Grievance Procedure

Santa Fe Democratic Socialists of America is committed to creating a space that is welcoming and inclusive to members of all genders, races, and classes. The following procedural policy provides guidelines to ensure that everyone is able to organize without fear of harassment, abuse, or harm.

  1. Scope
    1. Prohibited behavior. Members shall not engage in harassment on the basis of 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:
      1. Submission to such conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a term of condition of a member’s continued affiliation with DSA;
      2. Submission or rejection of such conduct by an individual is used as the basis for organizational decisions affecting such individual; or
      3. Such conduct has the purpose or effect of creating a hostile environment interfering with an individual’s capacity to organize within DSA.
    2. Other protected classes. Harassment based on categories not encompassed by those listed in section (a) will be evaluated at the discretion of the Harassment Grievance officers (HGOs) in conversation with the Organizing Committee (OC).
  2. Reporting Harassment
    1. Complaints. Members may follow the Santa Fe DSA grievance process as set out in the following sections if they believe they have been harassed by another member. There will be no time limits requiring the accuser to file a report within any amount of time after the alleged harassment has occurred.
    2. Harassment Grievance Officers. Members filing a formal grievance must contact a DSA harassment grievance officer (HGO).
      1. As the Santa Fe DSA chapter has over one hundred members, it will:
        1. Vet and appoint at least two members to serve as the designated HGOs;
        2. Determine term limits for HGOs and develop methods for removing HGOs for cause.
        3. Follow appropriate training requirements for HGOs as recommended by DSA National.
        4. Establish an email address to function as a confidential reporting “hotline” that is only accessible by the HGOs; and
        5. Develop template forms both for reporting and responding to accusation of harassment that include:
          1. The names of the parties involved
          2. The parties’ contact information
          3. A description of reported incident
        6. Develop template forms for appealing the form of relief determined by the OC that include:
          1. The grounds of the appeal
    3. Reporting procedure and timeline
      1. After a written report has been submitted – whether through the email hotline or otherwise:
        1. The HGOs will contact the accused member 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;
        2. The accused will submit their written response within seven days of being notified. If the accused does not meet this deadline, the HGOs will recommend the Coordinating Committee move to take appropriate disciplinary action;
        3. If the accused denies the substance of the report, the HGOs overseeing the dispute will have the option to investigate the report by:
          1. interviewing other members with direct knowledge of the substance of the report;
          2. Requesting documentation from either the accuser or accused or any other parties directly involved; or
          3. employing any and all other means deemed necessary, with the utmost respect for the confidentiality of the parties, within a time period not to exceed ten days.
      2. The HGOs responsible for adjudicating the dispute will determine whether the report is credible and, if necessary, make a recommendation to the OC of appropriate restorative practices, remediation or disciplinary action as soon as practicable, but ultimately within thirty days of the report being filed. This is to ensure the timely, efficient, accurate, and discreet adjudication of all reports. The HGOs may notify the OC of the accuser’s report and its substance at any time after the report is filed, but must give written notice to both the accuser and the accused member before doing so.
    4. HGO responsibilities. The HGOs will:
      1. Receive, acknowledge receipt of, and archive accuser reports;
      2. Contact the accused to notify them of the accusations, request their written response, and archive any written response;
      3. Conduct any necessary investigation of the claim; and
      4. Present their findings to the OC with a written report and, if necessary, a recommendation for restorative or disciplinary action.
      5. If necessary, HGOs may recommend that the parties do not contact each other for the duration of the investigative process.
      6. Compile a yearly report that details:
        1. How many reports were made
        2. How many were taken to the disciplinary process
        3. How many disciplinary actions were taken
        4. Any recommended changes for making the reporting system more effective. This report will not include personally identifying information of any parties in any dispute. The HGOs will send the yearly report to the national HGO(s) no later than January 1 of the new year.
  3. Remediation, remedies, and penalties
    1. Determinations
      1. All reports will be assessed on a case-by-case basis by the HGOs and OC. The ultimate disposition of each report will be made by the Santa Fe DSA OC after that body reviews the written report and recommendation of the HGOs.
    2. Standard for Determining if a Report is Credible
      1. The OC will find the factual allegation in a report is “credible” if it more-likely-than-not occurred.
      2. If, on the other hand, the accuser is found to have consciously and maliciously filed a false report, all forms of remedies and penalties described below could be applied to that party.
    3. Remediation, Remedies and Penalties
      1. If the OC finds the report to be credible, they are authorized to carry out any of the following restorative practices, remedies, and/or penalties:
        1. A formal discussion between the accused, the HGOs, and the OC to develop a plan to change the harassing behavior(s);
        2. A restorative meeting between the accuser and the accused, mediated by at least one HGO and one member of the OC, for the purpose of mutual understanding, clarification and commitment to proceed differently in the future; In this regard, words such as “abuser” or “harasser” are rooted in the carceral state, have a dehumanizing effect, and are counter productive to personal accountability and growth. It is not helpful to see people who cause harm as “wrong” or “bad” because that sort of framing can justify harmful intervention strategies. Because of this, terms as “person who caused harm” and “person committing the harassing behavior” will be used at this stage of this process.
        3. Suspension of the accused from meetings and and other chapter or organizational events;
        4. Removal of the accused from leadership positions within Santa Fe DSA;
        5. Removal of the accused from Santa Fe DSA; and/or
        6. Any and all relief deemed necessary and just by Santa Fe DSA or national Harassment Grievance leadership.
      2. If Santa Fe DSA has established suspension or expulsion procedures, the OC is authorized to enforce these remedies and penalties in accordance with those procedures.
      3. If the chapter does not have established suspension or expulsion procedures, they will adopt the procedures outlined in Article III, Section 4 of the DSA Constitution and Article I, Section 3 of DSA bylaws.
        1. The NPC majority required in these procedures will instead be a OC majority.
      4. DSA National is authorized to enforce certain remedies and penalties in accordance with Article III, Section 4 of the DSA constitution and Article I, Section 3 of DSA bylaws, including:
        1. Removal from DSA; and
        2. Any and all other relief deemed necessary and just by the chapter or national leadership.
      5. The appropriate form of relief will be determined by, among other things:
        1. The request of the accuser;
        2. The severity of the offense;
        3. The response of the accused; and
        4. The accused’s relevant behavioral histories.
    4. Appeals process. Either party may appeal the form of relief determined by the OC by written request submitted to the HGOs. Appeals must be filed within thirty days of receiving written notice of the OC’s decision. The limited grounds for appeal are:
      1. Either party believes the behavior was not interpreted using the standards of harassment set out in Section 1a;
      2. Procedural errors, misconduct, or conflicts of interest affected the fairness of the outcome; and
      3. The remedy of penalty determined by the OC was grossly disproportionate to the violation committed.
    5. Retaliation. This policy prohibits retaliation against any member for bringing a complaint of harassment pursuant to this policy. This policy also prohibits retaliation against a person who assists someone with a complaint of harassment, or participates in any manner in an investigation or resolution of a complaint of discrimination or harassment. Retaliatory behaviors includes threats, intimidation, reprisals, and/or adverse actions related to organizing. If any party to the complaint believes there has been retaliation, they may inform the HGOs who will determine whether to factor the retaliation into the original complaint, or treat it as an individual incident.