The Purpose of the House
The Asian Culture House was founded in 1988 in order to provide a residential environment for students of all nationalities and cultures who have a sincere interest in Asian civilizations. The house seeks to enhance awareness of all aspects of Asian cultures on Amherst campus and offer residents of the House a chance to share and appreciate different cultural experiences on a personal level. In addition to cultural experiences, the house will provide residents an opportunity to practice and learn various Asian languages.
It should also be noted that the ACH, unlike other theme houses, does not focus on a single cultural interest—members interested in any and all cultures within the Asian continent are welcome and encouraged. This creates a unique and valuable aspect of life in the ACH. House residents consider themselves part of a family, united by a spirit of dialogue and support.
The Officials of the House
I. Role of the Asian Civilizations and Language Department
The Asian Culture House is governed by the Asian Civilizations and Language Department. The Chair of the Department will assign an advisor to the house. In addition, the head of the department will have to approve all changes to the Constitution.
II. Role of the Faculty Advisor
- Serve as liaison between the department and the house. Help members find funding and support for individual house projects.
- Actively promote house events and attend house meetings or events whenever possible.
- Review and approve all changes to the Constitution proposed by the house.
III. Role of the Resident Counselor (RC)
The RC is free from all requirements of an ACH House member. However, the RC is expected to commit to these roles:
To maintain communications with the physical plant, custodial staff, etc. to ensure that the physical aspects of the house are upheld.
Establish a sense of community within the dorm by holding communal events.
Promote ACH events to the rest of the dorm to further create a sense of community.
Keep the house and dorm informed about relevant Amherst College residential life programs and assistance.
Maintain communication with the ACH Official Board about the use and reservations of the ACH Common Room.
IV. Officers of the House
Depending on the size of the house, members will elect appropriate number of administrative officers (up to 2 presidents, a treasurer, and an events coordinator). Officers must be elected by the election process explained in the Constitution. Officers may be dismissed from their positions by majority vote of the house. House members who wish to dismiss an official member must contact the current faculty advisor to hold a meeting about their complaint. If the faculty advisor finds that the officer in question is not fulfilling their responsibilities as either a house member or officer, then the faculty advisor will give out a warning to the officer in question and allow a two-week probationary period for the officer to remedy the issues brought up. If an officer is dismissed or resigns, a replacement will have to be voted upon by all the house members within two weeks of the officer’s resignation. The election will follow the same protocol as all official elections within the house.
1. PRESIDENT OR CO-PRESIDENTS OF THE HOUSE
Appropriates the floor meetings, presents, agendas, and opens floor to discussions.
Maintains close contact with the faculty advisor, faculty members, ASLC department, administrators, and student organizations.
Propose at least one major house event for each semester and take the leading role in organizing and publishing them.
Work with the Events Coordinator and Treasurer to compile information for the annual house report and provide a copy of this report to the Office of Residential Life, the Head of the ASLC Department, and the faculty advisor.
Attend and serve at all meetings convened by the Office of Residential Life. If a president cannot attend for any reason, the president must delegate another House Officer to attend the meeting in their absence.
Organize and facilitate the election for new Official members.
2. EVENTS COORDINATOR OF THE HOUSE
Contact necessary administrative staff, house treasurer, and campus group leaderships to reserve venues, arrange collaborative events, plan out the logistics, and choose appropriate event dates.
Keep organized and concise records of all activities, events, or projects organized by house members.
Publicize House events to the campus at large and ensuring that table tents, flyers and announcements are made.
3. TREASURER OF THE HOUSE
Handle all administrative aspects of house funds, such as: reimbursements, house account balance, purchase orders, supplemental funding, etc.
Keep an organized file of all financial transactions within the house budget.
Consult the events coordinator requiring financial guidance in regard to house events.
Assist presidents in applying for supplemental funding for possible major house events.
At the end of the spring semester each year, a meeting will be held by the current ACH President(s) to elect new Official Members for the upcoming academic year. The election procedure (explained below) will be exercised at the meeting to elect the new Official Board members and these members must receive a final acceptance by the current House Presidents.
V. ADMISSIONS COMMITTEE
The group may exceed no more than six members but have no less than three. If no one volunteers for the committee at the time of elections, the President(s) have the option of appointing the role to whomever they deem fit.
THE PURPOSE OF THE ADMISSIONS COMMITTEE
Review all applications to the house
Interview prospective residents or members
Discuss with the President(s) on deciding suitable members for the house
VI. Election Procedure
The election procedure will be facilitated by the current President(s) of the house, unless the President(s) wish to be re-elected for an official position. In that case, any current House officials not running to be re-elected may facilitate the elections. The election meeting will be announced as soon as new members are decided and must be held within two weeks of the new member roster being sent to Residential Life.
During the announcement of the meeting, the president(s) must detail the responsibilities of all Official positions and encourage all members to consider running for a position. All current and new members must attend the election meeting and participate.
At the meeting the facilitator will announce each position and record all nominations. Members at the meeting may nominate another house member or themselves for any position. If a member is nominated, they are added to the list of possible applicants unless they decline nomination.
Once all nominations are made for a position, each nominee will stand up and give a short (30 seconds - 1 minute) speech about their qualifications for the position. After speeches are given, the nominees for that position will exit the common room to allow for the house to discuss the nominees. The discussion must not exceed 5 minutes. Once the facilitator feels the discussion is finished, all members will be handed a piece of paper and instructed to write down the individual they wish to vote for and place it in the collection bin. All members (excluding the position nominee(s)) must vote.
Once all the ballots are collected, the facilitator will bring back the nominees and begin voting on the next position until all of the positions are filled. At that time, the meeting will be closed and the facilitator will count up the votes for each position. The nominee who wins the majority vote will take on the official position in the following year. If there is a tie between nominees (with the exception of the President) then a second round of voting will take place.
If a current president wishes to continue their role for the following academic year, then they must be re-nominated and elected through majority vote. If there are only 2 nominees for president then an addition poll will needed to be taken to decide if the house wishes to have both members as Co-Presidents. This poll can be informal and students can simply raise their hand in favor or disfavor to the idea of both members being Co-Presidents. If the poll is in favor, then both nominees will be elected as Co-Presidents. If the poll is against Co-Presidents, then the house members will have to vote for a nominee they wish to have as President. In this case, there will only be one (1) President for the following academic year. If there are three (3) or more nominees then the house will vote for two (2) nominees that they wish to have as Co-Presidents. The nominee(s) with the 2 highest amounts of votes (or just majority vote if the house wishes to only have one President) will be elected as (Co-)President(s). If there is only one nominee for the presidential position, then that individual will be named President.
Once all ballots are counted and the positions decided, the president(s) will send out an announcement of the elected positions to the current faculty advisor and all house members. If there is any opposition to the elected individuals, then that individual must contact and consult with the current president.
Selection of rooms should take place one week after the roster for the following academic year is submitted. Members will select rooms according to two criteria: class seniority and prior experience living in the House. Selection is made first by those who have both class seniority and prior experience living in the House. Thus, juniors and sophomores that currently live in the House will choose rooms first. However, those with more living experience in the House will choose before those that have less living experience. This is to be followed by incoming juniors, sophomores, and freshmen that have not had prior living experience in the House. All members that have equal standing (same class and house seniority) will choose based on a lottery system.
At the Room Draw Meeting, members will be called in order of the list created to pick their rooms for the following academic year. At the meeting there should be a floor plan present for all members to view (25 singles, 2 two-room doubles). Once the members have decided on their rooms, their choices should be recorded and submitted to Residential Life.
Residents of the House
All prospective residents must submit an application for admission to the House. Residence in the Asian Culture house is open to Amherst College students in their second, third and fourth years. First years, as a rule, are not allowed to live in the house. The only exception is the case in which the House has a room available and the first year has extenuating circumstances; in such a case, the first year must be applying for the spring semester.
New members to the Asian Culture House are encouraged to hold an interest in Asian culture, and are interested to promote Asian culture on campus.
Members are encouraged to strive for at least 4 of the following areas by the end of their stay at the ACH:
Ability to speak and/or learning to speak an Asian language
Ability to contribute to ACH
Willingness to learn
Ability to interact with people so as to create a cohesive group
Experience in ACH (i.e. attendance at House events)
As ACH is primarily a culture house and, as such, represents a wide range of interests and cultures, diversity within the house is of utmost importance.
Applicants will be notified of their acceptance to the house one to two weeks after their applications.
II. Re-admission Process
Current residents [with the exception of the president(s)] must submit a request to remain in the Asian Culture House to the current presidents. Re-admission for the following academic year will be determined by the (co)-president(s) and the Officers of the House, with the exception of Officers of the House, who’s re-admission will be determined by the (co)-president(s) and faculty advisor.
For re-admission to the Asian Culture House, all eligible applicants must fill out a new application form for the following semester. Eligible applicants include: residents who are on medical/personal leave during the semester for which they applied; residents whose residence in the house has been interrupted by medical/personal leave during the semester. It should be noted that applicants applying for re-admission are not promised a spot in the house, nor will they necessarily be assigned to their old room. Acceptance will be determined using the same criteria used for new applicants.
III. Expectations of Members
House members will be evaluated based upon their abilities to fulfill the below responsibilities. House members agree to the evaluation process at time of application. In order for House members to understand their responsibilities, it is their right to obtain a copy of the constitution from the Chair of the House and gain it’s full understanding. Members are expected to behave by and act in according to the following:
Participation in and organization of house activities. All House members are expected to offer input into the process of organizing events, both to ensure that their interests are represented and to share the weight of House duties.
Each House member is encouraged to attend and participate in Tea Times.
Encouraged to attend all House meetings.
Fostering a sense of community within the house and affirming the house as a safe space for the Asian community.
Respect for other House members (i.e. Peaceful resolution of conflicts, respect for the opinions of others, noise control, etc.).
Respect for house (i.e. Cleanliness, presentation, property).
It should be remembered that the Asian Culture House is a Theme House, which means that the House as a whole is expected to spread awareness across campus. Members are all expected to contribute in the spreading of awareness through the organization of events.
Acceptable events should fall under at least one (1) of the following categories.
1. Enhance awareness of all aspects of Asian cultures on Amherst campus. Events are to be prioritized in the following order:
a. Educational events (e.g., lectures)
b. Social events (e.g., parties)
2. Offer residents of the House a chance to share and appreciate different cultural experiences on a personal level.
3. Provide residents an opportunity to practice and learn Asian languages.
While events for house members are of critical importance with regards to the cohesiveness of the house, emphasis will be place upon events for the campus at large. Campus wide events include but are not limited to:
Collaborated events (with other Theme Houses and student groups)
Workshops (i.e.. Yoga, Tai Chi, henna, etc.)
Tea Time is the House’s way of bringing the different members of ACH together to chat and relax. Held bi-weekly at a time agreeable to most members, it is also a good chance to discuss opinions and receive feedback on any aspect of the function of the House.
I. ACH Common Room Usage
ACH encourages other student organizations to utilize the use of the common space inside the theme house. All students interested in using the common space for meetings, activities, parties, etc. must contact the president(s) to get approval of usage for the space. Requests should include date, time, and purpose of the activity. If the president(s) approve the use of the common room, then the RC must be contacted about the reservation of the space. In addition, activities held in the ACH common space should be open for all ACH members to attend, so once the common room is reserved an email should be sent out to all members of the house by the president(s) to encourage attendance at the event.
II. Party and Alcohol Policy
Non-ACH affiliated groups and House residents that would like to have parties in ACH must submit a request to House Presidents for approval, and sign a party contract, through the Office of Student Activities, agreeing to abide by the rules of the college. (See ACH Common Room Usage for more on common space reservation).
In the interest of maintaining the tradition of a dry house, all common spaces (Bathrooms, Halls, and Common Room) should remain alcohol free, except in the event of a function that is deemed appropriate by a majority vote. Parties that are deemed appropriate should be those where a house member assumes full responsibility for the event, and should refer to school policy regarding alcohol use. As a general rule, the all campus events will be dry, but if the organizers of the event believe an exception to be in order, they may petition the house, and the house members will decide together by a majority vote.
Amendments to the Constitution
This constitution can be amended as necessary. Any member may propose to amend this constitution. An amendment proposed by a house member must be accepted by the president(s) and faculty advisor. Once the amendment is reviewed and accepted, it will be recorded below and submitted to Residential Life.
Amendments of the Constitution should be typed in a word document clearly labeling which section it is amending. This document should be emailed to the president(s) once it is completed for review. The president(s) will inform the house member of the status of the amendment whenever available. If an amendment is denied, the house member should be contact with the reason for denial. If the amendment is accepted, then the president(s) should use their choice to either hold a meeting to discuss the change in the amendment or send out a house email of the change in the Constitution.
The Constitution was amended on October 11, 2016 by the ACH Presidents of 2016-2017