Lighthouse Code of Conduct

In attending a Lighthouse program, you’re joining a community designed to nurture and support you as a writer and person. Like any community, we have codes of conduct that we expect everyone to understand and affirm prior to participation. We are dedicated to providing a harassment-free experience for everyone, regardless of gender, gender identity and expression, age, sexual orientation, disability, physical appearance, body size, race, ethnicity, economic class, citizenship status, country or region of origin, veteran status, or religion (or lack thereof). We expect you to respect the pronouns indicated by individuals. We do not tolerate harassment of members or staff in any form. Harassment includes offensive verbal comments, deliberate intimidation, stalking, following, nonconsensual photography or recording, sustained disruption of talks or other events, inappropriate physical contact, and unwelcome sexual attention. Participants asked to stop any harassing behavior are expected to comply immediately. Lighthouse participants violating these rules will be removed from activities at the discretion of the administrators.


Every Lighthouse program seeks to be a welcoming environment for all attendees, regardless of background and identity. Participants are expected to actively contribute to this environment in the following ways:

  • Arrive with an inclusive, welcoming, and sensitive spirit that is respectful of others' identities. Many of us are still learning about how to expand our cultural awareness and realize these are longer conversations; we encourage you to browse our growing resource list here.
  • Contribute to conversations and activities when possible, and encourage others to do the same. It’s natural to want to fill silences in a discussion, but we love it when contributions are balanced with inviting others, especially softer-spoken peers, into the conversation.  
  • Talking about writing often involves talking about challenging subjects, such as race, gender, violence, and trauma. Come to these conversations with a sense of openness and curiosity. Refer, once again, to the resource list for more thorough discussions.
  • Communicate with your instructor if something is troubling or not meeting your expectations. If you can’t, or have reason to not want to discuss it with your instructor, please contact Lighthouse staff.
  • Please understand that our staff and faculty have the authority to decide what is safe, appropriate, and respectful, and will act accordingly to remove people or in some other way address situations that don’t meet these standards. See our anti-harassment policy here for more details.

Feedback and Critique

Many of our workshops involve giving and receiving feedback on works in progress. Remember that peers who share drafts are trusting you with their personal creative work, and they deserve the respect, privacy, and attention we all want our work to receive.

  • Each instructor will set workshop guidelines, but unless otherwise stated by the instructor, participants are expected to provide verbal feedback in class and signed, written feedback in addition. If you miss a class, make sure to email the writer your feedback promptly; in all cases, work should be promptly returned to the writer.
  • Instructors will provide directions for submitting work, including formatting and deadlines, and your peers have the right not to review work that doesn’t meet the stated criteria.
  • Only submit work you are comfortable sharing; it’s the nature of workshops that a critical—which is not to say negative—perspective is taken to help each writer in their efforts to take the work to the next level.

Confidentiality and Intellectual Property

Writers who share work at a Lighthouse workshop should expect it will be treated with the utmost discretion. To that end, never discuss or share a fellow writer's work-in-progress outside of class without their permission. Lighthouse does not support or tolerate plagiarism. When a writer submits a piece to a workshop, we assume that it’s their own original creative work. If a writer suspects that their intellectual property has been compromised by a member of the Lighthouse community, they can file an incident report here. For reporting steps and timelines, see below.

Communication and Other Matters

Often our instructors use e-mail to coordinate workshop details and distribution of materials. Please use your classmates' emails for class-related communication only. Email addresses should not be used for unsolicited political, personal, religious, or marketing purposes. Likewise, please be conscious of your instructor’s time when asking even class-related questions; faculty tend to be generous with their attention but may take a while to respond to individual queries. We recommend contacting instructors no more than once a week if you can help it.

Occasionally, in keeping with the informal nature of our classrooms, food and alcohol are consumed at Lighthouse. If you have food allergies or concerns about alcohol being present in class, please let us know at [email protected]. We will treat all disclosures with confidence, but want to do what we can to assure that all members can comfortably participate.

Additional Resources on Being a Good Literary Participant


Lighthouse Policy for Violations of Code of Conduct

Lighthouse takes violations of our code of conduct seriously. We adhere to the following guidelines when handling reported violations of our code. These guidelines apply across Lighthouse programs, including all in-house programming, community engagement, and the young writers program. People who fail to observe the code of conduct may receive a warning or be prohibited from participating in Lighthouse programming for a determined period of time.

If an instructor, staff member, or community member feels someone has violated the Lighthouse Code of Conduct, they should fill out an incident report here. All incident reports are reviewed by Program Coordinators, Program Director, and Executive Director. If necessary, Lighthouse staff will reach out to the person submitting the report for more details.

When an incident report indicates behavior from an individual is detrimental and destructive to programming or is harmful and disrespectful towards another member's identity or person, the following process is initiated:

  1. Program staff speaks directly with the person who submitted the complaint, asking permission to discuss their complaint with the individual alleged to violate the code. 
  2. The reported individual has the right to share their side of the story in writing with Lighthouse staff. If the incident warrants it, the individual may request a meeting with program and executive staff to discuss the incident. 
  3. In order to protect the privacy and safety of our community, complainants' names will not be revealed, but the individual reported does have a right to hear specifics about the complaint itself.
  4. If the violation is a form of hate speech or presents a danger to Lighthouse's community and mission, the program staff have the right to skip to step three. Staff reserves the right to take further action, if necessary.

Addressing Violations
First violation: Warning. Program staff will email the individual, informing them that they've been purported to have violated the code of conduct, including details from the incident report. They will receive specific details about subsequent steps, should they violate the code of conduct again. As part of this process, the individual will sign the incident report, indicating that they agree to perform within the standards in the future. If necessary, the program staff will meet with the participant in question to explain the seriousness of these issues and how they can be addressed.

Second violation: Participant will not be permitted to participate in Lighthouse programming for a period of six months. Upon returning, participant must again sign their incident report and code of conduct.

Third violation: Participant will be asked to permanently leave Lighthouse programming by the executive director. 

Lighthouse acknowledges that different violations of code of conduct require different responses, and sometimes the participant may be asked to leave some Lighthouse programs, but not others. 


During any of the above steps, participants have the right to appeal judgement. If a participant wishes to appeal, they must send a written letter of their case to [email protected] within 14 days of receiving their incident report. Appeals will be reviewed by a committee of program, executive staff, and, if necessary, board members, and the decision on the appeal will be emailed to the participant within 14 days.

Judgments are made when the incident report is sent to the individual in violation of the code. In the case of an appeal, judgments remain in place until the result of the appeal is decided.