DxE Code of Conduct and Harassment Policy
DxE’s mission is to create revolutionary social and political change for animals in one generation. This mission, along with our five values, guides our activism within the DxE network. Our value of fierce nonviolence demands that we challenge systems of oppression while having empathy for those caught up in these systems. Our value of building purposeful communities requires us to create spaces that are welcoming, respectful, and inclusive. To live up to these values and be effective in advancing our mission, we have a code of conduct and harassment policy outlining expected and unacceptable behaviors, as well as the consequences for unacceptable behaviors.
This code of conduct and harassment policy applies to all community members (supporters, chapter members, organizers, guests, vendors, sponsors, etc.) in all community spaces, whether online or in-person, as well as in one-on-one communications with other community members, across the DxE network. It additionally applies to actions or behaviors outside community spaces or communications when such actions or behaviors have the potential to adversely affect the safety and well-being of community members.
Expected and Unacceptable Behaviors
- It is expected that everyone treats all members of the community and the greater public with respect.
- We do not discriminate or harass anyone on the basis of race, color, or ethnicity; nationality, immigration status, citizenship, or ancestry; age; species; religion or spiritual belief; sex; sexual orientation; gender, gender identity, or gender expression; marital status; pregnancy or parental status; military or veteran status; physical or mental ability, medical conditions, or disability status; education; or financial means, socioeconomic status, or class.
- Harassment can range from extreme forms such as physical violence or threats of violence to less obvious actions like ridiculing, teasing, or repeatedly bothering community members, or intentionally excluding someone from otherwise open community activities, or making them feel unwelcome.
- We do not use or condone speciesist, sexist, racist, homophobic, transphobic, ableist, ageist, or otherwise discriminatory language, including ridiculing or demeaning comments, even if intended to be humorous. “I was joking” or “I didn’t mean it that way” is not a not valid defense, nor is being under the influence of alcohol or other substances.
- We honor pronouns and gender identities.
- We do not use objectifying language toward nonhuman animals, e.g. "it," "meat," "beef.”
- We do not engage in or condone violence, threats of violence, or violent language directed against another person.
- We do not bully or insult others, and we refrain from personal attacks.
- We do not harass, stalk, or seek to intimidate others, whether in person or online.
- We do not post or threaten to post other people’s personally identifying information ("doxing") with abusive intent.
- We do not engage in hacking (unauthorized access of electronic resources) with abusive intent.
- We do not gossip about other members.
- We extend our respect and good faith to people outside our community, such as during actions or in public parks during community events.
- It is expected that everyone responds to conflict and disagreement constructively.
- We approach disagreements and different opinions with curiosity. We default to giving others the benefit of the doubt, especially when communicating online.
- When we perceive potential conflict, we engage in calm conversations, with the goal of understanding other points of view. We take escalating online disagreements offline to a phone or in-person conversation, or respectfully agree to disengage on the topic.
- We embody the ideals of nonviolence and nonviolent direct action by directing our anger at systems, not the individuals who are caught up in those systems.
- We call others in when we feel someone is not acting in accordance with our values by speaking directly with that person one-on-one, trying to understand their true meaning and intentions, and explaining our concern.
- We are open to feedback when others express concern or hurt over our words or behavior. We listen before we respond, acknowledge when we are wrong or mistaken, and take steps to do better.
- We acknowledge that there will be disagreements and different perspectives in the community and we aim to focus on the values that unite us. However, disagreements or debates affecting a large enough section of the chapter or network may be brought for discussion/decision-making to the chapter meeting or Global Strategy Call, respectively, or to another community meeting via the process in the bylaws.
- We do not expect leadership to solve our personal disputes or problems.
- It is expected that everyone understands and upholds the principles of enthusiastic consent.
- We ask for and wait to be given consent before initiating any physical contact, including non-sexual contact such as hugs.
- We do not give anyone unwelcome sexual attention. This includes sexualized comments, jokes, or innuendos, inappropriate touching or groping, unwelcome sexual advances, leering, invasion of personal space, blocking normal movement, and any other behavior that makes another community member sexually uncomfortable.
- We do not record or photograph others outside the scope of public events and actions, such as protests and Meetups, unless given explicit permission.
- We do not display or share offensive images, such as videos, photos, cartoons, or drawings that are derogatory or sexualizing of others.
- We do not pressure someone to submit to romantic or sexual requests for any reason, including as a condition of receiving opportunities or to avoid loss of opportunities.
- We are conscious of power, position, and privilege when it comes to initiating any romantic or sexual behavior or relationship.
It is unacceptable to encourage, condone, or excuse violations of this code of conduct.
It is unacceptable to retaliate against or penalize those who report, express an intent to report, assist another person to report, or participate in an investigation related to a report about any of the above behaviors.
We recognize that the preceding list cannot include every possible situation, but we trust our community members to apply the underlying values as needed and appropriate.
- Alcohol, cannabis, and drug policy
- All official events hosted by DxE SF Bay Area are open to all ages, are free of alcohol, cannabis, and other drugs, and prohibit attendees who are clearly under the influence of alcohol, cannabis, or other drugs.
- While on a DxE-related trip, outside of DxE events, adults may legally and responsibly consume alcohol or cannabis so long as they have the prior consent of all members of the traveling party and so long as it does not interfere with the purpose of the trip nor pose any threat of harm to the person or others.
- No one should be impaired or intoxicated due to alcohol, cannabis, or other drugs during an investigation, protest, or other DxE event.
- No underage members should ever be given alcohol, cannabis, or other drugs.
- Alcohol, cannabis, or drug consumption should never interfere with the responsibility of all travelers to represent DxE's values, uphold DxE’s Code of Conduct and Harassment Policy, and professionalism, especially to third parties like journalists or other activists.
- This policy does not preclude the use of any substances prescribed by a licensed physician when taken consistently with that prescription.
- Food and beverage policy
- All food and beverages at DxE events must be free of animal products.
- Relationship policy
- Travel and housing policy
- While on a DxE-related trip, sleeping arrangements should be made thoughtfully. No one should share a bed or other sleeping arrangement (e.g. couch or car) with someone they would not already be comfortable doing so with outside of the trip.
- Consent and anti-oppression training policy
- As of October 2021, all chapter members in the SF Bay Area chapter and all organizers in other chapters must watch a video and complete a quiz on consent before being onboarded. All SF Bay Area organizers must attend a training on consent and must watch a refresher video and complete a quiz annually.
Process and Consequences
- Report team
- DxE’s report team currently consists of Kitty Jones, Robert Yamada, and Paul Darwin Picklesimer. They can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. They are tasked with receiving, reviewing, and addressing violations of DxE’s values, code of conduct, and harassment policy, giving individuals an opportunity to grow, and swiftly removing individuals who are causing severe harm.
- A list of what the report team does and does not do can be found here.
- If you experience or witness a violation of DxE’s values, code of conduct, or harassment policy that encompasses threatened or real physical violence, sexual harassment or assault, or other predatory behavior, please email email@example.com as soon as possible. All organizers are required to report any Tier III violations as soon as possible. You can email a specific part of the report team or the core team if your report involves members of the report or core team. We will keep all complaints confidential to the extent possible while still fulfilling our obligation to investigate and end any harassing conduct. People who learn of a complaint as part of this report process should take reasonable measures to keep the complaint confidential. In cases of sexual harassment or assault, alternative avenues for reporting can be found here.
- For less serious violations, whenever possible, we encourage community members to use the conflict resolution tools laid out in this document.
- Chapters in the International Organizers network are free to address conflict themselves in ways that are in line with DxE values and code of conduct and are invited to request help with a matter or share any findings with the report team.
- Processes and Consequences: Tier System
- The consequences of unacceptable behavior depend on the severity of the violation and whether it is the first offense or repeated behavior. DxE has a tier system to address violations, where each level has accompanying processes and consequences.
- Tier I: Minor violation
- Approaching conflict without good faith or an open mind, or getting into heated, unproductive discussions online
- General gossiping
- Calling animals “it,” accidentally misgendering people, or mild -isms due to ignorance
- Touching people non-sexually without their consent, e.g. hugging
- We encourage violations at this level to be handled by the witnessing party (e.g., call the person in, use the tools in the conflict first aid document) and not brought to the report team. If brought to the report team, a member will review the evidence/incident and, if a violation is found, message or call the offending party to hear their perspective and, if necessary, call the person in.
- Minimal formal documentation is sometimes done. If you are handling a Tier I violation on your own, we encourage you to make a short note about the incident for your own records.
- The offending party is called in on their action or behavior.
- Tier II: Serious violation
- Intentionally speciesist, sexist, racist, homophobic, transphobic, ableist, ageist, or otherwise discriminatory jokes and language
- Unwelcome sexual attention, including violating the “one-ask” rule (asking a community member out on a date for the second time after receiving a no the first time)
- Verbally attacking, insulting, or harassing someone
- Public call-outs of other community members without good faith effort to call-in first, except in situations of an immediate threat to others
- Threatening violence against another person
- Victim-blaming or encouraging someone not to report sexual harassment or assault
- Most violations of DxE’s alcohol and drug policy
- Intentional false reporting
- Bullying, or gossiping with the intention to spread false rumors or cause harm to someone else
- DxE organizers not reporting known Tier III violations
- Deliberate and repeated Tier I violations over a short period of time is a Tier II violation, e.g., someone has hugged community members without asking at the Meetup every week for a month, despite being called in on the behavior
- A member of the report team will review the evidence/incident and, if a violation is found, will contact the offending party to hear their perspective. Barring strong evidence from the offending party that indicates the violation did not occur, a formal warning with clearly laid out parameters is given in writing. Depending on what the reporting party wants and the nature of the violation, a conversation between parties is encouraged where people can hear each other out and apologize as appropriate.
- Core is typically involved in the process at this point, given that they oversee staffing and other organizational functions.
- All interactions and evidence are documented.
- A formal written warning with clearly laid out parameters, e.g., what will happen if the person violates the code of conduct again, within what time frame, and whether the consequences are different depending on the type of subsequent violation (that is, any violation, another Tier II violation, or the same violation).
- Typically, the consequence for a future similar violation is removal from the community.
- The person may be asked to not seek elevated roles for a period of time.
- Tier III: Severe Violation
- Intentionally touching someone sexually (e.g., touching their breasts) without their consent or other forms of sexual assault
- Deliberate violations of security culture or hacking with intent to harm individuals, DxE, or the movement
- Any form of physical violence
- Expressing that no attempt will be made to not repeat a previous Tier II violation
- A member of the report team will do a basic review of the evidence/incident and, if it is credible that the violation potentially occurred, will contact the offending party to hear their perspective. Barring strong new evidence from the offending party that shows it was unlikely the violation occurred, the offending party is tentatively removed from the community pending a longer investigation.
- If the offending party does not refute the allegations, a longer investigation will likely not be conducted.
- If the violation is related to sexual harassment or assault, a third-party professional is contacted to do a longer investigation and suggest appropriate consequences.
- If the violation is not related to sexual harassment or assault, the report team or a third-party professional may do a longer investigation and suggest appropriate consequences.
- Depending on what the reporting party wants and the nature of the violation, a conversation between parties may occur where people can hear each other out and apologize as appropriate.
- All interactions and evidence are documented.
- Immediate removal from all roles and the community at large pending a longer investigation, as relevant.
- If the longer investigation confirms a Tier III violation, the person remains removed from the community indefinitely.
- Community members must cooperate with reasonable requests made by the report team, such as having a phone call to discuss a report or incident, and must provide truthful information. If you are asked to participate in an investigation, a member of the report team or someone assisting with the report will reach out to you to schedule a meeting. You do not need to prepare for the meeting unless specifically requested to do so. You may not be provided the context for the meeting at this stage of the process and will likely be asked to keep any provided information confidential. The meeting will not be recorded, but notes may be taken.
- Removal and Rewelcoming
- While we strive to be inclusive and work together, DxE will separate from and remove people who are unable to follow our values or code of conduct and may remove people whose behavior makes others feel excluded.
- When people are removed from the community for a Tier III violation or repeated Tier II violations, this means they are not welcome at any in-person or online DxE events, including events organized by other official DxE chapters in the DxE network, the Animal Liberation Conference, or any events held at the Berkeley Animal Rights Center.
- Depending on the circumstances, organizers and chapter members may be alerted to the person’s removal. Generally,
- All chapter members will be alerted when the removed person poses a risk of significant harm to the community.
- All organizers, as well as anyone else who may interact closely with the person, e.g. a circle host, will be alerted when a person is removed in order to ensure they are not invited to events, given roles, etc...
- In most instances of removal, an accountability process and other steps will be laid out with respect to how someone could potentially be re-welcomed into the community in the future. These steps are created with input from the person harmed, any involved third-party professional, the report team, and the core team. The steps should ensure that the offending party demonstrates a commitment to reforming the behavior and takes adequate time to reflect and educate themselves, but also be reasonable and reflect an understanding that people make mistakes and can change.
- In the case of sexual misconduct, DxE will not facilitate or take part in any accountability or restorative justice processes. These must be entirely done by a third-party professional.
- If the person does return to the community in the future, they may be asked to not seek elevated roles for a period of time.
- If you feel you have been falsely or unfairly accused of violating DxE’s values, code of conduct, or harassment policy, email firstname.lastname@example.org and/or email@example.com with a concise description of your grievance.
This code of conduct and harassment policy is distributed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike license.
 Bullying is form of aggressive behavior in which someone intentionally and repeatedly causes another person injury or discomfort.
 We directly challenge systems of oppression with the power of nonviolence and we have empathy for the individuals caught up in violent systems, seeking to bring them to the side of justice, but on some occasions we do aim our protests and direct action at certain individuals who hold particularly powerful positions within systems of oppression, like a CEO of a company that thrives on animal exploitation or an elected official who holds the power to create legislative change. Even when we do focus on these individuals, we maintain empathy for them.
 There are times when calling out may be warranted. DxE’s position on this can be found here.
 Enthusiastic consent is achieved when someone has demonstrated clear verbal or physical communication that they are excited to take part in an activity. The activity may be sexual or it may something else, but either way, enthusiastic consent must be freely given (without coercion, pressure or being under the influence), reversible, informed, and specific to the situation in question.
 While we don’t equate legality with morality, for the purposes of this policy, “drug” is defined as a substance used illegally, e.g. an illegal drug or an otherwise legal drug used in an illegal manner. For example, while cannabis is legal in many cases in California, it is not legal to smoke in public.