Our Response To Pancho

Posted by ServiceSpace on May 26, 2020
May 26, 2020

Dear ServiceSpace Volunteers,

We write this note with a heavy heart. A group of women have just released an open letter about their personal relationships with Pancho. It was troubling to read, and challenging to process, given the dimensions of exemplary service that we've witnessed in him over the years. This past week, we were also approached by one of his former partners, whom we know well. She shared a first-hand account of Pancho's behavior with her on two separate occasions and voiced serious concerns about his misconduct with multiple other women. It was extremely sobering to hear her personal experiences.

We understand that there are always multiple viewpoints, and while we respect the privacy of people's personal lives, we cannot ignore the extent and nature of the harmful conduct that numerous women have expressed they were subjected to by Pancho. We have also been in touch with Pancho at different points through this process and heard some of his perspectives. On balance, we feel that many of the overarching patterns in his behavior -- however conscious or unconscious -- are deeply disturbing, and in profound misalignment with ServiceSpace values.

Based on all of the information that we have at this time, we have taken some immediate steps as they pertain to Pancho's participation in ServiceSpace. To ensure that our community spaces continue to feel safe for everyone and to allow space for healing, we have asked Pancho to disengage from our events and spaces at this time. While he doesn't serve in a formal role on any of our current projects, he also will not be participating in online or offline ServiceSpace gatherings for now. Moreover, we've asked him to depart from India, as soon as a flight is available over the next two weeks, since his presence at this juncture places an unnecessary burden on our partner organizations. Pancho understands this and has agreed to comply.

The situation is complex, and we understand that people have different responses to the information in the letter. Our priority at this time is to acknowledge what we have heard from the women by taking steps to support the healing process for all parties involved and to ensure the continued safety and integrity of our community spaces.

In our 21-year history, we've never had such allegations surface. However, as an added measure to protect volunteers and participants in our community spaces from any potential or perceived misconduct in the future, we're setting up a process for volunteers to voice their concerns around harm or risk of harm within SSp spaces and have them addressed.

ServiceSpace has always been a community of individuals who aspire to embody their deepest values. Challenging and painful situations can be powerful invitations to reflect, learn, and evolve in service of this aspiration. In the upcoming weeks, we will keep listening, learning, and sensing into what the skillful response at each step might be. We will continue to explore how we can further support the integrity and safety of our community spaces, and also offer further support to one another as/when needed. As individuals and as a group, the time is ripe for all of us to keep walking the infinite path of principles-based service. We have no doubt that the wisdom channeled from each of you in this diverse and remarkably aligned ecosystem will continue to guide the path forward.

If you have any thoughts or questions, please don't hesitate to reach out to us hr@servicespace.org.

With Love,

ServiceSpace Leadership

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