Re: limited-access events in common space
From: Muriel Kranowski (
Date: Mon, 11 Jan 2010 06:23:54 -0800 (PST)
No, the objection has nothing to do with competing uses of the space. There are other spaces in the CH open for (and sometimes used for) other gatherings during that hour, which in any case is a time of very low use of the CH.

At 11:34 PM 1/10/2010, you wrote:

Does anyone else want to use the commonhouse at this time?  Is the
group's presence preventing anything else from happening?

On Sun, Jan 10, 2010 at 8:54 PM, Rob Sandelin <floriferous [at]> wrote:
> We define events like this as interest groups. There are several and a few
> of them are exclusionary, for example women's gatherings. Never been a
> problem before that I know of here, the exclusion part is not malicious or
> mean, its just a particular interest and nobody seems to mind. The person
> who objects strongly should be asked about what their problem with interest
> groups are. Sometimes its not the particular group which causes the problem,
> it's some other thing that seems only distantly connected but when light is
> shined on it, helps everybody see what the problem really is. For example,
> sometimes political or social things might be causing the discomfort, for
> example a gay/lesbian group could cause objection. Sometimes the assumed
> politics of a group cause people who disagree to keep quiet rather than risk
> their relationships, and bringing out objections over an abstraction is how
> they express their discontent while pretending to go along with the status
> quo.
> Rob Sandelin
> Sharingwood
> Snohomish County, WA
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Muriel Kranowski [mailto:murielk [at]]
> Sent: Sunday, January 10, 2010 7:34 PM
> To: cohousing-l [at]
> Subject: [C-L]_ limited-access events in common space
> We're having an internal disagreement over an issue that is evoking some
> strong feelings, and I very much want to hear feedback from other
> communities.
> The situation is that a subgroup of members who feel they have a lot in
> common (let's say they are "left-handed redheads" or LHR for short) have
> been getting together once a week in the Common House, for a congenial
> snack-and-chat hour. These get-togethers are posted on the community
> calendar and everyone knows about them. The group has made it clear that
> only left-handed redheads are welcome.
> A member who is neither left-handed nor a redhead objects strongly to the
> idea that other members can be excluded from social events that regularly
> occur in a common space. This person would like to join in and have the
> pleasure of snacking and chatting too.
> But if these get-togethers became general y'all-come social events, they
> would no longer be of specific interest to the LHRs, who really value being
> able to talk about their own specific issues in the semi-privacy of that CH
> space.  They feel entitled to this private use of the common space, which
> doesn't appear to inconvenience anyone else.
> Other members occasionally reserve space in the CH for meetings or events of
> external groups that they belong to, and there don't seem to be any
> objections to those events being open only to the members of that group.
> The LHRs' gathering is the first time an internal subgroup has intentionally
> scheduled closed events in the CH and we have no norms or rules about it.
> So, is it legitimate for a self-defined subgroup to meet in a common space
> and exclude other members?  Has this come up, or does this occur, in other
> communities?  And even if not, I'd like to hear your philosophical take on
> it.
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