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Chapter 7: Governance

Auspices from the I Ching

August 13, 1970
To: Hampshire Community
From: Dean Smith
Subject: Auspices from the I Ching

In response to thousands of cards and letters, I have cast the I Ching on the question of the most suitable form of government for this College. If I had wished to stack the hexagrams, this is not the one I would have chosen, but it has interesting auspices, and I present them herewith to all you chun tzus out there, along with your millions of interested friends.

Number 41: Decrease

(from the judgement) "Increase and decrease come in their own time. What matters here is to understand the time and not try to cover up poverty with empty pretense. If a time of scanty resources brings out an inner truth, one must not feel ashamed of simplicity. For simplicity is then the very thing needed to provide inner strength for further undertakings...One must draw on the strength of the inner attitude to compensate for what is lacking in externals; then the power of the content makes up for the simplicity of form."

The Constitution of Hampshire College


Section I: Academic Council.

The Faculty, as defined in Article VII of the Bylaws of the Trustees of Hampshire College, shall be responsible for those matters designated in that Article, including the relationship of Hampshire College to the surrounding community insofar as that relationship involves the educational program of the College. The Faculty will ordinarily conduct its business through an Academic Council composed of all members of the Faculty, plus that number of Hampshire College students which shall equal twenty percent of the number of the Faculty holding appointment from the College. In academic years 1970-71 and in 1971-72, at least two such students shall be Hampshire Fellows.

All students of the Academic Council shall be elected by students of Hampshire College in an election to be administered by the Community Council. The term of elective office on the Academic Council shall be one year.

The Faculty may meet, act, and modify or repeal any action of the Academic Council if two-thirds of those then holding Faculty appointment, not including those Faculty members then on leave, petition the President to so meet. The Faculty may modify or repeal any action of the Academic Council if two-thirds of those voting vote to so act.

The Academic Council shall meet on a schedule sufficient to conduct its regular affairs during the academic year, and in addition on call of the President or by petition of any ten members of the Academic Council. The President shall preside at meetings of the Faculty and of the Academic Council.

There shall be an Executive Committee of the Academic Council composed of four members of the Faculty elected by the Faculty (one from each School, and one from the Committee on Language and Communication), three students elected by and from the students on the Academic Council, the Dean of the College, and the President of the College, who shall preside. In the absence of the President, the Dean of the College shall preside. The Executive Committee shall, where time and other circumstances require, act on behalf of the Academic Council subject to the Academic Council's ratification, shall set the agenda for Academic council meetings, and shall otherwise act to facilitate the deliberations and decision making function of the Academic Council.

Section II: Community Council.

The Community Council shall be composed of twelve members of the House(s), at least two of whom shall be Hampshire Fellows and at least one of whom shall be a member of the Faculty; two members of the Hampshire College Community who are not members of the House(s); and four members ex officio (the Vice President, the Dean of the College, the Master of Merrill House, and, in 1970-71, the Assistant Master of Merrill House. In 1971-72, the Master of House II will replace the Assistant Master of Merrill House). The term of office of elected members shall be one year. The twelve House members shall be elected by the House(s), and shall in 1971-72 be evenly divided between the two Houses; the two members of the Council not members of a House shall be elected by those eligible for these positions.

The Faculty shall delegate to the Community Council responsibility for the regulations concerning the quality of life on campus and the well being of the students. Such responsibility shall include, but not be limited to, the relationship of Hampshire College to the surrounding community, coordination of House-based programs, the right to overrule House decisions when such decisions clearly conflict with activities of other parts of the Hampshire College community, determination of social policy where it shall affect the College as a whole, determination of standards for remaining in the community--other than those determined by Academic Council, determination of jurisdiction among the Houses or between the House(s) and the Community Council.

The Faculty may meet, act, and modify or repeal any action of the Community Council if two-thirds of those then holding Faculty appointment, not including those Faculty members then on leave, petition the President to so meet. The Faculty may modify or repeal an action of the Community Council if two-thirds of those voting vote to do so.

Section III: The Houses.

Membership in a House shall include those Hampshire College students who live there, the Master and Assistant Master, those members of the Faculty and staff who shall be assigned such membership by the Dean of the College with the advice of the Masters of the Houses, and other persons so designated by the House memberships.

Members of a House shall determine and be responsible for all decisions affecting the quality of life of that House, including social policy, intellectual life, and relationship with guests from off campus, subject to the authority of the Community Council as set forth in Section II above.

Section IV: College Judicial Board.

The College Judicial Board shall be composed of nine members appointed by the College Council. Four members shall be students, three members shall be Faculty, one member shall be from the administrative staff, and one member shall be from the administration. The term of appointment of any member shall be one academic year, and no member shall hold elective office while serving on the Board. The Board shall hear and decide matters involving interpretation of this Constitution or any Rule of the College when a request is made by any party that the Board so decide, and when the Board is satisfied (1) that such decision is necessary to promote the welfare of the College, and (2) that other campus procedures for determining the question have been exhausted. The Board shall also hear and decide matters alleging infraction of any College rule in which either the alleged violator or an injured party seeks the Board's intervention, and when the Board is satisfied (1) that such decision is necessary to promote the welfare of the College, and (2) that other campus procedures for determining the question have been exhausted. For purposes of this Section, the word "party" shall mean any individual and the following bodies: the Academic Council, the Community Council, a House, the Faculty, the College. Appeals from a decision of the Board shall be taken to the President of the College. If an appeal is not taken, a decision of the College Judicial Board shall be binding. The College Judicial Board shall set its won rules, but shall be bound by fundamental concepts of due process in the determination of its specific procedures.

Section V: College Council

The College Council shall be composed of four students elected by the Community Council, three Faculty elected by the Academic Council, one member of the professional administrative staff elected by that group, and one member of the administrative staff elected by that group. The term of office of any elected member shall be for one year. The President of the College shall serve as Chairman, and may vote when it shall affect the decision. For College Council elections, persons holding faculty appointment as any portion of their responsibility at Hampshire College shall vote as, and be eligible for election as, Faculty.

The College Council shall have the right to be advised of the deliberations and decisions of all legislative bodies and executive offices, including committees in the College, and may review the decisions of such bodies or offices and report its conclusions. It may hear individual grievances and make recommendations for their alleviation. On its own initiative it may make recommendations for action by other bodies of the College. In the exercise of the foregoing powers, it shall have the power to investigate those College activities it deems appropriate. The College Council shall also have the power to convene a joint meeting of the Academic Council, Community Council, and College Council when this shall be necessary.

Section VI: Procedures and General Considerations.

Meetings of the Academic Council, Community Council, and College Council shall ordinarily be open to all members of the Hampshire College community. The time, place, and agenda of these meetings shall ordinarily be announced to the community at least three days prior to the meeting.

No person elected to any body authorized by this Constitution shall simultaneously hold elective office on any other such body, except that students elected to the Academic Council shall be eligible for election to the Executive Committee of the Academic Council.

Nothing in this Constitution shall be construed to alter the allocation of powers indicated in the Bylaws of the Trustees of Hampshire College, including the powers of the President under Article VI, Section 3.

Section VII: All College Meeting.

The entire College community shall convene at least twice during the academic year, once in the fall and once in the spring, to consider such agenda as the College Council shall determine. The President shall preside.

The entire College may be convened for special sessions upon the call of the President or upon submission to the President of a petition seeking such a meeting signed by at least fifty members of the College community. The agenda for such special meetings shall be defined by the President in the event of his calling such meeting, or by the petition in the event it has produced the meeting.

Section VIII: Jurisdiction.

The President, with the advice of the College Council, shall settle questions of jurisdiction where they arise between the Academic Council and the Community Council.

Section IX: Amendment.

This Constitution shall not be subject to major alteration or major amendment prior to February 1, 1972, except as a direct result of failure to ratify, for reasons of recommendation to amend, in any constituency recognized by the Faculty. No amendment shall take effect until it has received the approval of the Academic Council, the Community Council, the College Council, and the President of the College.

In academic years 1970-71 and 1971-72, the President, with the consent of a joint Committee of the Academic Council and Community Council, shall have the power to make minor adjustments in the structure and operation of this Constitution as need arises. The College Council shall determine what constitutes a minor adjustment.

Section X: Starting Date.

This Constitution shall take effect on September 14, 1970. Delegations by the Faculty specified in this Constitution shall not take place until the election of students to the bodies authorized by this Constitution.

A Report on the Remaking of Hampshire Governance

August 26, 1974. Click here to download a pdf of the full report.

Summary of Report

The Governance Review Committee, established by the College Council and elected by and from the community, spent the summer recess examining the structure, philosophy, and operation of the Hampshire College governance system.

We investigated the origins of the Hampshire governance system in the social currents of the late 1960's. We examined the structure of governance and identified the different organizational models existing within the system (i.e., business management, intentional community, constitutional democracy, and traditional academic models). A study of specific cases, offices, and councils followed this overview, and led to the development of our own models, specific recommendations, and the drafting of this final report.

We recommend:

  1. That Hampshire's governance system be based on the principles of communication, accountability, clarity, delegation, participation, organization, and collaboration.
  2. That strong staff, student, faculty, and administrative constituencies be encouraged as a sound base for effective governance.
  3. That the structure of College governance be divided into three sectors: Academic, Community, and Business, for efficient and responsive administration and for the greatest participation in setting the policies and priorities of the College.
  4. That there be an Academic Council one-fourth the size of the present Council, composed of faculty and student representatives.
  5. That every person in this community be affiliated with one of the residence Houses or the sixth House for off-campus students, and that the Community Council be elected from the Houses.
  6. That there be a management group for the Business sector.
  7. That the Councils and the management group should be responsible for making policy and setting priorities for their respective sectors, working in close conjunction with the administrative heads.
  8. That both the Community and Academic sectors be headed by Deans elected by the respective Councils for renewable two year terms, and that the Treasurer be the chief officer of the Business sector.\
  9. That the Office of the President and Vice-President remain the central point for making broad decisions in the life of the College, for external relations, and for the coordination of information.
  10. That an Ombudsman be established to resolve conflict, without the power to enforce solutions, and to communicate her/his analysis of problems to the appropriate persons or agencies.
  11. That cases which are not otherwise resolved be decided by a Judicial Board.
  12. That procedures be adopted so that policy changes take effect automatically if those charged with authority to review them do not act within a reasonable time.
  13. That arrangements be made so that governance can operate even when the College is not in session.
  14. That a Governance Communications Center be established to maintain the records of governance agencies and to provide ready access to information about about the governance system and its activities.
  15. That the role in College governance of the Board of Trustees, including student and faculty representatives, be clarified and strengthened.

It is the hope of the Governance Review Committee that this report will be the basis for college-wide discussion and involvement in the task of remaking the governance of the College. (p. ii-iv)

Organizational Strengths and Weaknesses. In: Self Study Report

January 1974. Click here to download a pdf of the entire Self Study Report.

The weaknesses of the present governance structure center on the following characteristics:

  • With experience it is clear that the language of the College's constitution, particularly as it refers to jurisdictional responsibilities, allows for confusion with those areas charged to the Administration. In part, this reflects the desire for widespread participation in the decision-making and accountability processes.
  • The structure is so elaborate that it generates an unusual number of transactions between its member parts which maximize the opportunity for error, confusion, and possibilties of fatigue. Some of these transactions, principally those of required "review and ratification" have proven to be "rubber stamping" activities which many view as unnecessarily duplicative and time-consuming.
  • The elaborate definitions of responsibility for each sub-unit have not been clarfied with experience so that jurisdictional disputes are commonplace, time-consuming, and can produce tension in varying degrees in the College community.
  • The necessity to honor the above mentioned responsibilities through early consultation occasionally produces a slow decision process. This sometimes must be foreshortened in the face of external deadlines and pressures, giving rise to objection from the community at large to the particular action taken. (p.31-32)

Preliminary Report of the Constitutional Reform Committee.

1975. Click here to download a pdf of the full report.

...In beginning its work, the Committee reviewed the report of the Governance Review Committee and the counter proposals generated during last spring's discussions on Hampshire College governance...In essence, the Committee agreed that the governance system must:

  • have clearly defined responsibilities and authority so that the distinction between the decision-making power of the College administration and governance would be apparent to everyone involved;
  • have clearly delineated lines of communication;
  • involve only those people who have a genuine commitment to and interest in the efficient operation of College governance;
  • avoid the practice of discussion of "trivial" and nebulous issues at the policy-making level;
  • guard against the overburdening of a small number of people with many facets of College governance;
  • provide for advisory bodies for major components of the College's operation (budget-making, academic program, quality of life, etc.);
  • provide for input at the issue identification and policy recommendation level from the entire community;
  • operate so that as little time as possible is lost in bringing major issues before the policy-making bodies and voting and enacting policies;
  • embody a means of linking policy-making with policy-implementation and monitoring and maintaining surveillance over the enactment of approved policies;
  • provide procedures for grievance and appeal of governance and administrative actions;
  • give participants a positive sense of performance.

Overall, the objective governing the Committee's work was seen as the design of a governance structure which would be easy to understand, credible to the College community, and function in a reliable, systematic way. (p.1-3)

Recommended Reforms in Governance at Hampshire College

The Committee advocates the creation of a few strong, reliable, purposeful, and responsible governance bodies. In particular, we recommend a somewhat stratified policy-making structure culminated by a College Senate, chaired by a faculty member and composed of fifteen to twenty-five persons (the President, Vice-President, Dean of the College, and representatives from the faculty, staff, student body, and Houses).

Issues would be deliberated at the "grass-roots" level where some degree of decision-making authority would exist. At this policy-formulation level, we place the four Schools (therefore, the faculty) with primary responsibility for academic policy; a new body representing the collective interests of the six Houses (including off-campus residence) which will be given responsibility for community life issues (each House will continue to operate autonomously with regard to particular matters); and several standing committees representing various aspects of the College's operation (Budget and Academic Affairs, as legislative committees, and Reappointments, Academic Standards, etc. as administrative advisory committees). These bodies will serve an advisory function vis-a-vis the College Senate and will provide the means for screening and clarifying issues to be channeled to the Senate for action. The committees will hold hearings open to the entire community before drafting their policy recommendations. Persons who would be ultimately responsible for implementing a prospective policy (e.g., budget managers) would be called upon to participate in the discussion of issues. In addition, we suggest the creation of an Election Committee to oversee the governance elections.

Major policy recommendations would be channeled to a Senate Agenda Committee, a sub-committee of the College Senate which would be charged with screening the issues presented by the Schools or standing committees to determine their appropriateness and readiness for presentation to the College Senate. At this stage, recommendations could be returned to the various "feeder" bodies if the Agenda Committee believes the issues are not clearly addressed or premature for the Senate's attention.

We recommend the creation of a Faculty Meeting to provide a forum for discussion among the faculty on a College-wide basis. The Faculty Meeting will convene infrequently, perhaps only twice each semester, and will have responsibility for voting degrees, approving curriculum, etc. The Faculty Meeting will additionally be able to make recommendations to the College Senate through the Agenda Committee and will retain the right to override College Senate decisions, although we anticipate activity in either case will be infrequent.

We advocate the retention of the College Council in its present form as a monitoring agent and advisory body to the President. We do, however, recommend that its function as an appeals and advocacy committee be strengthened through the creation of a College ombudsman. This person will serve as an advocate on behalf of any person or group requesting such representation. The College Judicial Board will be retained in its present form to act when called upon.

The model proposed differs most significantly from the present system in establishing logical lines of communication between various interest groups, disseminating some policy-making responsibility among various bodies which represent particular constituencies and interest groups, creating strong advisory committees, providing for full community input into policy formulation and recommendation, and strengthening the appeal mechanism within the College governance system. (p. 3-5)


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