I personally would have yanked all the students out and explained why and exactly why you were all leaving to someone in authority if this couldn't be cleared up, further that it was going to go up on the Internet, but my personal bias stems from years of being excluded from things for no obvious reason as a kid.
It's sad for the student who could not attend, that is obvious. That's Yelp's fault. But these kids aren't kids. If they wanted to stand on principle and leave the presentation, they could make that call. But the decision to pull the whole class from the conference shouldn't be up to the teacher of a college class populated by adults.
Throw a shitstorm at Yelp, yes, but if I were in that class and the teacher told me to get back on the bus, I'm under no obligation to listen to him. And I likely would have stayed, almost equally as upset at the poor behavior of the instructor. The way Chris handled the situation was about as good as you can get under the unfortunate circumstances.
It turns out someone causing problems at numerous Yelp events has the same name as myself and they were on the "no-fly" list. I'd say the security needs some improvement, as they couldn't tell the difference between us after checking my government-issued ID.
Thanks for all the discussion.
... or pull the class out and refuse to attend it out of principle?
EDIT: Sorry, this came off a bit too personally. I'm a teacher too and I got angry when I read this story. I'll just say more generically that it is easily possible (and justifiable) for a student to feel alienated after a situation like this, especially if they feel like their educator didn't stand up for them. Whether or not "standing up for them" involves canceling the entire trip is a contextual issue, and I really don't know if it would have been a good idea in this case.
Imagine you're a student in that class; you're stoked to see this talk, but one of your classmates can't get in. You feel terrible but you've been looking forward to this. If the teacher decides to "stick it to the man", you and 8 other of your classmates miss out and possibly become bitter towards the excluded one because of Yelp's security measures.
His having to direct her to the nearest transit might seem cold, but he was responsible for all of those students, and he was trying to offer them an experience they would grow from. I would have been incredibly bummed if I were her, but it wasn't anyone in her group's fault and they shouldn't have missed an opportunity to learn because the teacher decided he wanted to take some sort of personal, "Yeah, well I'll show you!" stand.
"Why vote, I'm just 1 vote. It's not going to make any difference."
And you said you're not important enough that anyone would have noticed? So all the 'unimportant' people, when faced with difficult choices, should just roll over and go with the flow? (Not saying you made the wrong/right choice, but your reasoning is off.)
While you had to weigh a group of students' benefit from the talk against 1 missing out on some talk, this also could've been an opportunity for you to teach your students to a different kind of lesson.
I hate to say it but leaving a student alone waiting is pretty shitty.
That's a pretty shitty experience, to be the only one who can't get in and have to walk away alone. A little solidarity would have gone a long way.
Edit: read your comment in a separate post. It would have been worthwhile not to abridge all the context out of your story.
Other venues are much more reasonable about this sort of thing. I have a friend who is banned from all Microsoft buildings, including non-Microsoft events hosted by Microsoft. He was informed clearly in writing, and knew the reason for his being banned. That makes Microsoft-operated venues more appealing (on at least this axis) than Yelp ones, since organizers of an event can't be sure that attendees will actually be able to enter. In the Microsoft case, at least a person seemingly knows whether they can attend.
Here they are practically claiming she is a terrorist. The principle is the same.
By sending her out you validate their discrimination, which is based on falsehoods and lies.
What if [..]
By sending her out you validate their discrimination [..]
Now, if Yelp gained anything other than "they gave us a spot to meet", I would agree with you 100%. I would give them no benefit for being moronic.
Yelp doesn't host these events purely out of the goodness of its heart -- these are recruiting events. They also give Yelp employees preferential access to the speakers.
If people don't go to events at Yelp, people don't host events at Yelp.
Yelp's stupidity can teach your whole class about the importance of working for conscientious, thoughtful corporations. Arguably, that's a more valuable lesson than whatever tricks pinterest used to scale (but I'm old, so take that with a grain of salt).
Of course, there is no context in the story, so it is hard to say...
But sending her away makes no sense either. Why not ask her to wait outside, ensure the rest of the class finds their way, then attempt to find somebody with suitable authority to allow her in?
There's no point arguing with a security guard past a certain point; they simply do not have authority you're seeking.
However, even if you spend the entire session trying to find somebody and don't succeed, at least the student will respect and appreciate your effort and won't feel alone in her plight.
> I wonder if Yelp people ask themselves if they
> might be doing something bad if people want to do
> them bodily harm.
Have a competently professional security policy with recourse to appeal at the door if they're going to host events for people?
Or, you know, just look like amateurs.
What it really comes down to if you don't like their policy, don't host your meetup there.
By having a security policy, they are in the security business, and they're doing it wrong.
This is not true. A company should only be considered to be in the security business if their profit is driven or at least depends upon offering security to others.
By the logic of your post, any company that has computers that they have to manage would be in the 'IT' business.
The reality is that to run a company, a variety of things must be done to allow it to exist that do not define the business of the company.
Since they are doing it they should be concerned with doing it right.
If computers are critically important to a company (as they are for many web companies) then they are expected to manage them in an intelligent way. That doesn't mean that web companies are all acting as ISPs, but it is absolutely routine and expected for them to take various measures to maintain their computing infrastructure correctly. It's irrelevant that they are not selling computers.
It is totally irrelevant that Yelp is not selling security services to other companies.
In this case, Yelp's security policies are stupid. They're not making money from security, but that doesn't mean they get to be stupid.
AFAIK, the CONSENSUS is they run a racket. "Sures is a nice restaurant, would be a reeeel shame if some negative reviews happened to it, wouldn't it" is their business model. (not exaggerating here - Google startup extortion, this is the only company that comes up. They've been sued.)
If you're running an extortion ring, you're not gonna be letting a whooole lot of po'd people in your office.
I would be extremely curious about the specific name. I bet it is someone they have tried to illegally strong-arm by showcasing negative reviews.
"I don't hold it against the security guy, he was just following instructions."
Why does everybody assume that while what he's doing is awful, he's just following instructions and that he wouldn't do anything truly f'ed up.
I would assume that a guy who is willing to take a job that involves excluding a kid from their class field trip based wholly on that kid's name being on some magic list is the sort to be willing to do all sorts of evil stuff if ordered to.
I'm not saying he IS the type to do evil things if ordered, but that is the safer assumption.
What I would argue is that (unless you're the bouncer at a nightclub) it is pretty shitty to refuse someone entry without explanation. If you don't know the reason, you should be willing to call your superior and find out, and maybe sort out the situation properly.
And if it's a company where that kind of information is "secret" and not disclosed to the people who are enforcing it, that's a sick culture.
A lot of people here are making some assumptions based on the idea that these were children, which is pretty interesting in itself.
I think you did the right thing by allowing the rest of the class to attend, but I feel terrible for your student, especially given the push for more women in engineering.
They actually require government ID, which is a step above most building security I've encountered. Also, it says that Yelp "shares offices... in a building with security" - perhaps these stupid policies are more the building's fault than Yelp's?
also, I am in that meetup group and yesterday was insane email traffic w/the amount of people that couldn't follow the most simplest of advice -- "we need your name"
Running the guest list against some database of banned names, not so standard.
One reason it's not standard is that properly operating a list of banned names is very difficult, for the reason pointed out here in this post.
some places ask for ids - but really a lot of places you just need to have the name - that's all
I'm a teacher, and if this happened to one of my students on an official College trip (which, in the UK, would have been documented and approved in advance with a risk analysis &c, and yes even for adult students) I would probably be on the phone to the principal.
Given they way things sound in this case, I would have had to consider options. I'm assuming the teacher in this case was also driving the transport.
edit: standard practice to deny entry to non-badged persons who aren't on a pre-submited event guestlist. i've seen this, for example, at every tech meetup held in a downtown office building i've ever been to in Manhattan and Philadelphia.
edit2: i've never actually challenged this, but i've been told that i would be denied entry if name not on list.
But the check-in process is not at all stringent in the way that the OP describes. So no, this is not "standard practice."
Edit: I see you meant that "standard practice" involved a check-in on a list to get a badge. OK, no disagreement there. We'd have to hear more from the OP about the list of names sent to Yelp before the event before saying more.
I've never been turned away without recourse...
That is different than an escort coming down to the lobby and saying, "ok you, you and you can come up. You over there have to leave the building". That is something I have never seen happen.
Edit: all three have had metal detectors and airport style scanners, really annoying getting stuck in the security line if you forgot your badge and were running late.
Why yes! Why would a company built on freedom of expression, freedom of association, and net neutrality care about civil liberties?
Which part is standard practice? Many take any form of ID and print a badge. I have been to none that do any sort of ID check. Have you been to some that Google you?
Don't like it ? Too fucking bad.
The only reason that your statement makes sense is if you disagree with me on that. Otherwise, your comment just amounts to "they don't have to listen to you," which should be implicit to everyone here.
If you do feel that we aren't allowed to publicly shame them, then I'd invite you to expand on that idea.
I don't understand why they couldn't have the desk find someone in HR or other related department (whoever issues the order) to confer with regarding this particular guest.
This applies to not only strange security, but harassment, unethical behavior, and other inappropriate actions.
Trust me from personal experience, you'll never regret it, and as you get older, the retelling will only get _more_ enjoyable, both for you and those who were there to see you blow up. On both sides, so long as you keep it professional.
If so, then THAT'S the story here...
The checks and balances against abuse of this power are basically that, if Yelp's a jerk, they get bad PR, as is happening in this case.
It's not like we are talking about a particularly ethical company!
Y'know, it might just be some poorly-paid security drone reading blindly from some poorly articulated status message on some crappy security desk app.
So instead of something tactful and polite like "Not on the guest list", the applicable field got set to NULL, which bubbled up as "Reason: Unknown".
I tried e-mailing them, no response.
And no, she's got a down-home 'good old American' type name, if I've ever heard one.
Did you ever get to the bottom of why it wasn't on the guest list?
Did you ask the security guard (or did the guard offer) to get someone with authority to rectify the situation?
1. chriszf wasn't aware of the guest list requirement at the gate
2. No one at Yelp told him of this in response to his inquiries
3. Yelp was provided with a guest list
4. The security guard said "undisclosed security risk", not "not on the list"
5. Everyone except this student got in without a hitch
6. chriszf came to the conclusion that, since the only information Yelp had on her was her name (due to the guest list), that that was why they had barred her.
Fact 6 implies that chriszf did check the guest list (as later confirmed here). I'm just wondering at how, especially in spite of facts 2 and 4, so many people decided that the most logical conclusion was that chriszf is an idiot that is unable to confirm whether a student's name appears on a guest list.
There are many reasons for a name to not be on a guest list. I never implied anyone was an idiot. Not one of the items listed confirm whether or not student x's name is on the list.
chriszf was able to come to the conclusion you state because chriszf had more information than was written in the blog post.
I am genuinely curious.
There's nothing wrong with this policy. The problem is that the Yelp event organizers didn't sufficiently publicize this policy.
Edit: Apparently there was a guest list, everyone's name was on it, and hers was marked as not allowed for some unknown reason? This is not clear from the article, but I gather from the comments.
Am I missing something? Why did you not do this?