Hacker News new | comments | show | ask | jobs | submit login
Low income SF students from Mission nonprofit ejected from Dreamforce (sfexaminer.com)
54 points by MilnerRoute 11 months ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 38 comments

While I agree that security guards are most responsible here at the end of the day they are correct to blame Salesforce. If you hold an event you are ultimately responsible for what the staff does, even when they are just contractors. And that's both from a legal, and optics perspective. In this case, Salesforce did these kids a disservice by providing them substantially different badges from other attendants, and by not doing enough to keep them in once they confronted problems. The head of the outing mentions that their contact tried to keep the guards from kicking them out but I have to question how an actual employee vouching for them wasn't enough. Seems like the ball was dropped several times, by multiple different parties.

Mostly agree. The Salesforce employee should have been able to escalate the issue to the right people to get it solved. Simply having a Salesforce employee vouching for them should have been rejected, as it was. There are thousands of Salesforce employees at the event, not all of them should have the power to override a guards instructions. So the guard acted correctly in that way, but sounds like they took it way too far - “Your kind don’t belong in here.” WTF!?

> Simply having a Salesforce employee vouching for them should have been rejected, as it was.

It could be handled better. If there's a disagreement from anyone in the company that hired you, you can always escalate inside that company. They could've checked the situation with someone who does have a final say in this case.

>So the guard acted correctly in that way, but sounds like they took it way too far - “Your kind don’t belong in here.” WTF!?

I don't believe those words were spoken.

But the legal system constrains what employers can consider in candidates. Perhaps these hires would have failed a cognitive test? Unfortunately, we'll never know because the courts read disparate impact as proof of discrimination.

It's an ugly truth, but we would be better off with more discrimination. Stupid people should hold less power in society and discrimination is the means to keep stupid people away from power.

> Unfortunately, we'll never know because the courts read disparate impact as proof of discrimination.

“Disparate impact” which is prrof of illegal discrimination is not just unequal impact by protected category, it's unequal impact that cannot be shown to be sufficiently tied to job function.

> Stupid people should hold less power in society and discrimination is the means to keep stupid people away from power.

“Stupid people” are not a protected class; discrimination against “stupid people” is not generally prohibited, nor where this is actually tied directly to job performance is discrimination against “stupid people” that incidentally has effects on a protected class owing exclusively to the distribution of stupidity.

>“Right off the bat, security gave us a hard time because of our badges, they were different than everyone else’s badge. It didn’t have our name on it, nor have a nice lanyard, it was Brown [sic] and cheap quality rather than the fancier ones every other guest had.”

So, you make the charity-case badges look different, you choose the color brown for them(!), and you don't put a name on them ... that seems like poor planning, guaranteed to invite suspicion.

Let me guess. Salesforce will blame the guards. Because the workers with the least amount of influence share an inordinate amount of blame. Some platitudes about being a welcoming company when clearly they weren't. Finally, a small donation to appears the media. And things will continue on as usual.

The security guard doesn't exactly come across as lacking influence:

> That’s when the male guard reportedly told the students, “You don’t belong here,” and, allegedly, “Your kind don’t belong in here.”

This whilst the Salesforce employee was trying to convince him to allow the students to stay.

The guards were the ones who told the students they didn't belong there and the ones who made the determination to eject the students.

Unless Salesforce commanded the guards to eject the students, the guards failed to use their judgement properly and they failed to handle the situation gracefully.

The guards have a watch commander who is supposed to make the judgement call. The watch commander was given instructions on who was and wasn't supposed to be there, most likely from Salesforce's on head of security, which he relayed to the guards.

I imagine Salesforce created a standing order to have any removed that didn't have the correct badge. This was passed on to the watch commander and, unless Salesforce intervened, if asked for clarification by the guards the watch commander would re-iterate the standing order.

Update: "A student of the tech education program reached out to Mission Local to say that the students were allowed to return to the Dreamforce conference after being told to leave, that the security guards who removed the students were disciplined, and that the students received numerous apologies from Salesforce staff."


Personally, I would like to thank Salesforce for a strong security presence at the event. There were bomb sniffing dogs, many security staff, and vehicle barriers with armed guards at street entrances.

Despite being a sponsor and speaker at the event, I was denied access (due to different badge type) to the expo hall to help the rest of our company setup our booth. It was frustrating, but at least the security was paying attention.

It is very unfortunate that this group had problems getting in. I would have enjoyed talking to their group, as I did with the Girl Scouts group and other non-profits that sent STEM students to the event.

You're happy they had security theater in full effect even though it inconvenienced you and others?

Yep. My company paid a lot of money to sponsor a booth and make sure the majority of our interactions were with customers that we could sell to/partner with. Having a free for all would have greatly diminished the value of our time there.

I should note, I don't know which part of the show this group was trying to enter (Developer Zone, Expo Hall, Keynote Talk). As I mentioned, I enjoyed talking with a number of the STEM student groups that came through the expo hall.

I find it quite weird that you're putting "free for all" as an alternative to armed guards at a conference. There's a whole spectrum in between that conferences happily operate in in other places. Like having gates / pass checks, but without involving armed security. I've never seen that before and hope never will.

Sorry for the confusion, there was a spectrum. I don't think we're in disagreement here, you may be envisioning things that were not happening.

To clarify, Security Guards checking badges wore suit jackets and did not appear to be armed. They mostly said things like "please turn your badges forward", "sorry you can't go in there yet, only [X] badges right now". The few people with the bomb sniffing dogs I think were armed. The people that were very clearly armed were outside the conference standing at the vehicle barricades, there were a limited number of them.

I meant a spectrum where there huge events that don't have armed security but aren't "free for all" either. Those two are extreme positions.

I'm curious about the demography for this event ... do you have sense for the attendees? Would be genuinely interested in what you get out of it. I've never been and am really curious what draws such large crowds.

The event is massive, something like 180,000 total attendees. They actually shut down Howard St. between 4th and 3rd and roll out astro turf and put up fake rock formations and stages.

There are tons of different badge types depending on your role in the ecosystem (developer, admin, marketing, sales, partner, sponsor, speaker, etc.). For the expo, Monday and Tuesday are for Full Pass people only (min of ~$1,000 per pass). Wednesday and Thursday allows in anyone that registered for the free Expo pass ahead of time.

The demographics skew to middle age people. Racially, mostly white, but many east asian and indian attendees. Certainly all groups were represented. I met many people coming from Australia, Europe and India.

Because of the expense of the passes, most of the attendees are decision makers within the business which I think is why it skewed older. I would understand if the group described in the article felt like they stood out in the crowd because of the racial and age difference. Also, Monday was crazy. Lots of very confused people trying to figure out where they should be going between the 3 different massive buildings the event was held in.

I attended this event because I do some work with Salesforce and my company was willing to pay for it so it was basically a cheap vacation. I feel like it's largely a marketing event to showcase new features of Salesforce and showcase companies that have been successful using it and to that end it's effectively a big party.

There are useful aspect to it, though. It's an opportunity to network with people and other companies that use Salesforce and there are a lot of presentations on topics ranging from technical details of Salesforce to oceanography which can be useful for getting ideas on how to better utilize Salesforce. Salesforce has a large secondary market for applications built on it and Dreamforce is pretty good for companies with products in that market.

> He credited Pineda with trying to straighten out the situation. “Angelica did a fabulous job, she did everything in her power to keep us inside,” Sosa said. But the two security guards, who Sosa described as a black man and Latina woman, ejected them.

Having read the entire article it seems this was a case of uninformed security grunts doing what they usually do. The race of the security guards gets mentioned as a sign of the times. Angelica in this case is the salesforce employee.

In the photo the girl in the red shirt on the back right looks to be wearing a lanyard with a brown string whilst the Salesforce employee has a blue one. From going to various festivals different colours and materials are often used to easily signify to security where you can/can't go. When I've been comp'd tickets before for events they did look different to those that were paid for. This in itself isn't out of the ordinary IMO.

What seems most questionable to me is the behaviour/attitude of the (third party) security company and not Salesforce (yet anyway).

A case of more details needed I think.

Conference badges are often printed on-site by equipment owned by an event management company. So my guess would be that SalesForce wanted to get the badges to this group without them going through the standard conference registration process and so made them badges with supplies they had available to them - the official lanyards probably weren't ready yet (or were in the possession of the event management company) and they didn't own the thermal printers and stock used to make the official badges.

Don't worry, the race of the conference attendees was also mentioned along with the race of the victims. It's to help progressives apportion blame.

> It's to help progressives apportion blame.

Does this materially contribute to the conversation? What's your motive for saying it?

We're having a conversation about this because of progressives. Fascists and communists didn't write the article about the poor kids getting kicked out of the mean conference.

The badges were issued by Salesforce.

This has the markings of a PR stunt. As a reader of the article, I'm very curious what the badges look like, as those are a legitimate cause for concern for security. Any legitimate reporting on this issue would investigate that detail.

Why should it matter what they look like if someone from Salesforce says they are legit?

Because it explains the behavior of the security guards, presuming they didn't "get the memo" about a small group of people with fake-looking badges that are actually legitimate.

If security guards don't know how badges looks like, your security organization is crappy as hell. It does not matter whether badge looks ugly or not, guard is supposed to know it.

Again, why would the security guards not trust the judgment of an employee of the company that hired them? In the absence of an immediate and obvious threat, how is that justified?

> Again, why would the security guards not trust the judgment of an employee of the company that hired them?

This would be a stupid thing to do, even at the office. They could listen maybe the director of physical security, etc, but not a random employee. Especially for a company of Salesforce's size.

If a random employee told them the badges are ok, they should've deferred to someone who can make the decision. Either a) the employee's right and the badges are ok, or b) the employee's trying to trick security and should be reported to the company. They did not have to make a final decision on the spot.

Maybe they should have done (b), sure. Otherwise, the badges are not ok for security, and a random employee telling them anything doesn't change status quo.

lol it worked for me -- this is the first I've heard of dev/Mission and it led me to look them up. (Hi Rick.)

As noted in my other post, they were a different color and didn't have the bearer's (or any) name on them, which is a questionable decision by itself.

The article doesn't elaborate on the badges issue at all.

Were the badges fake or not? That's the first question to investigate.

Why would you think the badges were fake?

Guidelines | FAQ | Support | API | Security | Lists | Bookmarklet | Legal | Apply to YC | Contact