PRINCETON YOUNG DEMOCRATIC SOCIALISTS OF AMERICA BYLAWS
Approved December 2022
The Princeton Young Democratic Socialists of America proclaims that it has been founded to educate and organize students and young people in the Princeton community, and to play a helpful and principled role in advancing social justice. Throughout this struggle, we will defend the idea that true human liberation is impossible under capitalism, for which reason we seek democratic socialist change that expands democracy in the political, economic, and social realms and that builds the collective structures for students and working-class people to reach their full potential. Our vision of socialism is multitendency and profoundly democratic, feminist, anti-racist, and anti-capitalist.
ARTICLE I. NAME AND AFFILIATION
- The name of this student organization shall be the “Princeton Young Democratic Socialists of America,” hereafter referred to as “the Chapter,” “Princeton YDSA,” or “YDSA at Princeton.”
- The Chapter shall be the Princeton University chapter of Young Democratic Socialists of America, the youth wing of Democratic Socialists of America.
- No individual or group of individuals shall refer to themself or themselves as Princeton YDSA without the consent of the Steering Committee or the organization as a whole. Any member can speak on behalf of Princeton YDSA with the consent of the majority of the Steering Committee.
ARTICLE II. MEMBERSHIP
- Membership in the organization shall be open to any member of the campus community, including undergraduate and graduate students, fellows, faculty, and staff, at Princeton University who demonstrate interest in membership and who are active in the organization.
- Eligibility for membership or appointed or elected student officer positions in this organization may not be limited on the basis of race, sex, gender, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, physical or mental handicap, ancestry, or medical condition.
- Membership is defined by members who have attended at least one-half (½) of the meetings in the previous or current semester, or provided adequate reasoning for absence.
- For new semesters, voting rights can carry over for members of the previous semester within the first 3 meetings
- For the Fall 2022 semester only, membership is determined by attendance at one of the two initial meetings, the previous 3 meetings, or other demonstrated interest in spite of absence.
- Members will be strongly encouraged to become national DSA members (paid or fee-waived) to ensure Princeton YDSA representation at national conventions.
- During the Spring 2023 semester and, if applicable, each following semester, the general membership should consider an amendment to this document requiring national DSA membership as a Princeton YDSA membership requirement.
- Non-member guests may be invited to meetings and events with the majority consent of the Steering Committee or the organization as a whole. In the case of political education events, the speaker(s) or presenter(s) must also consent to the invitation of non-member guests.
- Non-invited, non-member guests may be asked to leave by event facilitators.
- All members and non-member guests must respect and obey the rules articulated in Rights, Rules, and Responsibilities and in ODUS student group guidelines. If a meeting attendee does not follow these rules or is deemed disruptive by present members or present Steering Committee members, they may be asked to leave or have their membership revoked by two-thirds (⅔) of the Steering Committee or chapter membership and/or may be reported to the appropriate Princeton University officials.
- If the disruptive meeting attendee is a member of the Steering Committee, the rest of the Steering Committee, excluding the attendee in question, may take a similar action with two-thirds (⅔) approval.
ARTICLE III. STEERING COMMITTEE & DUTIES
- The Steering Committee shall be composed of two (2) Co-Chairs, one (1) Secretary-Treasurer, one (1) Social Media Manager, one (1) or more Social Officers, and one (1) Grievance Officer.
- To be eligible for the Steering Committee, candidates must be members of Princeton YDSA.
- Candidates will nominate themselves no later than one week prior to the date of the election.
- Regular elections shall begin on a meeting date during the first full month of the Spring semester and announced by the Co-Chairs.
- If the number of candidates is equal to or less than the number of positions in the race, elections do not need to be held, and the candidates win by default.
- All candidate elections shall be first-past-the-post with defined closing times.
- In the event that no candidate reaches a majority, a runoff between the candidates with the highest vote totals will take place immediately afterwards. The number of candidates in the runoff should be the number of open positions in the race plus one.
- In the event of a tie, another round of voting will be held in the same fashion as 5a. In the event of a second tie, flip a coin to determine the winner(s).
- The terms of the Steering Committee shall last approximately two regular academic semesters.
- Steering Committee vacancies shall be filled via special election, to be announced within one week of a Steering Committee seat becoming vacant, and held no later than two weeks after the announcement.
- Steering Committee members may be subject to recall by petition with signatures of one-third of the chapter’s membership, as listed in the last membership list. Submission of such a valid petition shall trigger a recall election to be held no later than 30 days from receipt of that petition by the Steering Committee. The meeting for a recall vote shall be properly noticed to the membership.
- The duties of all members of the Steering Committee shall be:
- To appropriately coordinate with one another on Princeton YDSA matters.
- To coordinate activities as necessary.
- To revoke membership when deemed to be necessary, including with regard to recommendations by the HGO(s), by the decision of two-thirds (⅔) of the Steering Committee.
- To help the Co-Chairs in their responsibilities if requested.
- The duties of each Co-Chair shall be:
- To facilitate general and special meetings.
- To reserve space for meetings, events, and tabling.
- To communicate with members of the YDSA National Coordinating Committee, staff, and members of YDSA’s national subcommittees.
- To attend any university functions mandatory for organization presidents.
- To write weekly updates to send via email to everyone on the organization’s email list.
- To assist the other Co-Chair in their responsibilities and equitably share responsibilities
- To fulfill the other Co-Chair’s responsibilities in their absence
- Share or delegate the responsibilities of an officer in their absence, when necessary
- The duties of the Secretary-Treasurer shall be:
- To take minutes at general meetings or delegate this duty to any present member of a meeting, and to make such minutes accessible to the membership (such as in a Google Drive folder).
- To maintain a list of active members and build an email list.
- To manage and maintain an active log of any funds of the organization and report financial details to ODUS as required by Princeton University.
- The duties of the Social Media Manager shall be:
- To maintain an active, energetic presence on social media
- To post meeting reminders the day before the meeting or event and the day of the meeting or event
- To take photos during each given meeting or event for promotional purposes
- To make a post with a caption and photos within a reasonable time after each meeting or event that summarizes what happened
- To maintain a website that includes the chapter mission, events, statements, leadership and contact information, social media accounts, and other relevant information
- The duties of Social Officers shall be:
- To attend meetings of adjacent progressive organizations in the Princeton community or area and build connections with the members of such organizations.
- To organize social events for Princeton YDSA members when desired.
- The Harassment and Grievance Officer’s (HGO) responsibilities include (see more details in Article VII):
- Conducting necessary investigation of conflicts and grievances.
- Presenting their findings to the Steering Committee with a written report and, if necessary, a recommendation for suspension or revocation of membership.
- Reports should be anonymized where possible to maintain the neutrality of the Steering Committee.
- Referring egregious complaints to appropriate ODUS staff, meeting with such staff if necessary, and delegating the assessment of such complaints to ODUS as required by University policy.
- Directing victims toward relevant University resources if necessary.
ARTICLE IV. FUNDING
- The organization shall be funded through the following means: fundraisers, chapter dues, contributions and scholarships from Democratic Socialists of America, and any third-party financial assistance allowed by Princeton University.
- All money transactions must be approved by the Secretary-Treasurer and appropriately reported to the Office of the Dean of Undergraduate Students.
- The Treasurer shall maintain a record of all financial transactions and accounts. These records shall be made available at any time by the request of any YDSA national officer and will be reported regularly to the membership of the Chapter.
ARTICLE V. MEETINGS
- Regular meetings of the organization shall be held bi-weekly. The day of the week and time will be determined at the beginning of each semester, or at other points during the semester according to the changing needs of members.
- Meeting time options will be created by the Co-Chairs and sent out to members for a vote and approved by majority vote of the responding members two (2) days after the meeting time options are sent out
- Special meetings may be called by a majority of the Steering Committee. Votes and elections may not occur at such meetings.
- Agendas for regular and special meetings shall be prepared by Steering Committee members and will be available at the request of Princeton YDSA members before a meeting.
- Working group meetings of the organization shall be held according to the needs of the relevant Working Group Chair and/or its active participants. Agendas for working group meetings shall be prepared by the relevant Working Group Chair or other members willing to assist the Working Group Chair.
ARTICLE VI. POWERS
- The Chapter shall have working groups created if deemed necessary by the membership. The formation of such committees shall be approved by a majority vote of the present membership at a regular meeting, or of the participating membership for asynchronous voting.
- Working Group Chairs shall be chosen according to willingness to take such a role. If more than one person seeks such a role, members shall choose a candidate or candidates in a regular or special election announced by the chapter Co-Chairs.
- The Working Group Chairs’ responsibilities include:
- Managing meetings for their respective working groups.
- Leading efforts specific to their working group and including other students in a collaborative, democratic process.
- Determining the governance or delegation of tasks of their working group in line with democratic and participatory values.
- The Chapter shall operate as a non-profit association and no profits may accrue to any individual within the organization.
- Unless otherwise provided in these bylaws, decisions of the organization shall be made by a simple majority of members present and voting or, in the case of asynchronous voting, a simple majority of members participating in the vote, with those abstaining not figuring into the determination of the majority required.
- The votes of the current eligible voting membership shall be by private ballot (such as on a digital form or a folded index card). Votes will be counted by the Steering Committee within a reasonable timeframe, or immediately if votes are made during a meeting.
- Meetings shall abide by the following guidelines:
- A present member shall volunteer to be a meeting facilitator, who will guide the meeting through the agenda items and allow for orderly but critical discussion among present members.
- To speak, members shall indicate their desire to speak to the meeting facilitator (such as by raising their hand or typing “stack” in a digital chat). Members shall allow others to speak until their turn is over.
- To make a motion, members shall say, “I move that…” or “I move to…” and describe the motion the member wishes to propose for a vote.
- To put to a vote, a second member of the meeting must indicate that they “second” the motion.
- If the meeting goes off-topic, the meeting facilitator may appropriately redirect the discussion.
- Once all agenda items have been addressed, the meeting facilitator may adjourn the meeting.
- If any aspect of these guidelines is counterproductive to collaboration or democracy, other guidelines may be utilized at the discretion of the present members.
ARTICLE VII. HARASSMENT AND GRIEVANCE POLICY
Princeton YDSA is committed to providing a safe and inclusive environment for everyone, regardless of gender, race, sexual orientation, or other sensitive identities, to organize without fear of harassment. DSA’s national harassment policies can be found here: https://www.dsausa.org/about-us/harassment-policy-resolution-33/.
- Members who wish to report a complaint to Princeton YDSA must contact a designated Harassment and Grievance Officer (HGO).
- The responsibilities of the HGO are listed in Art. III,
- If Princeton YDSA has at least one-hundred (100) members, there must be at least two (2) HGO positions, each elected by the membership. This should override Article III, 1.
ARTICLE VIII. DISSOLUTION CLAUSE
- Should the organization be dissolved due to lack of interest or other reasons, it is the responsibility of the current Co-Chairs to notify the Office of the Dean of Undergraduate Students and Central New Jersey Democratic Socialists of America that they have disbanded and provide reason. The Secretary-Treasurer is responsible for notifying ODUS that any allocated funding left will not be used unless Princeton YDSA or an equivalent Princeton University chapter of Young Democratic Socialists of America is re-established by a later cohort.
Article IX. RATIFICATION AND AMENDMENT
- This constitution will take effect following a two-thirds (⅔) vote of approval by present members at the general meeting in which ratification of this constitution is proposed, or by participating members during asynchronous voting.
- These bylaws may be amended at any regular meeting of the organization by a two-thirds (⅔) vote, provided that the amendment has been submitted in writing to the Steering Committee at least twenty-four (24) hours beforehand.