DSA Meeting Code of Conduct

[drafted by Ana Avendaño and reviewed by NHGO Paula Brantner, grievance program consultants; presented for consideration at NPC meeting, April 11-12, 2020]

NOTE: Adopted 4/11/20 with the option to amend, the language in the proposed Meeting Code of Conduct as a baseline to prompt discussion with chapters, and to initially present at the Chapter Leaders call on 4/15. The Grievance Committee in collaboration with the GDC Training Subcommittee will take up developing further process for chapter adoption within four weeks.

1. Purpose

A primary goal of DSA is to be welcoming and inclusive to our members and others who share DSA’s core values of liberty, equality, solidarity, as well as our commitment to restructuring gender and cultural relationships to be more equitable and not oppressive within the context of building a diverse working class movement. As such, we are committed to providing a welcoming and inclusive environment for all.

This code of conduct outlines DSA’s expectations for all those who participate in DSA meetings, conferences, and other public-facing events, as well as the consequences for unacceptable behavior. That includes DSA members, allies, vendors, donors, supporters, and others.

We invite all DSA members and allies to help us create welcoming and positive experiences for everyone.

2. Expected Behavior

The following behaviors are expected and requested of all persons–including members– who participate in DSA meetings, conferences and other events:

  • Refrain from demeaning, discriminatory, or harassing behavior and speech;
  • Participate in an authentic and active way. In doing so, you contribute to the health and longevity of DSA;
  • Exercise consideration and in your speech and actions;
  • Share analysis and opinions rather than accusations;
  • Comply with applicable Community Agreements;
  • Be mindful of your surroundings and of your fellow participants. 
  • Alert a DSA chapter officer if you notice a dangerous situation, someone in distress, or violations of this Code of Conduct, even if they seem inconsequential;
  • Trust your gut if you notice someone who might be an infiltrator, and let a DSA chapter officer know.**

3. Unacceptable Behavior

The following behaviors are unacceptable within our community and may lead to the person being subject to our harassment policy or code of conduct and expulsion process:

  • Violence, threats of violence or violent language directed against another person;
  • Sexist, racist, homophobic, transphobic, ableist or otherwise discriminatory jokes and language;
  • Posting or displaying sexually explicit or violent material;
  • Posting or threatening to post other people’s personally identifying information (“doxing”);
  • Personal insults, particularly those related to gender, sexual orientation, race, religion, or disability;
  • Inappropriate photography or recording. You should have someone’s consent before taking their photograph and/or recording their voice;
  • Inappropriate physical contact. You should have someone’s consent before touching them;
  • Unwelcome sexual attention. This includes: sexualized comments or jokes; inappropriate touching, groping, and unwelcome sexual advances;
  • Deliberate intimidation, stalking or following (online or in person);
  • Advocating for, or encouraging, any of the above behavior;
  • Disruption of community events, including meetings, talks and presentations; including by anyone who is in substantial disagreement with the principles or policies of the organization, as provided by the DSA Constitution.

4. Consequences of Unacceptable Behavior

Unacceptable behavior from any person who attends a DSA meeting, conference, or event will not be tolerated. Anyone asked to stop unacceptable behavior is expected to comply immediately.

Infiltrators will be removed from meetings, conferences, and all other events immediately. An infiltrator is defined as anyone who is in substantial disagreement with the principles or policies of the organization, as provided by the DSA Constitution.

If a person engages in unacceptable behavior, DSA leaders/organizers may take any immediate action they deem appropriate, including expulsion from the meeting, conference or event, and without refund in the case of a paid event. Until the chapter can investigate whether the unacceptable behavior violated DSA’s harassment policy and/or any applicable code of conduct, the person may be prohibited from further participation in the organization.

5. Reporting Guidelines

If you are subject to or witness unacceptable behavior, or have any other concerns, please notify a meeting marshal, HGO, or DSA officer (including the elected chapter leadership and/or meeting or committee chair). 

Solely as an option of critical need, depending on the nature of the conduct, DSA officers may help community members engage with local law enforcement or to otherwise help those experiencing unacceptable behavior feel safe. At in-person events, organizers will also provide escorts as desired by the person experiencing distress.

Chapter HGOs (harassment grievance officers) can assist with filing a grievance for a potential violation of DSA’s harassment policy, Resolution 33, and/or chapter codes of conduct. If an HGO is not present at the meeting, please contact a chapter officer or look on the chapter website to obtain the confidential email address to submit a grievance.

6. Scope

We expect all community participants (DSA staff, members, allies, vendors, donors, supporters and others) to abide by this Code of Conduct in all community venues–online and in-person–as well as in all one-on-one communications pertaining to DSA business.

This code of conduct and its related procedures also applies to unacceptable behavior occurring outside the scope of community activities when such behavior has the potential to adversely affect the safety and well-being of community members.

**For some guidance as to what infiltrators historically do, please read this and this.