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Chapter 8:
Residential Life

Undergraduate Student Housing / Graduate and Professional Student Housing / Residence Hall Regulations / Residential Life Government / General Policies

Link to Housing and Residential Education homepage.

To help students adjust and mature at Vanderbilt, residential staff members are available to offer advice, counseling, and referral about matters of career, academic, or personal concern.

The Office of Housing and Residential Education employs upperclass undergraduates and graduate and professional students as resident advisers and head residents. The student staff is supervised by seven, full-time assistant directors and an Assistant Dean who are in residence. The Dean and two Associate Deans also reside on campus and respond to student needs.

The residence hall staff, in cooperation with the Inter-Residence Hall Association (Interhall), organizes and coordinates social, educational, and recreational programs in the residence halls.

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All unmarried undergraduate students, except those who live at home with their families in Davidson County, must live in residence halls on campus during the academic year, May session, and summer sessions. Authorization to live elsewhere is granted at the discretion of the Director of Housing Assignments in special situations or when space is unavailable on campus.

Married undergraduate students (and those 21 years of age with University-certified same-sex domestic partners) may apply for University housing in Family Housing, Lewis House, or Garrison Apartments. Undergraduate students with children may apply for housing in Family Housing.

In general, freshmen are housed separately from upperclass students. When there is insufficient space in the regular freshman housing system or in special situations, freshmen and upperclass students may be housed on the same floor, in the same building, or in the same complex. All undergraduates make housing arrangements through the Office of Housing and Residential Education in Branscomb Quadrangle

Freshman Assignments
Procedures for freshman housing assignments will be posted on this site by no later than February 1, 2002

Admission to the University does not guarantee assignment to a particular type of room. Freshmen may be assigned to singles, doubles, or suite doubles. Further, the University population is fluid, and demand for housing may change considerably in a relatively short time. In circumstances in which the number of freshmen enrolled exceeds the number of spaces for freshmen in regular rooms, it may be necessary to house students in upperclass areas, in apartments, or in alternative accommodations (such as study rooms on residential floors) for a few weeks, for a semester, or for the entire first year.

Upperclass Assignments
Returning unmarried upperclass students receive their housing assignments through a random selection process in the spring. A $200 deposit is required prior to the random selection. Upperclass students residing in single and double rooms have an opportunity to reserve their rooms for the following year, gender requirements permitting. Eligibility for participation is determined by the Associate Dean of Housing and Residential Education with advice from the Inter-Residence Hall Association.

Students who participate in any Vanderbilt study abroad programs, or who graduate, withdraw, or leave, may request cancellation of their contracts by writing to the Office of Housing and Residential Education sixty days prior to the beginning of the semester

Requests to Live in Off-campus Housing
Only students who have been authorized to reside off campus by the Director of Housing Assignments or his designee may do so. Students should not make deposits or sign leases until they receive written authorization from the housing assignments director to reside off campus. The Office of Housing and Residential Education maintains an off-campus referral service. The majority of rental property listed is close to the campus, but cost, furnishings, and conditions of the accommodations vary greatly.

Requests to Live in a Fraternity or Sorority House
Students who want to live in fraternity or sorority chapter houses must file the necessary forms each semester, May session, or summer session with the Office of Housing and Residential Education. Requests for residency in the chapter houses for the spring semester must be filed thirty days before the beginning of spring semester. A maximum of six officers, preferably of junior or senior class standing, may live in each chapter house.

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Graduate and professional student housing is coordinated by the Office of Housing and Residential Education in Branscomb Quadrangle. Students should request an application for campus housing or indicate their interest in off-campus accommodations as soon as they receive notice of admission.

Returning residents of University housing will be permitted to renew their leases through May 1. Incoming students in graduate and professional schools will receive priority for the remaining available housing for the fall if their applications and $200 housing deposits are received by May 1. Any returning resident may apply for on-campus housing by filing an application and making a $200 deposit. The deposit will be refunded if written notice is received in the Office of Housing and Residential Education sixty days before the beginning of the semester.

After space is assigned to returning residents and incoming students, returning students will be assigned. A waiting list will be maintained only for spaces that become available during the academic year.

Only full-time Vanderbilt students are eligible for housing. An apartment must be vacated within twenty-four hours if the occupant ceases to be a student.

With the approval of the assistant director in charge of the area, residents in graduate and professional student housing may have guests for up to two weeks.

Graduate and professional students living on campus are housed in Lewis House, Garrison Apartments, and Family Housing. Units are assigned to married students, students with University-certified domestic partners, or single students who want to share an apartment. The apartment buildings are normally open twelve months of the year. (Maintenance or renovations may require that some buildings, or parts of buildings be closed for periods of time.) Major appliances and utilities are provided in all apartments, and occupancy is subject to the terms and conditions of a lease executed by the occupant. Local telephone service is included in the rental charges. However, because handsets are not provided, students should obtain their own handsets. Because they interfere with wireless access to data networks, 2.4GHz cordless phones are prohibited.

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Rooms are rented (and students are liable for the room) for the entire academic year, exclusive of Thanksgiving break, semester break, spring break, and May session activities. Students who graduate or withdraw in the first semester are not liable for the spring semester rent if written notice is given sixty days before the opening of the spring semester. Students who graduate or withdraw from the University during the semester must vacate their rooms within twenty-four hours. Students who withdraw for medical reasons may receive a pro rata refund. Students who withdraw or who are suspended or expelled during the semester may be entitled to partial refunds of rent. Rooms may not be sublet or used for any purpose other than as a residence for those to whom they are assigned. Student rooms may not be used for publicized events, including meetings of organizations, Bible studies, social events, etc.

Residence halls are generally open for occupancy on the day before registration begins for each semester. Residence halls close at 9 a.m. on the day following the last day of classes before holidays and at 9 a.m. on the day following the last day of examinations at the end of the semester. Residence halls reopen after holidays at noon on the day prior to the first day of classes.

Expiration and Termination
A room contract will be terminated upon a student’s graduation, completion of his or her program, or withdrawal or dismissal from the University. The apartment or residence hall room must be vacated within twenty-four hours. Resident contracts may be terminated only when, at the discretion of Director of Housing Assignments, unanticipated and major changes occur in a student’s situation which would justify such termination. Contracts may not be broken to allow students to obtain lodgings elsewhere.

Room Changes
The Office of Housing and Residential Education must approve room changes before students may move.

Gender designations of buildings, floors, or apartments are made on an annual basis. Single students who share apartments or residence hall rooms must be of the same gender.

A search of a student, a student’s possessions, or a student’s premises may be authorized by the Vice Chancellor for Student Life or the Dean or an Associate Dean of Housing and Residential Education if there is reasonable cause to believe that a violation of University policy is occurring or has occurred.

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All students in residence are members of the Inter-Residence Hall Association (Interhall), the governing body of the residence halls that serves as the liaison between the residents and the Office of Housing and Residential Education. Interhall’s concerns include facilities improvement, recycling, residential autonomy, residence hall damage, and social, recreational, and educational programming.

Residential Judicial System
In the fall, each residence hall selects a judicial vice-president whose duties are as follows:

• Publication of regulations and responsibilities in the residence hall, in cooperation with the residence hall staff.

• Counseling or referring to the appropriate judicial body, those students who violate University residential regulations.

Residential Autonomy
Residents are expected to become familiar with the procedures and options of autonomy regulations, and to recognize their individual responsibility for the enforcement of regulations in both legislative and judicial matters. Subject to the approval of the Dean of Housing and Residential Education, residents of a unit (residence hall, or floor) may, upon petition by 15% of the residential unit, and subsequent endorsement vote by a two-thirds majority of the same unit, modify the rules and regulations in the following areas [The default policies follow in brackets]:

• Areas, occasions, and times for the use of alcoholic beverages (upperclass residence halls only; not applicable to substance-free areas) [Alcoholic beverages are restricted to individual rooms where the residents are of legal age for purchase, possession, and consumption of alcoholic beverages.]

• Visitation hours (in University residence halls) [Visits of a relatively short duration in residents’ rooms by members of the opposite sex are permissible at any time within a given 24 hour period.]

• Provisions for quiet hours [7pm-7am, Sunday through Thursday; midnight-10am Friday and Saturday; 24/7 during reading days and examination periods.]

• Responsibility for guests [Resident hosts bear disciplinary and financial responsibility for their guests.]

• Requirements for the scheduling and attendance of residents at residence hall or floor meetings [Attendance at meetings of residential units is required; such meetings are scheduled by elected officers in consultation with residential staff.]

• Sale of condoms [Condom vending machines are installed and stocked in undergraduate residence halls, as practicable.]

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Care, Cleaning, and Repair of Rooms
Students are expected to keep their rooms clean. Students may be required to clean their living accommodations, including appliances, if the assistant director for the area determines that the room, apartment, or specific appliance presents a health hazard. Announced inspections for damage and/or cleanliness will be conducted by the University staff. Students are expected to clean rooms and appliances, sweep floors or vacuum, and remove all trash and personal items prior to vacating a room or apartment. The housekeeping staff will clean the bathrooms and general public areas of residence halls on a weekly basis.

In certain residence halls, students may paint their rooms with approval (an application must be filed) from the Office of Housing and Residential Education, but furniture and headboards may not be painted. Fluorescent paint and adhesives (e.g., glow stars) are prohibited. Pictures and bulletin boards may be hung only from the picture rail. (Hooks for picture rails may be purchased in the University bookstore.) Any tape, staples, adhesive holders, screws, brackets, tacks, and nails are not to be used on the walls, woodwork, floors, or ceilings. Non-staining putty may be used. The use of over-the-door hangers is prohibited due to the damage that these devices produce. Only tension rods may be used for curtains or other treatments at window openings.

Concrete and cinder blocks, as well as bricks, are prohibited from University residence halls because of the potential damage to walls, floors, and carpets caused by their use. Plastic crates are acceptable substitutes as long as their use does no damage. The height that one may elevate a bed is limited to 13" from the bottom of the bedspring to the floor. Wooden “bed-risers” are permitted as long as they conform to the specifications established by the Director of Housing Facilities, and may be purchased at the University bookstore and other locations. Weightlifting equipment is not permitted in the residence halls. Water beds, hot tubs, lofts, and bunk beds, other than those provided by the University, are prohibited. The unauthorized construction of walls and partitions in University housing is prohibited.

Residents are individually and collectively responsible for any damage in their residences for any reason except negligence on the part of the University, and are expected to maintain and leave the residence at checkout in the same condition of repair as it was when they checked in, normal wear and tear excepted.

Students will be charged for any damage to residence hall rooms and public areas that results from misconduct or misuse. Charges for damages for which responsibility cannot be determined will be prorated among the residents of a residence hall or living unit. In order to control the quality of the craftsmanship in campus living areas students may not make repairs to avoid damage charges. Residents should report needed repairs to the area maintenance supervisor, the Office of Housing and Residential Education, or the building’s residential staff members. The University will make all needed repairs and do all redecorating, including painting, at its discretion. Authorized University personnel may enter at any reasonable time, or in emergencies, to inspect and repair property and equipment or to investigate allegations of policy violations.

The common areas of suites, apartments, and lodges are intended as joint living space for the residents. Students are not permitted to use these rooms as bedrooms. Furnishings in these rooms may not be moved to individual bedrooms.

Communicable Diseases
Residents must report immediately to the Student Health Center any case or suspected case of communicable disease.

Damage to Property
Damaging, littering, or theft of University property or property of a University community member or a campus visitor, by students or student groups, may result in disciplinary action as well as their being held responsible for the cost of repair or replacement. For example, a student responsible for starting a fire might have his or her actions ruled accidental for disciplinary purposes, but would be subject to financial responsibility to any parties suffering loss as a result of the accident. Students who suffer losses under these circumstances must make their claims to their own homeowners or renters insurance carriers. These companies will subrogate the claims to the carrier of the responsible student's insurance.

Electric Appliances
Small items such as radios, sound systems, electric blankets, clocks, lamps, and coffee makers with enclosed heating units are permitted in rooms, but no appliances with exposed heating elements, or grills (for either outdoor or indoor use, including "George Foreman" grills and like devices), are allowed. Appliances that draw a large amount of current from each circuit, such as hot plates, popcorn poppers, air conditioners, electric heaters, and instant water-heating elements, are prohibited. In addition, washers, dryers, and dishwashers are heavy consumers of utilities and are not allowed. Microwave ovens less than six years old, having a maximum power of no more than 600 watts and an interior capacity of no more than one cubic foot are permitted. Refrigerators less than six years old that have no more than 4.0 cubic foot capacity may be used. The head resident of a building may require that any appliance be placed in storage if there is abuse in the manner in which the appliance is used.

In the case of microwaves, refrigerators, and appliances in general, the student is advised that the densely populated residence hall environment is not the place for older home appliances which have been recently replaced. All appliances used in the residence halls must be in good condition, with special attention given to seals, electrical cords, and plugs. Only power strips with circuit breakers may be used as extension cords. In consideration of fire safety, any halogen lamps or light source will not be permitted for use in any housing or residential facility at Vanderbilt University. The Dean of Housing and Residential Education reserves the right to revoke authorization for the use of any appliance in individual buildings or throughout the residential campus.

Escorts, Resident
Resident hosts must escort visitors of the opposite sex on their floors at all times during a visit (i.e., into the building, on the floor and in stairwells, and out of the building). Individuals may not visit a floor designated for the opposite sex without an escort from a resident host. (Individuals visiting floors designated for the same sex as their own do not require escorts, but do require resident hosts.) Resident students (or their same sex visitors) who must pass through a portion of a floor designated for the opposite sex in order to get to their own floors (or the floors they are visiting), must take the most direct route possible, and should remain mindful of the rights of the residents of the opposite sex through whose floors they must pass.

No furniture, plants, or other furnishings, including those in lounges or reception areas, may be exchanged with anyone, stacked, or moved from one room to another. Headboards and footboards may not be removed from beds. Anyone who moves furniture or mattresses without authorization will be responsible for the costs incurred in moving these items back to their proper positions (or the cost of repair or replacement, if an item is damaged or lost) and will be subject to disciplinary action. Doors and window screens may not be removed.

Upon arrival, nonresident, overnight guests must register at the residence hall desk (or with residential staff when a residence hall either has no desk, or the desk is not staffed), and must check out upon departure. If there is a receptionist, a nonresident guest may be given an identification slip for admittance to the building. Arrangements for temporary housing of overnight guests must be authorized by the head resident or staff official on duty, at the earliest possible date. There is a three-night limit on visits by guests in undergraduate residence halls.

Guests may occupy the vacant half of a double room with the written authorization of the absent occupant. Guests of the opposite sex from that of their hosts must be accommodated in space appropriate for their sex. (I.e., the host must secure an "official," same-sex host from the floor on which the guest will be staying.) No one may serve as host in absentia. The University reserves the right to require that a guest vacate a room, a residence hall, or the campus, for any reason and at any time.

Guests during breaks: A Vanderbilt student who lives in a residence hall that closes during breaks may be invited to stay as a guest in the room of a student who lives in one of the buildings that remains open. The host may, or may not, be present during the break. In either case, the host must obtain the authorization of all the roommates, suitemates, lodgemates, or apartmentmates, in order to offer a place to stay during a break, to a student who is not a resident of the unit. The guest must register at the appropriate desk in compliance with posted or published procedures.

At certain hours, students may be required to show Vanderbilt identification to gain entrance to the residence halls. (See also "ID Card Access Readers," below)

ID Card Access Readers
Most University residence halls have ID card access readers at one or several entrances. Access schedules vary by building and by entrance. For reasons of safety and security, students should not permit residence hall access to persons they do not know to be residents.

Lost ID cards should be reported immediately to the Vanderbilt University Card Office, 184 Sarratt Center, 322-2273 (C-CARD on campus phones), or to any facility that accepts the Vanderbilt Card, such as dining halls or Varsity Markets. Lost cards may also be reported to the University Police Department at 322-2745.

Keys to residence hall rooms and other necessary keys, if any, are issued to residents upon check-in to the room. Residents may not duplicate keys. No deposit is required, but if a key is lost or not returned when a room is vacated, the lock may be changed and the resident charged for the replacement. The decision to replace the lock and/or issue a new or replacement key is made by the assistant director in charge of the area.

Interruption or curtailment of services maintained in a residential building, if caused by strikes, mechanical difficulties, or other causes, does not entitle residents to any claim against the University or to any reduction in rent.

Linens and Laundry
The University does not supply towels, washcloths, linens, blankets, or pillows. Coin- or Vanderbilt Card-operated washers and dryers are provided for campus residents in Branscomb Quadrangle, Vanderbilt/Barnard, Kissam, Lewis and Morgan Houses, Gillette Hall, Garrison Apartments, Family Housing, West Hall, and Carmichael Towers East and West.

Loss of Property
The student is responsible for his or her own property and should consider obtaining personal coverage or having coverage under his or her parent’s homeowner’s policy for any and all items brought to campus.

Other Regulations
The University reserves the right to make other regulations as necessary, without notice to secure maximum comfort, safety, and convenience for all.

Students may not have pets and other animals in University residence halls. Students are also prohibited from keeping or providing for animals on University property, and visiting animals must be kept outdoors and leashed. Students who violate this policy are subject to disciplinary action and will bear any associated costs in rooms where animals are found in violation of this policy. Fish may be kept in aquariums.

The University Police Department has responsibility for removing stray animals from campus.

Policy Violations
Students who are found to be in violation of University policy may be required to change room assignments or vacate University housing as directed by the Office of Housing and Residential Education.

Practice Rooms
Certain rooms in the residence halls have been designated for use as practice rooms. Due to their proximity to residential space, their use requires policies that preserve the quiet of the halls for the residents. Policies and specified times for the use of these spaces will be posted in each space. No amplified or percussion instruments are permitted. Use of these rooms may be terminated by the Office of Housing and Residential Education.

Quiet Hours
Quiet hours are in effect from 7 p.m. until 7 a.m., Sunday through Thursday, and midnight until 10 a.m., Friday and Saturday. During these hours, residents must cease all activities that might disturb study or sleep. Radios, televisions, etc., should be turned to low volume and other noisy activity curtailed. During examination periods, quiet hours may be extended. In addition, the residents may vote to alter quiet hours, in accordance with the provisions for residential autonomy.

The use of electric guitars, other amplified instruments, and other instruments producing loud volume, is prohibited in the residence halls.

Because of their propensity to be heard and felt through solid materials, subwoofers in stereo speakers or other audio equipment are also prohibited.

Due to the capacity of certain automotive speaker systems to disturb the quiet of the campus, use of these systems at sufficient volume to be heard outside of the vehicle is prohibited.

Residence Hall Solicitation
In general, solicitation in the residence halls is prohibited. Room-to-room solicitation for any reason is not allowed. Those students or student organizations who wish to organize clothing, food, blood, or book drives in the residence halls must request authorization from the Dean of Housing and Residential Education.

Safety and Security
Residents must agree to abide by the security and safety practices and regulations listed below:

• Combustible materials may not be stored on the premises.

• Motorcycles, mopeds, and other internal combustion machines may not be kept in University housing. (Bicycles may be stored in student rooms.)

• Nothing may be thrown from windows.

• Open flames, including but not limited to burning candles, oil lamps, or incense, are prohibited in the residence halls.

• Walkways, stairs, and corridors must be kept clear.

• Fire doors may be used by residents or guests only for emergency exit or practice drills.

• Failure to evacuate a building when a fire alarm sounds is prohibited.

• Tampering with fire extinguishers and other fire-safety equipment is prohibited and will result in disciplinary action, including possible suspension from the University or a prorated charge of $100 among the residents of a particular area if the responsible person(s) cannot be identified.

• Tampering with smoke detectors, emergency phones, building access systems, or other safety, security, or fire-safety equipment is prohibited.

• The Metropolitan Nashville-Davidson County Fire Code prohibits the use and storage of outside grills within ten (10) feet of any combustible materials on any balcony or patio of a multifamily dwelling. Noncompliance is prohibited.

It is essential that residents cooperate with the University in every way to safeguard the property of all residents. Students should keep room doors locked, keep money and other valuables out of sight, and report thefts immediately to the Head Resident or the Department of Security. Students must not prop open exterior doors or remove screens.

From time to time, officers from the Vanderbilt Police Department may enter residence halls, Greek houses, and other campus facilities to assess their safety, security, and compliance with University policies.

Smoking is prohibited in University residence halls, apartment buildings, apartment complexes, and Greek houses, including private residential space.

There are storage facilities in most residence halls for large luggage. (Students are expected to keep weekend bags in their rooms.) Each item must be labeled with the student’s name, room number, and home address, using the storage stickers provided on site. Charges may be assessed for special handling. The University does not accept responsibility for any loss or damage for items students placed in storage.

Items may be stored in trunks or metal tartans with lids. Fire regulations require that no cardboard boxes be used for storage of items. Each student may store a maximum of three storage containers.

Summer storage is permitted, but any personal property remaining in the assigned room at the closing of the current housing contract or in the storage rooms past the removal times will be deemed abandoned and may be disposed of without notice at the discretion of the Dean of Housing and Residential Education.

Substance Free Residences
All freshman residence halls and certain floors in upperclass residence halls have been designated as substance free by the Office of Housing and Residential Education. The consumption of tobacco products and the possession or consumption of alcohol or other illicit drugs in these substance-free areas (in either private rooms or common areas) by residents or their guests are prohibited. In upperclass halls, substance-free floors are designated in advance in consultation with the Inter-Residence Hall Association. Students present in a room in a substance-free residence (or on a substance-free floor), when a prohibited substance (alcohol, tobacco, or drugs) is present, are subject to disciplinary action.

The University does not provide telephone handsets. Students may use handsets that are FCC registered. Use of non–FCC registered phones, or other non-compatible devices using telephone lines, is prohibited. Because they interfere with wireless access to data networks, 2.4GHz cordless phones are also prohibited. Devices questionable with respect to these guidelines should be presented to the Information Technology Services for approval.

Visits of a relatively short duration by members of the opposite sex in residential rooms are permitted during visitation hours. In most residence halls, a visit may occur at any time during a given 24-hour period. (Students are expected to know the hours of visitation in their own living units, and in the units of those they may visit.)

However, overnight and extended visits by members of the opposite sex are not allowed by the visitation policy. If a visitor has not been escorted from the residential area of a hall by the close of its visitation hours, both the resident and the visitor will be subject to disciplinary action. While in a residence hall, a visitor of the opposite sex must be escorted at all times by his or her resident host. (See also "Escorts, Resident," above.)

It is inappropriate (and unauthorized) for persons to use bathroom facilities designated for the opposite sex. Common bathroom facilities on residential floors are designated for the sex assigned to the floor, unless otherwise indicated.

Copyright 2001 Vanderbilt University. Last modified 24 August 2001. For more information, please e-mail