Preliminary Report | Regular Meeting of the ICANN Board
Formal Minutes are still to be approved by the ICANN Board.
Note: This has not been approved by the Board and does not constitute minutes but does provide a preliminary attempt setting forth the unapproved reporting of the resolutions from that meeting. Details on voting and abstentions will be provided in the Minutes, when approved at a future meeting.
NOTE ON ADDITIONAL INFORMATION INCLUDED WITHIN PRELIMINARY REPORT – ON RATIONALES – Where available, a draft Rationale for each of the Board's actions is presented under the associated Resolution. A draft Rationale is not final until approved with the minutes of the Board meeting.
A Special Meeting of the ICANN Board of Directors was held in Hyderabad, India on 5 November 2016 at 13:30 local time.
The meeting was called to order by Board Member Chris Disspain who stood in for the Chair until the Chair and Vice Chair arrived during the roll call.
The following Directors participated in all or part of the meeting: Rinalia Abdul Rahim, Cherine Chalaby (Vice Chair), Steve Crocker (Chair), Ron da Silva, Chris Disspain, Asha Hemrajani, Rafael Lito Ibarra, Markus Kummer, Erika Mann (telephonically), Göran Marby (President and CEO), George Sadowsky (telephonically), Bruce Tonkin, Lousewies van der Laan, and Kuo-Wei Wu.
The following Directors sent their apologies: Bruno Lanvin and Mike Silber.
The following Board Liaisons participated in all or part of the meeting: Ram Mohan (SSAC Liaison), Jonne Soininen (IETF Liaison), and Suzanne Woolf (RSSAC Liaison).
The following Board Liaisons sent their apologies: Thomas Schneider (GAC Liaison).
Observing: Maarten Botterman, Becky Burr, Khaled Koubaa, Akinori Maemura, and Kaveh Ranjbar.
Secretary: John Jeffrey (General Counsel and Secretary).
The following ICANN Executives and Staff participated in all or part of the meeting: Susanna Bennett (Chief Operating Officer); Melissa King (VP, Board Operations); Wendy Profit (Board Operations Specialist); Amy Stathos (Deputy General Counsel); and Theresa Swinehart (Sr. Advisor to the President on Strategy).
- Main Agenda:
Posting for Public Comment – Draft ICANN Community-Anti-Harassment Policy
The General Counsel and Secretary introduced the agenda item. He stated that the Board was being asked to take action to publish for public comment a draft anti-harassment policy. He noted that the organization consulted with the community and an external expert to develop the draft policy, which is proposed to be published for 60 days.
The Board discussed the proposed anti-harassment policy and the plan to publish it for public comment. A Board member inquired about whether the proposed policy should also include provisions encouraging the community to behave in a mutually respectful way with staff members who are supporting them. The General Counsel and Secretary explained that the policy is primarily community-focused, and complaints concerning members of the organization would be handled through the organization’s Human Resources Department procedures. He commented that the organization has an obligation to protect staff and the proposed policy would not be the appropriate place to focus on that sort of activity.
A member of the Board also suggested that the documentation associated with the proposed anti-harassment policy highlight the CEO’s concern regarding the lack of civility and mutual respect across the ICANN ecosystem.
Board members asked whether the draft policy includes enforcement mechanisms, and staff explained that proposed policy includes a complaints procedure whereby complaints would be sent to the Ombudsman. The Ombudsman would evaluate the complaint and recommend what actions should be taken to address the matter.
Board members also asked about the role of the new Complaints Officer with respect to the proposed anti-harassment policy. The General Counsel and Secretary explained that no matter where the complaint originated, it would be taken very seriously. He noted that it was anticipated that the Complaints Officer would refer a harassment complaint to the Ombudsman and the handling of the complaint would follow the process outlined in the proposed policy. Board members encouraged the CEO to have more proactive communication about the Complaints Officer role to provide greater clarity to the community.
The President and CEO further clarified the role of the Ombudsman in contrast to the types of matters the Complaint Officer is anticipated to handle to increase transparency and accountability. He also explained the reporting structure for the Complaints Officer, as compared to the Ombudsman, who reports directly to the Board as required by the Bylaws.
The Board took the following action after discussion:
Whereas, during and after ICANN55, the issue of certain community-member conduct toward one another was raised in various ICANN sessions and on various ICANN email lists.
Whereas, the ICANN Board agreed to address the issue of ICANN Community member conduct toward one another.
Whereas, on 25 June 2016, following receipt and consideration of public comments, the Board approved (see https://www.icann.org/resources/board-material/resolutions-2016-06-25-en#2.f) revised Expected Standards of Behavior, which more specifically addresses the issue of harassment than the earlier version had.
Whereas, in furtherance of the public comments referenced above, in consultation with an expert, as needed and appropriate, the Organization has developed a draft ICANN Community Anti-Harassment Policy for the Community’s consideration.
Resolved (2106.11.05.01), the Board hereby authorizes the posting of the draft ICANN Community Anti-Harassment Policy for public comment for 60 days in order to give the Community sufficient time to discuss the draft Policy, as well as formulate and submit public comment(s) on the draft Policy.
Resolved (2016.11.05.02), following receipt of public comment, the Board will evaluate those comments and will again engage with the Community to the extent significant changes to the proposed Policy are suggested.
All members of the Board present voted in favor of Resolutions 2106.11.05.01 – 2106.11.05.02. Two members of the Board were unavailable to vote on the Resolutions. The Resolutions carried.
Rationale for Resolutions 2016.11.05.01 – 2016.11.05.02
During and after ICANN55, the issue of certain community-member conduct toward one another was raised in various sessions and on various email lists, and the Board agreed to address this matter. In response, the Board has confirmed and reiterated that ICANN’s Board and staff take the issue of harassment or other improper conduct at its meetings very seriously. ICANN and members of the community share the goal of ensuring that ICANN community members are able to participate and contribute within an environment that remains free from harassment.
As an organization, ICANN has robust internal policies regarding the issue, including mandatory training. While ICANN community members are not bound to the same policies and rules as the ICANN organization or the Board, everyone who participated in ICANN processes should expect community members to adhere to certain Expected Standards of Behavior. In addressing the issues identified at ICANN55, one step taken was to revise the Expected Standards of Behavior to specifically call out issues of harassment and the fact that such conduct is not acceptable in any ICANN fora. The revised Board-approved version of ICANN’s Expected Standards of Behavior can be found at: https://www.icann.org/resources/pages/expected-standards-2016-06-28-en.
In addition, as directed by the Board, the organization worked with an expert, as appropriate and necessary, to develop a draft “Community Anti-Harassment Policy” for the Community’s consideration and comment. If adopted, the Policy should be followed at ICANN Public meetings and throughout other ICANN community interactions. The draft Community Anti-Harassment Policy is the Reference Materials document to this Board Paper and incorporates many of the ideas suggested in response to the public comments received on the revised Expected Standards of Behavior (for report on those comments, see https://www.icann.org/en/system/files/files/report-comments-expected-standards-revisions-11jul16-en.pdf).
It is not anticipated that this decision will have any fiscal impact on ICANN, and it will not have any impact on the security, stability or resiliency of the domain name system.
This decision is an Organizational Administrative Function that is directly leading to public comment on this topic.
Any Other Business
The President and CEO informed the Board that it was his intent to renew ICANN’s membership in the Internet Society (ISOC). He noted that the membership cost is below the threshold requiring Board approval of the expenditure of funds, but the matter was being brought to the Board’s attention as part of the new process developed to ensure that the Board has a holistic view and understanding of ICANN’s portfolio of engagements across the community.
The Chair called the meeting to a close.
Published on 15 November 2016