Drafted May 5, 2013
The Amherst College Chinese and Japanese Language House is an academic theme house, established by the will of the student body with the generous cooperation and assistance of the Department of Residential Life and the Department of Asian Languages and Civilizations. It is chartered by the College Council as part of the College's system of social and residential life, and administered by the Dean of Students through the Office of Residential Life. The 2013 - 2014 academic year shall serve as its first, and this document should be considered a provisional constitution to be amended or replaced after the conclusion of this trial year.
The purpose of the House is to provide students of Chinese and Japanese of all skill levels with a residential environment which will foster intensive learning and supplement academic courses. Recognizing the intense difficulty of learning East Asian languages for native English speakers, the House seeks to allow for a more effective learning experience through an immersive experience. Also recognizing the close links between language and culture, the House encourages exploration of the Chinese and Japanese cultures, in addition to the similarities between them.
I. Admissions and Room Draw
A) Each applicant must submit an application by the published deadline, and may be interviewed by the faculty advisor if deemed necessary. It is recommended that applicants have studied their language for at least one semester at Amherst College. Native speakers and those planning to take classes will also be given consideration. Those who have taken at least one course at the time of application will be given preference.
B) The President and faculty advisor in consultation shall make decisions regarding admission to the House.
C) Current residents must reapply in order to be considered for readmission the following year. Residents who have lived in the Japanese/Chinese House for four semesters will be admitted last and only if there is a room available.
II. Room Draw
A) The room draw order shall be determined by the following point system:
- The number of semesters of Chinese/Japanese taken at Amherst College = 2 points/semester
- The number of semesters in Chinese/Japanese Language House = 1 point/semester
- The number of semesters in a Chinese/Japanese-speaking country = 1/2 point/semester
The order among students with the same amount of points shall be determined randomly.
B) Students returning from 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 above manner.
III. Executive Branch
The Chinese and Japanese Language House shall consist of one President, one Treasurer, one Secretary, and other positions as deemed necessary by the residents and officers of the House.
A) The duties of the President shall be
- To oversee and organize House meetings.
- To approve, preside over, and assist with House events and fundraisers.
- To act as a liaison between House residents, department faculty, and the Department of Residential Life.
- To submit an annual report of the House to the Department of Residential Life.
- To submit applications for supplemental funding, written by the Treasurer, to the Department of Residential Life.
B) The duties of the Treasurer shall be
- To manage House funds.
- To approve and distribute House funds for the organizing of House events.
- To determine whether or not it will be necessary to raise additional funds, and to assist in the organization of fundraisers.
- To submit budget requests in a timely manner (at least 2 weeks prior to the date of the event).
- To assist members in planning House events by consulting with the House RC, the Dean of Student Activities, the AAS, and other campus organizations.
- To create a shopping list for weekly House events.
C) The duties of the Secretary shall be
- To organize, analyze, and manage the House polling process to maintain smooth and satisfactory conduct.
- To report the anonymous findings of the House polls to the President and address necessary issues found during the polls at House meetings.
- To record minutes for House meetings.
- To collaborate with the President and Treasurer in any way necessary.
IV. Elections and Impeachments
A) House officer elections shall be held every year on the same day as House Room Draw and must have a 2/3 quorum of House attendance.
B) Any House member may nominate any other member for office, including oneself.
C) An officer shall be elected if he or she has: (1) the most votes among candiates and (2) at least 50% of all voted. If after the first round of elections no candidate meets both of these conditions, the candidate(s) with the least votes are eliminated from the running and a second round of elections will take place.
D) If strong dissatisfaction is expressed concerning an officer's conduct, he or she may be impeached by a two-thirds majority in a House meeting. This meeting can be called by any officer, by a majority of the House residents or by the faculty advisor.
VI. House Polling
A) The Secretary of the House shall be responsible for the creation, distribution, analysis, and maintenance of House Polls. The Pools shall be distributed monthly and are to fulfill the role of an anonymous survey of the current state of the House. Residents must be given the anonymous opportunity to express concerns pertaining to House conduct in general, as well as specific complaints about particular Residents or officers. Complaints may include, but are not limited to, failure to adhere to House Rules or failure to perform duties in a timely manner.
B) Participation in these polls shall be highly encouraged by the Secretary.
C) The Secretary is also responsible for analyzing the data from these polls and determining key issues that are deserving of the Executive Board's attention. These key issues shall be brought up for discussion in the following House Meeting.
VII. House Events
A) The President and Treasurer shall be expected to plan and organize a weekly House tea event with assistance from House members.
B) Further events must be proposed and organized by the Residents, each of whom must organize at least 1 event per semester. These events must be approved by the President and the funding for the events must be approved by the Treasurer.
C) All residents and officers are expected to attend all House events, barring significant conflict.
VIII. Dismissal Policy
A) If the monthly House polls indicate continuous violation of the rules outlined in the Constitution by a House member, the Executive Committee shall issue a warning against the Resident. The Resident shall be given a two-week period to improve his/her behavior.
B) If no improvement is made with regards to constitutional violation, the case will then go to the faculty advisor and President.
C) The secretary shall be responsible for reporting cases of misconduct to the President and faculty advisor. The advisor and the President shall decide whether or not the resident will be expelled from the House or barred from re-applying. This decision shall be presented to House members at the next House meeting and may be overturned by the membership in a 2/3 vote.
IX. Amendment of the Constitution
A proposal for amendment to this document may be put forth by any House member or the House faculty advisor. A proposal put forth by a House member must have the support of at least three (3) other members as signatories. Proposals for amendment shall be considered by a 2/3 quorum of House members at a House meeting and approved by a 3/4 majority of those voting. The proposed amendments shall take effect at the start of the next semester.
X. Membership Agreement
All Residents must read and sign this document prior to joining the House.