Code of Conduct for Carolina Mountain Club
The purpose of this code of conduct is to provide a framework of support to members, volunteers, and organization leaders maintaining a culture that is safe, ethical, and responsible. This expectation is extended to all members of the Carolina Mountain Club (CMC), as well as to any other person who participates in any official club activity, regardless of membership status. In this document all of the aforementioned persons will be designated as “volunteers.”
Carolina Mountain Club’s mission is to encourage and support hiking in the Western North Carolina Mountains. We fulfill our mission by:
- leading hikes and welcoming all who are capable of participating;
- building and maintaining trails, especially the sections of the Appalachian Trail and Mountains to Sea Trail for which we have accepted responsibility; and
- working with public and private partners to conserve our natural heritage.
We aim to be an inclusive, equitable, diverse and kind community. At CMC we are united in our adventure by mutual trust, collective safety, respect for the natural world, and appreciation for our time together outdoors. We continually strive to provide a welcoming and respectful environment.
“When people have meaningful experiences outdoors their quality of life, health, and social wellbeing improve, and in turn their communities become stronger and more sustainable.” Rethink Outside
Alignment with Laws
Carolina Mountain Club adheres to Federal Human Rights Laws. According to the law, protected status includes race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy and gender identity), sexual orientation, national origin, age, disability, genetic information (including family medical history), status as a parent, marital status, or political affiliation. Under the law, protected activities include reporting harassing, discriminatory, or retaliatory conduct; filing a claim of harassment; supplying evidence in any investigation; or intervening to protect others who have suffered harassing misconduct, discrimination, or retaliation.
We encourage people of all identities to feel a connection to the natural world, to recreate on it, and to steward it safely and responsibly. While many club activities require little to no previous experience, for safety reasons, some tasks require participants to meet certain physical and cognitive criteria. We endeavor to match all volunteers with activities and/or tasks that benefit the club and the volunteer, and offer appropriate training, if needed, in a timely fashion.
The code of conduct applies to:
- Physical locations, like office buildings, club houses or visitor centers.
- Activities that draw people together such as trips, events, programming, trainings, meetings
- Asynchronous activities such as written communication, including online and social media.
- Other instances or locations where people operating within the code may be representing the Carolina Mountain Club.
Volunteer Rights and Responsibilities
Volunteers have the right to:
- have a workplace free of harassment, discrimination, or hostile conditions,
- receive a suitable assignment,
- receive training and necessary support,
- have qualified supervision,
- have safe working conditions, and
- have their time used effectively.
Volunteers have the responsibility to:
- make safety the highest priority,
- act in a professional manner,
- follow CMC policies and guidelines,
- participate in and learn from training sessions and meetings,
- perform high quality work,
- seek and accept guidance and support.
Standards of Conduct
In every situation, those within the scope of this code are expected to conduct themselves in a manner consistent with volunteer rights and responsibilities and this Code of Conduct. Safety, as a high priority focus, includes both physical safety and emotional safety. To that end, we commit to inclusive and equitable practices in action, word, and deed. Those within the scope of this code will not comport themselves in a manner detrimental to others within the CMC community.
The goal of establishing a code of conduct is to educate, inspire, and empower those persons who participate in Carolina Mountain Club activities. Each club member is expected to:
- Welcome all people and actively seek new members, supporters, stewards, and constituents.
- Uphold a community built on respect, encouragement, and opportunity for all, where issues are addressed in a calm and professional manner.
- Conduct and participate in activities with safety as the highest priority, while minimizing risk and impacts.
- Respect our natural resources and the ways that other people connect with one another and the outdoors.
- Avoid conflicts of interest.
- Stay informed of the land manager(s) policies and regulations, including guidelines and recommendations.
- Represent the CMC in a professional and respectful manner.
Misconduct describes actions in violation of the Code’s Standard of Conduct. Actions that may be detrimental to the organization, the public, and natural resources or are in
violation of the aforementioned values are considered misconduct.
The following is not an exhaustive list, but provides examples of misconduct:
- Unwelcome, discriminatory, or exclusionary behavior toward others of any kind based on identities including, but not limited to, race, ethnicity, gender identity, gender expression, sexual orientation, physical ability, mental ability, neurotypicality, physical characteristic, socioeconomic background, nationality, age, religion, or beliefs. This includes but is not limited to unsolicited judgments on a person’s lifestyle choices and practices: things like food, health, parenting, drugs,
- Physical or sexual assault, including violence or threats of violence toward others.
- Harassment that is sexual, psychological, and/or physical. Harassment may be verbal, physical, digital, deliberate, unsolicited, or unwelcome. This includes but is not limited to physical contact without consent and/or a refusal to honor a request to stop.
- Failure to prioritize, or willful disregard for, personal and group safety during participation in CMC activities, whether through disregard for stated policies and rules or through negligence.
- Disregard for Leave No Trace TM principles and/or for the rules and regulations of the land manager.
- Failure to interact with or represent CMC in a professional and respectful manner.
- Illegal or unethical activity while participating in club activities.
- Misuse, misreporting, or embezzlement of club project funds or other assets.
If any reported misconduct is, or seems to be in the opinion of the team designated by CMC to act upon the alleged misconduct, a violation of county, state, or federal
criminal law, such misconduct will not be internally investigated but will instead be reported directly to the appropriate law enforcement agency for investigation.
Persons who have experienced or witnessed misconduct are encouraged to immediately discuss such issues with the involved parties in an open way to help lead to
improved communication and stronger working relationships. In some instances, this approach isn’t an option or is unsuccessful. In that event, Volunteers, members, and guests of our organization may report misconduct through one of these means:
In writing via regular mail.
Reports should be sent to P.O. Box 68, Asheville,NC 28802, attn: Conduct Response Team:
- Via email sent to both email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org
- If the above are not satisfactory options, complainants are encouraged to seek out another member of the CMC Council (names and email addresses are found in the “Officers” tab of the CMC website).
When reporting any alleged breach of code, CMC requests the following:
- Name and contact information of the person(s) making the complaint
- Type of misconduct
- Name of person(s) breaching the Code of Conduct, if known
- Date, time, and location of incident
- Details of incident
- Names of any witnesses and contact information, if known
Acknowledging Misconduct Report Receipt:
Within seven days of the receipt of a misconduct report The CMC Conduct ResponseTeam (details below) will make contact (phone call or email) with the person submitting the report to verify that the report was received and has/will be acted upon. If the violation has not been addressed within that time the Team will explain to the reporting individual the Team’s plan of action and arrange a second contact to explain and/or verify its actions.
Investigation and Resolution:
The Conduct Response Team will conduct all investigations and determine appropriate resolutions. The members of the CMC Conduct Response Team are as follows, listed in
order of seniority within the team.
- Team Leader: CMC President
- Team Member: CMC Vice President
- Team Member: CMC Immediate Past President
- Team Member: CMC Councilor for Membership
A quorum for this team shall be three members. If two or more members are not available or are ineligible due to conflict of interest the ranking member will secure the assistance of other persons from within the CMC Council, at his or her discretion, to reach a quorum.
Issue Investigation Process:
The investigation team will always strive to resolve complaints as quickly as possible. The recommended steps in the investigation of a misconduct complain include, but are
not limited to, the following:
- Interviewing complainant, witnesses, and the accused.
- Designated members of the Team will speak separately with the complainant(s) and the respondent(s).
- Reviewing statements, written material, digital evidence, etc.
- Examining/checking bias of investigators to provide objective study of findings.
- Assessing facts against established standards for behavior in the Code of Conduct.
- Collecting a written record of all meetings, stored in a confidential manner.
- Resolution of the complaint, voted on by the members of the Team (simple majority), which will include action, if any, taken on behalf of the club against the
Statement on Protection from Retaliation:
A code of conduct is a recognition that marginalized people’s safety is important, and that a grievance reporting process is the foundation for accountability and resolution. Despite every effort to protect the identity of complainants, the issues under scrutiny may result in their identity becoming obvious to the accused. Retaliation in any form,
and by any person, is itself a breach of the code of conduct. An organization’s values and code of conduct should encourage and protect people reporting misconduct. This
protection against retaliation also extends to those whose allegations are made in good faith but prove to be mistaken.
Decision and Resolution:
At the conclusion of the investigation, a decision regarding action will be made by the Conduct Response Team. Actions may include (but are not limited to) education,
mediation or counseling, loss of club membership (temporary or permanent), exclusion from activities, revocation of leadership role or volunteer status, or legal prosecution.
The decision of the Conduct Response Team is final.
When a decision has been made the Team will:
- Inform the complainant(s) of the investigation’s outcome.
- Inform the respondent(s) of the outcome, along with any other associated next steps, if necessary.
Limitations and Modifications:
Carolina Mountain Club acknowledges that the Code of Conduct and the procedures therein will not cover all possible circumstance. The Conduct Response Team is
authorized to modify the procedures specified in the Code to fairly and equitably address specific, unusual circumstances. The Team may also enlist the assistance of
any or all elected Councilors to assist in this task.
Modifications to this Code of Conduct shall be made as is deemed necessary. Any substantive changes will require a majority vote of the CMC Council.