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, 2.21.19

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 (henceforth "staff") is any Resident Master/Dean, Resident Head, or Resident Assistant who officially resides in a room of Hitchcock Hall.

  2. A resident of Hitchcock Hall (henceforth "resident") is any undergraduate student of the University of Chicago who officially resides in a room of Hitchcock Hall, excluding staff.

  3. A non-student resident of Hitchcock is any individual openly and notoriously residing in Hitchcock Hall who is neither staff nor a resident.  Examples include, but are not limited to: children of resident heads.

  4. The rights, privileges, and duties of residents of Hitchcock House guaranteed by this document shall not extend to non-student residents, except as otherwise provided by actions of the House. 

  5. The House is composed of all staff members and residents (including non-student residents) of Hitchcock Hall.

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 (listed in Article II Section 1).

    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, in accordance with those procedures detailed in Article 5.

    8. To grant “associate membership” to non-House members in accordance with Housing policies. This status grants those to whom it is conferred 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

Hitchcock shall have two types of meetings; namely Meetings of Election and General Meetings.

  1. Meetings of Election

    1. The quorum for a Meeting of Election shall be 40 residents.

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

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

    4. During a meeting of election, the Resident Head(s) of Hitchcock shall also present those members of the Hitchcock House government which are appointed.

    5. When---and only when---the Presidency of Hitchcock House is vacant, the Resident Head(s) of Hitchcock shall preside over meetings of election. Otherwise, the president shall conduct elections (ie. Resident Head(s) conduct the election of the President during the first Meeting of Election, and the President conducts the election of the remaining positions).

    6. During a meeting of election, the House may also execute any of the powers and policies associated with a general House meeting at the presiding officer’s discretion.

  2. General House Meetings

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

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

    3. During a general House Meeting, 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 in accordance with any rules of order that the House may adopt.

    4. In a House Meeting, the franchise shall be limited to attending residents. Except as stated elsewhere in this constitution, all attending residents shall be enfranchised.

      1. Only members of each Section shall elect their Section Representative.

      2. Items pertaining to a single Section may be adopted either by a two-thirds majority vote of the House as a whole, or by a simple majority of that Section.


Article II. The Duties of Council Members

Section 1. The List of Positions

  1. The current list of Officers in the House is as follows: President, Vice President, Secretary, Treasurer, two Historians, two Social Chairs, two Kitchen Czars, two Intramural (IM) Sports Representatives, Inter-House Council (IHC) Representative, Bartlett Representative, Housing Activities Resource Committee (HARC) Representative, two Prospective Student Advisory Committee (PSAC) Representatives, Wellness/Condom Czar, Sustainability Czar, House Bard, and The Admiral of the Hitchcock Navy.

  2. Each of the five Sections of Hitchcock has one Section Representative. 

  3. All aforementioned positions are democratically elected, with the exceptions of the following positions, which are appointed by the Resident Head(s): Kitchen Czars.

Section 2. Duties of the Section Representatives

  1. Each Section shall select a representative from the Section. Said representative shall post the Minutes of House Meetings, and provide refreshments for approximately every fifth House Meeting, as the President assigns, or as otherwise defined by House action. Said representative may also undertake at will additional responsibilities pertaining to their Section (i.e. organizing Section-wide activities) except where prohibited by House action or regulations.

Section 3. Duties of 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 ensuring that each Council Member properly performs their 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 their 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. The Vice-President also serves as a liaison to Snell House and attends Snell House meetings.

  3. The Secretary shall record, maintain, and publicize a set of minutes for all House Meetings. They shall also make public all House Meetings before they occur. The Secretary is also tasked with ensuring that the Constitution is maintained, updated when necessary, and abided to dutifully by the members and officers of the House. The Secretary is also exclusively entrusted with the responsibility of wielding the squirt bottle known as “The Gavel,” which is used to spritz with water those individuals who are disrupting the proceedings of House Meeting until they desist their noisome activities.

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

  5. The Historians shall record and maintain a photographic record of notable occurrences, House events, and anything else they deem to be special which happens during their term. At the end of their term, the Historians will present the record to the House for posterity.

  6. The two Social Chairs shall, along with staff, be responsible for House activities such as study breaks, pot luck dinners, House events, House trips, etc.

  7. The Kitchen Czar shall be responsible for making sure that kitchen is well-maintained for the general use of the House. This includes, but is not limited to, ensuring that users clean kitchenware and spaces after use and, under the direction of housing staff, providing commonly needed kitchen items (including, for example, soap and sponges).

  8. 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.

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

  10. The Bartlett Representative shall serve as a member of the Bartlett Dining Hall Committee convened at the pleasure of UChicago Dining.  They shall attend meetings of the Committee as an intermediary between the House and Dining, and represent the concerns and interests of each body before the other. The Bartlett Representative also serves as a resource for the House regarding the policies and activities of Dining.

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

  12. The two prospective student advisory committee (PSAC) representatives shall work with the admissions office to bring prospective students (henceforth “prospies”) to Hitchcock, encourage Hitchcockizens to sign up to host prospies, and generally oversee the safety, well-being, and entertainment of the prospies during their stay in Hitchcock.

  13. The Wellness Czar (colloquially known as Condom Czar) is Hitchcock’s representative for the University’s Health Promotion and Wellness department. The Wellness Czar is responsible for keeping each bathroom stocked with condoms as well as coordinating wellness-related events, attending meetings, and informing the House about wellness issues.

  14. The Sustainability Czar is responsible for providing advice of maintaining an environmentally friendly student body, as well as organizing events that help Hitchcockizens support the environment. This includes, but is not limited to, creating intra-House competitions that further sustainable lifestyles, e.g. recycling and reuse, or scheduling on/off campus events.

  15. The House Bard is responsible for performing and/or organizing music in the House. The Bard must ensure that House Meeting: The Musical occurs every year during Winter quarter. Other activities of the Bard may include, but are not limited to, group or individual performances at House Meetings and organizing other collaborative music making in the House.

  16. 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 cannot 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 their section during their term, they must resign their office.

  3. Unless recalled (as outlined in Article III), all council members shall serve until the following Meeting of Election, with the exception of the holders of the following positions, who shall serve a term of one academic year: Kitchen Czars, Historians, PSAC Representatives, and IHC Representatives.

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

  5. If anyone reads this whole thing, let RH Joe know and you can have a cookie.

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

  1. Should any Council Member miss three or more meetings, or be considered negligent in their duties during their term of office, the House has the authority to remove them 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 their 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 their section or 2/3 majority of the residents of the House.

Section 2. Replacement

  1. Upon the vacancy of any position on the House Council, that position is to be filled as soon as possible 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 their 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 their 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 their opinions voiced and heard at any House Meeting.


Article V. Amendments

  1. This constitution may be amended by an action of the House.

    1. Said actions must pass with a two-thirds supermajority of those attending House Meeting.

    2. Said actions must have been presented to the House prior to the start of House Meeting

    3. The text of said action must be formulated in consultation with the President of Hitchcock and RH(s) of Hitchcock.