The Constitution of the SHEA HOUSE

400 Monroe Lane

Article I: Background Statement

A. House and Government Purpose

1.       Goals. We, the residents of 400 Monroe Lane, endeavor to create a government to secure and promote our goals:

  •  linguistic immersion in one of several selected world languages
  • promotion of culture consistent with the experience of speakers of that language
  • increased awareness and understanding of global culture, especially of the represented languages

Article II: Governmental Overview

A. Parts of Government

  1.  Governmental Object. The house government shall exist to ensure that the house goals are fulfilled.
  2. Governing Committees. To coordinate and oversee the workings of the house, there shall be two committees, a language/culture committee and a functional committee
  3. Advisors. To assist and counsel the board of chairpersons there shall exist a group of house advisors selected by the University.

Article III: Governmental Structure and Responsibilities

A. Committees

  1. Two Types of Committees. To enable the Shea House Government to most effectively pursue house goals, there shall be two types of committees, language/culture committees and functional committees. A language/cultural committee shall exist for every language represented in the house to directly pursue the house goals from a single language/cultural perspective. Functional committees shall also pursue these goals, integrating the interests of all residents.
  2. Committee Membership. Each committee shall be composed of elected or appointed officials, to be decided as the beginning of the year. The members of the language/culture committee are the Language Assistants (LA) for each of the respective languages. The members of the functional committee are residents that shall be elected from the all residents of the house, and one rotating, voting, LA per meeting. In addition, the Resident Advisor (RA) and Senior Resident of the House (SR) shall be non-voting observer members.
  3. Committee Chairperson. The chair of the both committees is the Program Facilitator, or his/her designee.
  4. Chairperson Responsibilities. The chairperson shall lead all committee meetings, record minutes of all meetings, organize and coordinate committee efforts, inform the committees and residents committees’ progress and plans, and be held accountable for the fulfillment of all committee responsibilities.


B. Functional Committee Members.

  1. The functional committee shall have four elected members, a Communications chair, a Cultural Chair, a Financial Chair, and a webmaster.
  2. Communication Chair. There shall be a Communication Chair responsible for: e-mailing the house concerning Board proceedings, archiving of these e-mails for house records, house publicity, taking meeting notes/minutes.
  3. Cultural Convergence Chair. There shall be a Cultural Chair responsible for: organizing cultural programming beyond the scope of a single language group, possible development of a house library.
  4. Financial Chair. There shall be a Financial Chair responsible for: budget proposal incorporating suggestions of all residents, managing house budget, raising general funds.
  5. Webmaster. There shall be a webmaster responsible for: development and maintenance of a house website.


C. Language/Culture Committees

  1. Language/Culture Committees. The language/culture committee shall consist of a bi-weekly meeting of all of the Language Assistants with the Program Facilitator and the House Director. This meeting is to discuss the progress of the language pods and staff in pursuing the goals of the house as enumerated in Article I. The members of this committee are allowed to spend Shea House Government funds, with the approval of the functional committee.


D. Additional Responsibilities and Extraordinary Committees

  1. No Limitation on Committee Responsibilities. Each committee’s responsibilities shall not be limited to those enumerated, but shall include additional responsibilities within its general scope and consistent with Article I.
  2. Committee Activity Proposals. The committee chairperson shall present, by the second meeting of each semester, a statement of the committee’s proposed semester activities and approximate expenses, demonstrating their consistency with Article I.
  3. Scholarship. Advisors shall oversee any academic programs in the House and use their discretion in conjunction with the both committees regarding scholarship issues.
  4. Sub-Committees. Each functional committee chair has the right to form a sub-committee, to aid in their duties.


Article IV: Governmental Logistics

A. Committee Meetings

  1. Bi-Weekly Meetings. The Board of Chairpersons and its Advisors shall convene at a bi-weekly meeting to discuss house business.
  2. Chairperson Reports. Chairpersons shall deliver a report on the business of their committee at the Board of Chairpersons meeting.
  3. Voting. Each chairperson shall have one vote at Board meetings. The meeting leader shall clearly announce the voting options before the vote is taken: “yes,” “no,” or some other unbiased representative word/phrase. In addition, “abstain” shall always be an option.
  4. Board Decisions. All decisions brought before the Board of Chairpersons shall require a simple majority vote of members present.
  5. Anonymous Voting. Should any chairperson or advisor request an anonymous vote, voting procedure shall proceed as follows: Chairpersons shall silently write their vote on a card, fold it once, and pass it to the meeting leader, who shall in all cases count the votes and announce the total number of votes received for each voting option. All chairpersons shall use identical cards, which shall be provided by the Communications Committee. In the case that the number of votes received does not match exactly the number of chairpersons or proxy chairpersons present, a revote shall be taken.
  6.  Proxy Chairpersons. Any chairperson may assign any member of their respective committee to vote at the Board of Chairpersons meetings in their absence.
  7. Quorum. A quorum for Board of Chairpersons meetings shall be a majority of the members.
  8. Open Meetings. All Board of Chairpersons meetings shall be open to all residents of the house.
  9. Constitutional Reference. A copy of this Constitution in its entirety shall be present at all Board of Chairpersons meetings.
  10. Terms.  The term of any committee member is one (1) academic year. If the member of the committee does not fulfill his/her term to completion, then the vacancy shall be filled by the same measures as a general election of a member.
  11. Veto Power. The House Director shall have a right to veto any proposed spending or activity if, after providing adequate advice, such spending or activity is inconsistent with University policy or Article I. Any decision of the house director can be appealed to the University of Virginia Ombudsman.

B. Amendment and Ratification Process

  1. Amendment Proposals. Any resident may submit a written proposal for a Constitutional Amendment to the functional committee.
  2. Board Approval. The functional committee shall be required to vote on proposed amendments after reasonable consideration. This vote shall take place on or no more than four weeks from the date the amendment is proposed, excluding weeks that the Board of Chairpersons is in recess for official University holidays. A majority of vote of the functional committee members is required for the passage of a constitutional amendment.


Article V: House Finances

A. House Finances

  1. Semester Budget. The Shea House Government as well as each language group shall have a predetermined amount of money at their disposal each semester. Any monies remaining at the end of the first semester shall transfer to the second semester, and any monies remaining at the end of the year shall go into the Shea Reserve Fund. In addition, spending shall not exceed the total monies available to the house. The functional committee has final financial authority for all house monies.
  2. Committee Expenses. The functional committee must approve all expenses of the language/culture committee. Each expense must be sponsored by a member, who shall present it before the functional committee, stating its consistency with one or more of the goals in Article I. In addition, if an expense of a committee is to exceed fifty percent of the total Shea House Government budget, it must be approved via referendum by a majority of residents of the house.
  3. Reimbursement Form. All expenses must be clearly documented on an MLLH Reimbursement Form and signed by the purchaser, the Financial Chair, and the Coordinator of Programs or House Director, as determined by the form. The reimbursement form shall be submitted to the Financial Chair. The Financial Chair reserves the right to reject any forms past December 1 (fall semester) and May 1 (spring semester), or at any time approved by the functional committee
  4. University Liaison. The Financial Committee chairperson shall be the sole liaison between the University and the House Government where financial matters are concerned.