Chatham University

Residence Life

Residence Life

Office of Residence Life Mission

The mission of Residence Life is to work collaboratively with all departments within Student Affairs to partner with students to create a comfortable, safety conscious, and enjoyable environment for all students within the residence halls. This environment is not only achieved through collaborative programming with Student Activities, but also through having all community members taking an active role in upholding and adhering to community standards.

Applying for Housing

Students who intend to live on campus may secure housing by completing two tasks:

  1. Pay the $150 non-refundable housing reservation fee to Student Accounts.
  2. Complete the online roommate preference form by logging on to by December 15, 2014.

Move-in Information

All first-year students will be able to move into the residence halls on Sunday, January 4, 2015. Move-in times are from 9:00 a.m. - Noon.

On-Campus Living Options

Living on campus is convenient and enjoyable. In fact, over two-thirds of undergraduate students choose to do so! Chatham’s residence halls are unique – three residence halls are converted turn-of-the-century mansions which boast such amenities as leaded glass windows, rich wood paneling, and comfortable traditional furniture. The architecture is graceful, the ambiance is warm, and the rooms are comfortable.

Housing Options

Chatham University maintains four residence halls for undergraduate students including Fickes Hall, Woodland Hall, Laughlin House, and Rea House. Each residence hall offers secure, swipe access doors, laundry, and common study and social space. All charges for housing are applied directly to a student’s account. Additionally, we encourage our first-year students to apply for one of our four Living Learning Communities (LLCs).

Upper-class and transfer students who prefer a more independent lifestyle may opt for apartment-style living on the Fifth Avenue border of campus. Chatham Apartments offers residence life supported independent living.

Living Learning Communities

Living Learning Communities (LLCs) are a special housing option which affords students the opportunity to continue the learning experience outside of the classroom. Each LLC creates an environment where students continue to learn outside of the classroom through the use of programming, daily interactions with other residents, and connection with faculty, staff, and community resources. Students who are selected to reside in a LLC are required to help develop and participate in LLC programming and to be an integral part of the community.

Global Citizen LLC (Laughlin House)

Special housing option for all students interested in gaining global perspective through daily life and organized programs. This is a great opportunity for those students interested in studying abroad and developing friendships with their peers from different countries and cultures. All majors and disciplines accepted.

Rachel Carson Environmental LLC (Rea House)

The Environmental Sustainability LLC is intended for students interested in improving their leadership skills and promoting positive environmental practices on Chatham’s campus and the surrounding community.

Civic Learning & Democratic Engagement LLC (Rea House)

Special housing option for all students interested in the pursuit of knowledge and skills that will motivate them to make a difference in the quality of life in the community, through both political and non-political processes. This LLC will support a foundation of responsible democratic citizenship while also striving to make a difference in the civic life of our communities. All majors and disciplines accepted.

Women of the World: Mind, Body & Spirit LLC (Woodland Hall)

The Women of the World LLC is open to students who are interested in stimulating their brain in new and different ways, encouraging improved physical transformation, and learning about spiritual traditions different from their own through the exploration of the seven dimensions of wellness: physical, social, emotional, intellectual, spiritual, environmental, and diversity and social justice.


All undergraduate housing options are supported by residence hall staff, including student Resident Assistants (RAs), Graduate Residence Directors (GRDs), and full-time professional Coordinators of Residence Life, Assistant Director of Student Affairs & Residence Life, and Director of Student Affairs & Residence Life.

Two Year Residency Requirement

Chatham requires that all first-year, sophomore, and students with less than four complete terms live on campus. This two year residency requirement is vital in maintaining the vibrant residential community that defines the Chatham experience.

Commuting to Campus

Traditional undergraduate students may also choose to live with a parent or guardian in the Pittsburgh area (within 30 miles). Gateway students may choose to live on campus or in the surrounding area and commute. All students who would like to commute need to complete the Application for Commuter Student Status (my.chatham, documents and forms, Residence Life, Application for Commuter Students)

Overview of Residence Life Policies

Below is an overview of Residence Life policies. Please visit for a complete listing of policies.

Visitation/Guest Policy

A residence hall guest is considered to be any person who is not a resident of that hall. Chatham students not residing in the residence area in question are still considered guests of that residence area.

Visitation hours are as follows:

  • Sunday through Thursday: 8 AM to 12 midnight
  • Friday and Saturday: 8 AM to 1 AM
  • Guests in the building past 12 midnight Sunday through Thursday and 1 AM Friday and Saturday are considered overnight guests.

The following guidelines have been established to ensure a comfortable and safe community environment in the residence halls:

  • Visitation must always be with the mutual consent of all roommates. RA staff is available to assist roommates with establishing a room/apartment visitation agreement upon request or need.
  • All guests must be signed in and signed out of the residence halls, including Chatham students not residing in the hall they are visiting. Guest must show picture ID when signing in and should be able to produce picture ID on request of a university staff member.
  • Residents are responsible for signing in and signing out their non-Chatham guest. All guests must be signed in with a first and last name. Residents failing to sign in guests are subject to disciplinary action, including a residential fine. Residents shall not sign in guest(s) for other Chatham residents. Guests visiting apartments located on Fifth Avenue are not required to sign in and out. Nonetheless, guests on these premises must be escorted at all times while inside the apartment building and should carry picture ID.
  • A Chatham residential student guest may sign into any residence hall as long as she is a guest of a member of that community or restricts her activities to the first floor common area. This privilege will be revoked if the student displays disruptive behavior in the residence areas.
  • Guests must be escorted at all times by their host. This includes Chatham students who do not reside in campus housing. No exceptions.
  • Guests must abide by all residence hall regulations and community standards. Failure to do so will result in disciplinary action against their hostess and also the guests(s).
  • Residents are responsible for the action of their guest(s), including policy violations.
  • Resident students may have no more than 5 guests at any given time.
  • Resident students may have overnight guests, but only with roommate consent. (Except for fall term first-year students who cannot host overnight guest(s) until the evening of Chatham Eggnog). Please see First-Year Guest Policy.
  • Resident students may have no more than two overnight guests at one time.
  • Overnight guests may stay no more than three consecutive nights in the residence halls and for no more than two weekends each month. Residence Life staff will use disciplinary action if a guest has been in the residence hall beyond the stipulated three consecutive nights and visits overnight for more than two weekends each month.
  • Cohabitation is not permitted. Visitation is a privilege that can be taken away if abused.
  • Guests are not permitted individual access to the University's facilities, including laundry machine and kitchens. They may only use these facilities in conjunction with their student host but never for their personal usage.
  • Guests cannot be left alone in their host's room or apartment while their host is away for an extended time (this includes while the hostesses are in class). Such action leaves guests unescorted.
  • Resident students must have permission from a GRD, AC, or AD to have a guest under the age of ten.
  • Residence halls or apartments shall not be used for baby-sitting.
  • Paid entertainment is not permitted in residence hall rooms unless approved by the Director of Residence Life.
  • Exceptions to the Guest Policy can be made through a building's GRD, AC, or AD with advance notice.

First-Year Student Guest Policy

Fall-term first-year students are not permitted to have overnight guests until the evening of the traditional Chatham Eggnog (the first Friday of December). This includes family members. This policy is firm unless there are unusual circumstances, which are approved by the building's AC or GRD. This includes Chatham students sleeping over in other students' rooms and family members.

Guests of fall term, first-year students must leave the residence hall by midnight on Sunday night through Thursday night and by 2:00 a.m. on Friday and Saturday nights. Guests may not return to campus until at least 8:00 a.m. the following day. All other visitation regulations apply to first-year students.

Quiet Hours

As members of a living/learning community, resident students are asked to comply with requests by other residents and/or staff members to maintain reasonable levels of noise within the residence halls and apartments. Specific quiet hours have been established to create an atmosphere conducive to studying and/or sleeping in the residence halls. Each residence hall community with the leadership of the residential staff may elect to designate more restrictive quiet hours than those that have been established. During quiet hours, any noise (e.g., stereos, TVs, radios and verbal interactions) must be kept at a level such that it cannot be heard by neighboring residents. Continual violation of Quiet Hours or Courtesy Hours will result in disciplinary action, including residential fines.

  • Minimum Quiet Hours in all residences:
    Sunday-Thursday, 11:00 p.m.-8:00 a.m.
    Friday-Saturday, 1:00 a.m.-10:00 a.m.
  • Residents are permitted to agree to longer quiet hours through their community agreements, but may not agree to shorter quiet hours.
  • There will be 24-hour quiet hours during exam periods beginning at the end of the last class through the end of the last final exam.
  • Courtesy Hours exist at all times. At all times, students are expected to be courteous and to conduct themselves in a way that does not intrude on the rights and privileges of others.
  • Respectful interactions are expected within the residence hall communities regarding Quiet Hours and Courtesy Hours. Any student who is not respectful to fellow residents and/or residence life staff will need to have a disciplinary meeting regarding the confrontation.

Alcohol Policy

Chatham University adheres to the Pennsylvania State laws regarding the purchase, possession, consumption, or transportation of alcoholic beverages by minors. Resident students 21 years or older are permitted to transport, possess and consume alcoholic beverages in their private rooms in the residence hall. Resident students, 21 years or older, are not permitted to serve alcohol in their rooms to residents under the legal age.

Alcohol is prohibited in public areas including bathrooms, hallways, student lounges, TV rooms, kitchens, public University grounds, etc. Kegs, party balls, and any other similar sources of large quantities of alcohol are prohibited in all residence areas, including private rooms.

Residents are responsible for the behavior of their guests. Guests must adhere to all residence hall policies that pertain to their host. For example, if the Resident student is not 21 years of age, their guest (regardless of age) may not consume alcohol in Chatham Residence communities, all other policies apply. Also, if a guest of a Chatham student violates the campus alcohol policy or other policies while intoxicated, their Chatham student host will also be charged with the policy violation.

Articles and Activities Prohibited in the Residence Halls

The following activities and articles are prohibited in or around the residence halls. Failure to comply with these regulations is a violation of residence hall policies. An incident report will be filed against individuals found in violation of such regulations and a residence life disciplinary meeting will be held with a GRD, AC, AD, or DRL to discuss any necessary disciplinary action, including possible residential fines. Residence Life staff members will confiscate any item found to be in violation of these policies. Confiscated items will be returned at the end of the academic term when a student leaves campus upon the student's request. Failure of the student to claim a confiscated item by the end of the term will lead to disposal of the item.

Articles and activities prohibited in the residence halls include:

  • Bicycles, except when stored in students' rooms or in designated areas outside of the residence hall where they do not block exit routes. Bicycles cannot be stored in public entryways, hallways or lounges.
  • Waterbeds, lofts, or stacking of furniture. Bed lifts no higher than 12 inches can be used to elevate bed height but only when lifts are purchased at a store and mode for this specific purpose. Under no circumstances can bricks, blocks of wood, etc., be used to elevate furniture.
  • Possession of or use of explosives, ammunition, flares, or other dangerous weapons (i.e. pocket knives larger than 2 ½ inches in length) or substances.
  • Storage of any flammable liquids or gases.
  • Possession of halogen lamps, hot plates, toasters, toaster ovens, large refrigerators (larger than 4 cubic feet), and other expressly prohibited electrical appliances in residence hall rooms as outlined in the electrical appliance policy (see electrical equipment and appliance policy). Toasters, toaster ovens, and hot plates are permitted in Chatham Apartments and public residence hall kitchens only.
  • Possession and/or use of candles (decorative or otherwise), incense, potpourri burners, space heaters (unless provided by the University), or anything with an open flame.
  • Tampering with, or misuse of fire and safety equipment or elevators (e.g. fire alarms, fire extinguishers, exit signs, fire doors, smoke or heat sensors).
  • Failure to evacuate the residence hall area during fire alarms.
  • Propping open residence hall entrance and exit doors as well as fire doors. Building alarms will sound if residence hall entrance doors are propped.
  • Engaging in any other activity determined to be in violation of health, fire, safety and/or maintenance codes.
  • Damaging or misusing residence hall property and/or furniture including the removal, relocation, or disassembling of furniture from individual rooms and/or public areas. Under no circumstances are students permitted to remove University furniture from student rooms/apartments without approval from their GRD.
  • Throwing or suspension of articles, objects or persons from residence hall windows. This includes sitting on window ledges.
  • Presence on building roof areas, window ledges, fire escapes, or in other unauthorized areas.
  • Theft or unauthorized possession of University property or property that belongs to another individual or group. This includes moving public lounge furniture items to student rooms/apartments.
  • Sleeping in common areas of residence hall spaces is not allowed unless approved by the Office of Residence Life.
  • Watching pornography or other commonly offensive materials on University provided televisions or in common areas. This is not limited to multimedia played through a VCR or DVD player.
  • Failure to comply with the directions of any residence life staff member or University official performing her/his duties, including but not limited to the failure to provide proper identification to a staff member upon request or giving misleading or false information to a staff member performing her/his duties.

Air Conditioners

Students are not permitted to have window air conditioners. If a student requires air conditioning for a medical reason, the student must submit a letter to the Director of Residence Life and documentation from a doctor explaining the medical need. Upon approval for the air conditioning unit, a student requiring an air conditioner for medical reasons must:

  • Provide the air condition unit, a small unit of about 8000 BTUs.
  • Once the unit is approved, it will be installed by a Facilities Management staff member. Residence Life will facilitate this process.

Medical Accommodations

The housing and residential learning environment and the dining experiences on campus are integral parts of Chatham University programs. Staff and faculty are committed to providing access to these programs for all students. Some students at Chatham University may have medical, psychological, or disability concerns that present challenges in accessing the full benefit of the educational experience on campus. Chatham University has created a process for students seeking accommodations that will help provide them access. This process is separate from the academic accommodation request procedure.

To receive housing/dining that accommodates a student’s disability or medical situation, Chatham University requires that he/she submit appropriate medical documentation that confirms he/she is an individual with a disability or specific medical condition. The following information is an outline of factors that Chatham University will consider when determining if the student’s request for housing/dining accommodation is reasonable due to a disability or medical issue. Examples of accommodations include: single-resident room, private bathroom, strobe light fire alarm, air conditioner, or modified meal plan. An interview may need to be requested if the committee and/or student do not feel that the supporting documentation is a thorough enough description of the disability and accommodation request. All medical information will be kept confidential and will only be shared with other parties on campus on a need to know basis.

Requests for accommodations related to service or support animals are evaluated based on a separate policy.

Severity of the Disability

  • Is the impact of the disability life threating if the request is not met?
  • Is there a negative health impact that may be permanent if the request is not met?
  • Is the request a vital component of a treatment plan for the condition?
  • What is the impact on the student’s level of comfort if the request is not met?
  • Does the disability necessitate that the student lives in an on-campus residence hall?

Practicality, Availability, and Timing

  • Does the available/requested accommodation meet the student’s needs?
  • Are there other effective methods/housing configurations that would achieve similar benefits as the requested accommodation?
  • Does the requested accommodation create a safety hazard (i.e. electrical overload, blockage of emergency exit, etc.)?
  • Was the request made prior to the designated deadline?

Requests for a need-based housing or dining accommodation must be accompanied by supporting, professional medical documentation. The committee will make a recommendation based on the documentation received.

The following procedure is in place for students who are requesting medical accommodations:

  • The student will need to submit a cover letter to the Office of Residence Life (attn.: Assistant Director of Residence Life) detailing his/her medical request. The cover letter must be accompanied with medical documentation from a professional. Please note: We will not accept documentation from a member of the student’s family, regardless of his or her professional status. Please contact the Assistant Director of Residence Life if you would like to request a copy of the cover letter format expectations.
  • The professional’s document should be signed and on letterhead from the professional’s practice and should include the following (guidelines from
    i. Specific medical diagnosis of the disability
    ii. Description of how the diagnosis was confirmed
    iii. Explanation of how disability affects daily life activity
    iv. Actions currently being done to treat disability
    v. Specific recommendations for accommodations




Please note that hand written documentation on a prescription pad does not meet these criteria.

  • The Assistant Dean of Students (or designee) will consult with the committee about whether or not a student’s medical condition warrants the need for a medical single or other housing and/or dining accommodations.
  • The Assistant Dean of Students will then contact the student via email to notify them regarding the decision.
  • If the student’s request is appealed, an additional cover letter may be written for further review.

PRIORITY DEADLINE for new students: Thursday, May 15 at 5 p.m.  Please note: Need-based housing/dining must be requested and approved annually.