Creating a respectful and inclusive classroom.
Hugo House is a place to read words, hear words, and make your own words better. If you have signed up for a class at Hugo House, you will be engaging with our literary community in that effort.
Hugo House does not tolerate harassment or discrimination of any kind; our intention is to create a space in which every participant feels safe. Please alert staff if you experience or witness any harassment or discrimination.
The following guidelines are intended to help you and your fellow students approach the workshop experience with compassion, curiosity, and consideration. Sharing work is scary for everyone—but it is the best tool we have to cultivate empathy for perspectives that are different from our own.
Our protocol and community agreement was created by consensus with a group teachers, students, staff, and board in consultation/under the direction of Daemond Arrindell of HeARTWork Collective.
Hugo House is an organization that values a classroom environment where all participants are respectful and inclusive.
In accordance with this, Hugo House does not tolerate racist, sexist, homophobic, ableist, transphobic, or any other oppressive behaviors, regardless of who commits them. Hugo House teachers and students who see, hear, or experience an oppressive situation are encouraged to interrupt, call attention to, and/or label what’s happening, and/or to share the experience with Hugo House administration by contacting the registrar. The registrar will alert both the program director for education and the executive director who will respond promptly.
In response to reporting, Hugo House will, at minimum, have a conversation with the person (or persons) who did the harm regarding the intentional or unintentional impact of their words and/or actions and what they will do differently in the future. Further actions Hugo House may take include: asking the person (or persons) who did the harm to speak with the executive director, being put on probationary status, or being asked to no longer participate in programs until they can demonstrate that they have a better understanding of the impact of their actions and a willingness to change. Depending on the severity of the act or the impact, Hugo House may elect to inform the person that they are no longer welcome on Hugo House grounds or venues.
In working on issues of diversity and developing relationships with people different from ourselves, we will inevitably make errors. We are committed to doing our best, in good faith, to listen, to learn, and to treat others with respect and dignity.
All workshop participants share a common impulse to create, though you all come from different worlds and bring different experiences and values to the table. The workshop is an opportunity to be generous, vulnerable, and creative in ways that still question and push each other’s work to be the best version the artist intended. Respectful disagreements can be pivotal in making your own words better.
The workshop can be a highly charged emotional space. Please let your readers know in advance if your work contains violent or disturbing content that could be triggering. In literature, not all provocations are written to cause harm; however, if you feel a piece crosses the line, please tell your instructor or a staff member.
Student email addresses provided at registration may be used within the class to distribute assignments, share resources, and circulate student work outside of class. These email addresses will also be used by Hugo House to distribute important scheduling information and updates about any classes in which the student is registered. If a student would like to use a different email for these purposes, please contact Hugo House prior to the class, or the instructor at the start of class.
- Commit to the expectations outlined by your instructor. Please arrive fully prepared to engage in the process.
- Critique is often a part of the classroom experience. Be ready to speak about problems with your own work and the work of others in a constructive manner. Critique the writing, not the writer.
- Agree to disagree. When it comes to feedback, there are no right answers.
- If you come into the classroom with a background of privilege, be aware of that position and the ways in which it can potentially affect other students.
- Be intentional in working against traditional power dynamics, which can alienate and silence voices that have been historically marginalized.
- Remain respectful of all writers (and their work) in the classroom.
- Be aware that your fellow students have an equal right to the class space and time. Listen closely to the teacher and your fellow students’ comments before responding.
- Don’t interrupt the teacher or your classmates. Avoid leading the discussion toward subjects not relevant to the work.
- Put aside personal technology, if not being used for the purpose of the class.
Hugo House writing classes are based on a mutual expectation of trust in order to sustain our writing community. To protect the integrity of the class, and the ability of students to submit their ideas, do not directly or indirectly disclose, disseminate, publish, or use the ideas, materials, or submissions of any other student submitted as part of a class other than in classroom discussion, assignments, or in closed classroom discussions. No public dissemination of any other student’s ideas, materials, or submissions is permitted without the express permission of that student. Any feedback given from one group member to another related to a project presented to the group is given freely and may be used by the presenting writer as they see fit.
Along with respecting Hugo House’s writing community, please respect the physical space. Hugo House belongs to writers, and by properly maintaining the space, we allow other writers a safe and positive experience. There are areas of Hugo House that are for teachers and staff only. Please respect the need for staff and teachers to work and prepare. It’s all in order to offer you the best programs and experience possible.