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Constitution -- revised draft

     I.        STATEMENT OF PURPOSE

The Amherst College Asian Culture House (ACH) was founded in 1988 to provide a residential environment for students of all nationalities and cultures who have a sincere interest in Asian civilizations.  ACH strives to enhance awareness of all aspects of Asian cultures on the Amherst College campus through primarily educational events.  ACH offers its residents a chance to share and appreciate different cultural experiences on a personal level.

It should be noted that ACH, unlike other theme houses, is not constituted around the pole of a single cultural interest.   The rich variety of interests and backgrounds brought to ACH by its members provide a unique and valuable aspect to house life. House residents should consider themselves part of a family, united by a spirit of dialogue and support.

     II.            JUSTIFICATION OF SPACE

            ACH provides students with the opportunity to share different cultural backgrounds on a personal level.  It is a safe space to express and become educated about the intricacies of various Asian cultures.  As members are brought together by a common interest in Asian culture, ACH fosters community building within the house and, through the organization of house events and programming, nurtures a better understanding of Asian cultures across campus.  In this residential atmosphere, members can bond together to learn more about each other as well as to reach out to the Amherst College community.

      III.            ORGANIZATIONAL STRUCTURE

o   Faculty Advisor

o   Executive Board (6 member maximum)

§  One President or two co-Presidents

§ Treasurer

§  Secretary

§  Bonding Coordinators (traditionally 2)

o   Birthday Coordinators (traditionally 2)

o   ACH Members

 Positions are held for one academic year. Removal from a position can be achieved through a member consensus. See Section VIII for election procedure.

 a)      Faculty Advisor.  The faculty advisor must be available to provide advice regarding events, programming, and the development of the house into a stronger presence. He or she should be a professor or other faculty member knowledgeable about Asian and/or Asian-American cultures and issues. The faculty advisor offers an academic perspective on the house’s influence on campus. 

 b)      Executive Board.  The Executive Board is responsible for overseeing ACH activities.  Board members must be willing to work together closely and communicate effectively to ensure the efficient operation of ACH.  Board members maintain close contact with the faculty advisor, administrators, and related student organizations. The Board aids in the managing of all ACH events and the acquiring of funds for these events.  Allocation of funds is to be determined at Executive Board meetings with the Treasurer in attendance.  In addition to those described here, Executive Board positions have the following specific responsibilities:

i)        President. The President must be willing to take initiatives to promote the presence of ACH on campus. He or she serves as the main liaison between ACH and Residential Life, the faculty advisor, and other student organizations. The President is responsible for organizing and facilitating Executive Board meetings and notifying members of House meetings. The President is responsible for running all house meetings, including presentation of the agenda and facilitation of discussion.  The President is responsible for monitoring ACH member participations and notifying members who have not fulfilled their responsibilities. It is the job of the Executive Board to keep ACH operating in accordance to the constitution.  As a member of the Executive Board, the President may not make final decisions regarding events, the allocation of funds, or the use of ACH without the majority approval of other Executive Board members.

 ii)      Bonding Coordinators.  The Bonding Coordinators organize events designed to foster a stronger sense of community among house members. These events are separate from house projects, are open only to ACH members, and must be proposed by the Coordinators to the Executive Board before they are carried out.

 iii)    Treasurer.  The Treasurer administrates House funds but does not make final decisions on its allocation.  He or she must keep a detailed, written record of all monetary transactions undertaken by ACH. The Treasurer keeps the Executive Board informed about the House’s financial situation and assists the Executive Board in submitting budget proposals when more funding is needed.

 iv)    Secretary.  The Secretary keeps minutes of Executive Board and House meetings, and keeps record of ACH documents.  He or she may also be called upon to assist with communication between ACH and other groups on and off campus.

 c)      Birthday Coordinators.  The Birthday Coordinators use the birthday funds appropriated by the Executive Board to celebrate members’ birthdays in a thoughtful manner.

 d)      ACH Members.  All ACH members (including those holding officer positions) must complete at least one house project each semester they live in the House. At least one house project per academic year per member must be educationally themed, designed to bring awareness about political, social, or cultural issues to Amherst campus.   ACH members must attend all house projects, bonding activities, and house meetings, unless a valid written excuse is submitted in advance to the President.  The validity of the excuse is to be determined at the President’s discretion.  ACH members are also expected to assist with Asian-related affinity group events.  All members are required to sign a copy of the house constitution in acknowledgement of these responsibilities.

          IV.            HOUSE PROJECTS

            ACH advances its goal to enhance awareness of all aspects of Asian cultures on Amherst campus through house projects.  House projects must be open and accessible to all students.  Involvement in a house project entails substantial participation in the planning and organization of an event. It is recommended that ACH members work in small groups of up to 4 people to organize and run house projects.  ACH members are encouraged to be creative with their house projects and to coordinate with other house members to prevent overlap of project ideas. Written project proposals must be submitted to the Executive Board in a timely fashion for approval. Project proposals must include a description of the event, a preliminary budget and date, expected location, publicizing plans, and the names of all members involved. Arranging a house project timetable at the start of each semester is advisable to ensure that events are evenly distributed throughout the academic year.

                V.            FUNDING

            Funding is allocated by the Executive Board and all monetary transactions are recorded by the Treasurer. Sources of funding include Residential Life, the Amherst Association of Students, the Asian Students’ Association, and the Asian Languages and Civilizations department.

            VI.            NEW MEMBER SELECTION

            Towards the end of each semester, the executive board will accept applications from Amherst students interested in living in ACH the subsequent semester.  Applications will be made available to submit via the Internet.  Students unable to access the online application may contact the Executive Board to receive a paper application. An individual interview process is to take place following the application deadline. Interviews must be facilitated by members of the executive board, though all ACH members are invited to participate in the process.  It is recommended that the faculty advisor be present. A fair, unbiased system is to be utilized in the selection of new members. Applicants are to be notified of their standing by the Executive Board as quickly as possible, to ensure that those who are not selected have adequate time to apply for the conventional Room Draw system.

            Interviewers and the Executive Board will consider each applicant’s demonstrated interest in Asian culture, ability to contribute to the house, effect on house diversity, willingness to learn and share experiences with other house members, and ability to interact with other house members so as to create a cohesive group.   It is strongly recommended that applicants have an academic background in Asian studies or be involved in an Asian-related student group.

            ACH members in good standing who wish to return to ACH the following semester, and have not resided in ACH for the maximum number of semesters permitted in one theme house, do not need to re-apply for membership. Returning members must notify the Executive Board of their intentions before the new member selection process is underway.

VII.            ROOM DRAW

            Room draw for current members returning for the fall semester occurs one week prior to room draw for new members.  Returning members are to be placed on an ordered list according to a point system. Points are awarded based upon the number of semesters each resident has been at Amherst College, been a member of ACH, studied abroad in an Asian country as an Amherst student, and the quality of his or her house projects. Ties in housing points will be broken by a random lottery. 

            It is preferred that doubles be filled voluntarily.  If no members volunteer to fill the doubles, the lowest ranked members will be placed in the doubles as fairly as possible.

After room assignments have been given to returning members, a meeting is to be held with all returning and new members for room draw and the election of officers for the following year.  Traditionally, but not necessarily, a creative contest facilitated by the executive board and current members is used to determine room draw order. Otherwise, new members are ordered using the same point system as returning members, with ties being broken based on new members’ interview evaluations, and then by random lottery.

            If rooms are available for the spring semester, current members in good standing are given the first opportunity to occupy the rooms with priority given to members currently living in doubles. Conflicts among members wishing to occupy these rooms will be resolved using the system enumerated above.

    VIII.            OFFICER SELECTION

            Officer selection and assignments for the following year are made during the new member room draw meeting.   The current Executive Board is to facilitate the election and assignment of positions.

            All members, returning and new, are eligible to run for any position though it is encouraged that at least 3 Executive Board members be returning members. Each candidate for a position must present a statement at the meeting outlining his or her qualifications, desire to be a Board member, and goals for ACH for the coming year.  Returning and new members vote on all the candidates, and the top two candidates for President become the co-Presidents.

Current ACH members who will not be returning to ACH the following year are not eligible to vote.

         IX.            FAILURE TO FULFILL RESPONSIBILITIES

            Approximately halfway through each semester, the Executive Board will review its records of member participation (including attendance at house events), and issue a warning to any members with an unsatisfactory participation record.  Members who have not yet been involved in a house project will be contacted and asked to set a date for their house project and describe their plans for the project to the Executive Board.  Note that some members may have a satisfactory participation record and be actively involved in house activities, but not yet have completed their house projects. These individuals will not receive a warning, but will be asked to meet with the executive board to discuss their house project plans. 

            Any member with an unsatisfactory participation record at the end of the semester, or who has not satisfactorily been involved in a house project by the end of the semester will not be allowed to continue living in ACH.

In addition, if any member fails to act in accordance with ACH’s expectations of respect for members and the house community at any time during the semester, he or she will be issued a warning, and may have his or her membership terminated and be asked to leave the house.

            If any officer is deemed to be performing unsatisfactorily by a majority vote of all house members, he or she will be given one month to improve his or her performance.  Then another vote is held to determine the status of his or her position.  If he or she is removed from office, an election will be held to fill the position as per the regulations described in Section VIII.  The removed officer will not be expelled from the House unless he or she has met the same requirements for the ejection of members from ACH.

The Dean of Students is to be notified for all warnings and membership terminations.

        X.      ADDENDA

 1.      This constitution and all future amendments can only be adopted by at least a 75% affirmative vote by house members.

Ratified 1988.

Revised 2009 by Elisabeth Baseman ’11 and Sally Chung ‘12, in collaboration with all Fall 2009 ACH members.


Website designed and maintained by, and photos copyright E. Baseman, 2010.