility can accommodate these features;
(2) Whether the handler has sufficient control of the miniature horse;
(3) Whether the miniature horse is housebroken; and
(4) Whether the miniature horse´s presence in a specific facility compromises legitimate safety requirements that are necessary for safe operation.
(C) Other requirements. Paragraphs 35.136 (c) through (h) of this section, which apply to service animals, shall also apply to miniature horses.
Neither the convention hotel nor CONvergence will tolerate the application of stickers or high-tack tape to hotel surfaces. Their removal is damaging to the hotel, and is therefore considered unacceptable. Incidents of this kind will be treated as vandalism.
You may post non-adhesive signs with low-tack tape. The DoubleTree specifies and requires only 3M Safe-Release Painter’s Tape, product #2080, on surfaces that won’t be damaged by removal. If you don’t have acceptable tape, come to the Bridge. We’re happy to share ours.
We have lots and lots of the One True Blue Tape and we love to share it!
Your convention badge is necessary for your participation in the convention. It allows you access to the convention and indicates you are a member in good standing. However, CONvergence reserves the right to revoke the membership of any member for any reason including but not limited to breaking our house rules, or behaving in such a manner as is deemed unsafe or unacceptable.
City, County, State and Federal Laws
Please remember – whatever applies outside, still applies inside the hotel and the convention.
Please pick up after yourself. There are trash containers around the hotel. It makes a big difference if we try to keep things clean.
Due to Bloomington city law the entire hotel is now non-smoking. The only place that smoking is allowed is outside of the hotel at a distance of 25 feet of any entrances. Smoking areas will be clearly delineated and separate canopied areas may be provided as weather demands, and facilities permit. The ConSuite and cabanas are NOT smoking areas. Smoking on the patios and balconies of the rooms is not allowed.
Weapons / Prop Weapons Policy
“Personally, I find that tying a sporty pink ribbon to the muzzle of my xenon-assisted phased-array quantum defragulator sends just the right message to my guests.” -M. Stewart
We want everyone to have a safe and enjoyable time while at CONvergence, so please leave your weapons in your quarters. Otherwise, please adhere to the following policy, or risk being uninvited to the convention, without refund from the convention or the hotel. We really don’t want to do that, so please take notice, as some of the rules may have changed!
- Firearms are not allowed, period. Nor are working projectile weapons.
- Due to both safety and legal concerns, realistic-looking model-firearms, replica firearms, and ‘de-activated’ firearms are not allowed. CONvergence reserves the right to define ‘realistic’ in these cases. However, see ‘Programming exception’ below
- Bladed weapons must be sheathed and peace-bonded and cannot be drawn under any circumstances.
- All prop weapons must be holstered and peace-bonded if possible.
- Prop weapons that cannot be holstered may not be pointed at any other member of the convention under any circumstances. These weapons must be marked as having been passed as safe by the Operations Department.
- No freakin’ llamas.
- If your prop is of the ‘large and unwieldy’ variety, please, don’t be a troll. Be mindful of those around you, especially in confined spaces (e.g., elevators). A six-foot mace-to-the-face can be upsetting, even if it is only foam-rubber.
- Any costume that gives the appearance of being a member of United States law enforcement or the military will not be permitted as the potential is too great to create confusion for other members of the convention. Exception: genuine military personnel may wear their uniforms.
- Programming Exception: Costumes such as those listed on the previous line, or those accompanied by props that would not be permitted under the other rules, may be worn when the wearer is participating in a convention function or programming item such as the Masquerade or other (e.g., a Con-sanctioned stage-combat demonstration) where they are deemed safe and integral to the event. They may be worn only for the duration of the event.
- Functional and ‘de-activated’ firearms are not allowed under the above exemption. Replica and model firearms may be displayed under these circumstances, provided they are peace-bonded and/or marked as safe by the Bridge.
- CONvergence reserves the right to deem any item unsafe or inadmissible, regardless of whether it conforms to the ‘letter of the law’. The safety of our guests is our No.1 concern.
- Violations of this policy can lead to ejection and/or banning from all future
- CONvergence Event functions and/or legal action.
- The CONvergence Board of Directors reserves the right to amend these policies without prior notice. Any ruling made by the Board of Directors is final.
- Projectile weapons – If it projects a solid, liquid, gas or energy, it is considered a working projectile weapon. A laser-light pointer emits a beam that can be damaging to the corneas. Under this policy, it is a working projectile weapon. Water pistols are allowed only if they are empty, must be holstered, and must be peace-bonded or marked according to the above rules. Tasers and other stun guns are considered projectile weapons.
- Peace-bonding – A peace-bonded weapon is one tied to its sheath, holster or container with a functional, easily-identifiable binding You must use materiel provided by Ops for this purpose. It prevents someone else from taking your weapon without permission. It is a traditional and visible sign to everyone that you are a responsible person. Peace-bonding your prop indicates to all concerned that you have been to the Bridge and Ops has OK’d it. We will have peace-bonding material on the Bridge for those who need it. If you have a prop of a delicate nature, you may certainly peace-bond it yourself, however this still must be done with materiel provided by Ops and done either on the Bridge or under the supervision of Ops personnel.
- Conceal and Carry – Minnesota is and has been a Carry state. CONvergence however, is a private party. What this means is that we can and do ban firearms from our space, even if the owner has a Carry permit. Firearms are not permitted in CONvergence space. If someone comes to the convention with their firearm and has a permit, please summon either a Sub Head or Head of Operations. We will explain Convention policy to them. They will be requested to leave CONvergence space and asked not to return until they have secured their weapon elsewhere.