With the recently implemented house system allowing students the right to self-governance, the students of Weis College House desire the ability to positively affect the House through its government and various organizations. Weis House will therefore work to evoke a sense of pride and responsibility in students by placing the power and control of the House in the hands of the students. By diffusing power to all, we will also diffuse responsibility to all.
The academic and social realms of the College have been hitherto presented as distinct spheres with little overlap. Such separation does a disservice to all members of the College and falls short of the ideals of a true liberal arts experience. When standing alone, neither the academic nor the social realm can be as strong as when the two are united. Weis House will therefore serve as a third space, neither academic classroom nor socially oriented residential hall, which fills a need intimately connected with the nature of a liberal arts education. The House will provide a well-traveled crossroads for faculty, students, visitors, and alumni to exchange words and ideas outside of the traditional classroom.
We, the students of Weis House, in order to capitalize on the freedom entrusted to us from the entire Franklin and Marshall community, break ground as we embark on a journey of self-governance and a strengthened congregation by establishing Weis House as a sovereign and independent entity.
Weis House assumes every member to be trustworthy and equal, providing all members with the opportunity for control over their own lives through self-governance. It is our goal to promote ties among students, faculty, administration, and alumni by providing opportunities to initiate, organize, and partake in the life of the House. We put forth this Constitution as a way for Weis House members to experience fulfillment through pride and belonging in our community. We hereby establish Weis House at Franklin & Marshall College as part of the College House System.
Article I: Membership & Affiliation
Definition of Members and Affiliates
1. Any student living in Weis Hall or the south half of Thomas Hall is a resident and therefore a member of the Weis House.
2. No one may hold membership in more than one house.
3. College House residents are defined as members currently living in a particular house.
4. Off Campus Residents are members of Weis House as long as they are enrolled at Franklin & Marshall College as students.
Rights of Affiliates
All affiliates of Weis House possess the following rights:
1. Right to pertinent information.
2. Right to determine the allocation of contributions
3. Right to attend House functions.
Expectations of House Members
1. Represent themselves in a positive manner.
2. Respect House property, House members, and neighbors.
3. Be responsible for behavior of their guests.
4. Contribute to the welfare and vitality of the House.
5. Follow all Franklin & Marshall College guidelines, as outlined in the College Life Manual.
1. An individual who graduates through the House System shall receive the title of House Elder.
2. An individual who makes a contribution to the House but did not graduate through the House System and wishes to become involved will be bestowed the title of House Ancient.
3. An individual who makes a contribution to the House and plays an active role in the development of the House will receive the honorary title House Laureate.
Expectations of Alumni Affiliates
1. All alumni affiliates are expected to contribute to Weis House in any way they deem fit.
1. To facilitate a true liberal arts environment and to create the crucial “third spaces,” faculty must be involved with the Weis House.
2. The representation of faculty affiliates should be from a broad range of academic departments of the College.
3. This duty requires the faculty member to bridge the gap between a student’s academic and social life, by facilitating informal meetings and discussions.
Expectations of Faculty Affiliates
1. The faculty member must participate in a minimum of one House program/dinner per semester.
2. The faculty member must contribute to the intellectual life of the House.
Article II: The Weis House Government
A. Officials of Weis Legislative Government
* A term consists of two (2) semesters.
The Chair shall be the chief executive of the House, charged with representing the House at meetings of the College leaders, alumni, and speakers. The Chair is charged with running all Assembly of Peers and Plenary meetings. The Chair has the power to call a closed meeting of the Assembly of Peers in order to discuss matters of confidentiality. The Chair is not eligible for any other elected House position during his/her tenure. Only one member of the House may hold the position of Chair at one time. The Chair is entitled to one vote in the Assembly of Peers. An individual may hold only two terms as Chair during his/her tenure at Weis House.
The Vice Chair shall serve as the role of Chair when the Chair is absent from any House function. The Vice Chair will act as Parliamentarian and Assembly Whip at all Assembly of Peers and Plenary meetings. The Vice Chair is entitled to one vote in Assembly of Peers. The Vice Chair is not eligible for any other elected House position during his/her tenure. Only one member of the House may hold the position of Vice Chair at one time. An individual may hold only two terms as Vice Chair during his/her tenure at Weis House.
The Treasurer shall be in charge of the Assembly of Peers budget. He/she shall supervise the drafting of said budget and will be required to report the budget at each meeting (or as the Assembly sees fit). The Treasurer will be required to keep the Assembly up to date on any pressing financial matters. The Treasurer is not eligible for any other elected House position during his/her tenure. The budget, at the Treasurer’s preparation, will be presented to the Assembly of Peers and at plenary for approval. The Treasurer is entitled to one vote in the Assembly of Peers. Only one person may hold the position of Treasurer at one time.
The Secretary shall record and document the proceedings of all official meetings of the Assembly of Peers and Plenary and keep the public records of all meetings open to the House and College. The Secretary is entitled to one vote in the Assembly of Peers. The Secretary is not eligible for any other elected House position during his/her tenure. Only one person may serve as Secretary at one time.
The Assembly of Peers and Plenary
The Assembly of Peers, made up of twelve (12) Weis House members, shall work to ensure the success and continuance of the House government.
The Assembly is responsible for planning and executing House events. They are the leaders of promoting House unity and will work to bring lectures, trips, and in-House events to Weis. The Assembly is also responsible for receiving, discussing, and voting upon House funding requests. The Assembly shall meet weekly to prepare agendas for the next Plenary. Any College member may submit an agenda item to the Assembly, which will determine the items to be placed on the final agenda by a simple majority vote.
If the Assembly of Peers turns down an agenda item, the House member proposing the item may then go the House at large to include the item on the agenda. Twenty-five (25) signatures of House members stating they are in support of having the item on the agenda must be collected and submitted to the Chair of the Assembly of Peers to be added to the Plenary Agenda.
The Assembly shall have the power to authorize all budget matters brought to its attention during Assembly meetings. This includes but is not limited to: funding house events, inter-house activities, and funding requests. Members of College have the right to submit funding request forms through the Dean or Chair of the house a week prior to the Assembly meeting at which the request will be presented. At the meeting, the members have the opportunity to attend, explain, and defend their budget request. Assembly members are responsible for voting on the matter in a timely fashion.
Either the Chair of the Assembly or a simple majority of the Assembly members may call a closed meeting for the sole purpose of discussing confidential matters. No House policy shall be decided upon at a closed meeting. If the Assembly decides in a closed meeting that policy should be changed, the matter shall be stripped of confidential material and presented at Plenary to be voted upon.
Plenary shall take place on a biweekly basis. Plenary is held to discuss House matters, introduce new ideas, and announce upcoming events. Each present House member shall have one vote on all voting matters brought forth at the House meetings The Chair of the Assembly of Peers shall run the Plenary. In the Chair’s absence the Vice Chair will run the Plenary.
B. House Committees
The minimum number of members in a single House Committee must be three (3) individuals. Committees are made up solely of Weis House members. Each Committee must have a Chair-appointed member of the Assembly of Peers to act as liaison for the Assembly of Peers. This liaison acts as the secretary for the Committee. All Committees are obligated to follow decisions made at Assembly of Peers and Plenary meetings. The House Committees are as follows:
1. Events and Traditions Committee
2. Outreach Committee
3. Information, Promotion, and Website Committee
4. House Improvement Committee
5. Athletics Committee
6. Sustainability Committee
Events and Traditions Committee
This committee is in charge of many of the social events occurring in Weis House. From trips to New York to barbecues on the Quad, members of the Events Committee are charged with improving the social life of Weis House. The committee is also responsible for carrying out the House dinners.
Members of the Athletics Committee help organize any activities that include athletics, as well as working to coordinate an intramural athletics league among the four houses. They are responsible for gathering team information and helping to form official Weis House teams for different events.
House Improvements Committee
We all love Weis House, but there are always ways to make it better. Members of this committee help to buy new furniture and electronics, paint rooms, and anything else to improve the atmosphere of Weis and Thomas buildings.
Information, Promotion, and Website Committee
This committee helps to inform fellow residents of any events or activities occurring within Weis House. Using various advertisement forms (e-mails, flyers, etc) this committee is responsible for increasing House attendance at different events. The committee must also update the website and work to make the Weis homepage a user-friendly site. Join this committee and use your artistic abilities!
Members of this committee work with not only Weis House, but also Lancaster City, in order to show students the full opportunities that are available within our own community. They have the power to work in conjunction with the Ware Institute or can branch off and do a service project solely with Weis.
Newly established, the sustainability committee looks to promote sustainable living within Weis House and throughout campus. They are the liaisons between Weis and the rest of the sustainability movement at Franklin and Marshall. A few of its top motives are to utilize energy consumption, promote recycling, and make the House more conscious of how their action affects the environment.
Article III: Weis House Bill of Rights
The enumeration in the Weis House Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by members of the House.
All members of Weis House shall have the right to:
• Be presumed trustworthy.
• Participate in the governance of the House.
• Universal suffrage within the House.
• Live in a comfortable and safe environment.
• Attend all House functions and meetings.
• Have a fair hearing before the Weis House Dispute Resolution Council, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation in a timely manner.
• Appeal to the Government if their rights have been violated or denied.
• Use all appropriate facilities of the House.
Article IV: House Advisors
House Advisors assist new members in making the transition to college life and the house system. They possess the knowledge and skills to lead successful orientation groups. Their commitment, creativity and enthusiasm help ensure the vitality of the orientation program. During the academic year the House Advisors live in proximity to their seminar group acting as advisor and mentor to these first year members. Weis House Advisors promote a comfortable environment for house members by promoting an understanding of College Policy and House Rules and ensuring that resident's rights and responsibilities are upheld. Weis HAs have the responsibility of reporting breaches of College Policy and House Rules as well as participating in the House's duty system.
House Advisors are integral components of the life of Weis House. One House Advisor represents his/her fellow House Advisors at Assembly of Peers meetings but does not have voting power. Programs initiated by House Advisors that require house funds must be requested through the standard process established by the Assembly of Peers.
Article V: House Don and House Prefect
A House Don and a House Prefect oversee Weis House. A member of the F&M Faculty, the House Don provides leadership in fostering the intellectual life of the house. A member of the College Administration, the Prefect oversees house programs, judicial matters, and the general welfare of students in the house. The Don and the Prefect advise the Assembly of Peers and work closely with various committees in the house, particularly those initiating programs that foster the intellectual life of the house. Both individuals occupy office space in the house.
Article VI: Elections
First-year students shall elect three (3) Assembly of Peers members during the first month of the fall semester. These Assembly members shall serve until the end of the Spring semester. They may choose to run for reelection during the spring elections.
During Spring elections, Weis House will select nine people to serve on the Assembly of Peers for the following academic year. The newly elected Assembly members shall then elect from within that body those individuals who shall serve as Chair, Vice Chair, Treasurer, and Secretary. Any unfilled positions can be appointed by the Chair from the serving Assembly of Peers.
Candidates for general House elections are required to submit a biography and a position paper that will be displayed at central locations in all House buildings.
The Chair of the Weis House Dispute Resolution Council shall preside over all Weis House elections. If the Chair is running for a position in the election, then another member of the HDRC who is not running shall preside over the election. All elections shall be held by secret paper ballot. Winners shall be chosen via a simple majority. However, should the margin of victory for House elections be within two percent of the total number of votes, an automatic and public recount shall be performed.
Article VII: Impeachment and Resignation of Elected Officials
Excessive absence from meetings of the Assembly of Peers, ineligibility to hold the office, or failure to fulfill the duties of his/her office to the satisfaction of the Assembly of Peers shall be the grounds for impeachment. The Secretary shall notify the Chair if an elected official has been absent from an excessive number of Assembly of Peers meetings.
Impeachment of Official
The impeachment of the official will follow the process for agenda items outlined in Article II. For removal of the official, two-fifths (2/5) of the House must be present and two-thirds (2/3) majority is required for removal of the official. Elections for a replacement shall be conducted within seven (7) school days. The new official shall be elected under the guidelines for elections outlined in Article IV.
Resignation of Official
An elected or appointed member of the Assembly of Peers can resign through a letter to the Chair of the Assembly of Peers stating their intent. If the Chair wishes to resign, the letter must be submitted to the Assembly of Peers. It will be at the discretion of the Chair and approved by the Assembly of Peers to determine whether to hold an election or appoint a member to fulfill the vacated position.
Article VIII: The Amending Power
Any member of Weis House may propose amendments. The members of the Assembly of Peers shall review proposed changes in an Assembly of Peers meeting. Amendments to the Constitution shall be passed by a simple majority of all voting members of the Assembly of Peers. The changes will then be sent out to the House electronically for all to review. If the Dean of the House receives notification from 35 or more students disagreeing with said changes, the Amendment in question will be discussed during the next Plenary. During the Plenary meeting students who agreed and disagreed with the change have the opportunity to state their case. At the end of the Plenary all Weis House members in attendance will vote on the issue. There must be a simple majority for the decision to stand.
The purpose of the Weis House Dispute Resolution Council (HDRC) is to:
• Provide a hearing body that is aware of, and sensitive to, student needs and problems.
• Help to resolve disputes between students and, if necessary, direct students to follow stipulations.
• Ensure fair and equal treatment of students in all matters while educating students about responsibilities for the integrity and welfare of the House community.
• Preside over elections of the Weis Assembly of Peers.
The HDRC shall be comprised of seven (7) House Members, six (6) Justices, and one (1) Chief Justice.
Article I. Council Members
Section 1. Appointment
The HDRC shall be comprised of six (6) council members. The current Chair of the Assembly of Peers shall appoint members each year with the help of the Chief Justice through an application or interview process. Members of the HDRC may not hold an elected position on the Assembly of Peers. Council members must be approved by a simple majority of the Assembly of Peers. Terms on the HDRC shall last for one year.
Section 2. Resignation
If there is an opening for a Justice position, the vacancy shall be immediately filled by the Chief Justice and Chair of the Weis Assembly of Peers.
Article II. HDRC Adviser
Section 1. The Adviser
The adviser of the HDRC shall be the current prefect.
Section 2. Role
The Role of the HDRC Adviser shall be to approve all decisions made by the court and ensure the integrity of the process.
Article III. Chief Justice
Section 1. Appointment
The Executive board of the Assembly of Peers and the prefect shall appoint the Chief Justice. The Chief Justice must be a current member of the Assembly of Peers.
Section 2. Term
The Chief Justice’s term will last for one year and may be reappointed if re-elected to the Weis Assembly of Peers.
Section 2. Powers
The Chief Justice has the ability to call emergency hearings, cancel hearings, clear the hearing, as will ensure the integrity of the process.
Article IV. Roles in the HDRC
Section 1: Administrative Assistant.
One Justice shall be appointed by the Chief Justice to be the Administrative Assistant. The Administrative Assistant’s role shall include, but not be limited to:
a) take notes during hearings
b) be responsible for reporting the minutes to the House Prefect, Chief Justice, and Chair of the Assembly of Peers.
c) communicate necessary information to all parties involved
Section 2: Scheduler
One Justice shall be appointed by the Chief Justice to the role of the Scheduler. The Scheduler’s role shall include, but not be limited to:
a) reserve the space necessary for the hearing
b) communicate the time to all House Members.
c) ensure that enough Justices are available to hear the case
d) ensure that all parties involved can be in attendance
Article V. Hearings
Section 1: Eligibility
No hearing may take place unless there are at least five (5) HDRC members (four Justices and one Chief Justice)
Section 2: Who may attend
All hearings will be open to members of the House unless otherwise noted, except for when the HDRC is in the deliberation phase.
Section 3: HDRC hearings
a) all parties will be notified that a hearing will take place
b) the scheduler will find a time that is agreeable to all parties
c) all parties and Justices will gather at the agreed date and place
d) the Justice will introduce himself and state the charges
e) the respondent will offer an opening statement followed by the complainant (or representative).
f) the Justices will have time to ask questions of both parties
g) witnesses and/or participants will have time to speak and be asked questions from the Justices.
h) the complainant will offer a closing statement followed by the respondent.
i) the HDRC will move into the deliberation phase
Section 4: Deliberation and Notification of the Decision
a) the Justices shall deliberate and determine if the student is in violation of House rules.
b) if the student is found in violation, the Justices will determine the correct sanction.
c) the House prefect will be informed by a member of the HDRC of the outcome and will either agree or disagree with the decision and sanction.
d) if the House prefect disagrees with the decision and sanction, they will notify the court and meet with the student.
e) if the House prefect agrees, a time will be arranged to notify the student of the outcome and sanction.
f) the respondent will receive verbal notification as well as written notification of the outcome within four (4) business days.
Article VI. Sanctions
Sanctions shall be handed out when deemed necessary by the HDRC with approval of the House Prefect.
Article VII. Assembly of Peers Elections
The House HDRC will be responsible for collecting and counting the ballots for Weis Assembly of Peers elections. Any Justice who is running for a position on the Assembly of Peers may not take part in counting or overseeing the process.