There have been some interpersonal conflicts in the lab over the winter and spring of 2014. This is not uncommon in open spaces that bring people together from many different backgrounds and experience levels. At all levels of society conflicts arise, so it becomes not about avoiding these conflicts, but figuring out about how you solve them in a constructive manner.
Those of us who have been involved in biologigaragen, and those currently and formerly on the board have done our best to address the conflict, holding many meetings over a period of 6 months, enlisting a conflict resolution mediator, and working with Labitat (our umbrella organization) and its board to come up with solutions to the conflict. While we have given our best efforts, the people involved in the conflict have not been able to reach a resolution among themselves or with the help of mediators, and therefore we have asked some of the people involved to leave the group for the next year, as well as Labitat. While we find this really unfortunate, we felt we had to take these steps due continuing unacceptable behavior by some of the people involved, which made it not possible to work with them on an interpersonal or structural level. The decision to exclude people from the space was also taken by the Labitat’s board.
Mistakes in trying to resolve this conflict were made on all sides, both from the two parties in the conflict, but also by the board and participants in the lab. This conflict became more public than it should have been, and instead of being handled within the lab and by conflict resolution methods, spilled over onto the internet and the much broader biohacking community. We regret this. While we think that in general it is good to have broad conversations about critical topics and issues that are generalized within the larger biohacking community, and even to tackle difficult issues such as equality and hierarchies in labs, interpersonal conflicts, however they may be, should be taken within the physical communities in which they occur, so that parties involved and those close to them can try to resolve the conflict.
While we on the board know that we could have handled resolving this conflict better, we feel that we did our best, and can only hope to do better in the future. In the mean time, we have adopted a conflict resolution and non discrimination policy which you can now find on our wiki page. We have decided that the conflict which arose within biologigaragen between some of our members is now up to them to sort out on their own time as they so choose, outside of the framework of Biologigaragen. We look forward to getting back to biohacking and to build a constructive environment. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact the board at firstname.lastname@example.org