German House Constitution

Amended on September 8, 2022 

1. Statement of Purpose 

a. The German House provides its residents with an environment that encourages and facilitates the speaking of German and the exploration of the culture of German speaking countries. 

b. The German House is committed to the values of diversity and inclusion in keeping with College policy and does not discriminate on the basis of race, national or ethnic origin, color, religion, sex or gender (including pregnancy, sexual orientation, gender expression and gender identity), age, disability, genetic information, military service, or any other characteristic or class protected under applicable federal, state or local law. nationality, gender, sexual orientation, age, religion, disability, etc. 

2. Structure of the German House 

a. A President will be elected for each academic year, by the end of the third week of the Fall semester, barring any unforeseen circumstances. A Vice President may be elected in addition to the President. The President and Vice President (if applicable) will be charged with the following responsibilities among others: 

i. coordinating Kaffeeklatsch, in conjunction with the Language Assistants and the German ADC, 

ii. organization and publicity of house events, in communication with the Language Assistants and the German ADC, 

iii. being in charge of the budget provided by the Office of Student Affairs and the Department of German, in communication with the Language Assistants and the German ADC, 

iv. acting as a mediator between the German House residents, and the Department of German faculty advisor and the College administration, 

v. administering Room Draw during the spring semester, in communication with the Department of German faculty advisor, 

b. A Faculty Advisor, who is a member of the Department of German, will advise and assist the residents of the House on the management of the German House throughout the year, and serve as a channel of communication between the House residents and the Department of German and the Office of Student Affairs and other administrative offices. The Faculty Advisor will attend meetings of the House when necessary or at the request of the House residents. 

c. The German Language Assistants, who will be residents of the German House, will encourage the use of the German language within the House and facilitate the residents’ becoming acquainted with German culture. 

d. The House residents, especially the President and the Vice President (if applicable) of the House, will cooperate and coordinate with the Resident Counselor/Community Advisor of Porter House on matters relating to the German House where necessary. 

3. Responsibilities of Residents 

a. Residents are expected to speak German among themselves as much as possible according to their language skills, in order to create the most immersive German language experience as possible. Learners should take advantage of the knowledge of the native and advanced speakers while the latter should take the initiative with those still learning. 

b. Residents are expected to attend and actively participate in all German House events. These events include weekly Kaffeeklatsch and any other House meetings. They are required to prepare and clean up after Kaffeeklatsch at least two times every semester, and are expected to encourage German speakers from outside of Porter House to attend. 

c. Residents are required to participate in and help with all Department of German cultural and social events held in Porter House. 

d. Residents are encouraged to attend the weekly German lunch table meetings in Valentine as often as possible. 

e. Residents are also strongly encouraged to attend any exhibitions, lectures, and film viewings sponsored by the Department of German. 

f. Residents are required to take at least one German course per semester. This requirement can only be waived with the permission of the Department of German. 

g. Each resident will be required to sign a statement agreeing to abide by this Constitution upon acceptance into the German House. 

4. Procedure for Admission and Room Assignment 

a. Each applicant must submit an application by the publicized deadline, and may be interviewed by the Faculty Advisor, German Language Assistants, President and Vice President (if applicable). The President, Vice President (if applicable) and the Language Assistants will be consulted about each application, but the final decision on admissions rests with the Department of German. 

b. Current residents must reapply if they wish to be considered for readmission for the following year. 

c. Residents who have lived in the German House for four semesters will be admitted last and only if there is a room available. 

d. The respective Faculty Advisors will determine each year how floors are to be divided between the German and Russian Houses. 

e. The Community Advisor of Porter House is assigned a room by the Office of Residential Life, before all the German or Russian House residents. 

f. The room draw order within the German House will be determined by the following point system: 

i. The German Language Assistants will be assigned rooms in Porter House whenever possible. 

ii. Other residents will automatically receive 2 points if they are sophomores, 4 points if they are juniors and 6 points if they are seniors. The class years above mean the class year a resident will belong to during their time of residence in the German House. Students returning from leave or graduating at the end of a Fall semester should consult with the Department of German Faculty Advisor. 

iii. Residents will receive 1 additional point per course/semester for each of the following: German courses taken for Amherst College credit; semesters they have previously been a resident in the German House; semesters they have spent on an exchange program in a German-speaking country as part of their Amherst degree. 

iv. The order between residents with the same number of points will be determined according to these criteria in descending order: class year; number of semesters at the German House (the resident with more semesters takes precedence); number of German courses taken for Amherst College credit. If two or more residents are tied after applying these criteria, the tie will be resolved by lottery. 

g. Students accepted for residence in the German House, and returning from leave or study abroad in the middle of the year may only choose from rooms that are empty (e.g. vacated by residents who leave for the second semester). Their room draw order will be determined in the manner outlined in Article 4(f). 

h. Residents may not move into rooms vacated during the year to get a better room. 

i. If there is an opening during the year, a new student may be admitted according to the prior year’s room draw order as determined in the manner outlined in Article 4(f). 

j. If a first-year student moves in during his/her/their first semester (such cases are unusual), he/she/they will not receive a room draw point for that semester. 

k. Students who have lived in the House for four semesters already will be assigned points in the above manner, but the sum of points for their time in the German House may not exceed 4. 

l. Any unforeseen situation will be dealt with by the Faculty Advisor and the Department of German, as well as in consultation with the President and Vice President (if applicable). 

5. Procedure for Constitutional Amendments 

a. The Constitution may be amended by the President and Vice-president (if applicable) at the request of the House residents. 

b. Any change has to be approved first at a House meeting which all residents will be asked to attend by a two-thirds majority of those present, and subsequently by the Department of German