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Rain City Bylaws

1: Bylaws, Mission & Safety Statements
1.1 Mission Statement
1.1.1: All bylaws, rules, project and actions undertaken by Rain City Poetry Slam shall adhere to the following mission statement: “The mission of Rain City Poetry Slam is to provide a community for Seattle spoken word poets of all ages to create, learn, teach and find a poetry community. Our vision is to establish a safe space where poetry can inspire, be discovered, be learned and be showcased without boundaries. We will provide an open mic that allows any voice to be heard; community showcases that promote new work; writing circles to ensure time, space and support for writing; feature respected poets to inspire our community; and a slam competition to assist in artistic growth, build confidence and challenge poets to think about their work in the context of an audience. We will promote the growth of spoken word poetry in Seattle and the Greater Cascadia Region, and support Seattle poets in the national and global spoken word communities.”
1.1.2: No bylaw, rule, project, or action shall be approved by the Rain City board that does not conform to the above mission statement.
1.2 Safety Statement
1.2.1: The leadership and volunteers of Rain City Poetry Slam shall abide by, and promote compliance with in the general audience and community, the following safety statement: “Rain City Poetry Slam is committed to safety in our community for all of our members. We ask that anyone entering our community in any capacity treat the audience, poets, venue staff, Rain City community members and featuring artists as equals. We refuse to permit any act of hate, violence or bigotry on or off our stage and will ban any person or persons involved in those acts. Guests will seek and respect the bodily and creative autonomy of other community members; this includes but isn’t limited to unauthorized touching or affection, or unauthorized reproduction or communication of onstage work. Any person whose safety has been threatened in any way should report the occurrence to a member of the Rain City Poetry Slam board. The board will keep information confidential and anonymous and provide any support requested. Absolutely NO ONE is above the rules expressed here, and inappropriate, dangerous, hateful or violent behavior is unacceptable for the entire community.”
1.2.2: No bylaw, rule, project, or action shall approved by the Rain City board that does not wholly conform to the above mission statement
1.2.3: No person shall be banned from attending Rain City Poetry Slam for any length of time without the unanimous vote of the Rain City board. If a board member is the subject of the ban vote, they shall automatically be abstained from vote
1.3 Bylaw Amendments

1.3.1: Any new bylaw, or any amendment to an existing bylaw, requires a full and unanimous vote of the Rain City board.

1.3.2: No such addition or amendment may be passed if the board contains fewer than three members, for any reason. [Added by Amendment 01/15/17]

2: CascadiaNow! Affiliation
2.1 Concerning Decision-Making & Autonomy
2.1.1: It is the sense of this body that all artistic, creative, and philosophical decision-making and day-to-day governance of the slam and related events shall be the sole provenance of Rain City and the Rain City board.
2.1.2: Disputes regarding the application of this bylaw shall be the sole responsibility of CascadiaNow! to pursue and resolve
2.1.3: It is the sense of this body that the board act in good and proper faith to resolve all such disputes to the mutual benefit of both CascadiaNow! and the Rain City community
2.2 Concerning Finances
2.2.1: All donations and revenue generated on behalf of Rain City Poetry Slam shall be the property of CascadiaNow!

2.2.2: The Rain City board shall designate a Finance Officer to execute decisionmaking on behalf of those funds

2.2.2.1: It is the sense of this body that CascadiaNow supports and understands this arrangement
2.2.2.2: It is nonetheless the sense of this body that the Finance Officer shall communicate all material expenditures and incomes to CascadiaNow! via a quarterly budget report in addition to ad hoc communications as necessary
2.3 Severance and Incorporation
2.3.1: Rain City Poetry Slam may, at the end of any fiscal quarter, terminate its fiscal sponsorship with CascadiaNow! Said termination will require a unanimous vote of its full board to be executed
2.3.2: At such time that Rain City should see fit to sever its fiscal sponsorship relationship with CascadiaNow!, the constituent members of the board shall retain full ownership over all materials, writing, logos and creative content associated with the organization and not originating from CascadiaNow!
2.3.3: All finances in the CascadiaNow! account understood to be associated with Rain City at the time of a severance are wholly the property of CascadiaNow! and may be dispensed or retained according to that organization’s discretion. This bylaw does not prevent Rain City from accepting any of these funds, in whole or in part, at the time of said severance
2.3.4: It is the sense of this body that such severance should only occur either in the service of incorporating as legal, registered 501(c) nonprofit, or in the event that CascadiaNow! or its membership have meaningfully or repeatedly violated the safety statement. This bylaw does not bind current or future boards and does not impel nonprofit incorporation as a reason for severance
3: Board & Leadership
3.1 Board Structure

3.1.1: Board size

3.1.1.1: The board shall consist of five (5) members elected to rotating terms

3.1.2: Board structure

3.1.2.1: The five (5) members shall have equal voting rights regarding all bylaws, rules, projects, or actions undertaken inside the Rain City community
3.1.2.2: Among those five members, there shall be two (2) members with short-term decision-making authority, known variously in this document as “executives,” “slammasters,” or “co-slammasters”
3.1.2.3: Effective when this document is approved, Rain City shall have five (5) board members named below, including two (2) executives, named below
3.2 Responsibilities & Authorities of the Board

3.2.1: General voting rules

3.2.1.1: No permanent, longstanding or materially binding bylaw, rule, project, or action shall be approved without a board vote. Temporary or time-sensitive decision-making authority shall be vested in individual board members as described below (3.2.1.5); voting on PSI rules that may impact Rain City is also delegated to the executives as outlined below (3.3.1.1)

3.2.1.2: A quorum of at least three (3) members in attendance is required for any board vote to be binding

3.2.1.2.1: It is the sense of the Rain City board that attendance via electronic meeting technology is a valid condition for “attendance” for quorum purposes or written approval of abstention
3.2.1.3: Any board member may call for a meeting

3.2.1.4: Any board member may motion for a vote within any meeting

3.2.1.4.1:The motion present must be clearly stated and submitted in a “yea or nay” format
3.2.1.4.2: All motions to vote must be seconded to end discussion. Once a motion is seconded, the board shall vote on the motion presented
3.2.1.4.3: It is the sense of this body that member may request further discussion before a motion is seconded, and that the seconder should grant the request. No seconder is required to honor the request, however
3.2.1.5: In such times that decisions are required and a board vote is not possible, all board members are empowered to make temporary decisions on behalf of the board. Present executives shall have final say in such scenarios, followed by board members in order of seniority. All such ad hoc decisions shall be voted on by the full board at the next possible opportunity.
3.3 Responsibilities & Authorities of the Executive(s)

3.3.1: Executive Function

3.3.1.1: The Executive(s) shall be the liaison between Rain City Poetry Slam and Poetry Slam Incorporated (PSI) for the purposes of all national competitions and for maintaining Rain City’s standing with PSI.

3.3.1.1.1: The executive(s) shall be empowered to vote in all PSI slammasters meetings, including on matters material to Rain City.
3.3.1.1.2: This authority shall exist independent of any vote or guidance from the Rain City board.
3.3.1.1.3: It is the sense of the board that the voting executive(s) shall consult the board in advance of all binding PSI votes to the best of their ability

3.3.1.2: The Executive(s) shall adopt decision-making authority over day-of-show decisions on show days and whenever they deem a board vote is impractical or impossible due to time constraints. All bylaws, rules, projects and actions shall be undertaken with this understanding. This authority shall pass to board members in order of seniority

3.3.1.2.1: The board or the executive(s) themselves shall abstain from such responsibilities when they are performers or competitors in important day-of-show activities such as series finals. If all board members are competitors that authority shall pass to the bout manager and host in that order
3.3.1.3: The executive(s), who will frequently be called “slammasters” or “co-slammasters,” may be given any title the board approves, dividing the executive responsibilities in any way the board approves
3.3.1.4: It is the sense of this body that precise titles and responsibilities of the executive(s) may change from time to time, and the board may enact those changes with a simple majority vote

3.3.2: Prohibitions

3.3.2.1: The executive(s) may not spend or authorize expenditures over $250 without the approval of the board or a designated board finance officer; the designee may not be an executive
3.3.2.2: The executive(s) may not approve or create any permanent slam rule outside of the confines of the PSI voting process
3.4 Board Membership

3.4.1: Electing board members

3.4.1.1: No board member may be elected with more than one nay vote

3.4.1.1.1: When five (5) members vote, this requires 4-1 or 5-0 in favor
3.4.1.1.2: When four (4) members vote, this requires 4-0 or 3-1 in favor
3.4.1.1.3: When three (3) members vote, this requires 3-0 or 2-1 in favor
3.4.1.2: Board members shall be eligible for further terms subject to their own consent and the approval of a simple majority of the other board members. The board member under consideration shall be abstained from the vote to re-elect

3.4.2: Board Term Length

3.4.2.1: Board members shall serve terms of two (2) years

3.4.2.1.1: Board members shall be eligible for further terms, subject to a majority vote from the board from which they shall abstain
3.4.2.1.2: Board terms shall be served on a rotating basis with four (4) month intervals between terms

3.4.2.2: Effective upon the ratification of this document, the inaugural board terms shall be of various term lengths such that Rain City shall have a sustainable four (4) month rotation in place for future boards.

3.4.2.2.1: Katrina Santos shall begin their term on April 15th, 2016 and shall end their term on April 14th, 2018. They shall be eligible for a second term, subject to a majority vote from the board from which they shall abstain
3.4.2.2.2: Dalin Costello II shall begin their term on April 15th, 2016 and shall end their term on December 14, 2017. They shall be eligible for a second term, subject to a majority vote from the board from which they shall abstain
3.4.2.2.3: Ian Martinez shall begin their term on April 15th, 2016 and shall end their term on August 14, 2017. They shall be eligible for a second term, subject to a majority vote from the board from which they shall abstain
3.4.2.2.4: Maya Hersh shall begin their term on April 15th, 2016 and shall end their term on April 14, 2017. They shall be eligible for a second term, subject to a majority vote from the board from which they shall abstain
3.4.2.2.5: Shanna Alden shall begin their term on April 15th, 2016 and shall end their term on December 14, 2016. They shall be eligible for a second term, subject to a majority vote from the board from which they shall abstain
3.4.2.2.6: Rain City shall keep an accurate and current document stating the term-end dates for each of its board members
3.4.2.3: New board members are considered probationary for four (4) full months after their election and will either approved or rejected as permanent members by simple majority vote at the first full board meeting more than four months after their term begins. The probationary board member must abstain from this vote

3.4.2.4: The board may by simple majority vote appoint an emergency appointee to finish the term of any member having departed, resigned or otherwise vacated their board seat for any reason. That appointment shall last only through the designated end of the vacating member’s term

3.4.2.4.1: Emergency members may stand for permanent board membership upon reaching the end of their emergency term, subject to the same rules as all permanent board members (3.4.3)
3.4.2.4.2: If the emergency service time served by such a member exceeds one (1) calendar year, that term shall be counted as the first of the board member’s two-term limit (3.4.3.1). If it does not, the emergency member may serve two (2) additional terms, subject to the same votes and restrictions as the other members

3.4.3: Board Term Limits

3.4.3.1: Board members may serve up to two (2) consecutive terms, totalling four (4) years of service

3.4.3.2: Should the board perceive no viable replacement for a board member having served their two (2) terms, the other four members of the board may extend the service time of said board member by an additional two (2) year term

3.4.3.2.1: The vote to approve such an extension must be unanimous
3.4.3.2.2: The board member in question must be abstained from this vote; its results can be reported to them but they may not witness the discussion or vote
3.4.3.3: It is the sense of this body that board members should serve no more than two consecutive two-year terms and that board members should only serve longer by exception

3.4.4: Board Eligibility Rules

3.4.4.1: Board members must be 18 years of age or older
3.4.4.2: Board members must be registered PSI members in good standing
3.4.4.3: It is the sense of the current body that at least six months of volunteering shall be preferred in board candidates but is not a formal requirement
3.4.4.4: It is the sense of the current body that community membership tenure shall be considered for board membership but is not a formal requirement
3.4.4.5: It is the sense of the current body that active community membership tenure, extended volunteer service, or prior board membership in other slam communities shall be considered in cases where candidates have come from other cities

3.4.5: Board impeachment

3.4.5.1: It is the sense of this body that from time to time, impeachment of board members may be required
3.4.5.2: Theft or other fraud, violence, or other criminality of any kind aimed at Rain City, CascadiaNow! or its members shall be grounds for impeachment
3.4.5.3: Repeated violation of the safety statement shall be grounds for impeachment
3.4.5.4: Gross negligence, gross indifference, or other dereliction of board responsibilities shall be grounds for impeachment
3.4.5.5: Blacklisting or other formal exclusion from PSI events or membership shall be grounds for impeachment
3.4.5.6: No other infractions shall be grounds for impeachment unless the board shall amend the bylaws to add additional kinds
3.4.5.7: Impeachment must be a unanimous vote by the full board minus the member under consideration
3.4.5.8: Members under an impeachment vote may not be present during the vote to impeach, though the board shall give them an opportunity to address all accusations against them
3.4.5.9: Impeached members shall be replaced under the emergency board member rules detailed above (3.4.2.4)
4: Official Rain City Season
4.1 Calendar

4.1.1: Slam Season

4.1.1.1: Rain City shall observe a yearly cycle that conforms to the best of our ability to the PSI calendar
4.1.1.2: That season shall begin on September 1 each year and end August 31 each year.

4.1.2: Quarterly Reporting

4.1.2.1: Shall be made to CascadiaNow! and for public viewing every three (3) months, in April, July, October, and January
4.2 Every year in advance of the new slam season, the Board shall create or continue the eligibility rules that apply to Rain City's representatives to the three major national competitions (IWPS, WOWPS, and NPS)
4.2.1: Should the board fail to create, or be delayed in creating new rules, the eligibility rules from the prior season shall count for the current season.
4.2.2: The board may not change eligibility rules beyond November 1st of any season, as a consideration to competing poets.
4.3 Rain City Sanctioned Events

4.3.1: National Poetry Slam

4.3.1.1: Team size and makeup

4.3.1.1.1: The Rain City board shall vote in advance of each season on the size and makeup of the national team -including how many full-time members or alternates to include and whether alternates may join the team at NPS
4.3.1.1.2: Team membership shall be determined by filling the number of full and alternate member slots decided above by the final results of the Rain City Grand Slam
4.3.1.1.3: The only exception to the above rule shall occur when a poet ranking high enough in the Grand Slam to qualify for a team spot does not meet the stated eligibility rules. In this case the board shall vote on that poet’s eligibility on a case by case basis.

4.3.1.2: Qualifying format

4.3.1.2.1: The qualifying format for the NPS series shall be fully within the purview of the board to determine before the beginning of each new season.
4.3.1.2.2: The board shall publish in some public and accessible venue the rules for competing and advancing in the NPS series before the beginning of each new season

4.3.1.3: Finance

4.3.1.3.1: Funding for the NPS team shall be the highest priority of the Finance Officer, and shall be Rain City’s first expenditure, subject to the availability of funding.
4.3.1.3.2: Funding for an NPS team coach shall be the highest priority among coaches and, after a good faith budget has been established for (a) the NPS team, (b) the IWPS representative, and (c) the WOWPS representative, shall be Rain City’s fourth expenditure, subject to the availability of funding.

4.3.2: Individual World Poetry Slam

4.3.2.1: Qualifying format

4.3.2.1.1: The qualifying format for the IWPS series shall be fully within the purview of the board to determine at the beginning of each new season.
4.3.2.1.2: The board shall publish in some public and accessible venue the rules for competing and advancing in the IWPS series prior to the onset of the first event

4.3.2.2: Finance

4.3.2.2.1: Funding for the IWPS representative shall be tied for second-highest priority of the Finance Officer with the WOWPS funding, and shall be Rain City’s second expenditure, also tied, subject to the availability of funding. In the case of a funding shortfall, those two events shall split the available funds.
4.3.2.2.2: Funding for an IWPS team coach shall be the second-highest priority among coaches and, after a good faith budget has been established for (a) the NPS team, (b) the IWPS representative, (c) the WOWPS representative, and (d) an NPS team coach, shall be Rain City’s fifth expenditure, subject to the availability of funding.

4.3.3: Women of the World Poetry Slam

4.3.3.1: Qualifying format

4.3.3.1.1: The qualifying format for the WOWPS series shall be fully within the purview of the board to determine at the beginning of each new season.
4.3.3.1.2: The board shall publish in some public and accessible venue the rules for competing and advancing in the WOWPS series prior to the onset of the first event

4.3.3.2: Finance

4.3.3.2.1: Funding for the WOWPS representative shall be tied for the second-highest priority of the Finance Officer with IWPS funding, and shall be Rain City’s second expenditure, also tied, subject to the availability of funding. In the case of a funding shortfall, those two events shall split the available funds.
4.3.3.2.2: Funding for a WOWPS team coach shall be the third-highest priority among coaches and, after a good faith budget has been established for (a) the NPS team, (b) the IWPS representative, (c) the WOWPS representative, (d) an NPS team coach, and (e) an IWPS coach, shall be Rain City’s sixth expenditure, subject to the availability of funding.

4.3.4: Rain City Hoodie Slam

4.3.4.1: Qualifying Format

4.3.4.1.1: Tournament Structure

4.3.4.1.1.1: The qualifying structure for the Rain City Hoodie Slam shall be a series of slams, from which the winner and a selected number of runner-ups of each slam advance to the final.
4.3.4.1.1.2: If a poet qualifies for the final, but is unable to attend, the highest non-advancing finisher in their qualifier shall advance in their place. If that poet is unable or unwilling to compete in the final, their place in the final shall be left vacant, and the winner of the first Rain City Hoodie Slam qualifier shall receive a bye in the first round of the final. In the case of two vacant spots, the winner of the second Hoodie Slam qualifier shall receive a bye in the first round, and so on.

4.3.4.2: Finance

4.3.4.2.1: Awards given to qualifier and finals winner

4.3.4.2.1.1: The winner of any Rain City Hoodie Slam qualifier shall receive a Rain City Poetry Slam t-shirt. Only one shirt shall be awarded per qualifier and no more shall be printed annually.
4.3.4.2.1.2: The winner of the Rain City Hoodie Slam finals shall receive a Rain City Poetry Slam hoodie. Only one (1) hoodie shall be awarded annually.
4.3.4.2.1.3: Rain City board reserves to right to present a cash or non-cash award at any time to the winner of any of its slams. However, any such award not enumerated in this document must be approved by unanimous vote

4.3.4.2.2: Payment of the weekly featured poets shall be prioritized over funding for all national events. In the case of financial shortfall the national events shall receive funding equal to the Rain City budget minus expenditures for featured poets. It is the sense of the board that Rain City’s commitment to paying its featured poets is the highest single financial commitment it has

4.3.4.2.2.1: Payment rates for featured poets shall be determined by the board

4.3.4.2.2.1.1: It is the sense of the current body that no poet should be paid less than $50
4.3.4.2.2.2: Any poet’s eligibility to become a paid feature shall be determined by the board prior to their placement on the feature calendar
5: Affirmation
5.1: I, the undersigned member of the board, hereby attest that I approve of the above”] document, that I agree in principle with its bylaws, that this board has made a good faith effort to capture the interests of our community, and shall neither propose nor approve any rule, project or action that does not comply with them. I acknowledge that in doing so in combination with my fellow undersigned, I therefore enact them. I further attest that I will honor the above bylaws as I continue in the Rain City community.
Dalin Costello II
Maya Hersh
Katrina Santos
Ian Martinez
Shanna Alden

bylaws