Hitchcock Hall Constitution: for an Autonomous House Government

Ratified 11.3.69 Revised 2.7.80, 2.6.90, 4.27.00, xx.xx.10

We the people of Hitchcock Hall, for the purpose of implementing a government for the betterment of the lives of the people of Hitchcock Hall, do hereby establish this constitution.


Article I. The House

Section 1. Definitions

  1. A staff member, or "staff" as stated herein, is any Resident Master, Resident Head, Resident Assistant, or any relative thereof who officially resides in a room of Hitchcock Hall.

  2. A resident of Hitchcock Hall, or "resident," as stated herein, is any individual who officially resides in a room of Hitchcock Hall excluding staff.

  3. The House is composed of all staff members and residents of Hitchcock Hall.

  4. In a House Meeting, all residents, but not staff may vote.

Section 2. Powers

  1. An action of the House shall be passed by a simple majority of those residents present at the meeting (except for actions requiring a 2/3 vote).

  2. The Powers of the House are as follows:

    1. To elect residents to the House Council

      1. Each Section and each Section alone elects a member of their Section to be Section Representative.

      2. The House elects the Officers: President, Vice President, The Admiral of the Hitchcock Navy, Secretary, Treasurer, Historian(s), two Social Chairs, two Intramural (IM) Sports Representatives, an Inter-House Council (IHC) Representative, and a Housing Activities Resource Committee (HARC) Representative.

    2. To recall any of the House Council members.

    3. To adopt and execute any rule or regulation, provided it conforms with the Bill of Rights (Article IV), for the betterment of the House.

    4. To listen to complaints of violations of the Bill of Rights, to declare a person guilty of such a violation by a 2/3 majority vote of the residents, and to take appropriate action against persons it declares guilty of violating the Bill of Rights.

    5. To assess, collect, appropriate and expend funds for House activities and for damages done to the property of Hitchcock Hall.

    6. To override, nullify, or amend any current or past action of the House.

    7. To amend the House Constitution, but only by a 2/3 vote of those resident present.

    8. To grant associate membership by a majority vote of those residents present. "Associate membership" grants a non-house member the right to participate in all House activities, except the ability to vote and the ability to hold a House Council position.

Section 3. The Two Types of House Meetings

  1. Meetings of Election

    1. Frequency of Meetings of Election.
      Meetings of Election shall be held twice during the academic year, the first to be held during the first week of the Fall Quarter, and the second to be held no earlier than the fourth week of Winter Quarter and no later than the sixth week of Winter Quarter.

    2. Quorum at Meetings of Election.
      The Meeting of Election shall only go forward with a quorum of 40 residents. If such a quorum is not present, the Meeting of Election must be postponed until such a quorum is present.

    3. Purpose of Meetings of Election.
      The purpose of a Meeting of Election shall be to elect the officers of the House Council.

    4. Procedure of Meetings of Election.
      A Resident Head shall call to order each Meeting of Election, and call for nominations and conduct a vote for the position of President. The President will commence his/her duties immediately with the call for the election of the Vice President, and will then continue the proceedings.

  2. General House Meetings

  3. Frequency of General House Meetings

    1. General House Meetings shall be held weekly during the regular ten weeks of the Fall, Winter, and Spring academic quarters.

    2. Any member of the House Staff and the President has the right to call for additional General House Meetings.

  4. Quorum at General House Meetings.
    The General House Meeting shall only go forward with a quorum of 20 residents. If such a quorum is not present, the General House Meeting must be cancelled or postponed until such a quorum is present.

  5. Purpose of General House Meetings.

  6. General House Meetings are held to execute the Powers of the House (Article I, Section 2).

  7. All residents, staff, and guests of the House have the right to bring any issue or item of interest to the attention of the House.

  8. Procedure of General House Meetings.
    General House Meetings shall proceed under the direction of the presiding officer.


Article II. The Duties of Council Members

Section 1. The Section Representatives

As the business of the House is relevant to the entire House, and the entirety of the House is often unable to attend House Meetings, a Section Representative is the essential vessel of communication between his/her section (stairwell) and House Meetings. This includes posting minutes of House Meetings, putting up signs for special events, and informing the House of any suggestions made by members of his/her section. As the Representative of his/her section, s/he ought to facilitate community within his/her section by organizing section activities and by insuring his/her section's adherence to the Bill of Rights (Article 4). The Section Representative will also provide refreshments for approximately every fifth House Meeting, as the President assigns.

Section 2. The Officers

  1. The President, as chief executive officer of the House, shall be ultimately responsible for the organization and implementation of all official House business in accordance with the Hitchcock Constitution. This includes calling and presiding over House Meetings, conducting the election of all Council Members (excluding the office of President), and insuring that each Council Member properly performs his/her duties. The President shall impartially conduct House Meetings and only vote when needed to break a tie-this applies to all cases, including the election of his/her Section Representative.

  2. The Vice-President will be the chief advisor to the President, and assumes the President's duties in the case of the President's absence. S/He will organize a service project for the House and serve as liaison to Snell Hall.

  3. The Secretary shall record, maintain, and publicize a set of minutes for all House Meetings. In addition, s/he shall assist the President in upholding the Hitchcock Constitution, and update it when necessary (see Article 5). S/He shall also make public all House Meetings before they occur.

  4. The Treasurer shall receive and expend House funds, maintain a record of such transactions, and oversee all fund-raising activities.

  5. The Historian(s) shall create a "scrapbook" which will record the events which take place in the House during his/her term. At the end of his/her term, the Historian(s) will present the scrapbook to the House for posterity.

  6. The two Social Chairs shall, along with staff, be responsible for House activities such as study breaks, sherry hours, pot luck dinners, parties, dinner trips, trips to movies, concerts, theatre, sporting events, etc.

  7. The two IM Sports Representatives will represent the House in dealings with the Intramural Sports Office. They will organize athletic teams, publicize intramural activities, and otherwise promote athletic activities of the House.

  8. The IHC Representative shall attend all IHC meetings and act as an intermediary between the House and the IHC.

  9. The HARC Representative shall attend all HARC meetings and act as an intermediary between the House and the HARC.

  10. The Admiral of the Hitchcock Navy will give news of the exploits of the Hitchcock Navy as they travel the seven seas in search of adventure, riches, friendship, and lands to conquer. In the event that the Admiral connot be present at house meeting, they are allowed to appoint a proxy, referred to in this context as “skipper” to read a prepared statement from the Admiral.

Section 3. Limits and Terms

  1. No single resident may hold more than one Council position at a time.

  2. Section Representatives must live in their respective sections. If a Section Representative leaves his/her section during his/her term, s/he must resign his/her office.

  3. Unless recalled (as outlined in Article III), all council members, except the Historian(s) and IHC Representative, shall serve until the following Meeting of Election. The Historian(s) and IHC Representative shall serve a term of one academic year.

  4. No one may be elected President who has not first served at least one term in another position on the House Council.

Section 4. Proxies

  1. Council Members may appoint proxies to vote and speak in their absence.

  2. Proxies must be residents.

  3. Proxies for a Section Representative must be residents of the Representative's section.

  4. A notice of proxy, or transfer of voting power, must be given verbally to the presiding officer before the House Meeting.

  5. A notice of proxy is only valid for a specified time period; it may not be given in the form, "X is my proxy whenever I'm not here."


Article III. Recall and Replacement of Council Members

Section 1. Recall

Should any Council Member miss three or more meetings, or be considered negligent in his/her duties during his/her term of office, the House has the authority to remove him/her from office by a 2/3 majority vote at a House Meeting should it choose to do so. A Section Representative may be recalled by his/her respective section or by the residents of the House, but not by another section. Recall of a Section Representative requires either a 2/3 majority of his/her section or 2/3 majority of the residents of the House. 

Section 2. Replacement

Upon the vacancy of any position on the House Council, that position is to be filled as soon as possible (consistent with Article I, Section 2, b 1) at a House Meeting, by an election requiring 2/3 majority. This election shall be conducted by the presiding officer. 

Article IV. The Bill of Rights

Section 1.

There shall be no regulation made regarding the private behavior of any member of the House within his/her own room except as concerns such activities which will create excessive noise, possible danger or disturbances to himself or other members of the House, or which will lead to intrusion of public authorities into the House.

Section 2.

Each member of the House is entitled to a degree of peace and quiet.

Section 3.

In the case of occupancy of a double room, neither roommate shall be subjected by his/her roommate to either undue infringements on privacy or to undue limitations on the use of the room.

Section 4.

There shall be no undue infringements on the privacy of any member of the House.

Section 5.

The House shall make no regulations in conflict with local, state, or federal ordinances that will invite the intrusion of public authorities into the House.

Section 6.

Every member of the House is entitled to due process in having his/her opinions voiced and heard at any House Meeting. 

Article V. Amendments

Whereas this constitution came into being by passage by the residents of Hitchcock Hall, approval by staff, and approval by the Office of the Dean of Students, and whereas acceptance by the House and approval by the Dean is necessary for changes in the House government structure for House autonomy, the amendment procedure for this constitution shall be approval by the House by a 2/3 vote of residents attending a House Meeting, with specific advance notice that the House Constitution will be under consideration, and by further approval by the Dean of Students. This edition of the Constitution is presented as a revision of the version passed by the house on April 27, 2000. The only modifications have been to use gender inclusive language instead of assumed masculine pronouns, a change instituted on April 29, 2004.