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Program House Guidelines

I. Introduction

II. Standards of Review for New and Continuing Program Houses

III. Program House Status

IV. Program House Rights, Responsibilities, and Privileges

V. Residential Council Review Process

VI. Recognized Program Houses

VII. Amending this Document


I. Introduction

Brown University is a residential college. The University believes that its educational mission is best fulfilled when its residence hall system provides a living and learning environment that compliments the academic life of its students. A central feature of the Brown curriculum and residential system is the provision of choice to students. A variety of accommodations from singles to apartments are offered to sophomores, juniors and seniors through the Housing Lottery and other residential options.

A prominent feature of this system is the opportunity for students to create or join a Program House and apply for space within the residence halls. Program Houses, which include Greek organizations, theme houses and cultural houses, provide an environment where students with similar interests can live together and cultivate those interests, thus augmenting their academic life. These houses are granted the privilege of common space within the dormitories for this purpose and receive the support of appropriate University departments, including the Office of Residential Life.

The privileges of each Program House are accompanied by responsibilities to the University community, which are outlined below. The Office of Residential Life and the Residential Council will work cooperatively with each Program House to ensure that its purpose and obligations are fulfilled. All Program Houses should keep in mind that their housing is a privilege contingent on maintaining good standing with Brown Campus Life.

II. Standards of Review for New and Continuing Program Houses

The Residential Council reviews all applications for new and continuing Program Houses once each semester and makes recommendations to the Office of Residential Life. In addition, The Office of Residential Life may conduct independent reviews as deemed necessary. The space allocated to each Program House depends on overall enrollment, the number of groups in the applicant pool, and the availability of space within the residential inventory. Final decisions are the responsibility of the Office of Residential Life.

  1. Applications for New Program Houses
    1. During the review process for new Program House applications, the Residential Council will consider the following criteria:
      1. Distinctiveness of proposed Program House from existing Houses
      2. Need for residential space to fulfill Program House’s goals
      3. Potential for continued contribution to the Brown community
      4. Potential as a functioning and self-perpetuating organization, consisting of the following:
        1. A minimum of twenty-two (22) members and maximum of thirty (30) members in the first year of existence, with at least one-quarter of those members having a semester standing greater than four (4).
        2. A constitution modeled on the Undergraduate Council of Students (UCS) Model Constitution, which reflects the University's academic and social purposes as well as the Program House's internal goals, a copy of which must remain on file with the Office of Residential Life.
        3. A structure of self-governance and operating rules, including elected internal officers and regular weekly meetings of these officers, and at least 5 well attended all-House meetings each semester.
        4. A mechanism for responding to violations of internal operating policies and University rules.
    2. Each Program House must have a designated Faculty Advisor who will support the Program House by serving as a source of continuity from year to year, advising the student leaders, and acting as a liaison between the University and the Program House.
    3. Program Houses will be required to promote a sense of community for the University as a whole. In order to achieve this goal it is expected that, apart from events intended for the residents, Program Houses will also sponsor campus-wide educational and social events.  All Program Houses must host at least two (2) of these events per semester, which must be held on-campus and publicized and open to the University community.  Examples of campus-wide events include, but are not limited to,   language speaking hour, alcohol/drug informational outreaches, lectures, cultural events, and literary events. Class F parties are acceptable as campus-wide events, but invite-only cocktails are not. Houses are instructed to submit proof of the events to Residential Council prior to the semester review and are asked to provide as much documentation as possible, including but not limited to pictures, copies of tableslips and other publicity, and a short explanation of how the event promoted a sense community for the University.  The effort expended and outcome realized with these events will affect the recommendation given by the Residential Council during reviews.
    4. In addition, Program Houses will be required to sponsor two (2) community service events per semester.  These events can either be single, large-scale events or smaller events involving a number of members and consistent participation.  One event may involve multiple houses as long as there is demonstration that the house had active participation in the event; one event must involve only one program house.  Proof of the depth or breadth of community activism must be provided to Residential Council at every review.  It must be clear that the community service was carried out by House members on behalf of the House, initiated by the House and its leadership, and that there was substantial participation by House members.  The effort expended and outcome realized with these events will affect the recommendation given by the Residential Council during reviews.
    5. Program Houses are expected to maintain positive relationships with the independents residing in their residence halls. These independents should be treated with the respect due to all residents of University dormitories. Program Houses shall designate either the President or Vice President as an Independent Liaison.  This person is required to personally introduce themselves to each independent in their dorm and provide their name and room number to the residents.  If a change in leadership occurs second semester of the academic year, a new Independent Liaison must be named and introductions must be repeated. This person must work in conjunction with the dorm’s Community Assistant to ensure that independents’ issues are addressed.  Upon receipt of a complaint, this person must openly address the complaint to the leadership of the house.  This can occur either in a meeting of the leadership of the house or a general body meeting.  The Independent Liaison shall be the primary contact with Residential Council and Residential Life for all issues relating to independents.
    6. Program Houses are urged to establish their own criteria for membership. However, in accordance with the University's commitment to civil rights, Program Houses may not discriminate on the basis of sex, race, color, religion, age, handicap, status as a veteran, national or ethnic origin or sexual orientation. The Talmadge-Pell amendment to Title 1X of Public Law 92-318 allows fraternities and sororities to remain single-sex.
    7. All Program Houses shall be required to gain membership in either Greek Council or Program House Council and participate fully in Council activities and initiatives.  Continued good standing in one of these Councils is a strict requirement in order to remain a Program House.   These Councils must meet at least once per month during the academic year, excluding Finals Period. They shall serve as liaisons to the University and networks of mutual support, collaboration, and advocacy.
  2. Requirements for Continuing Program Houses
    1. During the review process for continuing Program Houses, the Residential Council will consider its success as a functioning and self-perpetuating organization:
      1. A minimum of 5 in-house members must be returning members.
      2. A minimum of twenty-two (22) members.
      3. The efficacy of the Program House's constitution and self-governance.
      4. Program House status as explained in Article III.
    2. Program Houses must also remain compliant with the requirements for new houses outlined above.

III. Program House Status

Program Houses are assigned a status, which carries with it varying degrees of privilege and responsibility. Status classifications and alterations are at the discretion of the Residential Council and the Office of Residential Life, based on the following criteria. If a Program House becomes unable to meet the requirements for its particular status, then its status may be downgraded at the discretion of the Residential Council and the Office of Residential Life. The University recognizes that exceptions may be appropriate in making these determinations. A Program House with an exceptional record of positive contributions may deserve flexibility in the application of these regulations, while a Program House with a particularly poor record may lose access to facilities or be dissolved even while meeting membership requirements.

  1. Type A Status
    1. For the first three (3) years of existence, a Program House will be considered Type A and assigned rooms as a cluster. Membership will consist of at least twenty-two (22) residential students. Type A Program House members will have preferred but not exclusive access to a lounge and kitchen. Preferred Access is defined as first right to schedule an event in the space. If no event is scheduled, the space is open for use by all residence hall residents.
  2. Type B Status
    1. After three (3) years of existence, if a Type A Program House has demonstrated its ability to fulfill the continuing Program House requirements outlined above, it may be classified as Type B upon the recommendation of the Residential Council and approval of the Office of Residential Life.
    2. A Type B Program House shall have exclusive access to a lounge. It shall also have exclusive access to other rooms in its building, as determined through a cooperative effort among the Residential Council, the Office of Residential Life, and the Program House.
  3. The Residential Unit
    1. The Office of Residential Life will maintain a list of all locations on campus in which Program Houses can be considered for placement in any given year, consistent with applicable codes and regulations and with consideration of space expectations as identified elsewhere in this document. The Residential Council shall consult this list as a part of their Program House placement discussions.

IV. Program House Rights, Responsibilities, and Privileges

  1. Organization
    1. Within its system of self-governance, a Program House is expected to elect resident student leadership. Such leadership must include one resident whose role includes serving as the primary liaison between the Program House and the University, for the purposes of negotiating room allocation, addressing University concerns with the organization, and identifying protocols for students to apply for membership. The name of this liaison must be supplied in writing to the Offices of Residential Life and Student Activities, as well as the Residential Council within fourteen (14) days of its establishment or any changes thereafter.
    2. Program Houses shall, upon request, be assigned a Campus Mailbox for the purpose of conducting organization business subject to the Campus Mailroom regulations. All correspondence from the University, including the Office of Residential Life, will be addressed to the Program House leadership at this mailbox.
  2. Housing
    1. Program Houses shall have the right to make their own room assignments and changes within their houses based on the number of members. This allocation must be processed through the appropriate protocols established by the Office of Residential Life. The allocation of rooms (amount and location) shall be determined by the Office of Residential Life, subject to the placement recommendation of the Residential Council and in consultation with the Program House leadership. This consultation shall take place only after the Program House has submitted a list of members to the Office of Residential Life. The list of new and returning members is due by Super Deadline Day. Program Houses can work with the Office of Residential Life to add members after that Day, but space will no longer be guaranteed. All Program Houses are expected to ensure that members reported as living in house do not enter the lottery or file for off-campus housing.
    2. At the request of the Office of Residential Life, Program Houses will submit the names of students wishing to live in rooms that closely abut the Program House.
    3. The Office of Residential Life reserves the right unilaterally to change the allocation of rooms if membership changes after the initial determination. In such instances, the Office of Residential Life will notify the Program House leadership as soon as possible after the change is made and will consult the Program House leadership in terms of which resident will be required to change rooms.
  3. Physical Residence
    1. In the same manner as with all residence halls, the University shall be responsible for maintaining the physical structure of the building in which a Program House resides.
    2. Program Houses have the right to propose, and in some cases to implement, changes to the physical structure of their residential units in order to further their individual mission or purpose. Such changes may only be implemented after obtaining permission from the Office of Residential Life.
    3. Program Houses may determine the function of assigned spaces in consultation with the Office of Residential Life and furnish them appropriately, subject to applicable government and University laws and regulations.
    4. Program Houses shall be considered immediately for a downgrade of status, relocation, or dissolution if a recurring pattern of negligence or vandalism becomes evident, or in the event of a serious incident.
  4. Events
    1. Program Houses have the right to host and/or sponsor events, either for their membership or for the entire University community, consistent with applicable University regulations governing such events.
    2. Program Houses may reserve space on campus in the same manner and under the same guidelines as apply to registered student organizations recognized at the University.
    3. Resident membership in Program Houses is available only to students having a semester standing greater than or equal to two (2). Students who resign their membership or who are asked to leave a Program House shall be moved to new housing by the Office of Residential Life at the Program House's discretion.

V. Residential Council Review Process

  1. Mandatory reviews:
    1. These reviews will be held once per academic year approximatly six weeks into the fall semester.
    2. Houses will be provided instructions as to what to include in the review packet two weeks prior to the deadline.
    3. After a review of the packet by Residential Life, Residential Council will review the packet and assign a rating of "good", "fair", or "poor".
    4. Houses will be notified of the house status prior to the end of the fall semester.
    5. Any house receiving a rating of "fair" or "poor" will be required to submit an action plan for improvement no later than the first day of the spring semester.
  2. Program House Location - As part of this review and recommendation process, the Residential Council will also consider the question of Program House placement within the University's residential inventory, as defined by the Office of Residential Life. The Council's recommendation for placement will consider the request of the Program House as well as other relevant information, including membership numbers and the opportunity to provide the best environment for the Program House to flourish.

VI. Recognized Program Houses

  1. List of Program Houses - On the basis of recommendations made by the Residential Council, the Office of Residential Life recognizes the following Program Houses (effective fall 2012), listed with any exceptions and probations they have been granted to the Program House Guidelines.
    1. Alpha Chi Omega - Sears House (Wriston Quad; Type B)
    2. Alpha Delta Phi - Goddard House (Wriston Quad; Type B)
    3. Alpha Epsilon Pi - Marcy House (Wriston Quad; Type B)
    4. Art House - Harkness House (Wriston Quad; Type B)
    5. Buxton International - Buxton House (Wriston Quad; Type B)
    6. Delta Phi - Goddard House (Wriston Quad; Type B)
    7. Delta Tau - Olney House (Wriston Quad; Type B)
    8. French House - 87 Prospect Street (Machado House; Type B)
    9. Harambee House - Chapin House (Wriston Quad; Type B)
    10. Hispanic House - 87 Prospect Street (Machado House; Type B)
    11. Social Action House - Diman House (Wriston Quad; Type A)
    12. Kappa Alpha Theta - Diman House (Wriston Quad; Type B)
    13. Phi Kappa Psi - Sears House (Wriston Quad; Type B)
    14. St. Anthony Hall - 154 Hope Street (King House; Type B)
    15. Sigma Chi - Olney House (Wriston Quad; Type B)
    16. Technology House - Harkness House (Wriston Quad; Type B)
    17. Theta Delta Chi - Chapin House (Wriston Quad; Type B)
    18. West House ( 91 Brown Street ; Type B)
      1. Due to the physical size of the 91 Brown Street House, West House will be allowed to have only fourteen (14) members living in house. They must maintain fourteen (14) members at all points in time.
    19. Zeta Delta Xi - Marcy House (Wriston Quad; Type B)

VII. Amending this Document

  1. Sections I through V and VII of this document may be amended by a majority vote of council.  Section VI may be amended by the Chair, Program House Chair, or Secretary to reflect Residential Council decisions.