Katog Choling is committed to creating an environment that facilitates authentic spiritual practice which fulfills the needs and pure potential of all beings. As such, we aspire to uphold the five Buddhist precepts that are focused on doing no harm. It is the responsibility of teachers, students, and all others participating in Katog Choling activities to contribute to positive circumstances, which includes maintaining the formality of the teaching relationship. Each individual has the right to practice, study, and work in an atmosphere that is free from discrimination based on race, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, marital status, age, disability, income, ethnicity, and national origin. Sexual harassment and abuse are illegal under state and federal law and are not tolerated in the activities of Katog Choling, where we strive to foster safety and enrichment for all beings.
While as Buddhists, we strive to do no harm and maintain harmony, we recognize that conflict is a natural component of human interaction. In order to both resolve and prevent the repetition of negative interpersonal relations, the Board of Directors of Katog Choling has created a structure for resolving grievances of members of the sangha, with both formal and informal options, and different ways to engage the resolution process. This process of grievance resolution is restorative, not punitive. If done in a skillful way, the procedures will help resolve problems between sangha members. Conflicts inevitably arise, but with patience, diligence, and skillful means, difficulties can be rectified.
Some conflicts can be resolved informally between the affected parties and therefore we encourage efforts to reach a peaceful resolution between the parties involved. Sometimes a trusted friend can help. If more assistance is needed, other trusted practitioners within the sangha can participate in an informal process of mediation. Katog Choling has a Grievance Reconciliation Council which is responsible for 1) providing a safe environment for mediation, and 2) making recommendations for reconciliation. The Council’s mission is to help to resolve differences peacefully. The Council members are appointed by the Board; the Board will act as the Council if the Council is unavailable. Certain types of grievances must be resolved by the Board in the first instance.
If the person making the grievance (“grievant”) or the person about whom the grievance is made (“respondent”) prefer that the matter be addressed formally, either may initiate formal grievance procedures. Grievances may be made orally or in writing to a teacher, a Council member, or a Board member. Through this communication the problem may be resolved. If the grievant, respondent, or recipient of the grievance believe that the remaining conflict is serious enough to engage formal grievance procedures, the recipient of the grievance will report it to the Council. A list of current Council members and Board members may be obtained by contacting the Katog Choling secretary at [email protected]
Formal procedure for allegations that are serious:
Following are guidelines for the Council to follow in addressing grievances. As each situation is unique, every conflict needs a tailored approach, and more specific procedures may be formed by the Council based on the nature of the grievance.
- The Council will first explore if an informal resolution is feasible. If an informal resolution is not possible, a formal resolution process will begin.
- The Council will contact the parties involved, assess the nature of the grievance, and bring the parties together for mediation. It may be useful to present a written or recorded statement from the grievant to the respondent. If the grievant supplies a written statement, the respondent may also supply a written statement in response. This will help the parties understand which facts are agreed upon, and narrow the range of dispute. Both the grievant and the respondent will be treated equally with no bias or preference placed on either side. All parties are considered innocent until, or unless, sufficient proof has shown otherwise.
- All involved in any resolution process will be asked to keep all information confidential. There may, however, be circumstances where confidentiality cannot be promised. For example, participants in the grievance process may be required to report information to law enforcement authorities.
- If the grievant requests anonymity, the Council will acknowledge to the grievant that this will influence the nature of what can be accomplished.
- Relevant records will be maintained by the Council.
- Regarding serious allegations (such as reports of sexual misconduct or misuse of funds), the Council will consult the Board, and legal counsel may be sought to advise the Board and the Council.
- All grievances are reported to the president, or as designated by the president, to the vice president of the Board.
- If the Council, after assessment decides that the grievance has merit by clear and convincing evidence, the Council will recommend action to be taken for resolution of the grievance. Any appeals will go to the Board. If the Board decided the grievance, the action of the Board is final.