Residential Living Guidelines & Policies

Students living on campus are expected to participate actively in their communities as well as fulfilling the obligations of a respectful and responsible citizen in the community. Residential policies and guidelines are designed to foster safe, productive and respectful environments that allow students maximal opportunities for growth and development. While living in college-sponsored facilities, you are expected to follow these guidelines and policies and any other guidelines established by an individual community. 

Air Conditioning

Some residence halls are equipped with air conditioning. If you live in a building without air conditioning and have a documented medical condition that requires air conditioning, submit this information in writing to the Office of Disability Services. The installation of a personal air conditioning unit is strictly prohibited. 

Alcohol

In accordance with the college's Community Standards, students who are under the legal age for possession/consumption of alcohol may not have alcohol in their residential space. Guests who are of age to possess/consume alcohol may not have alcohol in spaces where the residents are not of the legal age.  

Appliances

The following appliances have been approved for residential use within your bedroom:

  • Personal refrigerator no larger than 4.1 cubic feet
  •  Microwave oven using less than 700 watts
  • UL approved coffee makers
  • Any appliances with concealed heating elements (ex. hot pots)
  • Multiple strip outlets (fused, with at least 14 gauge wire, grounded cord) are allowed when needed to power electronic devices.

Additional UL approved cooking appliances may be permitted for use and storage in pre-identified kitchen areas with prior approval from the Residence Life and Housing office. 

The following appliances are not permitted in residential facilities:

  • Any electrical appliances with open heating elements (hot plates, George Forman Grills, barbeques, toasters/toaster ovens)
  • Halogen lamps
  • Concealed extension cords or multiple outlet adapters. 

See also Fire Safety Guidelines

Balconies & Porches

Certain housing assignments have access to balconies and/or porches. Occupancy of these spaces is limited to the total number of residents in the housing assignment plus 2 additional students. Over-occupancy of these spaces is a potentially serious safety issue, and use of these spaces is monitored by College staff such as Department of Public Safety and Facilities Management. Students seen to be over-occupying these spaces will be asked to reduce the occupancy to established limits. Repeated reminders about safe occupancy limits may result in a loss of use of the space for a short- or long-term basis.

Bicycles

You are permitted to have a bicycle on campus. Storage spaces or racks are provided around the campus at a variety of locations. You may not store bicycles in lounges, hallways or stairwells as this can block an exit in case of an emergency evacuation. If your bicycle is stolen or damaged, it is your responsibility to report it to the Department of Public Safety.

Break and Vacation Housing

Housing remains open during the following break periods: mid-term pause, Thanksgiving vacation, spring vacation. During these breaks you may remain in your assigned room at no additional cost. You may leave personal items in your room during any break period; however, the college does not assume responsibility for personal articles. Campus services such as Dining Services may alter their hours during these times. 

During winter vacation students are not permitted to remain on campus. Winter sport athletes are permitted to return to campus after December 31 and will be assigned to temporary housing spaces. The following spaces may be used to house students who are approved to be on campus during the break: McKenney Suites, Louther Street Townhouses (373, 377, 379, 381, 383), Todd House, Factory Apartments (230 and 236 W. North Street). If you live in one of these residences, your space may be temporarily reassigned to house other students over the break. You may, however, leave belongings in these rooms/apartments during the break.

Students requesting housing during any break period and/or after exams must request permission directly with the Residence Life and Housing office prior to the start of each break period. Students who have an active discipline record will not be permitted to remain on campus over any break and/or after exams without permission from the Director of Residence Life and Housing.

At the end of the academic year, only graduating seniors and students involved in commencement are allowed to remain on campus. All students, other than graduating seniors, who need to stay on campus must request permission to remain in housing directly with the Residence Life and Housing office. The student will then be notified if their request has been approved.

Business Venture & Solicitation

You may not conduct or solicit business in college housing. This includes using your computer network access to conduct business through your computer or the internet. Failure to comply will result in disciplinary action.

For the safety and privacy of all members of the campus community, solicitors, peddlers and door-to-door solicitation are not permitted on campus, including in any residential buildings.

Members of the campus community are not permitted to raise funds or sell products on campus without permission from the Student Leadership & Campus Engagement. No one, including members of the campus community, is permitted to solicit, raise funds or sell products in the residential facilities.

No deliveries are to be made to an individual room in any campus building, including the residential facilities. All personnel delivering personal products should be directed to meet you at the main entrance to a campus building

Check In and Check Out

When checking in to housing, you will be issued a key(s) that will grant you access to your room and building assignment. You will also receive a Room Inventory report and be asked to note any previous damages to the room or furnishings to your RA, HAM, or the Residence Life and Housing office.

You are required to officially check out with the appropriate staff member when moving out of college housing which includes turning in your key(s). Plan to check out of your room within 24 hours of your last final exam unless given permission prior to the start of final exams. 

  • If you change rooms during the year, you are expected to check out of your initial room by having an RA or HAM evaluate the condition of your room when you leave. When you check into your new room, you should complete a new Room Inventory form. 
  • If you leave for any other reasons (Disciplinary action, Leave of Absence, etc.) please contact the Residence Life and Housing office for further instruction. 

Cleaning & Repairs

Facilities Management provides housekeeping services for the public areas of each traditional residence hall, including bathrooms, hallways and lounges. You are expected to keep your own room clean and orderly. If you discover your room is in need of repair, you should contact Facilities Management directly.

Houses and apartments are independent living spaces. As such, students in these spaces are expected to maintain the cleanliness of these spaces on their own. At the end of the academic year, Facilities Management and Residence Life and Housing will inspect all houses and apartments; if the condition of these spaces requires excessive cleaning or repair, the residents may be charged.

Students can notify Facilities Management by completing a service request form online or by calling Service Response at x1700. For emergency repairs, after working hours, contact the Department of Public Safety.

The right to inspect and repair rooms at times convenient to the college or its authorized agents is unconditionally reserved by the college. If you have concerns or questions about the service provided in the residence halls, please contact Facilities Management at x1212.

Community Billing

The purpose of community billing is to promote individual responsibility and to hold students mutually accountable for the condition of their shared living spaces. Public areas (i.e.corridors, stairways, lounges, bathrooms) are the collective responsibility of the residents of that suite, wing, floor, or building, apartment or house. Charges for damages to those areas may be divided among the residents of those facilities. Areas covered under the community billing policy may include, but are not limited to vandalism, stolen furniture, or housekeeping charges in a common or public area when it is not directly possible to determine the responsible person(s).

For more information, see Residential Damage.

Cooking

Cooking within a residential facility is permitted within pre-identified kitchen areas or with approved appliances (see "Appliances") within an individual room.

Damage Billing

Vandalism, damage, destruction of college or personal property, or creating a condition that requires clean up or repair is not permitted. Damage to your room and college-provided furnishings shall be the financial responsibility of you and other assigned occupants. In instances when unnecessary clean up or repairs are necessary, students may be subject to the financial responsibility either individually, or as a suite, wing, floor or building in such instances when it is not directly possible to determine responsible person(s).

For more information, see Residential Damage.

Decorating your Residential Space

As part of personalizing your residential space, you are encouraged to decorate your room. You may not make any permanent or semi-permanent alterations to the room, including structure, painting, partitions, paneling and electrical system modifications. You may not affix anything to any internal or external structure of the housing facility (e.g., flag, signs, satellite television dish, antenna, etc.) or have anything hanging or protruding from the facility, unless approved by the Director of Residence Life and Housing. Organizations wishing to have identifying letters, signs, or flags visible from the outside of their residential facility must submit a letter to the Director of Residence Life and Housing to request approval. 

  • Lights - You may not have halogen or decorative lights, including string lights.
  • Wall Decorations - You may not use screws, nails, staples and/or adhesives such as Scotch or duct tape on walls. Glue may not be used on walls, furniture or floors.
  • Nothing may be hung on ceilings, sprinkler pipes, block fire safety devices or block any egress or exit, including any tapestries or other fabric items. 
  • Holiday Decorations - No cut or live trees or wreaths are permitted in college-operated residential facilities. 
  • Outdoor Furniture - Only furniture intended for use outdoors (patio/deck furniture) may be used or stored outside. Indoor furniture (i.e. couches, loveseats, etc.) may not be used or stored outdoors.

See also Fire Safety Guidelines

Drones

All members of the College community, including faculty, staff and students, as well as visitors to Dickinson College, are prohibited from operating Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UASs), also known as drones, without the permission of the Director of Academic Technology.

Entry & Inspection of Student Rooms

The College reserves the right to enter any room at any time without advance notice for the purposes of inspection, repair, maintenance, protecting the health, safety, and security of residents and in cases of emergency, as determined by the college. Entry may be made by members of the Student Life staff, including members of the Department of Public Safety.

The College further reserves the right to inspect a room at any time and its contents for violation of College policies, including the Community Standards, or residence hall regulations, including but not limited to possessing illegal substances or substances believed by the College to be illegal or conducting activities that could endanger the life, safety, order or welfare of another person. 

Routine health and safety inspections of residential spaces will be announced at least one day in advance of the inspection. During any such inspection of residential spaces, any evidence of violations of the Community Standards may be confiscated and processed accordingly.

Fire Safety Equipment & Procedures

All residential facilities are equipped with fire detection and firefighting equipment. Tampering with fire safety equipment is strictly prohibited. Tampering with fire safety, including discharging fire extinguishers or disabling smoke detectors, may result in suspension from the college, plus cost of restoring equipment to its original condition. Failure to comply with these policies will likely result in disciplinary action.

Students may be fined for a fire alarm resulting from the use of a prohibited appliance, such as a toaster, or prohibited activities (smoking, burning candles or incense, etc.).

It is vital that all fire alarms are taken seriously and you are expected to leave the building during a fire alarm. You must remain outside the building until such time as Department of Public Safety or Facilities personnel indicate that it is safe to re-enter the building.

Your Resident Advisor or House and Apartment Manager will have information on proper procedures for evacuating the building during a fire alarm. Failure to leave the building during a fire alarm may result in fine or disciplinary proceedings. Fire drills will be held during the semester and are coordinated by Residence Life and Housing and the Department of Public Safety.

See also Fire Safety Guidelines 

Fire Safety Guidelines

The following appliances have been approved for residential use within your bedroom:

  • Personal refrigerator no larger than 4.1 cubic feet
  • Microwave oven using less than 700 watts
  • UL approved coffee makers
  • Any appliances with concealed heating elements (ex. hot pots)
  • Multiple strip outlets (fused, with at least 14 gauge wire, grounded cord) are allowed when needed to power electronic devices.

Additional UL approved cooking appliances may be permitted for use and storage in pre-identified kitchen areas with prior approval from the Residence Life and Housing office. 

The following appliance/items are not permitted in residential facilities:

  • Any electrical appliances with open heating elements (hot plates, George Foreman Grills, outdoor grills, toasters/toaster ovens)
  • Halogen lamps or decorative lights, including string lights
  • Concealed extension cords or multiple outlet adapters. 
  • Spark or flame-producing items such as fireworks, firecrackers, explosive materials, candles, incense burners, oil burning lamps and lanterns
  • Gasoline motors of any type, including motorcycles, mopeds, etc. as well as fuels, such as gasoline, propane, or lighter fluids
  • Nothing may be hung on ceilings, sprinkler pipes, block fire safety devices or block any egress or exit, including any tapestries or other fabric items
  • Hoverboards (self-balancing scooters, battery-operated scooters, hands-free segways)
  • Three-dimensional (3-D) printers

Flammable Materials

Spark or flame-producing items such as fireworks, firecrackers, explosive materials, candles, incense burners, oil burning lamps and lanterns are prohibited in all residential spaces.

Grills may not be used or stored indoors. All grills must be placed at least 25 feet from any building and may never be used on rooftops, roof decks or fire escapes. Do not dump hot coals onto the grass or into trashcans. Cold coals may be emptied into trashcans.

Fire pits are prohibited and cannot be used indoors or outdoors. 

You may not store gasoline motors of any type, including motorcycles, mopeds, etc., within residential spaces. You may not keep fuels, such as gasoline or propane, in residential spaces.

See also Fire Safety Guidelines 

Furniture

All furniture must remain in the assigned room. No college-provided furnishings may be removed from the room. You may provide additional furnishings such as carpets, chairs and sofas as long as the items meet federal fire resistance standards; however, they may not block or unduly restrict exits to the room. All personal articles must be removed prior to your departure from your room or you may be charged for the removal of property not original to the room. Outlined below are additional guidelines to adhere to when furnishing your residential space:

  • Waterbeds are prohibited.
  • Do not place mattresses directly on the floor. 
  • Only beds specifically designed to be lofted will be permitted. 
  • Do not use concrete blocks or bricks to raise the bed, as these cause unusual wear and tear and pose a potential safety hazard. Bed raisers specifically designed for this purpose are permitted. 
  • No college-issued furniture may be used for outdoor purposes, unless it is deck furniture on approved balconies, porches or other outside areas.
  • Only furniture intended for use outdoors (patio/deck furniture) may be used or stored outside. Indoor furniture (i.e. couches, loveseats, etc.) may not be used or stored outdoors.  
  • Lounge or common room furniture may not be removed from the public area and/or placed in individual rooms.
  • All college-issued furniture must remain in the room/apartment.  Students will be charged for missing furniture.

Guest Policy

A guest is considered anyone not currently assigned to the residential living space in question, including other Dickinson students. The college encourages you to have guests visit you in your room with the consent of your roommate(s). Students are reminded that residential spaces are shared spaces and you should proactively discuss with your roommate(s) how to manage guests and any additional policies that will govern guests in the room. Especially in the case of an overnight guest you should consult and work with your roommate(s) ahead of time to determine what will be most appropriate. A student should expect to have access to his or her room without the presence of inhabitants not assigned to that space by the college.

Guests are not permitted to stay in your room for more than any 2 consecutive nights. No guests may visit more than a total of 7 days per semester. You are responsible for the behavior of your guests and for informing your guests of the appropriate policies. 

Guests to the college should remember that they are subject to the laws, rules and regulations governing behavior in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and Dickinson College. Dickinson students will be held responsible for the behavior of their guests and may face disciplinary proceedings withing the Community Standards as a result of the behavior of a guest. 

Hall Recreation

You may not play sports in any public areas or hallways of any residential building, including, but not limited to roller-blading, skateboarding, soccer, frisbee, basketball and bicycle riding.

Health & Safety Inspections

The Residence Life and Housing office regularly conducts inspections of each area on campus. Student rooms are given a brief inspection during the fall and spring semesters. The purpose of these inspections is to provide the appropriate education and assist with correcting any health or safety concerns. Policy violations that are discovered during these inspections may be referred to the college's conduct system and prohibited items may be confiscated. Students with questions about these inspections should speak with Residence Life and Housing

Housing Accomodations

If you need housing accommodations due to medical, psychological or disability reasons, you should download the required form and work with the Office of Disability Services. The form can be downloaded from their website. The Residence Life and Housing office works in collaboration with Disability Services and the Wellness Center to review all requests and recommendations for appropriate accommodation.

Insurance & Liability

The College cannot and does not assume responsibility for personal accident, injury or illness to residents, guests or visitors, or for the loss or theft of money or loss, theft or damage of personal property of students. Damages that result from unforeseeable maintenance issues (burst pipes, power failure, etc.) are the responsibility of the student. The college does not carry insurance covering residents or their property. You are encouraged to protect yourself from loss by purchasing appropriate insurance. In that regard, you should review any homeowner's policy that you or your caregiver's might have to determine whether the contents of your College housing are already covered or could be covered with a policy rider.

Keys

You will be assigned a key(s) that will allow you access to your building and individual room. Rooms should be locked and you should carry your keys and College ID with you at all times. You are prohibited from duplicating housing keys for any reason. You may not loan, sell or transfer any housing key or College ID to any person for the purpose of allowing that person to enter college housing unescorted or use the residence hall or apartment's facilities.

  • In the event that keys are lost, stolen or misplaced, you are responsible for immediately reporting that the key is missing to the Residence Life and Housing office and the Department of Public Safety.
  • Failure to return the key(s) upon departure from the room/apartment/house will result in a charge to your student account to change the key lock cylinder. 
  • You will be charged $100 for a lock change if your key is lost or not returned after moving out. For houses, suites or apartments where two keys are assigned, there will be a $75 charge per additional lock that must be changed. Your key(s) should be returned immediately upon moving out of your residential space.  
  • Students issued a temporary ID card for residential access at the beginning of the year are required to return this ID upon receipt of their permanent College ID. Anyone who loses or fails to return the temporary ID card will be charged $25.

Residential facilities are locked at all times. Many residential areas are equipped with card access to exterior doors. Students should not take action that prevents the exterior doors from closing and locking such as propping the door or taping the lock.

Lock-outs

For the first two weeks of every semester there will be no charge for lock-outs. After the first two weeks there will be a $25 charge for every lock-out handled by Residence Life and Housing staff or Department of Public Safety staff. If a student is locked out more than three (3) times in a semester, the charge will increase to $50 per occurrence. If you are locked out of your residence, you should contact the following as applicable:

  • Traditional Residence Halls can contact the RA on duty for assistance from 7:00 pm until 1:00 am. You can contact an RA on duty by calling the duty phone for the area. The Department of Public Safety will handle lockouts from 1:00 am until 7:00 pm. On Saturdays and Sundays, please call the duty phone for the area between 9:00 am until 1:00 am.
  • Houses/Apartments can contact the Department of Public Safety at all times. 

Noise Guidlelines

To support your academic success, the college maintains both quiet hours and courtesy hours in all residences. Courtesy hours means that residents are prohibited from making noise that significantly disturbs other residents, including those in the Carlisle community. During quiet hours, noise should not be heard outside your room, suite or apartment. Quiet hours are as follows:

  • Sunday through Thursday, 10:00 pm until 8:00 am the following morning
  • Friday and Saturday, midnight until 10:00 am the following morning

Quiet hours are in effect 24 hours a day during Reading Periods and Final Exams. Any disturbance of the larger community (floor, building or neighbors) is not permitted during these times.

Pets

You may not keep or host animals in residential facilities unless it is fish within a bowl or tank. The bowl or tank may not exceed 20 gallons in a residence hall. The college will not be responsible for the care of fish during break periods. Violation of the pet policy may result in damage billing for the replacement and/or refurbishment of carpeting, furniture or other affected areas of the facility. Failure to remove the animal from the residence in a timely manner may result in removal by animal control services.

Residents with appropriate documentation of a disability requiring the use of a service or support animal are encouraged to contact the Office of Disability Services (ODS) to discuss their disability-related housing accommodation requests. 

Room & Board Agreement

All students are required to read and sign a Room and Board Agreement prior to moving into their residence at the beginning of the academic year. This document, together with other policies, procedures and regulations in this handbook or published by the Division of Student Life, constitutes the agreement between you and the College. Students can learn more about the Room and Board Agreement by visiting our website. 

Room Changes, Reassignments, & Vacancies

Requests for room changes must be made directly to the Residence Life and Housing office and are limited at times due to space availability. The change of rooms or substitution of one occupant for another without approval in writing from the Residence Life and Housing office is prohibited. You should work with a professional staff member in Residence Life and Housing to discuss options related to a room change request. Room/hall changes are not permitted during the first two and last two weeks of each semester in order to complete accurate occupancy reporting.

The College reserves the right to reassign students in order to make most efficient and beneficial use of available facilities, including the consolidation of spaces to create completely vacant rooms. Additionally, the occupancy of a room may be increased when, in the judgment of the College, it is necessary to do so to accommodate the housing needs of the student body.

Reassignment may also occur as a result of ADA accommodation requirements, disciplinary action (violation of Community Standards), violation of the agreed upon standards of your floor, area, or building, and/or administratively at the discretion of the Director of Residence Life and Housing.   

When a vacancy occurs you may request a specific roommate to fill that space. If no request is made the Residence Life and Housing office will make the space available for general occupancy and may reassign a vacant space at any time. If there is a vacancy in your room, you must leave the room ready for another student to move in at any time. The Residence Life and Housing office will notify you as soon as plans are made to fill the vacancy in the room you are occupying. Behavior which discriminates against or impedes an interested student or assigned occupant will be considered a violation of the Community Standards and reviewed as such. 

Room Condition & Inventory

During the move-in process, you have the obligation to conduct a thorough room inspection and report any concerns (condition of room, furniture, maintenance needs) to the Residence Life and Housing office. Any difference between your room's condition at check-in and check-out will be the responsibility of the room's occupants. Completed Room Condition and Inventories will be maintained annually by the Residence Life and Housing office.

Public areas (i.e. corridors, stairways, lounges, bathrooms) are the collective responsibility of residents of that building, suite, apartment or house. Charges for damages to those areas may be divided among the residents of those facilities.

If you change rooms during the year, you are expected to check out of your initial room by having an RA of HAM evaluate the condition of your room when you leave. When you check into your new room, you should complete a new Room Inventory form. Failure to check out with your Resident Advisor or HAM may prevent you from appealing any damage charges that result from the final inventory of your room.  

Room Selection

Room assignments for all returning students are completed through an online room selection program called MyHousing during the spring semester. Returning students who have registered for courses for the following fall semester and do not have any holds on their account may participate in the room selection process. Students receive a randomly generated lottery time and select a room in order of their class year. More detailed information about room selection and housing options is available from the Residence Life and Housing office early in the spring semester.

* Note to Students Studying Abroad

Students who plan to study off-campus are reminded that the room selection process will occur in the spring semester. Students have the option to select another student to act as a proxy on their behalf; however it is the responsibility of the individual(s) who will be away from campus to make and communicate these arrangements with the Residence Life and Housing office. The proxy will then be responsible for applying for off-campus permission or participating in the room selection process on behalf of the students away. The Residence Life and Housing office does not assume responsibility for selecting rooms or filing off-campus applications for students who are away from campus during the spring semester.

First year students receive room assignments and the name(s) of roommates via email. First year students are assigned rooms based on information provided to the Residence Life and Housing office. First year students generally are housed in double, triple or quad rooms and in facilities that are largely populated with other first year students.

Smoking

Smoking, including use of e-cigarettes, is prohibited in all areas of the residential spaces, including rooms, bathrooms, lounges, hallways and stairwells. Additionally, smoking is prohibited within 25 feet or residential buildings. Smoking is limited to a location that does not impede traffic flow in and out of residence halls and where smoke cannot drift into the interior of residence halls.

Storage

The college does not provide storage spaces during the summer months. Individual students, fraternities and sororities, and special interest houses are encouraged to make storage arrangements by working with area storage companies. Items left in and around residential facilities at the end of the spring semester will be given to the U-Turn project or discarded by Facilities Management. You may be charged for the removal of property not original to the room.

Windows

You may not remove window screens at any time. Throwing any object out of a residence window or balcony is prohibited. Food, plants or other items are not permitted outside windowsills or balconies unless granted permission by the Residence Life and Housing office.