Bylaws of the Metro Cincinnati & Northern Kentucky Local of the Democratic Socialists of America
Last Modified October 22, 2023
ARTICLE I. Name.
The name of the Local shall be the Democratic Socialists of Metro Cincinnati & Northern Kentucky Local of the Democratic Socialists of America, a not-for-profit corporation.
ARTICLE II. Purpose.
The Democratic Socialists of Metro Cincinnati & Northern Kentucky Local of the Democratic Socialists of America seeks to facilitate the transition to a truly democratic and socialist society, one in which the means/resources of production are democratically and socially controlled.
DSA rejects an economic order based on private profit, alienated labor, gross inequalities of wealth and power, discrimination in all forms, including, but not limited to that based on race, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, and brutality and violence in defense of the status quo.
DSA envisions a humane social order based on popular control of resources and production, economic planning, equitable distribution, gender and racial equality, and non-oppressive relationships.
Our conception of socialism is a profoundly democratic one. It is rooted in the belief that human beings should be free to develop to their fullest potential, that public policies should be determined not by wealth but by popular participation, and that individual liberties should be carefully safeguarded. It is committed to a freedom of speech that does not recoil from dissent, to a freedom to organize independent trade unions, women’s groups, political parties, and other formations -- recognizing these as essential bulwarks against the dangers of an intrusive state. It is committed to a freedom of religion that acknowledges the rights of those for whom spiritual concerns are central.
We are socialists because we are developing a concrete strategy for achieving that vision. In the present, we are building a visible socialist presence within the broad democratic left. In the long run, we hope to build a majority movement capable of making democratic socialism a reality in the United States. Our strategy acknowledges the class structure of the U.S. society. This class structure means that there is a basic conflict of interest between those sectors with enormous economic power and the vast majority of the population.
ARTICLE III. Membership.
Section 1. Membership
Membership in the organization may be maintained by persons who are up to one year arrears in dues. Membership in good standing of the Metro Cincinnati & Northern Kentucky Local DSA will be defined as members whose dues to national DSA are paid in full, who reside and/or work in Hamilton, Butler, Warren and Clermont counties in Ohio and Boone, Kenton and Campbell counties in Kentucky. It will be the responsibility of members in good standing to approve policies and guidelines for the operation of the local chapter, to elect delegates to the national convention, to vote on matters related to national policy, and to make recommendations on issues and other matters to the National Political Committee of DSA.
Section 2. Excluded individuals
- No Law Enforcement Officer, certified by the government to enforce the law, and no Prison Guard, whether employed by the government or a private company, shall be a member, and any member who becomes one may be expelled.
- No person whose primary income (over 50% for at least 90 days) comes from being a landlord, shall be allowed membership, and any member who becomes one may be expelled. Members who collect rent from housemates, renting out the other half of a duplex, and members who are renting out their second home shall be exempt from this ban.
- No person who profits from the labor of others shall be allowed membership, and any member who becomes such a person may be expelled.
Section 3. Removal of Members
If a full member is found to be in violation of the membership criteria established in Section 2, or in substantial disagreement with the basic principles of socialism, or if they are found to be consistently engaging in undemocratic and disruptive behavior the Local may vote to expel them from DSA. In order for such a finding to be made, another DSA member must formally prefer written charges against the member in question to the Local Steering Committee, which shall set the date of a Local meeting for deliberations on the charges. The member in question must receive a copy of the written charges and notice of the meeting a minimum of two weeks before that meeting takes place. Expulsion of a member or affiliate member requires a two-thirds vote of the Local meeting. An expelled full member may appeal to the National Political Committee of DSA.
Section 4. Dues.
The Local chapter may establish a Local pledge system of voluntary donations for its members.
ARTICLE IV. Local Meetings.
Section 1. Annual Membership Meeting.
The Local will hold a minimum of one Membership Meeting annually, and all members of the Local will receive three weeks’ written (or electronic mail) notice and an agenda of the Membership Meeting. The Membership Meeting will elect Local officers and may adopt an annual budget, set membership targets, and hire staff. It will review and approve or abolish all chapter priorities and frontline teams. In general, it is the highest body of the Local.
Section 2. General Meetings.
Barring extraordinary circumstances, the Local will hold General Meetings on a monthly basis, the time and place of which shall be set in a schedule published and distributed by the Local Steering Committee. The General Meetings will set Local policy and work priorities, and will include political education sessions.
The Local Steering Committee will set the agenda for General Meetings. In general, the General Meeting is the operating legislative body of the Local and the Steering Committee is directly subordinate to it.
Section 3. Emergency Meetings.
The Local Steering Committee may call an Emergency Meeting of the Local on five days’ notice when an urgent and important matter requires deliberation.
Section 4. Priorities.
The Annual Membership Meeting and chapter General Meetings may set up to two chapter priorities by a two-thirds vote. All chapter formations will then be required to work on implementing these priorities and they shall have first access to chapter resources.
Section 5. Quorum.
A quorum of 75% of the averaged attendance of members at the last two General meetings is required to transact business at regular monthly meetings, and at the Annual Meeting.
ARTICLE V. Local Officers: Powers and Duties.
Section 1. Officers and Terms
The officers of the Local will be the Chair, Secretary, and Treasurer. The term of office will be one year, and shall run from February 1 to January 31 or until their successors are elected.
Section 2. Vacancies.
In the event of a vacancy in any office, a special election for the remainder of the vacant member's term shall be triggered within sixty (60) days after the opening of the vacancy if regular elections are not to be held within that time period. Special elections may coincide with a General Meeting.
Section 3. Chair.
The Chair will be the chief executive officer of the Local. They will preside over Local and Steering Committee meetings or will appoint a substitute to assume the powers and duties of the presiding officer as specified in Robert’s Rules of Order. The Chair will be the official public spokesperson for the Local and will initiate such actions and policies as the Local’s general welfare may demand. In the event that the Chair is unable to perform their duties for a single event or a longer period of time, an at-large member of the Steering Committee will serve as replacement.
b) The Chair will be responsible for coordinating the day-to-day operations and political work of the Local’s branches and committees.
c) The Chair will report to Local General Meetings on the business of the Steering Committee Meetings, at which time a copy of the minutes of those meetings will be available for inspection.
Section 4 Secretary.
a) The Secretary will be responsible for all correspondence and queries the Local receives, and for maintaining an up-to-date membership list of the Local. They will ensure effective communication with the national DSA.
b) The Secretary will be responsible also for the taking of minutes of all local and Steering Committee Meetings, and shall have custody of these minutes, and the resolutions, reports and other official records of the Local. They shall transfer official records in good condition to their successor. Official records shall include meeting minutes and member lists.
Section 5. Treasurer.
The Treasurer will be responsible for the funds and financial records of the Local. All funds collected by the Local will be turned over to the Treasurer, who shall deposit them in a bank account under the name of the Local. In cooperation with the Secretary, the Treasurer will be responsible for ensuring that membership dues are paid up-to-date. The Treasurer will prepare the annual Local budget, and deliver the Local financial report to the Membership Meeting of the Local, as well as periodic progress reports as requested by the Steering Committee of the Local.
Section 6. Additional Duties.
The Local Steering Committee may assign additional duties to an officer of the Local, so long as such assignments do not conflict with the designation of responsibilities outlined in these Bylaws.
ARTICLE VI. Steering Committee.
Section 1. Composition.
The Local Steering Committee will be composed of the officers of the Local and one at-large member for every hundred members of the local in excess of two hundred members as of January 1st up to a maximum of fifteen Steering Committee members. No individual may hold more than one Steering Committee position.
Section 2. Duties.
a) The Steering Committee administers the affairs of the Local and oversees the implementation of the decisions of the Membership and General Meetings; it may also propose policy to the Membership and General Meetings. It shall have the power to receive reports of any Committee or Branch, and advise thereon, to call emergency meetings of the Local, and to act on any matter that requires immediate and urgent action. The Steering Committee is the regular executive body of the Local and thus subordinate to its Legislative bodies, the Annual Membership and General Meetings.
b) The Local Committee will be responsible for establishing program activities for the Local chapter, for proposing guidelines and policies that will subsequently be voted on by full members of DSA, and for acting on the organization’s behalf between Local meetings.
Section 3. Meetings.
The meetings of the Steering Committee will be held at the call of the Chair at such intervals as may be determined by a prior Steering Committee Meeting or by consultation with a majority of members of the Steering Committee. All members of the Steering Committee should be given three days’ oral or written notice of regular Steering Committee Meetings; a 24-hour notice may be given under special emergency circumstances.
Section 4. Quorum.
A quorum of ⅔ of the members of the Steering Committee is required for the transaction of Steering Committee business.
Section 5. Removal
A member of the Steering Committee may be removed for nonfeasance by a three-quarters vote of the Steering Committee confirmed by the next General Meeting. A member of the Steering Committee who does not vote in more than 50% of of votes taken by the Steering Committee and does not attend meetings of the Steering Committee over a three month period is considered to have resigned unless a written explanation is provided to the other members of the Steering Committee and accepted by a majority vote thereof.
Section 5. Substructures
The Steering Committee may create or remove such internal divisions and substructures to the Steering Committee as it deems necessary.
ARTICLE VII. Frontline Teams
Section 1. Definition.
A frontline team is a substructure of the Local tasked with carrying out chapter work in specific areas of struggle and implementing chapter priorities. Frontline teams may be established or abolished by a vote of a chapter General Meeting and all existing frontline teams shall be reviewed at the Annual Membership meeting.
Section 2. Structure
Each frontline team will be led by at least two Co-Chairs approved, and removable by the General Membership. Co-Chairs are charged with running and coordinating their Team, and regularly reporting on progress in their baseline duties and priority campaigns to leadership and the chapter. No more than one frontline team Co-Chair may also be a member of the Steering Committee.
Section 3 Initial Teams
The passage of this bylaws amendment shall create the following frontline teams:
- Labor Organizing Team.
In addition to carrying out priorities, this team is charged with
- Building and maintaining relationships with labor unions
- Holding regular labor organizer trainings for members
- Mapping our membership’s workplaces
- Encouraging and developing workplace Cells.
- Housing Organizing Team.
In addition to carrying out priorities, this team is charged with
- Building tenant unions
- Holding regular tenant organizer trainings for members
- Mapping our membership’s housing situation
- Encouraging and developing neighborhood Cells.
- Mass Action Team.
In addition to carrying out priorities, this team is charged with
- Training and maintaining marshal and medic teams
- Directing DSA presence on the ground at any event
- Providing regular protest safety trainings for the chapter
- Building and maintaining relationships with local activist orgs
ARTICLE VIII Committees.
Section 1. Standing Committees
A Standing Committee is a committee that exists until specifically abolished by a vote of a General Meeting, to fulfill essential chapter functions. These bodies are always chaired by a Steering Committee member.
The following Standing Committees will be created by the adoption of these bylaws:
1. Campaign Committee
The Campaign Committee will be chaired by the Chair of the chapter, and the Chair of each Frontline Team will be a member of this committee. This body will be charged with carrying out the priorities of the chapter, as well as ensuring each Frontline Team is carrying out its baseline duties.
2. Communications Committee
The Communications Committee will be chaired by the Secretary of the chapter. This body will be charged with handling outward and inward communications for the chapter, maintenance of the website and social media accounts, new member onboarding and orientation, and preparation of graphic materials for events, flyers, and other needs.
3. Finance Committee
The Finance Committee will be chaired by the Treasurer of the chapter. This body will be charged with maintenance of chapter resources and inventory, running chapter fundraisers and dues drives, and the general acquisition of resources for the organization.
Additional Standing Committees may be created by a majority vote at a chapter General Meeting, but they must all have a Steering Committee member chairing them.
Section 2. Ad Hoc Committees
- An Ad Hoc Committee is formed by a majority vote of either a General Meeting or the Steering Committee for a specific, short term effort, such as research for next month’s General Meeting and operates under the supervision of the Steering Committee. They are dissolved as soon as their task is complete.
- The chairs of Ad Hoc Committees are appointed and replaceable by either the General Meeting that creates them or by the Steering Committee
- Ad Hoc Committees may also be dissolved by a majority vote of the body that created them or any higher body.
ARTICLE IX. Delegates to National, Regional, and State Bodies.
Section 1. Convention.
Local delegates and alternates to the National Convention will be elected by full members of the Local Chapter of DSA. Elections for the National Convention delegation shall be held on the schedule announced by the national organization.
ARTICLE X. Prohibited Activity.
Democratic Socialists of Metro Cincinnati & Northern Kentucky Local shall not engage in activity prohibited by the IRS guidelines established for 501 (c) 4 organizations or similar rules established by the states of Ohio and Kentucky. Nor shall the local engage in any activity prohibited by resolutions adopted by DSA’s National Convention or DSA’s National Political Committee.
ARTICLE XI. Elections, Nominations, and Recalls
Section 1. Nomination Committee
Whenever an election is required to be run, a Nominations Committee shall be formed.
The Nominations Committee shall:
- Be composed of at least three (3) members of the chapter who are not candidates in the election
- Be in charge of running the election, which includes the responsibility to:
- Collect candidate nominations
- Collect candidate statements
- Distribute candidate statements to all members
- Create and distribute the ballot
- Announce the results of the election to all members within three (3) days of the election finishing
All members of the Nomination Committee shall receive training on how to run an election by someone who was on a previous Nominations Committee or by the chapter’s Secretary.
Section 2. Elections
All elections shall be announced at a minimum three (3) weeks before they are held. Members shall have a minimum of two (2) weeks to submit candidate nominations and statements. Voting shall be held virtually using voting software, and members shall have a minimum of one (1) week to vote in the election.
- Scottish Single Transferable Vote will be used when the number of candidates is greater than the number of seats.
- Approval Voting shall be used when the number of candidates is less than or equal to the number of seats.
- In the event of a tie, the election can be repeated.
Section 3. Recalls
Members may petition for the removal of a Steering Committee member, or for the dissolution of the entire Steering Committee (which is defined as the removal of all Steering Committee members from their elected offices). Such a petition requires signatures from at least two-thirds of the current meeting quorum, and shall be delivered to the Steering Committee.
Upon receipt of a recall petition, the Steering Committee shall include a recall vote into the agenda of the next general meeting. Alternatively, the petition may include a member-led call for an Emergency Meeting, at a date and time specified in the petition. In either case, the membership must be issued written notice about the removal or dissolution vote at least two weeks in advance.
No Steering Committee member may preside over the vote for their own removal. Another Steering Committee member may preside over a recall vote for an individual. A petition to dissolve the Steering Committee must specify an individual who will preside over the dissolution vote.
A vote to confirm the removal of a single Steering Committee member requires a simple majority. A vote to confirm the dissolution of the Steering Committee requires a two-thirds majority vote.
If the meeting for which the removal or dissolution vote is scheduled fails to meet quorum or is canceled for any unforeseen circumstance, another General Meeting or Emergency Meeting must be scheduled within the next thirty days at which the question will be considered.
ARTICLE XII. Amendments.
Proposed amendments to these Bylaws must be made by written resolution, endorsed by five members of the Local chapter of DSA, and submitted to the Steering Committee a month in advance of a Membership or General Meeting. The Steering Committee is required to provide the Local membership with two weeks’ written notice of the proposed amendments. The amendment must be approved by a majority vote of two consecutive Local meetings or by a two-thirds vote of the Annual Membership Meeting.
ARTICLE XIII. Rules of the Local.
Section 1. Rules.
The Rules contained in Robert’s Rules of Order, Newly Revised, shall govern this Local in cases to which they are applicable and in which they are not inconsistent with these Bylaws. Consensus decision-making is desirable where feasible, but meetings must submit to Robert’s Rules of Order upon the request of a member.
Section 2. Action Out of Order.
Any action taken by an officer or member of the Local in contravention of these Bylaws is null and void.
ARTICLE XIV Additional Substructures
Section 1. Cells.
Any five dues paying members in the same neighborhood or workplace are able to form a cell together to organize where they are. Cells are charged with recruiting DSA members in those structures existing members live in and may create policy specific to those structures, subject to the approval of the chapter as a whole, but shall have no broader policy making power. Cells may elect a Captain to coordinate their work as necessary.
Section 2 Organizing Committees
Organizing Committees are geographic committees that may be created in areas that fall under the chapter’s jurisdiction but the chapter does not otherwise have a presence in. They are intentional formations meant to help us facilitate the growth of new chapters in locations that are distant enough that they should be their own chapter, but might need support from our chapter while developing and recruiting. Organizing Committees may be approved by a vote of the Steering Committee, a chapter General Meeting, or the Annual Membership Meeting.
ADDENDUM I. Harassment Grievance Policy.
The Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America (“DSA Cincy”) is committed to creating a space that is welcoming and inclusive. The following policy provides guidelines to ensure that everyone is able to organize without harassment, abuse, or harm.
- Harassment & Grievance Officers (HGO)
- HGOs shall be elected for a one-year term by chapter membership. Chapter membership will elect a minimum of two HGOs.
- In the event that fewer HGO election candidates are available than open positions, the Steering Committee shall be responsible for outreach to potential candidates.
- HGO positions may not be appointed; HGOs must be approved by chapter membership by majority vote even in uncontested elections.
- No individual may hold a steering position and HGO position simultaneously.
- HGOs shall be responsible for investigating and mediating harassment and grievance accusations levied upon local chapter members in accordance with all local and national DSA bylaws and resolutions.
- Prohibited behavior.
- Members shall not engage in harassment on the basis of (including, but not limited to) sex, gender, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, physical appearance, disability, race, color, religion, national origin, class, age, or profession. Harassing or abusive behavior, such as unwelcome attention, inappropriate or offensive remarks, slurs or jokes, physical or verbal intimidation, stalking, inappropriate physical contact or proximity, and other verbal and physical conduct constitute harassment when such conduct has the purpose or effect of creating a hostile environment interfering with an individual's or group's capacity to organize within the Cincinnati Metro area.
- Other complaints.
- Grievances about harassment based on categories or situations not encompassed by those listed in section 1.a.i. including any retaliatory behaviors defined in section 4 will be evaluated at the discretion of the Harassment Grievance Officers
- Standing to file a complaint.
- Members or close organizing allies (COAs, defined as non-members working with DSA Cincy in coalition actions or participating in DSA Cincy chapter or subgroup organizing activities) should follow the standard DSA Cincy complaint process as set out in the following sections if they believe they have been harassed by another DSA Cincy member or close organizing ally. These individuals are accountable to follow local bylaws and codes of conduct while participating within DSA events.
- There will be no time limits requiring the accuser to file a report within any amount of time after the alleged harassment has occurred, but the nature of evidence and memory means that prompt filing will typically ease investigation.
- No level of membership standing is required to contact HGOs with concerns or grievances.
- Allegations against DSA members regarding occurrences outside of DSA events may be investigated at the discretion of HGOs.
- Remedies and penalties.
- The response to a report that is found credible must may include a formal discussion between the accused, and SC/ the local Steering Committee, and HGORs to develop a plan to change harassing behavior(s); this may include:
- suspension from chapter participation
- removal from chapter committee(s);
- removal from chapter membership;
- any and all other relief deemed necessary and just by the chapter or national leadership.
- COAs accused of reports that are deemed credible or who refuse to participate in the grievance process may be barred from chapter activities including work done with coalition partners.
- Refusal to cooperate in an HGO investigation by a chapter member will be escalated to the Steering Committee for immediate remedy or penalty.
- "Refusal to cooperate" is defined as an absence of contact with HGOs longer than seven days during an active grievance, disregarding local or national HGO bylaws/resolutions, retaliation, refusal to abide by a grievance outcome, or other obfuscation, undermining or impeding of an HGO investigation.
- Reporting Protocol and Timeline
- Making a complaint.
- The person making a complaint (claimant) can email a harassment grievance officer with details about the complaint via firstname.lastname@example.org to inform the HGOs of the names of people involved in the incident(s) and a description of the incident(s) claimed to be harassment. This information must remain confidential only to HGOs and to Steering Committee members who have signed confidentiality waivers. A HGO will respond to the claimant to note that the claim has been received and share a copy of this grievance protocol and timeline. The HGO can also ask for clarification of facts at this time and may suggest that the claimant and accused not have contact with one another during the course of the grievance process. A HGO may contact the Steering Committee about the existence and/or substance of the claim at any time during the process but must notify claimant and accused before doing so.
- Contacting the accused.
- An HGO will contact the accused member or COA within seven days to notify them that a report has been filed against them and request a written response to the report either affirming or denying its substance.
- The HGO will also provide this grievance protocol and timeline to the accused and may suggest that the accused and claimant not have contact with one another during the course of the grievance process. A HGO may contact the Steering Committee about the existence and/or substance of the claim at any time during the process but must notify both claimant and accused before doing so.
- Response from the accused.
- The accused will submit their written response to the claim within seven days of being notified of the accusation(s) by an HGO. Participation in the grievance process is a requirement to remain a member in good standing (see section 2.d.iii.). A member's failure or unwillingness to respond will trigger a report to the SC from the HGO stating this. A COA who is unwilling to participate in the grievance process will be subject to judgment by the HGOs to set a penalty based on the details and severity of the claimed harassment.
- Finding resolution.
- If the accused affirms in substance that the claim is accurate, the HGOs will agree on an appropriate remedy or penalty and follow the protocol below in 2.f.
- If the accused denies all or a meaningful portion of the claim, during the following 10 days the HGOs overseeing the dispute will investigate the report by interviewing other members or COAs with direct knowledge of the substance of the report; requesting documentation from either the claimant or accused or any other parties directly involved; or employing any and all means deemed necessary to gather information, all with the utmost respect for the confidentiality of the parties involved.
- Adjudicating credibility.
- As soon as possible within 30 days of the initial filing, the HGOs must reach agreement on the credibility of the claim based on all the information available to them.
- A claim is considered credible if the HGOs believe it is more likely than not that the alleged harassment actually happened or if both claimant and accused agree that it happened. At this time, the HGOs should also agree on remedies or penalties that seem appropriate to the scale of the incident(s) found credible.
- Notification of parties involved.
- Upon reaching completion of the investigation per 2.e. Above, HGOs will proffer and obtain signed confidentiality waivers from all members of the Steering Committee.
- A Steering Committee member's refusal to sign a confidentiality waiver shall be interpreted as their recusal from the entirety of the case's discussion and outcome deliberation.
- Claims not found credible
- The HGORs will promptly notify both the claimant and the accused as well as the SC that the information at their disposal did not allow them to find it more likely than not that the claimed incident(s) occurred as described or constituted harassment. The HGORs will also inform both parties of the appeal process.
- Claims found credible.
- The HGOs will provide the Steering Committee with a written report and recommendation for disciplinary action.
- The Steering Committee will schedule an executive session with the HGOs, during which they will discuss the report and HGO recommendation. The SC will decide whether to implement the recommended response or set a different one.
- HGOs will promptly notify the claimant and accused of the credibility finding within seven days of the Steering Committee decision.
- The accused will also be informed of the chosen sanctions and how they will be implemented and the harassed claimant will also be given this information.
- The HGOs will also inform both parties of the appeal process.
- In the case of a member who is expelled from the chapter, chapter members can be notified by the SC that this member was removed for cause but the claimant's identifying details will not be made public in any way.
- Appeal process
- Filing an appeal
- Either party may appeal the decision or form of relief in a harassment/ grievance case by contacting the NHGO directly.
- It is recommended to alert the local HGOs and Steering Committee of the appeal, but it is not required by the appealer.
- Grounds for appeal
- The limited grounds for appeal are:
- if either party believes their behavior was not interpreted using the standards for harassment set out in this document.
- if there were procedural errors, misconduct, or conflicts of interest which affected the fairness of the outcome; or
- if the remedy or penalty determined was grossly disproportionate to the violation committed.
- Appeal investigation
- Harassment & Grievance appeals will be decided by DSA's National Political Council (NPC), and will be investigated by its Harassment & Grievance Office (NHGO). Only in the case of expulsion may the outcome decision of the NHGO investigation may be appealed once further, to an Annual DSA Convention.
- If the NPC decision is not further appealed to the soonest occurring Annual DSA Convention by any party, the NHGO outcome decision shall become fully binding.
- The National DSA Convention's decision on the appeal may not be appealed further. A National DSA Convention decision on an appeal is considered final and binding.
- Prohibition on retaliation
- Retaliation against any individual for bringing a grievance or complaint of harassment pursuant to this policy, or against any person who participates in an investigation or resolution is strictly prohibited. Retaliation is considered Prohibited Behavior pursuant to Section 2 of DSA Cincinnati Metro Harassment & Grievance Policy.
- If any Retaliatory Behavior is suspected or observed, the witness must immediately escalate the situation to the most immediate uncompromised (i.e. non-source of retaliation) individuals:
- The local HGOs
- The local Steering Committee
- The NHGO
- Retaliation will be investigated as a separate incident than the original HGO investigation it arose from.
- Retaliatory behaviors
- Retaliation includes but is not limited to:
- Confidentiality breaches.
- Filing grievances in bad faith.
- Organizing within or outside DSA to avoid accountability.
- Publicly disparaging claimant/accused or others involved in the investigation.
- Vigilantism/self-help measures. (e.g. contacting an employer or family member).
- Escalation of conflict.
- Manipulating chapter election processes.
- Failing to reveal a conflict of interest, or failure to recuse.
- Sabotage of chapter work or resources.
- Confidentiality, Recusal, Conflicts of interest
- Contact between accused, claimant, and witnesses with the HGOs is to be considered privileged and confidential information. HGOs may only share this information amongst each other during the course of an HGO case, or with the SC only during an executive session.
- A written waiver of agreement to maintain confidentiality must be obtained from Steering Committee members prior to executive session discussion on a grievance.
- Refusal by an SC member to agree to maintain confidentiality in writing is to be interpreted as that member's recusal from the entirety of the case.
- Recusal is defined as withdrawal of an individual from overseeing aspects they were elected to preside over, typically due to personal bias or a conflict of interest.
- All elected officials of the local chapter are expected to disclose personal biases or conflicts of interest.
- Romantic, financial, and close personal (e.g. family member, roommate) relationships between any party to a grievance and any elected DSA official are automatically considered to be personal bias.
- The SC may hold a majority vote to bar an HGO or SC member(s) from further participation in a grievance investigation or executive session if a conflict of interest is discovered.
- Should a majority of the SC (or all HGOs) recuse themselves or be barred, the grievance must be transferred from the local chapter to be handled by the NHGO.
- Rule of supersession
- In the event of any contradiction between Harassment & Grievance policy at the local level and the national level, the national policy is to be considered superior and shall supersede the local policy.