Student Handbook
 

Chapter 8: Residential Life

Student Housing / Residence Hall Regulations / Residential Life Government / General Residence Life Policies / Residential Conduct System

Also see the Housing and Residential Education homepage (http://www.vanderbilt.edu/ResEd*)

The Office of Housing and Residential Education provides a comprehensive development program for students living in university residence halls. Residential staff members work to build community, help students adjust to the demands of academic life, and promote the development of the "whole person" through co-curricular programming and activities.

Housing and Residential Education employs upperclass undergraduates as well as graduate and professional students as resident advisers and head residents. The residential staff is supervised by a live-in, professional staff consisting of the Director of Residence Life, two Associate Directors and eight Assistant Directors. The residential staff is available to provide advice, counseling and referrals for residents.

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

Student Housing

The residential experience is regarded as an integral part of a Vanderbilt undergraduate education. The mission of the Office of Housing and Residential Education is to provide the residential experience to as many undergraduate students as we can physically accommodate.

All unmarried undergraduate students, except those who live at home with their parents or legal guardians 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.

Undergraduate students with children, married undergraduate students, and undergraduate students who are 21 years of age or older with University-certified same-sex domestic partners should call or write the Director of Housing Assignments for assistance with housing arrangements.

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 may be housed with upperclass students. 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 at http://www.vanderbilt.edu/ResEd* by no later than February 1, 2007.

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 Director of Housing Assignments with advice from the Inter-Residence Hall Association.

Students who participate in any Vanderbilt study abroad programs, or who graduate, withdraw, or take a leave of absence, may request cancellation of their housing 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

Vanderbilt University is a residential university. All unmarried undergraduate students are required to live in on-campus residential housing unless the University grants a student authorization to live off-campus. This requirement is binding for the student's entire undergraduate education. Therefore, off-campus authorization is a privilege, not a right.

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 (https://apphost1a.its.vanderbilt.edu/housing/Main/). Most of the rental property listed is close to the campus, but cost, furnishings, and conditions of the accommodations vary greatly.

Authorization to live off-campus is granted at the discretion of the Director of Housing Assignments and may be revoked at any time for good cause, as determined at the discretion of the Director of Housing Assignments. Reasons for the revocation of off-campus authorization include, but are not limited to, violations of University policies or regulations; failure to abide by the tenants of the "good neighbor guideline;" (http://www.vanderbilt.edu/ResEd/main/PolicyGNG.php*) or behavior that adversely affects the University's relationship with the neighborhood community. When Vanderbilt receives notice of a landlord in a community whose practices are violating local law and/or endangering the safety and well-being of student tenants or neighbors, then Vanderbilt reserves the right to deny students the privilege to live off-campus at properties owned by these landlords. If a student is living in an off-campus residence alone or with one or more other students or non-students, and the residence is found by the University to be in violation of the "good neighbor guidelines" (http://www.vanderbilt.edu/ResEd/main/PolicyGNG.php*) or is adversely affecting the University's relationship with the neighboring community, all residents may be considered in violation of this policy even though the conduct of an individual resident cannot be specifically identified. A student whose authorization to live off-campus is revoked will be required to return to campus immediately and live in on-campus housing assigned at the discretion of the Director of Housing Assignments.

Students directed to return to on-campus housing will be charged, on a pro-rata basis, the standard University housing fee, effective the day assignment to on-campus housing is made. Authorization to live off-campus will be granted only on the condition that the student agrees that the University will not be liable or responsible for any contractual arrangements or agreement into which a student has entered, such as a lease agreement for off-campus housing, if authorization is revoked and the student is required to return to and live in assigned on-campus housing as a result of violation of this policy.

See also http://www.vanderbilt.edu/cngr*.

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. During the academic year, requests to move from a residence hall to Greek housing cannot be granted unless accompanied by a request from a Greek house resident to move to the residence hall system. A maximum of six officers, preferably of junior or senior class standing, may live in each chapter house. Approval to live in a Greek house must be obtained from both the Office of Housing and Residential Education and the Office of Greek Life. Approval to live in a Greek house is not equivalent to authorization to live off-campus.

Residence Hall Regulations

Rental

Rooms designated for students are rented (and students are liable for the room rent) 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. Residential rooms and services (telephone, ResNet, etc.) may not be used for business purposes. Student rooms may not be used for publicized events, including meetings of organizations, Bible studies, social events, etc.

Occupancy

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 generally reopen after holidays at 9 a.m. on the Sunday prior to the first day of classes. Following semester break, residence halls open at 8 p.m. on the Saturday prior to the first day of spring semester classes.

Breaks

Residence halls are officially closed during Thanksgiving break, semester break, spring break, and Senior Week prior to commencement. Students are not contractually entitled to occupy their rooms during these periods. However, as conditions permit, students may occupy their rooms during these periods if they register to do so with the Office of Housing and Residential Education. Prior to these periods, students will receive notice of which buildings and floors may be occupied and instructions for registering to stay. Failure to register may result in exclusion from the residence halls and/or disciplinary action.

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.

Check-In/Check-Out

Residents must check-in with residential staff when they arrive on campus. Residents will be issued a key and/or combination and a room condition report. The resident must review, sign and return the room condition report to document any problems with the room when it is initially occupied. A resident may be held responsible for any damage to his or her living space that is found when they move out unless it was noted on his or her room condition report at check-in, is the result of normal wear and tear, or is the result of a properly-reported maintenance problem that arose during the year.

As residents vacate their rooms, they must return their keys and schedule a check-out meeting with the residential staff to review and sign their room condition reports. Residents will be held responsible for all room charges until their check-out dates have been recorded. If the room condition report is not reviewed and signed, then the resident may be held responsible for all damages above and beyond those noted on the original room condition report. Express checkout may be available in some areas. Information regarding express checkout will be provided prior to residence hall closings.

Room Changes

Students may not move from their assigned space to another space without the prior approval of the Office of Housing and Residential Education. Room change requests are granted at the discretion of the Director of Housing Assignments. Students who make unauthorized room changes are subject to disciplinary action.

Students who make unauthorized room changes will (1) not be permitted to reserve their current assignments for the following academic year; (2) lose a point for the triple, suite, apartment and lodge selections for the following academic year; (3) lose a point for the local hall selections or the single and double random selections for the following academic year; (4) lose a class in seniority for the off-campus authorization process for the following academic year; (5) be denied authorization to reside in a Greek House for the following academic year, or any combination of the above.

Gender

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.

Room Entry

The University recognizes and respects the desire for privacy. Designated staff members have been authorized by the University to enter any University premises. Authorization for entry includes, but is not limited to, custodial services, maintenance and repair services and inspections, inspections for fire and safety violations, inspection for damages, cleaning, and closing inspections. Inspections may be announced or unannounced.

Searches

A search of a student, a student's possessions, or a student's premises may be authorized by the Dean of Students or the dean's designee if there is reasonable cause to believe that a violation of University policy is occurring or has occurred.

Confiscation

During searches and inspections of residential units (rooms, suites, apartments, etc.), University personnel have the option of confiscating items prohibited by the University.

Residential Life Government

Interhall

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 Conduct 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.
  • Supporting the Residential Conduct System by serving as a hearing panel member.

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 Director of Residence Life, 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). 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.]

General Residence Life Policies

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. 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.

Students are prohibited from painting their rooms and University furniture , including headboards. Adhesives (e.g., glow stars) are also prohibited. Pictures and bulletin boards may be hung only from the picture rail. (Hooks for picture rails may be purchased in the University bookstore.) 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 standard 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 from other authorized local vendors. 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.

Satellite dishes or antennae may not be affixed to or mounted on any interior or exterior area of a residence hall in any manner or fashion.

Personal wireless access points, used for wireless communication, are prohibited and may not be used in any residential facility.

Residence halls are heated and cooled by central systems. As a consequence, residents should keep their windows closed. Heating or cooling problems should be reported to the area maintenance supervisor (AMS).

Residents 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 (http://www.vanderbilt.edu/ResEd/cgi/request.htm*), 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

The University is not responsible for personal property and is not liable for damages to student property caused by vandalism, mischief, or other students' negligence. The University is not liable for damages caused by electrical or mechanical failures or difficulties, or broken water pipes, unless, after being notified, the University fails to take reasonable means to correct the failure or difficulty. Students are strongly encouraged to arrange for insurance coverage for all valuables and belongings they bring to campus.

Damage to Property

Damage, vandalism, littering, or theft of University property or property of a University community member or campus visitor by a student or student groups may result in disciplinary action as well as the offender's being held financially responsible for the cost of repair or replacement.

For example, a student may leave a window open during cold weather causing burst pipes and the flooding of student rooms and common areas. Or, a student may cause a fire triggering the building's sprinkler system causing both water and smoke damage to student rooms and common areas. In these cases, the perpetrators may be held responsible not only for disciplinary purposes, but also for the financial losses suffered by other students and the University resulting from these incidents.

Students may be held financially responsible for damages or losses resulting from accidents or negligence. Students who suffer losses under such circumstances must take their claims to their own homeowners or renters insurance carriers. These companies may subrogate the claims to the carrier of the responsible student's insurance.

Collective Damage

Damage and vandalism are costly and undermine the quality of life in residence halls. The University expects members of the residential community to aid in the prevention of vandalism. Residents are jointly and severally responsible for damage to their living units and furnishings, and are collectively responsible for damage to common areas.

Residents of a building, or part thereof, may be assessed charges for repair of damage to common areas.

Liability

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. Noise from service vehicles, construction activity, or other normal and necessary activities does not entitle residents to any claim against the University or to any reduction in rent.

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, air conditioners, electric heaters, and instant water-heating elements, are prohibited. In addition, washers, dryers, and dishwashers are not allowed. Microwave ovens less than six years old, having a maximum power of no more than 800 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 residential staff 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.

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 sources will not be permitted for use in any housing or residential facility at Vanderbilt University. The Director 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.

Furnishings

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 and University furnishings may not be removed from rooms. 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.

Student-owned furniture brought into the residence halls and Greek houses must meet the hospitality/contract-grade furniture fire safety specifications of either the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) standard 260, or the California Technical Bulletin 117, section E. Furniture that complies with either standard will be appropriately tagged by the manufacturer.

Guests and Visitation

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.

Visitation

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.

Guests

Residents seeking to host nonresident, overnight guests must obtain authorization from all of their roommates, suitemates, lodgemates or apartmentmates. 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. 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. Hosts must be of the same sex as their guests. 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 remains on campus. The host must be present during the break. The host must obtain the authorization of all the roommates, suitemates, lodge mates, or apartment mates, 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.

Hours

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 may not permit residence hall access to persons they do not know to be residents of that building.

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 and Access Codes

Keys and access codes 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 or share access codes. No deposit is required, but if a key is lost or not returned when a room is vacated, the lock will be changed and the resident charged for the replacement. If it is determined that access codes have been shared, the code will be changed and the resident(s) charged for the change.

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, West Hall, Crawford House, Sutherland House and Carmichael Towers East and West.

Loss of Property/Insurance Coverage

Every 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.

Music Practice Rooms

Certain rooms in the residence halls have been designated for use as music 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. Except for University-supplied pianos, no amplified or percussion instruments are permitted. Use of these rooms may be terminated by the Office of Housing and Residential Education.

Party Registration

Gatherings in residential spaces with alcohol present must be registered, regardless of size. Gatherings with alcohol are permitted only in Carmichael Towers East suites, Carmichael Towers West, Mayfield Place, Chaffin Place, Morgan House, Lewis House,. All gatherings must abide by all other University and Residential Policies (noise, alcohol, visitation, etc.). Party Registration Applications are available at the residence hall front desks and through residential staff members and should be submitted at least 24 hours in advance of the event. Party Registration Applications are also available online at http://www.vanderbilt.edu/ResEd/main/partyregistration.pdf.*

Other Regulations

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

Pets

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, but flesh-eating and dangerous fish (e.g. piranha) are prohibited.

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 reading and examination periods, quiet hours are in effect 24 hours a day. In addition, the residents may vote to alter quiet hours, in accordance with the provisions for residential autonomy. Non-quiet hours are not "noisy" hours. Courtesy hours are in effect 24 hours a day.

The use of electric guitars, other amplified instruments, drums, 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.

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, book, or other drives in the residence halls must request authorization from the Director of Residence Life. For more information on guidelines for student organizations, please refer to the Student Organization Manual at http://www.vanderbilt.edu/studentorganizations/manual/index.html.*

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 not be stored in hallways, stairwells, or other common areas as they block emergency egress. Bicycles may be stored in student rooms.
  • Nothing may be thrown from windows. Objects may not be placed on window ledges or on roofs.
  • Candles, other open flames, oil lamps, and incense, are prohibited in the residence halls.
  • Walkways, stairs, and corridors must be kept clear for emergency egress.
  • 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 door alarms, fire extinguishers, sprinkler heads, and other fire-safety equipment is prohibited and will result in disciplinary action, including possible suspension from the University or a prorated damage charge among the residents of a particular area if the responsible person(s) cannot be identified.
  • Tampering with smoke detectors, emergency phones, building access systems, surveillance cameras or other safety, security, or fire-safety equipment is prohibited.
  • The Metropolitan Nashville-Davidson County Fire Code prohibits the use and storage of grills within ten (10) feet of any combustible materials on any balcony or patio of a multifamily dwelling. Use or storage of grills is prohibited on any balcony, patio or residence hall facility.
  • String lights and tube lights are prohibited.
  • Flammable materials may not be used to cover or obstruct light sources, heating/cooling sources, and fire safety fixtures.
  • The use of heat producing equipment requires attendance at all times.
  • Access to windows and door must be kept clear for emergency egress.
  • Items suspended from the ceilings, sprinkler heads, overhead piping, or on or near water pipes are prohibited.

The following are prohibited:

  • Tampering with card access readers
  • Tampering with surveillance cameras
  • Removal or non-emergency discharge of fire extinguishers
  • Possession of fireworks
  • Tampering with water flow or other control valves
  • Breaking sprinkler heads
  • Removing or covering smoke/heat detectors
  • Removing window or door screens
  • Disabling fire alarm systems
  • Arson/igniting fires
  • Tampering with or damaging fire exit lights, signs, horns, strobes or other notification devices
  • Tampering with or obstructing emergency exit doors
  • Propping open exterior doors

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

Periodically, 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

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

Storage

There are limited storage facilities in most residence halls for large luggage. (Students are expected to keep weekend bags in their rooms.) Storage is available on a "first-come, first-served" basis. Each stored item must be labeled with the student's name, room number, home address, and date stored 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, metal trashcans or plastic storage containers with lids. Fire regulations require that no cardboard boxes be used for storage of items. Each student may store a maximum of two storage containers, but furniture may not be stored in University storage areas.

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 Director of Residence Life. All items must be logged in. Students should retain receipts for their records.

Substance Free Residences

All freshman 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 illicit drugs in these substance-free areas (in either private rooms or common areas) by residents or their guests are prohibited.

Telephones

Each resident is provided with a private telephone line. 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 (http://www.vanderbilt.edu/its*) for approval.

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. (See also Residential Conduct System below).

Residential Conduct System

The purpose of the Residential Conduct System is to enable residents to hold one another accountable for their actions and promote a greater sense of community within the residence halls. Students and their guests are expected to abide by all policies, regulations, and procedures in the Student Handbook and other documents while living in, or visiting, University residence halls. Ignorance of these policies, regulations, and procedures is not an excuse for failing to comply with them.

Minor violations of University policies that occur within the residence halls or their immediate environs generally fall within the jurisdiction of the Residential Conduct System. Students accused of violations of University policy within the jurisdiction of the Residential Conduct System may be referred to the Office of Student Conduct and Academic Integrity. Generally, the Residential Conduct System will consider cases of alleged violations for which sanctions less than disciplinary probation are appropriate. The cases of non-residents will be referred to the Office of Student Conduct and Academic Integrity. Students, who are accused of violations near the end of the semester and are not returning to the residence halls, may also be referred to the Office of Student Conduct and Academic Integrity.

Generally, alleged violations of residence hall policies may be observed and reported by residents, residential staff, or University Police officers.

The Director of Housing and Residential Education or the director's designee will review incident reports and determine how a case will be handled. The Director may initiate further investigation of the incident by residential staff members. The Director may dismiss the case without further action or refer it to either the Office of Student Conduct and Academic Integrity or the Residential Conduct System. The resident will be notified about the violation alleged in the report and about the disposition of the case (dismissed, referred to Office of Student Conduct and Academic Integrity, or referred to Residential Conduct System) within a reasonable amount of time (generally, ten business days) following the receipt of an incident report. In instances of referral, the resident will be directed to schedule, and to keep, an appointment with the appropriate staff member. This request may be made by email, telephone, letter, or in person. Failure to comply with such directives is a violation of University policy and will not stop the Residential Conduct System process. The case may be resolved in the resident's absence.

Should the Director of Residence Life determine that a resident may pose an imminent danger to persons or property, the Director of Residence Life may direct the resident to vacate immediately the residence hall system and not return, pending further investigation and review. A preliminary hearing will be held, within five business days of such a directive, to review the directive. Appeals of the review may be made to the Director of Housing and Residential Education. (See "Appeals", below.)

Cases heard in the Residential Conduct system can be adjudicated in one of three ways: a hearing by the Residential Conduct Board; an Informal Hearing held by the student's Assistant Director, or designee; or a formal administrative hearing. The Director of Residence Life or designee will review all cases and refer them to the appropriate authority. The Residential Conduct Board will hear most cases involving first violations of residence-life policies, including those concerning co-habitation, escort, trash, noise, pets, vandalism, or the possession of certain prohibited items (candles, incense, decorative lights, cooking devices, etc.). Cases involving alcohol, tobacco, or other drugs as well as violations of fire-safety will be heard by the Assistant Director at an informal hearing or by the Director of Residence Life at a formal hearing.

The Residential Conduct Board consists of four residents and is chaired by the Director of Residence Life or the director's designee. The resident board members are judicial vice-presidents of the Inter-Residence Hall Association (Interhall) or other Interhall members selected by Interhall's Attorney General or President. Findings of guilt or innocence and, when appropriate, assignment of sanction, are determined by a simple majority vote assuming that all five members of the board are present (see below).

The resident will be informed in writing of the charges and will have no fewer than three business days to prepare for the hearing unless the resident agrees to an earlier date. The resident will have the opportunity to examine all of the evidence presented in the case. The resident may present information at the hearing and may ask relevant and important questions about information presented at the hearing through the hearing authority. The hearing authority determines the relevance and importance of questions.

In the event that one of the four judicial vice-presidents is absent during the time of the Board hearing, the resident will have one of three options.

1. Postpone the hearing until a later date as determined by the Director of Residence Life or designee

2. Elect to have the case heard only the by Director of Residence Life or designee

3. Waive the right to the fourth resident member and continue the hearing with three judicial vice-presidents and the Director of Residence Life or designee. If the decision of guilt or innocence by the three judicial vice-presidents is not unanimous, the case must be reheard by a full Board. If the accused resident enters a guilty plea, a two-thirds decision is necessary for an imposed sanction to go into effect or the case must be reheard by a full Board.

All participants in hearings are expected to tell the truth and conduct themselves in a respectful and appropriate manner. Accused residents may not attempt to influence, harass, or intimidate complainants, witnesses, or members of the Board. Instances of perjury by any participant during the investigation or hearing may result in a referral to either the Office of Student Conduct and Academic Integrity or the Residential Conduct System at the discretion of the Director of Residence Life or designee.

Persons serving as hearing authorities may disqualify themselves if they believe that they cannot be impartial or even if it appears that their impartiality may be questioned. Accused residents may object for specific cause to any person(s) serving as a hearing authority scheduled to hear a case.

In cases not sent to the Residential Conduct Board, the Assistant Director (or person designated by the Director) will hold an initial meeting with the resident and others with relevant information. The resident will be provided with written notification of the alleged violation(s) as well as with information about the Residential Conduct System process. The resident will have an opportunity to examine the written notification and to respond to the incident report.

Based on the interview or other information, the Assistant Director may take the following actions:

If the evidence indicates that no violation has occurred, the case may be dismissed and the Assistant Director will notify the accused resident and complainant.

The accused student may be referred to mediation. In mediation, an impartial third party guides a process of communication between conflicting parties to promote reconciliation, settlement, or compromise. The accused student will have the opportunity to select a mediator from available staff members; generally the mediator will be a residential staff member or a staff member from the Psychological and Counseling Center. The purpose of mediation is to help the conflicting parties reach agreement about future behavior. This agreement may be determined in a behavioral contract. The agreement will be monitored by the Assistant Director or his designee. Failure to achieve agreement or failure to abide by the agreement will result in referral of the case to the Assistant Director.

If the evidence indicates that it is likely that a violation occurred, then the Assistant Director may formally charge the resident. The resident may accept or deny responsibility for the violation. The accused resident may then choose informal or formal processes to resolve the accusation. Typically, the resident will select the informal process in cases in which the facts are not in dispute and the resident accepts responsibility for the violation. Hearings may not be scheduled earlier than three days after a student has been charged without that student's consent.

In the informal process, the Assistant Director and accused student will discuss the incident, its circumstances, and other relevant information. The Assistant Director may impose a sanction when appropriate. (See "Appeals", below.)

In the formal process, the student will be referred to the Director of Residence Life or designee to have an administrative hearing in which the Director of Residence Life or designee will hear the case, determine the question of guilt or innocence and assign sanctions when appropriate.

Sanctions

Sanctions are intended to be educational in character. Students are encouraged to attend to the consequences of their actions for the development of their own characters and for the well-being of the other members of their community. A resident's prior conduct record may result in progressively more severe sanctions.

Students found guilty of violations may receive one or more of the following sanctions:

Reprimand: The resident will receive a written warning advising the student to reflect on his or her actions and to abide by University policy in the future.

Behavioral Contract: The resident will sign a written agreement in which certain behavioral changes are specified.

Work Service: The resident will be required to provide a service beneficial to the community within a specified period of time.

Educational Sanction: A resident may be required to complete within a specified period of time an educational task related to his or her behavior that violated University policy.

Restitution: The resident pays for lost, stolen, or damaged property or lost revenue.

Fines: The resident may be assessed a fine, not to exceed $200.

Reassignment: The resident may be reassigned to another hall for his or her benefit and/or the benefit of his or her community.

Loss of standing in the Housing Assignment: The resident may lose seniority, point standing or both in the housing assignment process. The resident may lose eligibility to participate in the off-campus or Greek House authorization process.

Residence Hall Probation: The resident will receive a stern, written warning advising the resident that any further violations of University policy within a specified period of time may result in referral to the Office of Student Conduct and Academic Integrity for discipline. Residential staff members placed on residence hall probation are subject to termination. Residents on residence hall probation may be required to resign from, or be prohibited from seeking, offices or positions of responsibility in the InterResidence Hall Association.

Prohibition of entry or use of residential facilities: The resident may be prohibited from entering some or all residential facilities. Violators may be subject to arrest for trespass. Limits may be imposed on the resident's use of various residential services (laundry, ResNet connection, etc.).

Residential Expulsion: The resident may be expelled from the University housing system and have his or her housing contract terminated. The resident will be expected to vacate his or her space within 24 hours of expulsion. The resident is liable for all damages to the space and for rental charges in accordance with the published refund schedule.

Failure to abide by the requirements specified by sanctions may result in further action.

Appeals

A resident found guilty by the Residential Conduct System may appeal the finding and/or the sanction to the Director of Housing and Residential Education or the director's designee. Appeals must be filed in writing and within five business days of the date of the decision.

Appeals must be prepared in writing by the resident. Appeals prepared by another person will not be accepted. Appeals must specify the grounds for appeal found below:

  • Insufficient evidence to support the decision.
  • Harshness of sanction sufficient to show an abuse of discretion by the Residential Conduct System authority.
  • Procedural irregularity sufficient to affect the decision.
  • New evidence that was not reasonably available to be presented to the original hearing authority and that could reasonably be expected to affect the decision.

The Director of Housing and Residential Education or the director's designee will respond to the appeal in a timely manner (generally within fifteen business days). The Director of Housing and Residential Education or the director's designee may respond by:

  • Affirming the original finding.
  • Affirming the original sanction.
  • Reversing the original finding and dismissing the complaint.
  • Reversing the original finding and directing that a new hearing be held.
  • Setting aside the original sanction and imposing a different sanction.

The appeal decisions of the Director of Housing and Residential Education or the director's designee are final.