DSA-LA Conflict Resolution Resources
DSA-LA is deeply committed to building and maintaining structures that strengthen our ability to meet our political goals by ensuring our organizing spaces do not reproduce the systems of oppression we collectively seek to dismantle. The DSA-LA Conflict Resolution team is integral to this commitment, and their democratically determined mandate is to ensure members have the support they need to constructively work through organizational conflict, and that our chapter addresses misconduct thoughtfully and consistently.
Details on the resources available through the Conflict Resolution Team are included below, and important links are included here:
- To request informal support navigating organizing challenges or interpersonal conflict, request an appointment with our Ombudspeople using this Appointment Request Form
- To formally report serious grievances (including harassment) to DSA-LA, file a report of misconduct using this confidential report form
- To formally report a case of harassment with the DSA National Harassment Grievance Officers, use this form
WHAT IS THE DSA-LA CONFLICT RESOLUTION TEAM, AND WHAT DOES IT DO?
The Conflict Resolution team is comprised of 8 volunteer comrades—5 Ombudspeople, and 3 Harassment Grievance Officers. Ombudspeople and Harassment Grievance Officers fulfill complementary, but distinct roles on the the Conflict Resolution Team:
- The Ombudspeople are available for voluntary appointments with members to provide support, coaching, and mediation aimed at navigating conflict within DSA-LA and organizational concerns.
- The Harassment Grievance Officers (HGOs) intake and collect initial information aligned with reports of misconduct outlined in the DSA-LA Misconduct Policy and harassment outlined in the National Harassment Policy (Resolution 33). They are also tasked with liaising with the third-party Investigative Commission.
WHAT TYPES OF SUPPORT DO THE OMBUDSPEOPLE OFFER IN APPOINTMENTS?
Individual members can request appointments with Ombudspeople for the following purposes:
- Experiences: talking through an experience within DSA-LA that left members feeling confused, uncomfortable, frustrated, or upset.
- Interactions: helping to reflect, clarify and process an interaction members had, and/or an ongoing interpersonal issue members are dealing with in DSA-LA
- Boundaries: receive support communicating boundaries to other members or to develop a plan regarding boundary-setting with other members
- Communication: better understanding your own communication style and how to best communicate with other members in organizing spaces and forums
- Conflicts: thinking through possible next steps regarding a conflict (e.g. coaching on how to productively engage in hard conversations with comrades, information on how to request mediation with other members, and/or to receive support and guidance for understanding DSA-LA’s formal misconduct procedures).
If two or more members agree to jointly request a mediated conversation, they can submit a request for an appointment together, for the following purposes:
- Resolve misunderstandings and/or conflict within DSA-LA
- Improve communications and working relationships between organizers
Ombudspeople may follow up on joint requests for mediated conversations with individual conversations with the requesting parties prior to the mediation, to prepare and ensure all parties share a commitment to a safe, respectful, and productive conversation.
HOW DO MEMBERS REQUEST APPOINTMENTS WITH OMBUDSPEOPLE?
Members interested in requesting an appointment can do using our Appointment Request Form. Members may request a maximum of two appointments for a specific issue.
Once the form is submitted, an Ombudsperson will contact you within 48 hours to schedule an appointment in a public and accessible location where there is the opportunity for private conversation.
DISCLAIMERS FOR APPOINTMENTS
The following forms of support are outside the mandate of Ombudspeople, and members should refrain from requesting appointments for the following purposes:
- Requests for support and counseling on personal or professional conflicts and challenges that do not intersect with DSA-LA organizing work.
- Mental health counseling—Ombudspeople are not trained mental health professionals.
- Requests for disciplinary action and/or formal reports of serious misconduct. Formal reports of misconduct should be submitted to HGOs.
- Emergency support in crisis situations. In an emergency, please call 911 or go to the nearest Emergency Room. If you or someone you know is feeling like hurting themselves, please call the Suicide Prevention Hotline in LA County 1-877-727-4747.
In order to connect members to resources and supports which are outside of their mandate but could support healthy and productive solutions to issues identified by members, Ombudspeople can make referrals informed by the member-led DSA-LA Resource and Referral Guide.
HOW DO I REPORT MISCONDUCT TO THE DSA-LA HARASSMENT GRIEVANCE OFFICERS?
Any formal report of grievous misconduct (including harassment), as defined by the DSA-LA Misconduct Policy and the National Harassment Policy (Resolution 33), can be confidentially submitted through this form.
Note that while violations of DSA-LA’s Code of Conduct are outlined as a form of Misconduct in our organization’s policy, in many cases these behaviors might be more appropriately worked through in a mediated conversation with the Ombudspeople, and may not require a formal organizational response.
WHAT CAN I EXPECT AFTER SUBMITTING A REPORT OF MISCONDUCT?
After receiving a report, HGOs correspond with parties to reports of misconduct and harassment via email. The grievance process includes: fact-finding, harm assessment, and recommendations around accountability and resolution when appropriate. Should the situation call for it, the HGOs may request the assistance of an external third party to act as a Misconduct Investigative Commission to conduct parts of or all of this process.
The DSA-LA Steering Committee gratefully acknowledges the guidance and conversations from DSA chapters around the country (specifically SF DSA’s Conflict Resolution committee), guidance and training provided by AORTA, and the contributions of DSA-LA members in supporting, and refining this process and collaboratively developing our Resource and Referral guide.
During development of these resources, we found few comprehensive models for addressing organizational misconduct through a transformative justice framework, and it is our hope that these policies and structures serve as a resource for other DSA chapters and the broader left.
Members can review the Expectations and Responsibilities the Conflict Resolution Team has committed to here.