Bylaws of the Las Vegas Democratic Socialists of America
[Last Updated 2023/07/08]
Article 1. National Affiliation, Name, and Purpose
Las Vegas Democratic Socialists of America (hereinafter “LVDSA”) is a local chapter of the national organization Democratic Socialists of America (hereinafter “DSA”).
LVDSA is committed to uplifting our community through advocacy of and organizing for a nation-wide, world-wide working-class movement that puts people and planet over profit.
Article 2. Membership
Any person is a member of LVDSA who pays dues to DSA, lives in, works in, or is otherwise able to attend meetings in the jurisdiction of LVDSA as defined by DSA, and is not a member of any other chapter of DSA. Members are entitled to participate in any campaigns and groups organized within LVDSA, except as otherwise set forth herein. Furthermore, any member in good standing may hold an elected or appointed position within LVDSA, unless otherwise specified. The collective membership of LVDSA is referred to as the “general body.”
Only LVDSA members may vote on chapter business, including but not limited to Steering Committee elections, delegate elections, and endorsements.
Current or retired members of law enforcement may not be members of DSA or LVDSA per Resolution #11 set forth at the 2019 DSA National Convention and passed by the NPC on July 2, 2020.
2.2. Local Dues
LVDSA members may set up a voluntary dues system, whereby anyone may make recurring donations, which shall be separate from dues determined by the national organization.
2.3. Electronic Communication
Unless members indicate otherwise to the Steering Committee, all communication with members required in these bylaws, including meeting notices, may be sent electronically.
Article 3. Chapter Meetings
Public meetings of the general body shall be held on a regular basis, at least once per month, at a regularly scheduled time and place (unless otherwise determined by the members). The meeting shall be run according to the adopted parliamentary authority and other procedures adopted by these bylaws and the members according to Article 13 of these bylaws.
Meetings of the general body include general body meetings, emergency meetings, and local conventions, where the general body may vote on official chapter business.
Meetings under this section may be conducted exclusively in a virtual capacity.
3.1. General Body Meetings
In the absence of an annual local convention, the members present and assembled at a general body meeting represent the general body and are the highest decision-making authority in the chapter. The general body meetings will engage in business to further LVDSA priorities and advance the interests of LVDSA.
The general body shall allow for the democratic introduction of proposals through a resolution process. Resolutions can be introduced by any member at a general body meeting. All resolutions must be submitted to the Steering Committee in writing at least two weeks before the meeting where the vote will be determined, unless otherwise specified in these bylaws or in the case of emergency meetings (See Article 3, Section 3.2), in order for the Steering Committee to publish or disseminate the resolution to the general body at least one week in advance of voting.
3.2. Emergency Meetings
By majority vote of the Steering Committee, or by a petition by no fewer than five percent of the chapter membership submitted to the Steering Committee, the chapter may call an emergency meeting when an urgent and important matter requires deliberation. An emergency meeting can be called no sooner than upon five days’ notice to the chapter membership. The Steering Committee will schedule and notify the membership of the emergency meeting within two days from when it receives a valid petition. No matters other than those listed in the meeting notice may be brought to or raised from the floor at an emergency meeting. Voting may be conducted at the emergency meeting on those matters listed in the meeting notice.
3.3. Non-Voting Meetings
The Steering Committee may set chapter-wide non-voting meetings at which voting business will not be conducted and policies will not be set. For the purposes of these bylaws, chapter-wide non-voting meetings should not be considered general body meetings.
3.4. Local Conventions
LVDSA will hold an annual local convention in order to elect a Steering Committee under the rules set out in Article 4 of these bylaws, elect Harassment Grievance Officers pursuant to Article 10 of these bylaws, and decide the political orientation of the organization and program direction, including voting on the chapter strategic campaigns pursuant to Article 5 of the bylaws. Delegates at the local convention will also debate and vote on an annual budget proposed by the Steering Committee and other such resolutions delegates or the Steering Committee may introduce.
All LVDSA members who are members of LVDSA in good standing for 30 days before the convention may participate in the local convention as a delegate. Only delegates may vote and introduce resolutions at the local convention.
The Steering Committee will propose an annual chapter budget at the local convention for the delegates’ approval. The proposed budget must, at a minimum, specify the amount of funds to be allocated towards general operations, campaign expenses, and an emergency fund. The Steering Committee or any LVDSA member may introduce a resolution to amend the annual budget at any general body meeting.
3.5. Urgent Matters
Urgent matters that would regularly require a general body meeting vote may be voted on by the Steering Committee and, if adopted by a two-thirds vote, be put to a ratification vote at the next general body meeting to determine if the Steering Committee’s decision will remain in effect. Whenever the Steering Committee exercises such a vote it must present a statement at the next general body meeting that explains why it deemed the matter in question as urgent. If the next general body meeting is farther than ten days after the vote, then the statement must be emailed to all members within five days of the vote. This section will not apply to electoral endorsements or bylaws amendments.
A quorum of members is required for general body meetings and emergency meetings to transact business. A quorum of members is determined by the following:
- If chapter membership is 1,000 or less, meeting quorum requires 10 percent of the general body in attendance;
- If chapter membership is 1,001 or greater, meeting quorum requires 5 percent of the general body in attendance.
If members are unable to attend a meeting (either virtually or in person), they can request to vote by absentee ballot no later than 48 hours before the aforementioned meeting. This request must be made in writing to the Steering Committee or through alternative means set out by the chapter. Absentee ballots and votes cast electronically shall count as
attendance for the purpose of attaining quorum.
Article 4. Steering Committee and Officers
4.1. Collective Responsibilities
The Steering Committee is the highest elected body of LVDSA and is the political leadership of the chapter when the general body is not assembled. The Steering Committee is subordinate to the bylaws, as well as resolutions passed by members at general body meetings and local conventions.
The Steering Committee is not permitted to overturn decisions of the general body unless required by law.
The Steering Committee is empowered to arbitrate any disputes that may arise between chapter formations (strategic campaigns, working groups, sections, etc.) or determine whether the dispute should be handled by the process laid out in Article 10.
No member or officer of the Steering Committee may hold nor be a candidate for elected public office or an elected leadership position within a political party, nor may they be employed by an elected official or candidate for public office. The general body of membership may enact, by resolution, further binding conflict-of-interest policies to apply to Steering Committee membership. Any potential candidate running for the Steering Committee must disclose to the general body whether they hold elected office, are a candidate for public office, work for an elected official or candidate for public office, or receive money directly or indirectly from a political party. A Steering Committee member may take a leave of absence (see Article 4, Section 4.5) in order to engage in work listed above for up to three months in lieu of resignation.
For any appointments made by the Steering Committee, LVDSA members may submit nominations for consideration.
4.2. Elections and Terms
The members of the Steering Committee will be elected by delegates at the local convention each year. Delegates will elect candidates for the following nine positions: two
Co-chairs, a Treasurer, a Secretary, a Communications Coordinator, a Member Engagement and Onboarding Coordinator, a Political Education Coordinator, and two Campaign and Organizer Coordinators. Elections will be conducted by the mandates set out in Article 12 of these bylaws unless otherwise specified.
A special election by the general body will be held to replace a Steering Committee member who resigns or is removed more than two months prior to a local convention or more than 30 days after a local convention or special election. If a vacancy arises less than 30 days after a local convention or special election, the next runner-up in that election will be offered the position. If they decline the position, a special election will be held.
Special elections will be held at a general body meeting and follow a one-week nomination process and at least two-weeks’ notice to the membership of the candidates running.
Detailed election results, including the round-by-round STV breakdown, will be released to members via email no later than 24 hours after the conclusion of any election.
Members at a general body meeting may, by resolution passed with a majority vote, shift the assigned positions of the elected Steering Committee members.
4.3. Size and Composition
The Steering Committee will comprise 9 voting members of LVDSA.
The Steering Committee must contain no more than five cis-men and must contain at least three people who identify as Black, Indigenous, or People of Color.
A portfolio is a division of responsibility that may be assigned to one or more members of the Steering Committee but is accountable to the policies and decisions of the committee as a whole.
The following portfolios will be assigned to the corresponding Steering
- Co-chairs (these items may be shared or split between the two elected individuals)
- Chair the Steering Committee meetings and general body meetings, or ensure that another member of the Steering Committee is adequately prepared to chair the meeting, and ensure that the meetings are operated according to the chapter’s adopted parliamentary procedure
- Prepare the agenda for Steering Committee meetings and general body meetings, or ensures that another Steering Committee member is adequately prepared to do so
- Plan and facilitate special elections, as permitted by Article 12 of the Bylaws
- Act as a public face for the chapter
- Interface with partners as needed for chapter business and strategic campaigns
- Support all member recruitment efforts and ensure that strategic campaigns have a member recruitment component
- Be designated as a signer for the chapter bank accounts
- Be a keyholder for the PO Box
- Monitor the chapter email
- Ensure an accurate accounting of all chapter financials
- Provide regular Treasurer’s Reports at Steering Committee meetings and general body meetings
- Manage chapter bank accounts, including being a designated signer
- Manage chapter inventory and merchandise
- File and maintain chapter tax documents
- Be a keyholder for the PO Box
- Maintain the chapter’s member and contact lists
- Store chapter records and documents, including an accurate and accessible record of all votes taken by the Steering Committee and general body, in an appropriate repository
- Verify membership status for voting, elections, and any other occasion where necessary
- Take minutes at Steering Committee meetings and general body meetings, or ensures that another Steering Committee member is adequately prepared to do so
- Maintain the appropriate business licenses and other required documents to maintain legal incorporation status
- Be designated as a signer for the chapter bank accounts
- Be a keyholder for the PO Box
- Monitor the chapter email
- Communications Coordinator
- Manage access to the chapter social media accounts
- Oversee a Communications Committee that supports the drafting and distribution of mass emails, social media posts, and graphics for strategic campaigns and chapter formations
- Assist in drafting statements on behalf of the chapter or Steering Committee
- Member Engagement and Onboarding Coordinator
- Oversee a Member Engagement Committee that coordinates New Member Orientation, chapter social events, and other activities that focuses on internal engagement, mobilization, and retention
- Maintain member engagement data and lists that could be used to effectively mobilize members into relevant actions and campaigns
- Perform member retention and renewal actions, such as outreach to lapsed members
- Political Education Coordinator
- Oversee a Political Education Committee that coordinates education around foundational socialist theories and concepts
- Support outward-facing educational events related to strategic campaigns and working groups
- Campaign and Organizer Coordinator
- Assist in leading the chapter’s adopted strategic campaigns, especially outward-facing organizing efforts
- Coordinate regular organizer trainings
- Identify and encourage opportunities to link working group and section actions with strategic campaigns
- Perform regular check-ins with strategic campaign, working group, and section stewards to ensure that they understand how to access and utilize resources available to them
The above portfolios represent minimum requirements of those positions, and the Steering Committee may adopt additional items into portfolios as seen fit. Within one month of the conclusion of the local convention, the Steering Committee will approve and adopt full portfolios with a two-thirds vote and then distribute those portfolios to the general body. This will include, at a minimum, the base responsibilities of each portfolio. The Steering Committee may make changes to the content of the portfolios, other than the minimum requirements described above, and will notify membership within one month of such changes.
Portfolios may include oversight, administration, or control over existing chapter functions, as well as responsibility for establishing or promoting new initiatives as part of the Steering Committee’s work.
Members of the Steering Committee may be removed from the committee for nonfeasance if they:
- Do not participate in at least half of online Steering Committee votes as calculated on a three-calendar-month rolling window, or
- Miss three consecutive Steering Committee meetings, or
- Miss 10 cumulative meetings within their current term.
Enforcement of the above section will take place through a two-thirds vote of the Steering Committee or by member petition as outlined below.
Members of the Steering Committee may take leaves of absence after notifying those most affected and making efforts to ensure continuity of chapter functions and will be permitted to return to their previous position afterward. Policies in this regard may be set by the Steering Committee or by a vote of the general body. Votes or meetings missed during a leave of absence will not count toward the above criteria. During a leave of absence, the Steering Committee may appoint an interim Steering Committee member during this leave period.
Members of the Steering Committee may also be removed from the committee for reasons other than nonfeasance, including but not limited to malfeasance, gross incompetence, or violations of the code of conduct, by a two-thirds vote of the members of the Steering Committee.
The general body may remove any officer or member of the Steering Committee by resolution, passing with a majority vote at any general body meeting or emergency meeting. Thereafter, a special election for the position will be held at the next general body meeting.
Meetings of the Steering Committee may take place either virtually or in person, but the option for Steering Committee members to participate remotely must be provided for all in-person meetings. Meetings of the Steering Committee will be open to all members of the general body in an observation-only capacity. However, the Steering Committee may go into executive session during any Steering Committee meeting for reasons they deem necessary, such as privacy and confidentiality reasons, in order to conduct specific business. Executive sessions will be closed to any non-Steering Committee members.
Any LVDSA member may request in writing to add an item to an upcoming Steering Committee meeting agenda. The Steering Committee may use their discretion to decide whether to add the item and/or allow the member to speak.
All minutes of the Steering Committee’s meetings shall be available to all members, including records of votes taken.
The frequency, time, and place of Steering Committee meetings will be determined by the Steering Committee and published to the membership.
Article 5. Chapter Strategic Campaigns
Strategic campaigns are long-term initiatives that include escalating tactics in order to earn material wins for the working class and further the mission of LVDSA. The chapter will give these initiatives priority including but not limited to the following: time set aside at regular general body meetings, space on the website, monetary resources, and mobilization of members.
5.1. Strategic Campaign Resolutions
At the annual local convention, delegates may adopt strategic campaigns by majority vote. Outside of the annual local convention, members may adopt strategic campaigns by two-thirds vote at general body meetings. All previous strategic campaign resolutions expire at the local convention.
The Steering Committee may require additional details be provided, and upon request will provide a template for those wishing to submit strategic campaign resolutions.
The chapter may not adopt strategic campaigns which request more funds than is available for campaigns in the current chapter budget.
5.2. Amending Strategic Campaigns Between Conventions
In any general body meeting, members may amend, repeal, or add to the adopted strategic campaign resolutions by a written resolution signed by five percent of the chapter membership, and adopted by two-thirds vote of the general body. Before any vote to amend, repeal, or add to the chapter’s strategic campaigns, the resolution, with all required signatures, must be submitted to the Steering Committee at least two weeks prior to the vote.
Alternatively, the Steering Committee may propose by resolution to amend, repeal, or add to an adopted strategic campaign if they deem that the campaign has become inactive or if the objectives are no longer achievable due to outside conditions. Such a resolution may be adopted by two-thirds vote at a general body meeting.
5.3. Strategic Campaign Formation, Administration, and Management
Strategic campaigns are membership driven, wherein LVDSA chapter membership, at any general body meeting, emergency meeting, and/or local convention, may enact resolutions to dictate objectives, maintenance, direction, and execution of the campaign.
The Steering Committee will appoint and supervise one or more campaign steward(s) to facilitate each strategic campaign. The elected Campaign and Organizer Coordinators may be designated as campaign stewards.
Campaign stewards administer the campaigns and carry out the democratic will of the general body consistent with the chapter’s strategic campaign resolution and any additional motions passed and resolutions adopted by the general body throughout the duration and execution of the strategic campaign. A campaign steward for each strategic campaign will be required to provide a report for the chapter membership at each general body meeting.
A campaign steward for each strategic campaign must attend meetings of the Steering Committee to report on their respective campaigns at least once a month, unless the Steering Committee votes to require their attendance less frequently.
It is the Steering Committee’s duty to ensure assistance is provided to stewards where requested to facilitate the production of reports. Failure to provide resources and training will negate consequences for any failure of a steward to submit a report.
The Steering Committee can replace or add additional appointed strategic campaign stewards at any time by a two-thirds vote.
5.4. Chapter Resources for Additional Initiatives and Projects
The adoption of strategic campaigns does not preclude LVDSA from working on other initiatives or projects consistent with the chapter’s mission as the need arises. The Steering Committee may create temporary working groups, assign community liaisons, direct membership participation in projects led by other community organizations, or establish other initiatives or projects beyond those advancing a strategic campaign.
The Steering Committee will determine the scope of chapter resources to devote to such projects without substantially detracting from the chapters’ selected strategic campaigns. Such resources may include, but are not limited to: time set aside at chapter regular meetings, space on the website, money from the budget, or mobilization of members. The Steering Committee, with approval of a two-thirds vote, will set a finite duration for the project and may amend, repeal, or end such projects at any time.
The Steering Committee may take any of the above actions on its own, or any five members together may petition the Steering Committee to do so.
Article 6. Chapter Formations
Members may self-organize temporary or permanent caucuses according to shared interests, affinities, and/or political goals. The objectives of a caucus may include—but are not limited to—advocating for candidates in internal LVDSA elections, supporting the adoption of specific campaigns or initiatives for the general body to take up, or redressing grievances. Caucuses shall have the right to determine their own membership.
A caucus may choose whether or not they would like formal recognition. To gain formal status, a caucus shall submit a mission statement that includes the name and purpose of the caucus, as well as any restrictions on eligibility for membership in the caucus, signed by no fewer than five members in good standing.
Formal recognition guarantees that the caucus shall be listed on the LVDSA website, along with their name, vision statement, and a point of contact. Recognized caucuses shall have the right to publish statements and proposals in public forums for the local chapter, subject to the moderation of that forum.
The right for a caucus of the local chapter to establish formal or informal relationships with other caucuses composed of DSA local or national members shall not be infringed upon or regulated by the Steering Committee. Caucuses shall have the right to determine their own internal structure, except where it is in violation of any bylaws or policies regarding member conduct.
Sections are formations in the chapter with the purpose of creating a shared space for members of a common identity. “Common identities” may include, but are not necessarily limited to, protected classes under federal law such as gender, race, ethnicity, or national identity.
Sections may petition for recognition by submitting an application to the Steering Committee including no fewer than five LVDSA members, a mission statement, and bylaws. Sections are entitled to have criteria for which chapter members are eligible to join, which must be enumerated in their bylaws.
Sections will communicate their points of contact to the Steering Committee and the leadership structure of the section upon their formal recognition so that the section may be included in communications and have a direct line for requesting support. Sections will have a space on the chapter website, be able to request events and posts be made to the chapter’s social media accounts, and request chapter resources.
Sections will establish their own internal structure, which should include the election or appointment of two stewards. The stewards will serve as official points of contact for internal chapter bodies and have the same responsibilities and expectations as the strategic campaign stewards set out in Article 5, Section 5.3.
If neither steward attends two consecutive months of Steering Committee meetings, or if a standard report is not provided before a general body meeting, the Steering Committee may set temporary and discretionary limits on the section’s access to the chapter website, social media, and resources until the situation which caused the limitations to be imposed is rectified by the submission of a report, attendance at a Steering Committee meeting, or both.
If the Steering Committee finds that the activities of a section violate the mission and/or bylaws of the chapter, it shall have the authority to halt the section’s activities until they can be approved at the next general body meeting. Any section may be dissolved by the following mechanisms: a majority vote of its members, failure to maintain five active dues-paying members, inactivity for more than one year, or a two-thirds vote of the members present at a general body meeting.
6.3. Working Groups
Working groups are formations within the chapter that organize around specific types of work, issues, or campaigns.
Any five members may petition to form a working group by submitting an application to the Steering Committee with a description of the proposed function and vision of the working group.
Working groups must be open for any members in good standing to join, and must have a clear method for members to join and engage with the work. Working groups will be granted space on the chapter website, be able to request events and posts be made to the chapter’s social media accounts, and may request chapter resources by petitioning the Steering Committee or submitting a resolution at a general body meeting.
Working groups will establish their own internal structure, which should include the election or appointment of two stewards. The stewards will serve as official points of contact for internal chapter bodies and have the same responsibilities and expectations as the strategic campaign stewards set out in Article 5, Section 5.3.
If neither steward attends two consecutive months of Steering Committee meetings, or if a standard report is not provided before a general body meeting, the Steering Committee may set temporary and discretionary limits on the working group’s access to the chapter resources until the situation which caused the limitations to be imposed is rectified by the submission of a report, attendance at a Steering Committee meeting, or both.
If the Steering Committee finds that the activities of a working group violate the mission and/or bylaws of the chapter, it shall have the authority to halt the working group’s activities until they can be approved at the next general body meeting. Any working group may be dissolved by the following mechanisms: a majority vote of its members, failure to maintain five active dues-paying members, inactivity for more than one year, or a two-thirds vote of the members present at a general body meeting.
Committees are formations created by the Steering Committee for the purpose of supporting the core functions and administration of the chapter.
The Steering Committee may create committees by two-thirds vote. When it does so, it must inform the general body of the formation of the committee and its functions within 30 days of its creation.
Membership and participation in committees may be restricted in order to maintain appropriate confidentiality or security of sensitive information.
Committees are overseen by a Steering Committee member or the Steering Committee at large. However, the Steering Committee may delegate certain committee responsibilities to members of the general body when appropriate.
Article 7. Endorsements
7.1. Endorsed Candidates
The general body of chapter members, at a general body meeting, local convention, or emergency meeting, is the only body authorized to make electoral endorsements on behalf of LVDSA.
The general body of LVDSA must set requirements of endorsement criteria at a general body meeting, local convention, or emergency meeting, which must apply to all candidates equally, before any endorsement resolution may be introduced and/or voted on by the general body.
Once endorsement criteria has been voted on and approved by majority vote of the general body of the chapter, endorsement resolutions may be submitted to be voted on by the general body at any general body meeting, local convention, or emergency meeting. These may be submitted by any LVDSA member or group of members and they shall be permitted to issue a recommendation and rationale, to be delivered, before or during debates on electoral endorsements and will be allotted additional speaking time if requested to deliver findings from their engagement with the candidate with approval of the Steering Committee. This recommendation and rationale will be included along with ballots sent to members. An electoral endorsement resolution presented to the general body will require a two-thirds vote of the general body in favor to pass. LVDSA may also vote to submit local endorsement candidates for consideration of a DSA endorsement.
If multiple candidates running for the same elected office seek LVDSA’s endorsement, then the chapter shall vote to endorse no more than one of these candidates.
A resolution to unendorse or censure an endorsed candidate may be debated through the ordinary resolutions process. A simple majority vote of the general body is required to censure a candidate, and a two-thirds vote is required to unendorse a candidate.
The annual budget (see Article 3, Section 3.4) will address resources needed to support current and/or potential electoral endorsements in the chapter.
In accordance with the DSA National Electoral Strategy, LVDSA, while considering electoral endorsements, will identify clear opportunities to win power, grow DSA, and organize the working class, not just make a statement or raise awareness around an issue. This means examining our own or our coalition’s capacity with respect to the geographic extent, the number of votes, chapter members’ time, and the material resources required to win. Electoral endorsements should not be made in cases where the general body membership of the chapter is not willing or able to contribute members’ time or the chapter’s material resources in order to win.
7.2. Nonendorsed Candidates
Chapter resources, social media, and other communications platforms may not be used by members or any chapter body to solicit donations or volunteers on behalf of a nonendorsed candidate, publicize events hosted or sponsored by a nonendorsed candidate, or ask for other forms of support for a nonendorsed candidate.
This section will not preclude members from advocating internally for or against an endorsement, sharing newsworthy information about candidates for office, or making good-faith informational inquiries about a candidate. This section will be interpreted on a discretionary basis by the individual(s) responsible for moderating content on a particular platform.
Members of LVDSA are forbidden from campaigning as representatives of LVDSA for candidates or ballot measures that LVDSA has not officially endorsed.
Article 8. Delegates to National, Regional, and State Bodies
LVDSA delegates and alternates to the National Convention will be elected by the general body per the instructions set out by DSA.
Delegates to Regional or State DSA events or organizations shall be appointed by the Steering Committee and approved by a majority vote at a general body meeting, local convention, or emergency meeting.
Article 9. Prohibited Activity
LVDSA shall not engage in activity prohibited by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) guidelines established for 501(c)4 organizations or similar rules established by the state of Nevada. Nor shall LVDSA engage in any activity prohibited by resolutions adopted by DSA’s National Convention or DSA’s National Political Committee.
Article 10. Conflicts and Grievance
10.1. Code of Conduct
Scope. LVDSA members are expected to conduct themselves with civility and respect toward all other members. Unacceptable member behavior includes: creating a hostile, offensive, or abusive environment for other members; engaging in undemocratic or disruptive behavior; and engaging in any actions detrimental to the purpose or values of the organization.
Accountability. A resolution that addresses political and interpersonal conflicts/disputes, as well as violations to the code of conduct, will be established by each Steering Committee within one month of the new Steering Committee taking office. This process will be presented to the chapter and must be approved and voted on by the general body.
10.2. Harassment/Grievance Procedures
Scope. LVDSA will abide by the Chapter Grievance Procedure set out by DSA (Resolution 33) when it comes to issues concerning:
- harassment (verbal, physical, and sexual)
- health and safety (accessibility concerns)
- LVDSA elected leadership
As an organization that seeks solidarity among the working class, marginalized, and oppressed, discrimination or harassment by anyone against anyone on the basis of sex, gender, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, physical appearance, disability, race, color, religion, national origin, ethnicity, class, age, or profession is unacceptable and will not be tolerated in LVDSA.
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:
- Submission to such conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of a member’s continued affiliation with DSA;
- Submission or rejection of such conduct by an individual is used as the basis for organizational decisions affecting such individual; or
- Such conduct has the purpose or effect of creating a hostile environment interfering with an individual’s capacity to organize within DSA.
Harassment based on categories not encompassed by those listed above will be evaluated at the discretion of the HGO and Steering Committee representatives.
Accountability. At the annual local convention, delegates will elect two members to serve as Harassment Grievance Officers (HGOs), with the election following the procedures outlined in Article 12. HGOs may only be removed by a resolution passed with a majority vote at any general body meeting or emergency meeting. When an HGO is removed in this manner, a special election for the position will be held at the next general body meeting.
LVDSA will establish an email address to function as a confidential reporting “hotline” that is only accessible by the HGO(s). Members may file complaints using the HGO templates which will be made freely available to any member who requests it if they believe they have been harassed by another member. HGO templates will be available on our website, by emailing the main chapter email account, or by asking any member of elected leadership with no questions asked. There will be no time limits requiring the accuser to file a report within any amount of time after the alleged harassment has occurred.
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 include 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 HGO who will determine whether to factor the retaliation into the original complaint, or treat it as an individual incident.
10.3. Further Accountability, Suspension, and Expulsion of Members
If a member’s conduct is in substantial disagreement with the principles or policies of the organization or in violation of the aforementioned code of conduct of the organization, they may be subject to disciplinary action by the Steering Committee that may include immediate suspension and/or expulsion from LVDSA. Members facing suspension or expulsion must receive written notice of the charges against them and an opportunity to be heard before the Steering Committee before such disciplinary action is taken unless the Steering Committee deems it to be a safety risk to make direct contact with the member. For a member to be suspended or expelled from LVDSA, a two-thirds vote of the Steering Committee shall be necessary.
Either party may appeal the decision made by Steering Committee by filling out an appellate form given to the member at the time of suspension/expulsion. Appellate forms will also be available under HGO templates on the LVDSA website. Appeals must be filed within thirty days of receiving written notice of the Steering Committee’s decision. The limited grounds for appeal are:
- Either party believes the behavior was not interpreted using the standards for harassment set out above in Section 10.2.a;
- Procedural errors, misconduct, or conflicts of interest affected the fairness of the outcome; and
- The remedy or penalty determined by the Steering Committee was grossly disproportionate to the violation committed.
Further, suspensions or expulsions may be appealed to DSA. During the pendency of any appeal, disciplinary actions by the Steering Committee remain in effect.
Article 11. Finance
The Steering Committee shall maintain written rules, policies, and procedures governing the financial practices of LVDSA, approved by a two-thirds vote of the Steering Committee, and will be valid and enforceable by the Steering Committee to the extent they are not inconsistent with any other provision of these bylaws or with any resolutions of the general body of LVDSA members. These rules will be established by each Steering Committee and must be approved by the Steering Committee and distributed to the chapter membership within a month of the new Steering Committee taking office.
Any of the provisions of these bylaws, adopted policies of the Steering Committee, or resolutions of the general body governing LVDSA’s financial practices that conflict with the requirements of local, state, or federal law, are null and void to the extent of the conflict.
These rules and procedures will be made available for membership access at any time.
Article 12. Election Administration
The Steering Committee will administer all chapter-wide elections; however, all chapter-wide elections will be administered exclusively by members who are not running in that particular race. Alternatively, the Steering Committee may appoint an Election Commission to administer any election if they choose or if deemed necessary based on conflicts of interest. Steering Committee members must recuse themselves from administering races they are running in and must not participate in appointing any member(s) who will administer the race.
If no Steering Committee members can administer a race or election, then the chapter HGOs (see Article 10, Section 10.2) will administer it, aided by up to three non-conflicted LVDSA members appointed by the HGOs for this purpose. If the chapter HGOs are also unable to administer the race, then the general body will elect a temporary election administrator to manage the election or race.
Unless otherwise specified in these bylaws, all chapter-wide leadership, officer, and position elections in LVDSA, will be conducted by a system of single transferable vote (STV) voting. If a position is uncontested, the nominee will be declared elected by acclamation.
Article 13. Rules of the Chapter
In general body meetings, emergency meetings, and local conventions of LVDSA, the rules contained in Robert’s Rules of Order, Newly Revised, govern to the extent they are not inconsistent with these bylaws. At any meeting in which Robert’s Rules apply, voting members of the meeting may agree to waive or modify any part of Robert’s Rules for the purposes of that meeting, either by consensus or by implied consent by failure of any voting member in attendance to object during the meeting when the deviation is open and obvious.
The Steering Committee may propose procedural rules and community agreements for approval by the general body. These chapter rules and agreements may supplant Robert’s Rules to the extent of a conflict and will govern LVDSA meetings where applicable.
Meetings must submit to the chapter’s procedural rules established through this Article upon the request of a member.
In order to ensure the chapter speaks in one voice, official statements or endorsements on behalf of the chapter must be approved by the Steering Committee, or by the general body at a general body meeting, emergency meeting, or the local convention. Members should not speak to the press on behalf of LVDSA unless authorized by the Steering Committee.
Article 14. Amendments to Bylaws
There are two ways to amend these bylaws: by a two-thirds majority vote of the membership at two consecutive general body meetings, or by a single two-thirds vote of delegates at LVDSA’s annual local convention. Each of these processes have notice requirements set out below.
14.1. Standard Amendment Process
Proposed amendments to these bylaws must be made by written resolution, endorsed by five members of LVDSA, and submitted to the Steering Committee two weeks in advance of a general body meeting. The Steering Committee must then provide the general body with one weeks’ written notice of the proposed amendments before a vote may be held. Thereafter, the amendment must be approved by a two-third vote in two consecutive general body meetings.
14.2. Convention Amendment Process
Alternatively, the bylaws may be amended in a single two-thirds vote at the annual local convention. For such a vote to be held at the local convention, the amendment resolution must be endorsed by ten LVDSA members and presented to the Steering Committee at least three weeks before the local convention. The Steering Committee then must provide the general body written notice of the proposed amendments at least two weeks before the local convention. For the resolution to be adopted, two-thirds of the delegates to the local convention must vote to approve it.
Article 15. Invalidity of Actions Out of Order
Any action taken by an officer, member, formation, or body of LVDSA in contravention of these bylaws is null and void.