We, the undergraduates and resident faculty of Avery, in order to create a more perfect Avery that is open, fair, and diverse, that is supportive and encourages the pursuit of knowledge without fear of ridicule or peer pressure, and that is a gathering place for creative, integrous, and tenacious people and their posterity (pre-Averites), do hereby ordain and establish this Constitution for the community of Avery.
Article 1. Membership and Dues
1.1. Avery Membership
Membership in Avery may be established in the following ways:
- Residency. Anyone living in Avery will automatically become a Full Member of Avery for the duration of their residency. Prospective students, students who have not yet completed rotation, and summer students are excluded from automatic Membership.
- Membership Petition. Anyone, including those that have never lived in Avery, wishing to become a Full or Social member must inform the Secretary, who will send an online membership petition form out to the House. Membership is granted when the candidate receives 10 “yes” votes from current Full members of Avery. In exceptional circumstances, ExComm reserves the right to deny membership by a unanimous vote. A social member wishing to become a full member also needs to pass a House membership petition by receiving at least 10 “yes” votes. New members may directly petition to become a full member without applying for a social membership.
The membership of Avery at any time is limited to current Residents and current students of Caltech.
1.1.1. Dropping Membership
Non-resident Members wishing to drop their membership or switch between a full and social member must notify the Secretary in writing. Membership is not automatically dropped by a Member terminating their residency in Avery if that person remains a current student of Caltech. Resident Members who did not pick into Avery through the internal lottery may also drop membership by notifying the Secretary in writing.
1.2. Avery Dues
There will be two tiers of membership:
FULL and SOCIAL.
The rights granted are as follows:
- Attend subsidized social events : ALL
- Contribute to Avery’s mailing lists: ALL
- Vote on matters put before Avery: FULL ONLY
- Participate in Avery internal housing lottery : FULL ONLY
- Run for any Avery officer position: FULL ONLY
There will be three classes of dues-paying members: Social members, associate members, and non-associate full members. Associate members are defined as the subset of full members who do not have Avery listed as their primary house. Associate members will pay separate dues rates, and will have dues directly collected from them by the House.
The dues rates are as follows: NON-ASSOCIATE FULL Members: $90 ASSOCIATE Members: $45 SOCIAL Members: $35
If the Institute changes the amount of dues money covered for members, then ExComm may reduce the dues rate accordingly for a single term. Permanent changes to dues must require a successful constitutional amendment.
Article 2. Officers
- The executive power of Avery will be vested in an Executive Committee of Avery (ExComm). The duties of the ExComm will be to manage affairs involving Avery and to guide Avery in a direction beneficial to its Members. The Avery ExComm may take actions necessary and proper to carry these out with the intent of benefiting the majority of House Members.
- The ExComm consists of the Chancellor, Vice Chancellor, Secretary, Social Director, and Athletic Manager. All Officers on the ExComm will be chosen by a selective vote of all Avery Members.
- The ExComm may act only on behalf of the Members of Avery, from whom it derives its authority. The ExComm may not take any action contrary to the will of Avery at large, and ExComm actions may be overridden by referendum of the Members of Avery.
2.1 Executive Committee of Avery
- Publicize and facilitate the process of voting.
- Communicate the vote results and any other Excomm decisions to the House.
- Organize House meetings.
- The ExComm, through a unanimous decision, may create permanent, year-long minor offices and teams by delineating their selection and duties in the bylaws without the need for a referendum vote. All ExComm Officers may delegate tasks to other Officers and team members.
- No more than 1 person can be Chancellor, Vice-Chancellor, Athletics Manager, or Secretary, and no more than 2 people can simultaneously be Social Director.
- Be a liaison between Members of Avery and organizations outside of Avery. This includes being Avery's delegate to the IHC if the Chancellor is an undergraduate; otherwise a separate selective election will be held among undergraduates for this position; and
- Preside over House Meetings.
No person will be Chancellor for more than two consecutive years.
2.1.2. Vice Chancellor
- Oversee voting procedures and publish summaries of vote information and impact.
- Be the primary signatory on the Avery bank account.
- Maintain Avery finances, delegate budgets to other teams, and keep a record of all expenditures of Avery.
- Coordinate Moore-Hufstedler Fund and other funding proposals.
- Organize Rotation dinners, desserts, and events.
- Coordinate alumni relations and events.
- Preside over room picks.
- Act as point of contact between minor reps and Excomm.
- Assume the responsibilities of the Chancellor while the Chancellor is unable to perform his or her duties.
- Maintain a current list of members of Avery.
- Handle membership petitions and voting thereof.
- Create nameplates for current residents.
- Organize parking signups and nameplates.
- Maintain email lists.
- Record minutes of Avery House meetings, email them to all Avery members, and publish them on the Avery website.
- Publish and maintain this Constitution on the Avery website.
- Record and tabulate the results of all votes made by the Excomm or Avery House, initializing the online system if in use.
2.1.4. Social Director
- Be responsible for regularly updating the House on Social Team activities and expenditures; and
- Organize and preside over Social Team meetings, approve Social Team decisions or defer them to the ExComm, and monitor the Social Team budget.
2.1.5. Athletics Manager
- Organize Avery teams for interhouse sports;
- Maintain the Avery Ath list; and
- Be responsible for any tasks delegated by the IHC Ath Man.
2.2. Peer Advocates
- Mental Health Resource
- Plan community building events
- Liaison between Avery and Counseling Center
2.3. Class Representatives
- Class representatives consists of 2 seniors, 2 juniors, 2 sophomores, and 2 freshman
- Assist Peer Advocate in planning community building events that consist of class-wide or cross-class events
- Class Representatives will be selected by the members of each class after room picks. Freshman class reps will be selected second term of their freshman year
2.4. Alley Representatives
- Assist Peer Advocates in planning community building events such as alley challenges and other alley events
Any Officer may at any time be subjected to a vote of no confidence. If an Officer is removed, he or she will be replaced by unanimous vote by the ExComm. If there are no Officers to facilitate elections, the Resident Associates will perform this duty.
Article 3. Voting and Elections
- A quorum of the Members of Avery is defined to be at least one half of the population of undergraduate Residents who 1) rotated into Avery or 2) were full members of Avery prior to residing in the House.
- A referendum is defined as a vote with three options: yes, no and abstain. A referendum is passed if there are more yes votes than no votes; a two-thirds referendum is passed if there are at least twice as many yes votes as no votes.
- A selective vote is defined as a vote with multiple choices. For each selective vote, a voter will rank the choices in order of descending preference, with rank one being the most preferred. For each rank, the voter may select one of the choices on the ballot,, or may leave the rank blank. There will also be a choice for NO, which will run as a candidate. If NO wins a vote, then the election for that specific candidate is considered invalid and must be redone in a new vote. In the new vote, NO will not be a candidate. A ballot conforming to these guidelines will be considered correctly cast. The winner of a selective vote is declared as follows:
3.2 Voting Procedure
All votes will be conducted by secret ballot, and each Member of Avery may cast one ballot in each vote. If the ExComm decides to freely allow physical ballots for vote submissions, votes may be cast at Avery meetings of all Members, via Internet, via a ballot box placed in a public area of Avery, or by direct presentation to the elections committee.
Votes are brought before the Members of Avery in the following circumstances:
- The Avery ExComm decides that a vote should be brought before the Members; or
- A petition for a vote is made by 20% of the Members and presented to the Vice Chancellor or the Secretary at least seven days before the vote is to occur. The date and method of the vote must be specified in the petition, but the method is limited to one specified in this Constitution.
The vote will be publicized using appropriate means by the ExComm beginning a minimum of four days prior to the start of the voting period. Absentee ballots will be made available by the Secretary to any Members who wish to vote but are unable to be present during the voting period.
The voting period on any vote brought before House Members will be specified by the ExComm or petition bringing forth the vote, but may not be more than 7 days. The motion or petition must also specify whether and how the voting period may be extended in the case that a quorum is not reached; but in no case may the total period of voting exceed the 7-day maximum.
3.2.2. Online Voting Procedure
If an official house vote is to be held using an online voting system, it must abide by the following:
- The online voting system must guarantee anonymity for voters.
- The online voting system must tabulate results and automatically email these results to voters received an invitation to vote.
- Full information on raw voting data and vote invites must be available to all Avery members.
- The order that candidates are presented in the vote must be shuffled.
- Any links/text on the survey must be approved by all ExComm members to ensure clarity and neutrality.
- If there is a problem preventing online voting from working that can not be resolved in 24 hours of the initial attempt, the vote must be conducted by physical ballot.
- The ExComm has the right to restrict votes to purely online submissions. However, if an eligible voter does not receive an invite to vote within the voting period, the ExComm must immediately provide them a valid physical ballot or immediately invite them to cast an online submission.
- If an eligible voter discovers that they were not invited to vote within 24 hours of the conclusion of the vote, that vote is nullified and must be redone.
- If an ineligible voter participates in the vote, the vote is terminated and restarted as long as the issue is discovered before 24 hours elapse from the time the vote concluded.
If the online voting system uses software maintained by past or current Caltech student(s), it must abide by the following:
- The source code of the system must remain open source to all Avery members
- The source code must be downloaded directly from its public repository and initiated in plain sight of all members of a public, official Avery House meeting or announcement with at least 24 hours notice.
3.3 Voting System
A selective vote is defined as a vote with multiple choices. For each selective vote, a voter will rank the choices in order of descending preference, with rank one being the most preferred. For each rank, the voter may select one of the choices on the ballot, or may leave the rank blank. There will also be a choice for NO, which will run as a candidate. If NO wins a vote, then the election for that specific candidate is considered invalid and must be redone in a new vote. In the new vote, NO will not be a candidate. A ballot conforming to these guidelines will be considered correctly cast. The winner(s) of a selective vote is declared as follows:
- Ballots are counted according to first rank votes. If one choice gets a majority of the votes then it wins.
- If no winner has been declared, the choice with the fewest votes will be eliminated, and each of that choice's ballots will be redistributed among the choices by the next available choice ranked. This process will be repeated until one choice gets a majority of the votes.
- Ties among last place choices will be resolved by the following process: the votes of one of the tied choices will be redistributed, and the count process is continued until a potential winner is found.
- This will be repeated for each of the other tied choices, until all such potential winners are found. If the same choice emerges as the potential winner in all cases, then that choice is declared the winner; if the election allows for multiple winners not running on the same ticket, then this candidate is declared the first winner. If no consensus is found, then all correctly cast ballots will be reorganized and counted according to preferences for only the potential winners, using the procedure outlined above, and the choice receiving an absolute majority of the votes will be declared the winner. If a tie occurs among all remaining choices, the vote will be ruled indeterminate, and another vote will be held at the earliest possible opportunity.
- If the election allows for multiple winners not running on the same ticket, and a first winner was determined in step 4, this winner will be removed from the voting results, and for each voter, every candidate whose rank was higher than the first winner will have their rank decreased by one in that voter’s record; steps 1-4 will then be repeated to determine a second winner in the election. If step 4 results in an indeterminate vote, any winners already determined will be declared and only the remaining candidates will be on the ballot to determine the additional winners.
- Step 5 will be repeated however many times necessary to determine all winners for the election, provided that step 4 does not result in an indeterminate vote.
Elections will be held during the second term for all Officer positions.
3.5. Vote of No Confidence
A vote of no confidence against an Officer of Avery may be brought before the Members for negligence of their duties as set forth in this Constitution. If the vote of no confidence is confirmed by a two thirds referendum vote of the Members, the Officer's position is immediately revoked.
Article 4. Room Picks
- Only Avery Members who have held Membership for an appropriate interval prior to the due date of the internal lottery forms may participate in internal room picks. This interval shall be determined by the ExComm with guidance from the Room Picks Bylaws.
- If any undergraduate spot will become vacant during the course of the academic year, it will be filled in an appropriate way as determined by the Avery bylaws.
- The Chancellor, Social Director, Vice-Chancellor, Athletics Manager, and Secretary can choose to have priority picks for any non-suite single room during the Avery internal lottery in that order.
- 3 of the new Peer Advocates are guaranteed a single during Avery internal lottery, and the others will be guaranteed a room during Avery internal lottery, but will be given no further privileges for room picks.
- There will be one single guaranteed for one Health Advocate in the Avery Internal Lottery. If a health advocate was awarded a single under this clause in a previous year, they are no longer eligible to claim a single under this clause in future years unless 1) they are the only trained Health Advocate participating in the Avery Internal Lottery or 2) all of the trained Health Advocates participating in the Avery Internal Lottery have claimed a single under this clause in previous years.
- Non-Rotating Avery members who have not previously entered the Avery Internal Lottery wishing to enter it must receive 10 “yes” responses to an online form sent by the Secretary of the House. If they receive more “no” responses than “yes” responses, their petition will be rejected. In exceptional circumstances, ExComm reserves the right to deny access to the Avery Internal Lottery by a unanimous vote.
Article 5. Amendments and Conditions
- All proposed amendments to this Constitution must be approved by a two-thirds referendum vote of the Members of Avery. Any amendment made to this Constitution will take effect immediately upon passage, but will not have retroactive effects of any kind. It is the responsibility of the Secretary, upon the passage of a Constitutional amendment, to promptly post the amended Constitution in a publicly accessible location.
- Any matters not directly resolved by this Constitution will be resolved either by the ExComm or by a vote of the Members of Avery, depending on the import of the matter in question.
- This Constitution will take effect immediately upon ratification by two-thirds referendum vote of the Members of Avery, which must include two-thirds of all undergraduate and two-thirds of all graduate students voting.
Constitution repo with version history available on GitHub