I am a chapter leader involved in getting our chapter’s harassment policy up and running.

DSA is committed to creating a space that is welcoming and inclusive to members of all genders, races, and classes. To ensure that everyone is able to organize without fear of harassment, abuse, or harm, DSA has a Harassment Policy, known as Resolution 33. Resolution 33 was passed at the August 2017 DSA Convention and amended at the 2021 Convention. Please read over the policy, as it applies to all DSA members and those who participate in DSA’s online and offline spaces, including meetings, public events, and other organizing actions.

DSA chapters were asked to incorporate Resolution 33 into chapter bylaws and/or policies by July 1, 2018, and most chapters are now in compliance. Some chapters have adopted even more extensive policies than Resolution 33, but chapter policies cannot be less extensive than Resolution 33. For ease of reference, we will refer to harassment policies as Resolution 33, even though your chapter may call it something different.

If your chapter has not yet complied with Resolution 33 requirements, it is an urgent priority to be in compliance as soon as possible. Here are some resources to help you put the necessary policies in place as soon as possible:

Step 1: Pass a Grievance Policy and a Code of Conduct

Incorporate the current version of the National grievance policy, available here: Resolution 33.

Here is a model Code of Conduct passed by the NPC.

(Please note that you may provide more protections for members than Resolution 33 provides, just not less protection. Some chapters are creating codes of conduct that cover types of harmful behavior not listed in Resolution 33, and the model Code of Conduct linked above is a resource you may find helpful. 

Step 2: Set up a confidential email address for reporting potentially grievable conduct to the HGOs

This email should go directly to the HGOs and not to any other individuals within the organization. HGOs should keep all inquiries confidential, whether or not the member making contact chooses to file a formal grievance.

Step 3: Elect or Select Harassment Grievance Officers (HGOs)

Since Resolution 33 doesn’t require a particular process for selecting HGOs, chapters handle the process differently. Some elect the HGOs when they are electing other officers, according to the chapter by-laws election schedule. Others select or appoint the HGOs, whether temporarily until the next election or on a long-term basis. Resolution 33 does require that chapters determine term limits for HGO(s) and develop methods for removing HGO(s) for cause. Other provisions in your chapter by-laws may contain provisions that you can adapt for this purpose.

You can also use the language in Resolution 33 concerning the HGO’s role as a job description to vet candidates and include in your by-laws.

Step 4: Have HGOs Sign Up with National DSA

New HGOs are requested to update their information with National using the following form: https://actionnetwork.org/forms/dsa-update-your-information 

Filling out this form will ensure that HGOs are informed of webinars and other training opportunities and when new resources are made available.

Step 5: Have HGOs Sign Up for Training

If you have signed up for the HGO list listed in Step 4, you will be notified of upcoming training opportunities.

Step 6: Rule on HGO Grievance Reports

The Resolution 33 grievance process is confidential, and your HGOs may also ask you to sign the Chapter Impartiality Form so that all parties can have a fair and impartial determination of the grievance outcome. Please do not discuss the grievance or anything you learn from the HGOs outside the executive session where the grievance is decided. In order to prevent further harm to the parties while the decision is under appeal, you are requested to consult with a National Grievance Program representative before making any public statements about the chapter’s grievance decision.

Step 7: Review NPC Resolution 33-Related Decisions

The NPC has passed several measures to resolve unanswered questions and/or provide additional interpretation of Resolution 33 as the NPC and the NHGO work to implement the resolution nationwide and resolve issues arriving in certain grievance appeals. Those decisions are available here: Review NPC Resolution 33-Related Decisions. These decisions provide further clarity as to how Resolution 33 will be interpreted by the NHGO and the NPC in addressing appeals and implementing best practices in ensuring the policy is accompanied by procedures that execute its intent.

Resolution 33 at the 2017 DSA national convention required chapters to submit data annually about grievances processed. The first Annual Report covers July 1, 2018-June 30, 2019 and future reports will follow the same timeline.will provide a baseline for comparison in future reports.

Even if you are not the HGO, you are welcome to contact the National Grievance Program email address ([email protected]) with your grievance-related questions. However, if appropriate, you may be referred back to the chapter HGOs.