Residential Life

French House Constitution

I) Statement of Purpose

The French House is an academic theme house that is located in Newport on the Amherst College campus. It was founded (1) to create a residential environment for students interested in developing and exercising their skills in the French language; (2) to provide a forum in which all francophones at Amherst College can engage in activities conducted in French that are related to French language and culture; (3) to establish an organizational structure that seeks to provide opportunities for interested members of the College community to familiarize themselves with various aspects of French language and culture.

II) Structure of the House

1) The French Department.

As an academic theme house, the French House is governed by the faculty members of the French Department of Amherst College (hereafter referred to as "The French Department"). The French House Constitution may be amended by the French Department at any time. All proposed amendments to this Constitution are subject to the approval of the French Department.

2) The French House Director.

Each year the French Department will choose from among its members a faculty advisor to the French House. (In years in which no one member of the French Department is able to serve the entire year, one faculty advisor to the French House will be chosen per semester.) The faculty advisor to the French House will be known as the French House Director. The French House Director will be responsible for (1) coordinating the application process for the French House; (2) selection of all French House residents; (3) serving as a liaison between the French Department and the French House.

3) Teaching Assistants.

French Department Teaching Assistants live in the French House and have all the rights and responsibilities of the residents of the French House.

4) Officers of the French House.

The President. The residents of the French House will elect during the first week of Fall semester a President who will serve in that capacity for that academic year. The election will take place during a French House meeting that is attended by all French House residents. Names will be placed in nomination by the residents. The President will be elected by majority vote of the residents. If there are more than two nominees and no nominee receives a majority of the votes cast during the election, a second round of voting will be held. During the second round of voting the two nominees who received the most votes during the first round of voting will be the only remaining candidates. No resident will be elected an officer of the French House without his or her consent. The responsibilities of the President include: organizing and publicizing French House events; supervising Quartier Latin; representing the French House at campus meetings at which a representative of the house is needed; serving as a liaison to the French Department; preparing the annual French House report for the College Council.

Other Officers. In any given year, the residents of the French House may decide to establish other officers of the French House for that academic year. These may include a Vice-President, Co-President, Treasurer, or any other officer that the French House residents deem necessary for the proper functioning of the house. The duties of the Other Officers will include aiding the President at his or her request with his or her responsibilities.

The definition of duties for any and all officers of the French House is subject to the approval of the French House Director. A list of the officers of the French House should be submitted to the French House Director by the end of the second week of Fall semester during each academic year. Any officer of the French house may be removed from his or her office at any time by (1) a 2/3s vote of all residents of the French House; or (2) the French Department.

Ill) Selection of French House Residents.

The French House Director coordinates the application process for the French House
and selects all French House residents. Applications for residency are normally gathered by the French Department during the last week of February or the first week of March. All applicants will be required to fill out an application. Applicants living abroad may submit their application via e-mail. If vacancies become available during the academic year, they are announced in the Amherst Notes. Residency is open to Francophones of all levels of ability.

Priority in admission is given to declared French Majors. Among French Majors,
priority is normally ranked in the following order: Seniors, Juniors, Sophomores (by year of French House residency). The selection of non-majors is done at the discretion of the French House Director. Criteria can include, but are not limited to, (1) level of ability in French; (2) the number and level of courses taken in French; (3) the willingness of the applicant to speak French in the French House and to participate fully in French House activities.

Current French House residents may remain residents of the house during the
subsequent academic year (subject to the rules governing the maximum number of years that a student may be a resident in a Theme House of the College). If they intend to remain residents of the French House, they must inform the French House Director in writing of their intentions to do so prior to the publicized deadline for applications to the French House. Current residency in the French House does not imply priority in room selection for the following year.

Since many French House applicants are studying abroad during the application period,
interviews of applicants will not be mandatory for admission to the house. However, at the discretion of the French House Director, French House residents may be asked to conduct interviews of some applicants who are currently residing on campus. Their assessments of the applicants will be taken under advisement by the French House Director during the selection process.

The French House Director determines during the selection process which residents will
be offered single rooms and which residents will be offered double rooms.

IV) French House Room Draw.

Each year rooms at the French House will be set aside prior to French House Room
Draw by the French House Director to house the French Department Teaching Assistants.

The French House Director determines during the selection process which residents will be offered single rooms and which will be offered double rooms. The French House Director establishes a priority list for the French House Room Draw that is forwarded to the member of the Dean of Students' staff who is responsible for housing in the French House. That member of the staff will coordinate the students' selection of rooms according to the order established on the priority list during the week following college-wide Room Draw. Priority for French House Room Draw is given to declared French Majors. Among French Majors, priority is normally ranked in the following order: Seniors, Juniors, Sophomores (by year of French House residency). If there are more than one French major in each category, the French House Director will draw lots to determine Room Draw priority. Among residents who are not French majors priority will normally be ranked in the following order: Seniors, Juniors, Sophomores (by year of French House residency).

Although current residents of the French house have the right to remain in the French
house during the subsequent academic year, current residency in the French House does not imply priority in room selection for the subsequent year.

V) Vacancies During a Semester:

1) The House President or the Dean of Residential Life will inform the French House Director and the French Department Assistant of the vacancy.
2) The Departmental Assistant will inform all the members of the French House of the vacancy.
3) Those residents who would like to move into the vacancy will indicate their desire to do so by sending a written message to that effect to the Departmental Assistant no later than three working days after being notified of the vacancy.
4) If more than one person is interested in switching into the vacancy, the French House Director will compile a list of interested parties in the order in which they originally appeared on the priority list for obtaining rooms when they first entered the house. Residents who were given rooms after the Room Draw period in the spring will be placed on the bottom of this priority list.
5) The French House Director will forward the list of interested parties to Residence Life personnel, who will follow the priority list in offering the room to interested parties.
6) Interested parties who are offered a room must decide to accept or decline that room by two working days after receiving the offer. Those who fail to answer in that amount of time will lose their place on the priority list.
7) This process can be repeated for the new opening that is created by the student who moved out of his or her original room until no current resident of the French House is interested in moving.
8) The new vacancy is then advertised to the community at large.
9) This process does not imply that during the normal spring Room Draw period, current residents take priority over new residents in the choice of rooms for the following fall.

VI) Responsibilities of House Residents

All residents must read and sign a copy of the house Constitution, indicating that they
understand and will abide by the responsibilities described therein. All French House residents are automatically members of the French Club.

These responsibilities include the following: French House Residents

1) will speak French to each other at all times while in the French House;

2) will attend French House meetings;

3) will attend Quartier Latin;

4) will agree to participate fully in French House activities, including organization of such activities and clean up after such activities;

5) will properly clean common areas after use;

6) will respect all aspects of the Amherst College Student Code of Conduct;

If a resident does not contribute to the French House community, does not follow
French House policies, or contributes to an environment that is not conducive to the academic nature of the French House, he or she may be asked to move out by the French House Director or may not be readmitted for the following year.

VII) Expulsion from the French House

If a resident does not contribute to the French House community; does not follow French House or French Department policies; or contributes to an environment that is not conducive to the academic nature of the French House, he or she may be required to move out. There are three ways in which this might occur.

(1) Violations of the Student Code of Conduct: if the Director of Residential Life finds that a member of the French House has committed a violation of the Student Code of Conduct (which constitutes a violation of item 6 in the Code of Responsibilities of French House Residents defined in section V above), the Director of Residential Life should inform the French House Director of that fact. In this instance, at the discretion of the Director of Residential Life, the resident may be required to move out of the French House.

(2) Complaint brought forward by fellow residents: if in the judgement of at least four residents of the French House, a fellow resident is not attempting in good-faith to abide by items 1-5 of the Code of Responsibilities of French House Residents (defined in section V above), they should inform the French House Director and the Director of Residential Life. The four residents may then bring their complaint before the Director of Residential Life.

The Director of Residential Life will review the evidence presented by the complainants and will provide the resident with the opportunity to respond. If the Director of Residential Life finds that there is plausible evidence that a serious infringement of the Code of Responsibilities of French House Residents has occurred, the Director of Residential Life will inform the French House Director of that fact.

The French House Director, in consultation with the Director of Residential Life, will then determine whether or not to expel the resident from the French House. In this instance, the decision to expel will remain at the discretion of the French House Director, who may also choose to consult with the tenured members of the French Department before making a determination.

(3) The Volek Rule: (Effective August, 2002) If a resident has gained priority in admission to the French House by declaring a French major under the provisions described in section III above, the French Department will expect that resident to complete the requirements for the major. Should the resident subsequently drop the major, the resident will be required to move out of the French House.

VIII) Amendments to the French House Constitution.

Proposals to amend the French House Constitution may be submitted to the French
House Director providing that at least 2/3s of the current residents of the French House have approved of the amendment in a vote that includes all current residents. All amendments to the French House Constitution are subject to the approval of the French Department. The French House Constitution may be amended by the French Department at any time.