BIG University Student Policies
BIG University classes are for Adults ages 18+ (if you are interested in classes for Kids and Teens visit our website for more info). BIG University strives to create a welcoming and safe creative atmosphere for all. BIG does not discriminate on the basis of gender, race, sexual preference, or disability. Students with disabilities or any special needs are encouraged to contact BIG before registering for a class, so we can do our best to provide an accommodating class experience. BIG University has a zero tolerance policy for harassment of any kind in our programs, and the Education Director has the discretion to remove a student from a class if a situation calls for it. Harassment is unwanted behavior that is experienced as threatening--whether physical or verbal in nature. We encourage anyone who experiences harassment to feel safe talking to BIG staff or performers without fear of negative repercussion. People raising concerns can know that they will be heard, respected, and dealt with according to BIG’s policies.
BIG will strive to ensure that inappropriate, triggering and/or insensitive behavior is omitted from class exercises and scene work. BIG believes that good improv comedy arises when scene partners build funny scenes together, not from one participant inserting edgy, outrageous or shocking subjects from a scene's outset. While it is true that improvising on stage can bring out strange and unexpected impulses in performers, such moments are not to be encouraged or pursued when they cause other students to feel attacked or excluded. Regardless of intent, these impulses cannot be justified as someone "simply playing a character" or "just making a joke". Our priority is to ensure everyone in the class feels safe and respected. Work that consistently skews scenes towards sexual, racial, and/or violent themes is a specific cause for concern. If students aren't able to change their approach after the issue has been addressed by a BIG teacher, they will be asked to leave the program.
While BIG strives to prevent content in our classes that might trigger, threaten or offend students, from time to time students may nonetheless feel confronted by scene work that meets these standards in their minds. Should a student find material triggering, threatening, offensive or objectionable for any reason (outside of an improv-centric one) then BIG encourages them to end their experience with such material. This may be done by raising their hand, voicing their objection or by simply leaving the room. In doing so students may choose to give voice to their thinking as to why they disapprove of the material in question or they may simply state that they find the material objectionable and for that reason stopped it from continuing. As some of these actions may be interpreted as having occurred for different reasons, BIG does request that students state clearly that they have ended a scene or set because of their objection to the material inside it. However, BIG in no way expects students to defend or prove their perceptions. Again BIG's priority is the safety and comfort of our student body.
If students have issues they would like to discuss with an impartial third party, unaffiliated with the class but experienced as an improviser, they may contact one of our Diversity Advocates: Hannah Jackson (firstname.lastname@example.org) or AJ McCombs (email@example.com).
Refunds are not eligible on classes which are resuming within a year of the date the class was scheduled to conclude.
Attendance and Lateness
Generally, BIG University classes meet for two hours once a week for 7 weeks. Please check your schedule carefully to ensure that you can attend all class dates. If you expect to miss more than one of the seven classes in the session, you should wait until the next term to take a class. Please email your teacher if you know you will miss a class.
Please email your teacher if you are going to be late. Just like an absence, a teacher might structure their lesson differently if you are going to be late, so this is helpful for our planning! Also your teacher and your fellow students will worry about you! If you are missing a class one week, and we are offering the same class, you may be able to drop into an alternative session. Please email the education director and your teacher to see if this option will work for you.
Release of Liability
You understand that participation in improvisational theater involves the risk of personal injury or loss due to the physical, mental, and emotional challenges in the programs and activities offered by Baltimore Improv Group. You also understand that participation in these programs or activities is entirely voluntary and requires participants to follow instructions and abide by all applicable rules and the standards of conduct. You are not aware of any conditions that increase my likelihood of experiencing a personal injury or loss while engaging Baltimore Improv Group’s programs or activities.
With appreciation of the risks associated with Baltimore Improv Group’s programs or activities, you hereby fully and completely release and waive any and all claims for personal injury or loss, including costs and attorneys’ fees, that may arise against Baltimore Improv Group, including its teachers, staff members, volunteers, students, or other persons associated with its programs or activities. This release and waiver applies to any personal injury or loss that may occur as a result of any other program or activity of Baltimore Improv Group.
Inclement Weather and Class Cancellation Policy
If a BIG University class must be cancelled for weather or other reasons, the Education Director will notify students at least three hours before the scheduled class or as soon as possible. BIG University teachers will reschedule the missed class at a date assigned by class quorum. If a teacher needs to miss a class date, they will do their best to request a substitute or reschedule the class based on class quorum. If BIG needs to cancel an entire, extended class session, students will be notified and given appropriate refunds, based on the duration, if any, of the class in question.
Questions or concerns? Email Michael Hartwell, BIG’s Education Director at firstname.lastname@example.org