Code of Conduct for Membership

Adopted 12/28/2021

Disagreements between and outside of membership may happen for any number of reasons, social or technical. When they occur, we seek to resolve these issues constructively and with a balanced community process, as we recognize that our organization caters to a membership and audience that is constantly changing, learning, and growing. All members of our organization (King County Young Democrats, hereafter referred to as KCYD) are expected to behave in a manner that advances the goals, values, and mission of the Democratic Party. Internally facing and externally facing behaviors and actions have an impact on how the public perceives our organization and actions, and whether new and existing members feel comfortable and welcome as part of the Democratic Party. All members have an obligation to comport themselves in a manner that meets these criteria, and be cognizant of how their actions, during meetings, events, and generally in public spaces, impact the perception of our Party to the public at large.

1. Anti-Harassment Policy

Harassment comes in many forms, including but not limited to: offensive verbal or written comments related to gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability, age, physical appearance, body size, race, ethnicity, color, national origin, immigration status, or religion.Touching or entering personal space without consent, or other physical violation(s), shall not be tolerated by KCYD. 

Harassment also includes: stalking, persistent following, intrusive or otherwise unwanted photography or recording, sustained disruption of talks or other events, and unwelcome sexual attention.

Unacceptable behavior includes, but is not limited to:

  • Explicit and unambiguous violent threats or language directed against another person.
  • Sexist, racist, or otherwise discriminatory jokes and language.
  • Posting sexually explicit or violent material online while in an official capacity(real or reasonably perceived), or to an official message board, official email list, or other official organizational site.
  • Posting (or threatening to post), without permission from that individual, other people’s personally identifying information (up to, and including, the threatening behavior of “doxing”) in any public forum. 
  • Personal insults, or personally disparaging remarks towards other members of the organization during debate of a motion.
  • Unwelcome sexual attention.
  • Advocating for, or encouraging, any of the above behavior.

2. Filing A Complaint

The Executive Board will take complaints of harassment seriously, whether the complainant is part of our membership or not. Complaints of discrimination or harassment shall be handled in a way that protects the confidentiality of those involved, by default. Complainants may choose to identify themselves publicly at their own discretion. Any complaints made against an Executive Board Member will be immediately referred to the Young Democrats of Washington State (hereafter referred to as YDWA) Code of Conduct committee and will follow the YDWA procedure for harassment complaints as detailed on the YDWA website.

2.a. Conflicts of Interest

A conflict of interest exists when a personal interest or relationship interferes with or appears to interfere with the duties a member performs for KCYD, including making decisions on corrective actions against a respondent. Conflicts of interest may consciously or unconsciously influence even the most ethical person, and the mere appearance of a conflict may cause the integrity of individual members, and membership as a whole, to be questioned.

The minimum expectation is that members disclose any known conflicts of interest to the Executive Board members conducting the investigation before choosing to serve.

2.b. Process

Members may initiate a complaint verbally or in writing to any Executive Board Member by identifying the Complainant and Respondent and providing a detailed description of the occurrence, including the time, date, and location of the incident, along with the names of any other persons involved and witnesses.

Complaints will be dealt with in the following manner:

  1. Complainants have a right to make a report verbally or in writing to any KCYD Board Member. If the complaint is made verbally, with the approval of the complainant, the board member is strongly recommended to write down their recollection of what they were told for context going forward. 
  2. Complaints will be investigated by the KCYD Executive Board; however, no member of the KCYD Executive Board who has had any complaint filed against them shall in any way be involved in the investigation of that complaint. The Executive Board may take a vote on whether or not to proceed with a complaint. If the Board is unanimous in declining to proceed, the complaint may be dismissed.
  3. A Respondent under this policy shall be entitled to written notice of the substance of a complaint under this policy. Both Respondent and Complainant shall be given notice of the complaint being acknowledged by the board within two weeks of the complaint being submitted.
  4. The Respondent has a right to have their points added to any ongoing report, and they may file their own complaint.
  5. The Executive Board as a whole will impose disciplinary sanctions (see below) as recommended by the Executive Board members who have investigated the complaint. If an Executive Board Member is a Complainant or Respondent, they must recuse themselves from the decision-making process.
  6. Both a Complainant and Respondent under this policy shall be entitled to a written statement of reasons for the final disposition of the investigation. Any decision made or penalty imposed shall not be arbitrary or discriminatory.

Both parties have the right to request an appeal of the decision made by the Executive Board as detailed in Section 3.

3. Filing An Appeal

A Complainant or Respondent may appeal to the Executive Board within thirty (30) calendar days after notification of the final disposition.

The appeal must be in writing and specify why the decision is unsatisfactory. The right to appeal is limited to:

  1. Significant procedural lapses.
  2. The appearance of substantive new evidence not available at the time of the original decision.

KCYD will submit the appeal to the YDWASafe Space Committee for a final decision.

4. Documenting Incidents

All reports and results shall be maintained in an archive by the KCYD Chair for not less than three (3) years. This archive shall be closed to all members and only opened to revisit complaints in the event of additional Code of Conduct violations or criminal investigations. 

5. Corrective Actions

The King County Young Democrats wants to ensure a restorative process that respects the dignity of all persons involved. We wish to avoid punitive actions if possible, while ensuring an educational and just process.

In achieving this goal, the Executive Board may choose, but is not limited to, the following corrective actions:

  • Written letter of apology;
  • Mediation;
  • Suspension of board or membership credentials for the individual;
  • Expulsion from KCYD membership;
  • Physical and/or virtual ban from KCYD meetings, events, or spaces, both permanent and temporary;
  • Other actions as deemed appropriate by the Executive Board and at the expense of the Board, per recommendations.