YDSA Constitution

Article I. Name

Sec. 1- The name of the organization shall be the Young Democratic Socialists of America, here forth referred to as YDSA.

Article II. Relationship to Democratic Socialists of America (DSA)

Sec. 1- YDSA shall establish its own organizational structure within the broad aims and principles of the DSA, and shall develop its own program relevant to students, campus communities, and youth.

Sec. 2- YDSA shall work to implement the priorities and political program of DSA, as resolved by their national organization in a way relevant to YDSA, and when appropriate to adopt and implement independent YDSA political priorities and strategies.

Article III. Aims & Objectives

Sec. la- YDSA is an autonomous organization that shall serve to further the following aims:

Sec. lb- To build the power of students, campus communities, and youth to fight for equality, justice, and democratic socialism.

Sec. le- To develop, determine, and promote the policies and positions of the YDSA.

Sec. ld- To provide support and assistance to local organizations of YDSA, to assist and support the organization of new local and national organizations, and to facilitate cooperation between local organizations across the United States and internationally.

Sec. le- To promote Democratic Socialists of America among students, campus communities, and youth.

Sec. 1f- To educate and train YDSA members to prepare them for a lifetime of organizing in the service of a democratic socialist future.

Article IV. Membership

Sec. 1 – Membership in YDSA shall be open to any DSA members who are full or part-time students, campus workers (including, but not limited to, adjunct faculty, teaching assistants, and non-traditional students), or youth who accept the aims, constitution, resolutions, and the decisions of the organization. Members over 30 years of age may not hold elective office in the organization.

Sec. 2 – Members shall be determined on the basis of application. All membership applications shall be submitted to the National Coordinating Committee {NCC) which may accept or refuse membership. The NCC may delegate responsibility to lower structures to decide on applications. YDSA may require a regular financial contribution in the form of dues as part of this application process.

Sec. 3 – All members shall belong to a local organization in the form of a branch or chapter. Where a branch or chapter do not exist, that member shall be considered “At-Large”.

Sec. 4 – Members can be expelled from YDSA membership if they are found to be in substantial disagreement with the principles or policies of the organization or if they consistently engage in undemocratic, disruptive behavior or if they are under the discipline of any self-defined democratic-centralist organization. Members facing expulsion must receive written notice of charges against them and must be given the opportunity to be heard before the NCC or a subcommittee thereof, appointed for the purpose of considering expulsion.

Article V. Organization

Sec. 1 – The basic unit of organization for YDSA is the chapter. Chapters shall be formed on the basis of university, college, or school. Such definition shall denote the primary but not exclusive jurisdiction of the chapter. A chapter may at any time redefine itself by notifying the NCC or Annual Convention. In case of overlapping jurisdiction, the NCC shall mediate the dispute.

Sec. 2a – Chapters shall be approved by a simple majority vote of the NCC or Annual Convention.

Sec. 2b – For chapters, no less than three {3) members may apply by petition for a charter as a chapter. A full membership list, club constitution, and list of elected officers shall accompany the petition.

Sec. 2c – Petitions shall be re-submitted at least once in every calendar year to retain chapter status. A charter identifies a chapter as an official branch of the YDSA. Chapters are entitled to support from the National Office and staff of the YDSA.

Sec. 2d – Chapters are expected to develop their own program relevant to their specific locality and needs. This program should fall within the aims and objectives set out by YDSA and the YDSA Annual Convention.

Sec. 3 – Upon petition of three (3) or more chapters, with an aggregate membership greater than or equal to 15 members, the NCC shall consider the application for city-wide organization. City-wide organization shall be formed on the basis of city/metropolitan area. At-large members residing within the city shall be members of the city-wide organization unless they request otherwise.

Sec. 4 – Upon petition of three (3) or more chapters, with an aggregate membership greater than or equal to 25 members, the NCC shall consider the application for State Councils. Members-at-large residing within the state shall be members of the State council unless they request otherwise.

Sec. 5 – Chapter, city-wide organization, or state council charters granted by the NCC may be revoked by a majority vote of the NCC or the Annual Convention.

Sec. 6a – Any three (3) or more student activists may apply for a charter as a YDSA affiliate. A full membership list, club constitution, and list of elected officers shall accompany the petition and be resubmitted at least once in every calendar year to retain affiliate status. All signatories of the petition must be full or part-time students under 31 years of age.

Sec. 6b – An affiliate charter establishes a semi-official relationship with the DSA general organization. Affiliates are entitled to support from the national officers and staff YDSA. Affiliates may be required to make a regular :financial contribution as part of their application process.

Sec. 6c – Affiliates shall be approved by a simple majority vote of the NCC. Cases where chapters and affiliates apply for charters from the same locality shall be referred to the NCC.

Sec. 6d – Affiliates shall be expected to operate within the broad terms of policy and principles set by the YDS. Procedures for resolving points of conflict shall be the same as for chapters as described in Article 9.

Sec. 6e – The NCC shall prepare guidelines for approving affiliates each year. These guidelines shall be reviewed each year by the Annual Convention.

Article VI. Annual Convention

Sec. 1 – The organization shall meet in Convention annually.

Sec. 2 – The Annual Convention shall be the sovereign political body of the organization unless otherwise specified in this Constitution. It shall prescribe policy, elect and delegate powers to national officers of the organizations and serve as a forum for internal education.

Sec. 3 – Any member of the organization shall have speaking and voting rights at the Annual Convention. These rights shall be subject to review at the Annual Convention meeting.

Sec. 4 – An announcement of the beginning of the pre-convention period shall be distributed to all YDSA members by the NCC at least ninety (90) days before the opening of the first session. This announcement shall included guidelines for submissions and candidates for national office.

Sec. 5 – The outgoing NCC shall select members of a Convention Planning Team. The Annual Convention shall also adopt a set of rules for plenary discussion and decision-making. The Annual Convention shall elect a Presidium to govern and administrate the Convention while it is in session.

Sec. 6 – A Special Convention shall be convened by the NCC upon their unanimous decision or petition of chapters representing a majority of the membership, or upon direct petition of one-third of the membership. Special Convention shall be convened no less than thirty and no more than ninety days after the receipt of a valid petition. Calls to Special Convention shall be issued to all members of the organization at least 21 days before the opening of the first session. Special Convention shall be equivalent to Annual Convention for the purpose of Sections 2 and 3 of this article.

Sec. 7 – Every year, YDSA may hold an annual National Winter Conference or an annual set of Regional Winter Conferences for the purposes of outreach, education, and fellowship. These conferences shall not be decision making bodies, but may serve as a format for discussion. The NCC, in consultation with the NPC, may convene Conference Planning Teams with representatives from both bodies to coordinate decisions regarding the theme, program, and logistics of the conferences

Article VII. National Coordinating Committee

Sec. 1 – The National Coordinating Committee (NCC) shall be made up of the national officers. It shall be the sovereign political body of the organization between Annual Conventions. Quorum for the Committee shall be 50% plus one of the national officers. The National Campus Organizer servers as an ex officio member of the NCC.

Sec. 2a – The national officers shall consist of two Co-Chairs and four at-large members. They shall be elected at Annual Convention.

Sec. 2b – Candidates for national office shall have been members of the organization for at least one month prior to the date of the election.

Sec. 2c – At least 50% of the NCC must be self-identified women or gender non-binary people (including one of the co-chairs), and at least 50% of the NCC must also be people of color. If a newly elected NCC falls short of these requirements, the National Campus Organizer and the NCC shall be required to recruit additional members to the NCC as at-large members until these requirements are met.

Sec. 3a – The agendas for the NCC conference calls shall be proposed by the Co-Chairs. These shall include, on a regular basis: discussion of activities, fundraising, publications, education, general political direction and coalition work.

Sec. 3b – The Co-Chairs shall be the chief spokespeople and responsible for coordinating administration and policy, including finances. They shall represent YDSA as a combined seat on the National Political Committee of the DSA. They shall report to the Annual Convention at the end of each year of tenure on the fulfillment of the mandate of the previous year’s Annual Convention by the NCC.

Sec. 4 – At-large members may take on responsibilities according to their specific skills, in consultation with the rest of the NCC and the National Campus Organizer. Attention should be paid to identifying YDSA ongoing needs as well as specific needs in the coming year when dividing up responsibilities.

Sec. 5 – The National Campus Organizer shall be the chief administrative official of the organization and shall be appointed by a joint YDSA/National DSA personnel Committee. They shall be directly supervised by the national officers in implementing program and policy made by the Annual Convention and take particular responsibility for chapter building and recruitment.

They shall produce and distribute to the NCC, membership, and the National Political Committee of DSA each quarter a written report on their progress, challenges and assessments. Should sensitive materials which might harm the organization be included in the report, the organizer may decide to make an amended version available to the membership and/or the NPC of DSA.

Sec. 6a – Charges of impeachment may be brought against any officer by a two thirds vote of the NCC. An officer is entitled to a fair trial on all charges brought against them They should not be subject to penalties or deprived of their membership without a full and open hearing before an unbiased tribunal.

Sec. 6b – If a position on the NCC is vacated for any reason a majority of the remaining officers may elect a replacement from the whole YDSA membership.

Article VIII. Committees & Working Groups

Sec. 1 – Each new NCC shall appoint such committees as it deems necessary to supervise specific work; these shall report to the NCC. The National Campus Organizer shall serve as an ex officio member of each committee. Each committee may invite YDSA members outside the NCC to participate as nonvoting members.

Sec. 2 – The NCC shall appoint an Executive Editor to manage the work of the Activist blog. The Executive Editor may establish an editorial board to assist in the direction of the Activist and assign responsibilities as they see :fit. The NCC may remove either the Executive Editor or any member of the editorial board by a simple majority vote.

Article IX. Authority

Sec. 1 – YDSA is not responsible for any document, policy, publication, or any other expression of political opinion except such as are issued by the authority of the Annual Convention and the regularly constituted leadership of the organization.

Article X. Amendments

Sec. 1 – The Constitution may be amended at an Annual Convention by a three-fifths vote of the Convention, provided that written notice of such amendments has been given to members one (1) month prior to the Convention.

Last Amended: August 5th, 2018 by the YDSA Annual Convention at the University of Minnesota.

Join the YDSA Mailing List

Join YDSA!

YDSA is a part of Democratic Socialists of America; membership in YDSA includes membership in DSA. To join, fill out the form on the DSA site, and answer yes to Are a you student interested in starting or joining a campus chapter?

Click Here to Join