Chatham University

General Residence Hall Policies and Procedures

General Residence Hall Policies and Procedures

As with any community, certain standards of behavior and living exist to assure the safety and welfare of all community members. As an educational institution, Chatham is committed to providing a learning environment that respects individuality as well as community purpose. Clearly, the primary purpose shared by all community members is the pursuit of knowledge through education in and out of the classroom.

Chatham University recognizes the value of the residential experience in a college education. Therefore, Chatham prides itself on providing students with an opportunity for personal, academic and professional development in an interesting living and learning environment. Membership in this community has many benefits, which you will come to know through your time at Chatham. One such benefit is the unique balance a residence environment allows for one to express individuality on the one hand while enjoying the camaraderie of a diverse community on the other. Such benefits can only be gained with the cooperation of all members of the community. As with any other community, certain customs, practices and norms have been adopted for the Chatham residence population to ensure a friendly, safe and secure environment, which is conducive to learning. All members of the Chatham community have a responsibility to themselves and to others for upholding the University's policies and procedures.

Below, you will find the outlined practices that are observed by all community members. Students must abide by any and all established Residence Life and University policies. Students will be held accountable for knowing and following the policies, regulations and guidelines of the Office of Residence Life. Violation of these policies will result in either a disciplinary meeting with professional staff and/or an appropriate sanction, including a possible monetary fine (designated as a "Residence Life fine" charged to students' accounts.

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Pet Policy
  1. Students are not permitted to have pets in the residence halls or apartments with the exception of aquarium fish in an aquarium no larger than 25 gallons. Any pets besides fish are not permitted (this includes turtles, frogs, etc).
  2. A student with a pet in the hall will be subject to disciplinary action and/or fines assessed. In addition, students found in violation of this policy shall be required to remove the pet from the residence hall immediately and will be assessed a residential fine.
  3. An additional charge per day will be charged for each day after the University has requested that the pet be removed while the pet is still in residence.
  4. Some graduate students are on legacy leases that allowed small cats. New graduate student leases will not be permitted to have pets.
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Fire Escape Policy
Fire escapes are not to be used other than in the case of an emergency. Students and/or guests are not permitted to:
  1. Open fire escape doors other than in an emergency.
  2. Walk/sit/stand on a fire escape.
  3. Place plants, chairs, clothes, or other belongings on the fire escape.
  4. Use the fire escape as a means of exiting and/or entering the residence hall.
A student will be subject to disciplinary action and a residential fine for the inappropriate use of a fire escape and for using a fire escape door.
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Room Furniture Policies
Rooms are furnished with a single bed, dresser, desk, and desk chair for each occupant. Students may provide their own study lamp (note: halogen lamps are not allowed), wastebasket, and a bookcase if desired. Failure to adhere to the following Room Furniture Policies will result in appropriate charges for missing furniture, repair or replacement.
  1. Students are not permitted to bring their own bed unless needed for medical reasons. In the case of a medical exception, a student will be required to submit documentation from her doctor explaining the medical need to the director of residence life and residential space in advance of moving in.
  2. Lofts are not allowed and may not be constructed in residence hall rooms or apartments.
  3. All furniture must remain in its assigned room/apartment throughout the year. Furniture missing from rooms when the resident vacates will result in fines, up to the full replacement cost.
  4. No University property may be removed from lounges, conference rooms, or other community areas for use in student rooms. Common furniture is inventoried at the beginning of each term. Missing and damaged furniture will be billed to the community if the responsible person is not found.
  5. Students may not disassemble furniture under any circumstances or remove their room furniture from their room without permission from the Office of Residence Life. Students will be charged a minimum $100 assembling fine for any room furniture found disassembled after a student moves out.
  6. The University will not remove furniture from student rooms and apartments.
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Air Conditioner Policy
Students are not permitted to have window air conditioners. If a student requires air conditioning for a medically accepted reason, the student must submit a letter to the director of residence life and documentation from a doctor explaining the medical need to the Director of Residence Life and Student Activities. Students should allow up to two weeks for a decision to be made after all documentation is submitted. Upon approval for the air conditioning unit, a student requiring an air conditioner for medical reasons must:
  1. If a request is approved students living in undergraduate housing will be given an air conditioner by facilities.
  2. 2. Graduate students permitted to have an air conditioner must provide their own unit and make a work order request to have that unit installed.
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Electrical Equipment and Appliances
Electrical equipment and appliances can pose serious hazards and problems in the residence halls. Outlets in individual rooms and overall electrical capacity can easily be overloaded if students are not cautious-potentially leading to a serious electrical fire. The Office of Residence Life and Public Safety conduct annual safety inspections during the fall term. Keep in mind the following when using electrical equipment and/or appliances in the residence halls:
  1. All electrical items shall be in good operating condition.
  2. In rooms, the use of appliances is limited to a radio, stereo, small portable television, personal computer, clock, portable hair dryer, curling iron or hot curlers, small microwave, a small refrigerator (no larger than hip-sized), and a small fan. Also permissible are appliances that have both automatic shut-off buttons and time to brew cycles and do not have warming plates. Such appliances include some brands of hot water dispensers and hot beverage machines new on the market.
  3. Irons shall only be used in laundry rooms to assure no room/carpet damage. Irons are permitted in Chatham and Linzer Apartments.
  4. Halogen lamps, hot plates, toasters, toaster ovens, electric blankets, space heaters (unless provided by the University), and sun or heat lamps are prohibited in the residence hall rooms. Toasters and toaster ovens are permitted in lower campus apartment kitchens.
  5. Residence hall rooms shall not be used to prepare hot foods. The equipment and appliances used to prepare food are extreme fire safety hazards because of the heat they generate. Heating coils, electric frying pans, broilers, griddles, standard coffee pots, and any other electrical cooking appliances are not allowed. This policy does not apply to lower campus apartment housing as they are equipped with kitchen facilities.
  6. Students should use surge strips on heavy appliances such as computers, microwaves, etc.
  7. Refrigerators must be plugged directly into wall electrical sockets. Under no circumstances should they be plugged into surge strips or extension cords.
The University has the right to limit or expand use of appliances.
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Common Kitchen Facilities
Each residence hall contains at least one small kitchen area (some residence halls have a kitchen area on each floor) that contains a sink, microwave and refrigerator for the students' use. Laughlin House, Rea House, and Fickes Hall also have stove-tops and ovens in the house kitchens. Woodland Hall has a stove-top available. The use of approved electrical appliances must be restricted to the kitchen area(s). As members of a community, students should remember the following when using a kitchen area:
  1. Residents are responsible for cleaning appliances, dishes, etc. that they use. Dishes left dirty in the kitchen or bathrooms for more than 24 hours will be thrown out.
  2. Refrigerators are for all residents to use. Residents should mark their food with their name, room number, and date the item was placed in the refrigerator. Refrigerators will be cleaned at the end of each term and unmarked and spoiled food will be thrown out.
  3. The University does not accept responsibility for food left in refrigerators; therefore, students should respect the personal property of others and refrain from using or taking food left by other resident students without their expressed consent to do so. Students will be subject to disciplinary action if they remove another student's personal belongings from the kitchen area(s).
  4. When cooking, students must be present in the kitchen area. Students are not permitted to cook food in the microwave unless present. Disciplinary action, including fines, will be taken if these procedures are not followed.
  5. A student failing to maintain the safety of the kitchen will be fined $25.00 and may face additional disciplinary action. This includes leaving an oven or cooktop on after food preparation is completed or failing to clean up spills.
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Personal Bathrooms/Kitchens
Rooms and apartments that have a private bathroom or kitchen are a privilege. Students are expected to maintain their own kitchen/ bathroom in an appropriate way throughout the year. Students will be notified during Health and Safety Inspections if the condition of these spaces is unacceptable, and be given the opportunity to rectify the situation. Students are subject to an excess cleaning charge if the kitchen and/or bath area is not maintained appropriately. Students with private kitchens or bathrooms need to provide their own soap/paper products and need to establish expectations for usage with all students with access to the kitchen/bathroom.
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Damage/Vandalism Policy
All campus residents should be concerned with the safety and handling of University property-both in individual rooms and public areas. Residents should do their best to see that University property is not damaged or stolen. Respect for the residential environment is crucial to developing a residence hall community in which members can take pride in their environment.

You and your roommate(s) are responsible for any damage, misuse, or theft of University property that occurs in your residence hall room. You must pay replacement, reassembly, or repair cost for any missing or damaged property.

Individual Room Damage Policy
At the beginning of each academic year, a Room Condition Report (RCR) is completed by the resident advisor and given to the residents to review, edit, sign, and turn in. Residents failing to changes to their RCR their signed RCR within 24 hours of their move-in will be held responsible for any additional damages incurred during their residency. Upon vacating a room, a student must conduct a room inspection with a Residence Life staff member using the original RCR as a basis for assessing any missing or damaged furnishings or property of the University. If it is determined that fines for damages or missing property are to be issued, the resident(s) of the room will be billed accordingly. Damage costs will be split evenly among residents unless specified otherwise by the residents. Students who move out without setting up a time for a room inspection with an RA will be fined for damages in their absence during the actual inspection.

Billing for individual room damage is completed after residents move out of their room. Students are responsible for the damage costs that are listed in the Terms and Conditions of Residence Living for each year. The Office of Residence Life must receive any appeals to damage charges in writing within two weeks of the issuance of the bill. After that time, appeals will not be granted.

Common/Public Area Damage Policy
When individual responsibility for damage and loss in public areas (e.g., bathrooms, lounges, etc.) cannot be determined, a charge will be made to all students within a reasonably defined area (e.g., room, floor, building, etc.) If the individual(s) responsible for damaged or stolen property cannot be identified, the cost of damages to any common/public area of a hall will be assessed and divided among the residents as appropriate. The graduate resident director will work with the students and staff in the residence area to determine, if possible, who is responsible for the damage. If the bill is to be divided among residents, the residence life staff will notify those residents of the cost per person that will be charged to their student account. Common area damage may not be appealed.
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The University is not responsible for theft or destruction of personal property. It is highly recommended that valuables are covered by homeowner's insurance policy or renter's insurance.
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Indoor Sports
No sports or sport-like activities are permitted in the University apartments, residence rooms, lounges, corridors, stairwells, etc. Indoor sports infringe on the rights of others, can lead to damage of University property, or may cause harm to oneself or others. Water fights and snowball fights are prohibited inside all residences. Students who violate this policy will be subject to disciplinary action.
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Room Decoration
While every person likes to personalize her space in order to feel at home, the residence hall areas are governed by certain local fire safety ordinances. Since your living space is intended to serve not only you and your roommates, but also the residents who live there in the coming years, certain guidelines for personalizing rooms or apartments are necessary. Additionally, certain adhesives and/or other hanging elements often damage walls and other University furnishings. It is necessary for resident students to be aware of the following guidelines in keeping with local safety codes and with University policy:
  1. Students are not authorized to paint (including washable paint), renovate, or modify their rooms in any way. Glow in the dark paint or markers are not permitted.
  2. Furniture must not obstruct smoke detectors or sprinklers, block heating vents, damage pipe coverings, or impair quick exit from the room or window in case of emergency.
  3. Decorative hangings are largely restricted to the inside of the residence hall room.
    1. Students may hang minimal decorations on their room doors. If door hangings are determined to be a fire hazard by a residence life staff member, students will be required to remove such decorations. Residence Life reserves the right to deny any decoration/item that is deemed inappropriate or offensive to others.
    2. Students are prohibited from hanging decorations of any kind on hallway walls, ceilings, etc.
    3. Students are prohibited from leaving furniture in the hallway. If any room furniture is lost during the course of a student's stay in the room, the student will be charged a replacement fee.
    4. Students are prohibited from hanging any items from sprinklers or near sprinklers that may interfere with sprinkler function.
  4. When hanging pictures, posters, etc., do not use the following items on the wall: transparent tape, double-stick tape, adhesive stick-on corkboard, nails and screws. Adhesives or nails that damage the wall will be assessed during room inspection. "Blue" painters tape should be used to tape smaller items to walls in the residence areas. Adhesive poster putty that leaves no residue is also recommended to hang posters. Framed photos should not be hung on walls. Students are responsible for any damage done to walls after they move in.
  5. Holiday candles are not permitted in University owned student residences. Students seeking to honor religious observations should contact the director of residence life for approved locations and guidelines.
  6. Natural trees are not permitted in student rooms/apartments. Non-UL approved lights are prohibited from being used. Only UL approved lights can be used. All decorations must be removed prior to the semester break.
  7. Underage students are not permitted to display alcohol bottles in their residence hall room. Displays of drug paraphernalia are prohibited for all students.
  8. While students may use their discretion in postings on the outside of their room/apartment door, any postings must be respectful of community members and cannot violate the Honor Code. (This includes items that may lead to mental and bodily harm to others or self and any items that may create a civil disturbance.)
  9. Students in apartment housing are not allowed to renovate or paint their apartment. Only command strips should be used when hanging pictures on walls. Residents are not allowed to use nails to hang any large items on the walls.
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Solicitation and Advertising Policy
The University prohibits solicitation, sales or door-to-door canvassing by students or non-students on University property. Solicitation and sales of non-University items are prohibited in the residence halls without approval from the appropriate University official. Residents are not permitted to run private businesses from their campus residence.

Posters and signs which are not offensive to community members and approved through the Office of Student Activities may be hung in public areas of the campus with the exception of front doors of buildings. The student government requires organizations advertising by chalking to notify the coordinator of student activities in advance of chalking sidewalks. The coordinator of student activities will provide for any group the guidelines for chalking. In addition, in order to keep a clean environment and to promote current events, each community member is asked to remove any signage for her/his event within 48 hours of the event. Failure to do so may result in loss of sign hanging privileges in the residence halls.
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Storage Policy and Procedure
Due to the limited space on campus, Chatham University does not offer storage to students. There are several off campus storage units that may offer discounts to college students in the area. Each student is in charge of moving their belongs to and from storage.
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Smoking Policy
It has been stipulated by Chapter 617 of the Smoking Pollution Control Ordinance that: "The right of smokers to smoke ends where their actions affect the health, well-being, and comfort of others." Smoking is prohibited in all residence areas on campus, including rooms, hallways, lounges, and computer labs. Students and guests who smoke outside the residence areas must be at least five feet away form entry doors while smoking and properly dispose of cigarettes. Students found throwing their cigarette butts on the ground will be fined $25 and possibly face more serious disciplinary action. Cigarette butts contain fibers that are not biodegradable, tox-ins that are harmful to the environment, and can cause fires. If cigarette smoke drifts into students' rooms/apartment windows and cause a disturbance to residents, the smoker will need to smoke elsewhere to limit the disturbance.
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Work Order Requests
Guidelines for maintenance, housekeeping, and facilities requests for any residence hall area:
  1. Students must contact their graduate resident director or resident assistant with a work order request as soon as the problem comes to their attention. Requests should be as specific as possible to ensure timely follow up.
  2. All pertinent data must be given to the graduate residence director or resident assistant for the submission to be completed. Please be as specific in your request as possible to ensure prompt response. Graduate resident directors will submit student requests on a daily basis Monday through Friday.
  3. Each Work Order Request will be completed as promptly as possible according to work needed and available personnel and materials.
  4. Students should check with their graduate residence director, or RA as to the whether a Work Order Request has been submitted.
In case of a maintenance emergency (e.g. smell of gas, water leaks, or other immediate safety hazard(s) contact Facilities Management (412-365-1274) during normal working hours (9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.). For emergencies that occur during the evening or weekend hours, contact the Graduate Resident Director on Duty (412-951-0003) or Public Safety's emergency number (412-365-1111).
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