Don't discuss this in committees
From: Becky Schaller (
Date: Thu, 21 Nov 2002 12:08:02 -0700 (MST)
I just received a private message about my message below indicating that a
part of it wasn't clear.  So I'd like to clarify.

This sensitive issue very directly involved two households.  It also
directly affected numerous other households.  One household wanted open
communication and one did not want community or committee discussions.
People in the community interpreted the information in different ways and
came to different conclusions -- often times opposing conclusions.   We were
also asked not to discuss the issue on email and rumors were being spread.
It was really very difficult to be supportive of both parties.

What divided the community was not only what people thought about the
particular issue, but also whether or not we should be discussing this as a
community or whether we should honor the silence that one person requested.

I'm sorry to be so vague and I'm sure anyone reading this must be quite

After several month of agonizing, we did finally agree to ask Laird Schaub
to come and help us deal with this issue.  He did and he was quite helpful
and we're still processing.

As we continue to process the experience as a community, I'd like for us to
have some kind of guidelines as to how to respond in the future if someone
asks the community not to discuss a particular topic.

We recently experienced a very sensitive issue.  Out of respect for those
involved, I won't specifically name or describe the issue.  But it was an
issue which had both a very personal and very community aspect to it.  One
of the parties most involved asked that this issue not be discussed in
committees or at the general meeting.  Because of the nature of the issue,
they were going through a very very difficult time and asked that we not
talk to them about this issue.   Although they seem to love community, under
stress, they felt they really needed their space.

Some people felt that the community needed to respect this persons request.
They were already going through such a very difficult time and community
discussion would only add to their distress.  Others felt like this was a
community issue and we needed to discuss it and deal with it as well as we
could.  This was an issue which was dividing the community into different
camps and needed to be dealt with.

So my question is, Have other communities ever dealt with a similar
situation?  If so, how?


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