Residential Life

Housing Regulations

General Information

  1. For the safety of students, security screens have been installed on the first-floor windows of all campus housing. There is $400 fine for replacing damaged screens. There is a $25 fine for replacing damaged safety latches that hold the screens in place.
  2. All dorms are equipped with electronic access panels for students’ safety. Each person will receive a personal access code, which must not be shared with anyone. Damage done to the access panel will result in a fine equivalent to the actual cost of the repair.
  3. Vendors are prohibited from selling, soliciting, or making deliveries in College residences. Students may sell in College residences with the written permission of the Assistant Dean of Students responsible for Student Activities. For their own protection, students are urged to insist upon seeing the vending permits of anyone selling in the residences and to report selling by non-students at once to Amherst College Campus Police.
  4. During vacations, efforts are made under the authority of the Dean of Students to recover from residence hall rooms such College property as library books, dining hall utensils, and gymnasium equipment. For fire safety, maintenance, and security reasons, private locks may not be installed or used in College residences. Students who install private locks on their doors will be assessed a $50 charge. College officials may periodically inspect students’ rooms during the academic year to check the condition of safety systems, structure and furnishings. College officials retain right of access to students’ rooms at all times. During the academic year the Physical Plant and members of the College community will make periodic room inspections to determine dorm damage and condition of buildings. Examinations may occur during the two academic semesters, winter break, and at the end of the academic year.
  5. No objects may be dropped, thrown, or propelled from windows as serious injury may occur to persons below. (This includes but is not limited to, water balloons.) A $100 charge will be assessed against any person or residence that violates these regulations.
  6. Kegs are prohibited from first-year residence halls. A fine of $100 will be assessed to any person or residence that violates this regulation. A second fine of $100 will be assessed for not having the proper paper filed with the town police department.
  7. The College prohibits ongoing excessive noise in the residence at any time. Repeated noise violations may result in room reassignment or the possibility of disciplinary action.
  8. The College reserves the right to assign a resident to another room or residence hall. Prior to reassignment, the College will consult with the student and/or explain to the student the reasons for the move. In the event of an emergency, the College reserves the right to increase occupancy, so long as such an increase conforms with health and safety regulations.

Lost Keys

If a student should lose a dorm key or not return a key at check out, a lock charge of $75 per lock (2 locks must be changed in suites, totalling $150) will be assessed in addition to a $2 charge for each key that must be replaced. When students are issued keys to their rooms, they must sign the Student Dorm Room Key Policy form that outlines the charge policy for loss of exterior door keys. Key problems should be reported to ext. 2254.

Dorm Damage

  1. Students who use dartboards are encouraged not to place them near doorways or hallways, where a dart may strike someone. Students are also encouraged to avoid charges for dart holes in the wall by investing in a 4''x 8'' piece of homosote (cost is approximately $12) on which to mount the dartboard.
  2. In general, pictures, tack boards, and other decorative items may not be fastened directly to the walls or woodwork of the residence rooms, as this causes costly damage to the surface material. Most rooms contain picture moldings from which such items should be hung, and others are equipped with built-in tack boards. The following suggestions have been prepared by Physical Plant: 
  • Students should not hang anything on doors, wood paneled walls, or woodwork.
  • Students may use pushpins (not thumbtacks) in reasonable quantity to affix items to the walls. Students moving out of rooms should pull out the pushpins. Pushpins will work on walls unless there is very hard plaster underneath.
  • Fun Tac can be used on wallpaper that has not been painted over. This is a very good solution in areas where the plaster under the wallpaper is very hard. Students moving out of rooms should remove all of the Fun Tac residue from the walls.
  • If a room has painted wallpaper over very hard plaster, there is no recommended way of affixing items to the wall that is guaranteed not to cause damage.
  • Nails should not be pounded into the walls for any reason. The holes they leave are too big, especially when the plaster surrounding the hole crumbles.
  • Students will be held responsible for damage to their rooms and to any College property therein. Students are expected to report all damages to their rooms, common rooms, hallways, bathrooms, and other areas of the residence, whether accidental or otherwise, to the Resident Counselor so that repairs can be made. The person directly responsible for the damage to common areas will be expected to acknowledge responsibility in order to avoid having all occupants of the building charged proportionately for repairs of such damage. In case of negligent or intentional damage, the persons responsible may be fined by the Dean, subject to other disciplinary actions, and made to pay restitution. Students will also be held accountable for damage caused by their guests.
  • Students who wish to receive more information about an item on their bill should contact the Comptroller’s Office, ext. 2101. Students who wish to appeal damage assessments or fines should do so within seven days of billing and in writing, stating their reasons for appeal. Since such charges involve Campus Police, the Physical Plant Department, the Comptroller’s Office and the Dean of Student’s Office, students (and parents) can save multiple phone calls by putting their cases in writing and sending the correspondence to Student Damage, AC# 2271, P.O. Box 5000, Amherst College, Amherst, MA 01002-5000. That office will send copies of your appeal to other campus offices and departments involved in the assessments(s). This process takes time, and instant, over-the-phone responses are not possible.
  • Read Respect for Facilities and Property for more information.

Party Cleaning Policy

An important part of any party planning involves planning for clean up. Always inspect the party area 30 minutes before the party begins, and carefully note any preexisting damage. Clean-up regulations are listed below.

  1. You will need all-purpose cleaner.
  2. You will also need extra trash bags.
  3. Pick up all the trash both inside and outside the buildings and bring it to the designated rubbish removal area.
  4. Sweep floor; vacuum carpets or rugs.
  5. Damp mop the floor at least twice, changing the mop water between mopping. With hardwood floors use a minimal amount of water to avoid damaging the floor. Mop water solution should be two ounces of all-purpose cleaner per gallon of cold water.
  6. Return carpets and furniture to proper rooms and locations.
  7. For parties held on the weekend, the area must be cleaned by noon on Monday. For parties held during the week, the area must be cleaned by noon the following day.
  8. Hosts can call Buildings and Grounds to request additional time to complete the clean up for a party, as long as the clean-up process has been initiated. The options for clean up as follows: 
  • You may let B&G do the clean up at the rate of $23.32 per hour.
  • Get a volunteer group of students to clean.
  1. In the event that the area is not cleaned sufficiently, as determined by the Custodial Supervisor in accordance with above directions, the following procedure will apply:
  • The Custodial Services Department will clean up the party. The house or party host will be charged $23.32 per hour. The house or party host will also be charged for whatever cleaning materials were used.

For further information on party clean up; please call Custodial Services (ext. 2367).

Disputes over this matter may be brought to the attention of the Area Coordinator and/or the Dean’s Office. A house may deny another house permission to use its space if it feels that there will be a problem with the party clean up or damages.


Since many people are allergic to animals and residence halls do not provide adequate space or security for the humane care of animals, students are not permitted to bring any pets other than small aquarium fish into the residence halls or college houses. Students who are found with pets, whether visiting or owned by the student, may be subject to an automatic $100 fine and an additional $100 per day charge for each day after the college has requested that the pet be removed.

Room Inventory and Damage

The following conditions and regulations prevail as to the use and occupancy of dormitories and houses:

  1. Rooms will be available at the opening of the College in September. During the winter recess all college residences (with the exception of Moore Dormitory) will be closed and may not be occupied. Students wishing to stay on campus must make their own arrangement with current residents of Moore.
  2. Students who wish to change rooms must notify the Administrative Assistant for Residential Life in the Dean of Students Office.
  3. Students’ rooms are equipped with essential furniture. An inventory of this furniture and its physical condition will be made at the beginning and end of each school year. The College may require personal furniture and furnishings to be removed from any residence where, in the judgment of the Director of Physical Plant, there is a potential fire or housekeeping hazard. Waterbeds and similar furniture are not permitted because of the strain imposed on the building structure and the danger of water damage. All personally owned furniture and furnishings must be removed from student residences at the time they are vacated at the end of the school year. Any items remaining after that date will be disposed of by the College at the student’s expense.
  4. The occupant of each room will be held accountable for missing or damaged furniture, for the fabric of the room, and for any College property found in the room if it was moved into the room without permission. A charge will be assessed to the occupant(s) of the room for each item of misappropriated College property. In the event common area furniture is moved and left outside a student residence, a $25 per item moving charge plus the cost of repairing any damage the furniture sustained will be assessed to the residences. Students are asked to review Room Condition Inventories when they move in. Students will be held accountable for maintaining the room in the stated condition when they move out. If there are any discrepancies between the inventory and the actual room condition they should be discussed with the