The following standards prevail as to the use and occupancy of College-owned residence halls and houses. The Office of Residential Life is the primary point of contact for clarifications to this section.
Rooms will be available beginning at the opening of the College in September. Students enrolled in both fall and spring semester may remain in College housing during Winter Recess but must notify the Office of Residential Life of their intention to remain. Students who are assigned to fall semester housing only must vacate their assigned room immediately after the final examination period in December.
Students enjoy the privilege to invite guests to their assigned bedroom or suite to which they are assigned, as well as the common areas in the host’s assigned residence hall or other common areas in other halls to which the host has authorized access. A guest is any person who is not assigned to the bedroom or suite in which they are present. Therefore, a guest may be an Amherst College student who lives in another room or off-campus, or any non-student. All guests are limited to a maximum stay of three consecutive nights. The host must clear any guest’s stay with roommate(s) or suitemates as appropriate. Guests who drive to campus must register their vehicles with Amherst College Police Department. Abuse of this policy may result in the abridgement of this privilege to host gusts for a specified period of time, or indefinitely.
7.3. Room Assignment Change Requests
Students who wish to consider changing their room assignment must contact the Office of Residential Life via their locally-assigned Assistant Director to inquire about the possibility of a move. All moves must be approved and coordinated by the Office of Residential Life.
7.4. College-Owned Furniture
The assigned residents of each room will be held accountable for missing or damaged furniture, for the fabric of the room, and for any College property that was relocated to a room without permission.
7.4.1. A fee will be assessed to the assigned residents of a room for any/every item of misappropriated College property.
7.4.2. Removed furniture must be stored in accordance with College storage policies and returned to the room before the student moves out. Failure to return any College furniture will result in a replacement fee per item. New for the 2016-17 academic year: The Office of Residential Life has coordinated with a vendor to remove and store furniture for students for a fee. Students in the Class of 2021 and all future class years will not be permitted to remove College-issued furniture without prior written approval by Accessibilities Services or other relevant College authority.
7.4.3. In the event that common-area furniture is moved and left outside a student residence, a $50-per-item moving fee, plus the cost of repairing any damage to the furniture, will be assessed to responsible members of the community or shared evenly among all students who live in the affected community.
7.5. Room Condition Inventory
Students are asked to review their Room Condition Inventory when moving in and are held accountable for leaving rooms in the stated condition when moving out. Students agree to reimburse Amherst College for damages and defacement of the space they occupy during the term of their contract exclusive of normal wear. If there are any discrepancies between inventories and actual room conditions, they should be reported to the Resident Counselor.
7.6. Personal Liability Insurance
The College assumes and accepts absolutely no responsibility for the loss or damage to personal property of any occupant of College housing. Each individual assumes responsibility for insurance of personal property as well as its safe storage and maintenance.
7.7. Damage Accountability
Students are 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 RC, so that repairs can be made.
The person directly responsible for the damage to a common area will be expected to acknowledge responsibility in order to avoid having some or all occupants of the building charged proportionately for repairs of such damage. In case of negligent or intentional damage, the person(s) responsible may be subject to sanctions that include financial restitution. Students will also be held accountable for damage caused by their guests (see Section 7.2, Guests). In addition, costs associated with discharged fire extinguishers and items damaged in or missing from the lounges or common areas will be charged to the responsible student, or if the behavior cannot be attributed to a student, the residents of the floor or residence as appropriate.
Students who wish to receive more information about items on their bills should telephone the Office of the Controller at (413) 542–2101. Students wishing to appeal damage assessments or charges should do so within 10 business days of billing and state their reasons for appeal in writing. Since such charges may involve the Amherst College Police Department, Facilities Department, Controller’s Office and Office of Student Affairs, students (and parents) can save multiple phone calls by putting their cases in writing and sending the correspondence to email@example.com. The Office of Residential Life will send copies of appeals to other campus offices and departments involved in the assessment(s). The process takes time, and instant responses are not possible.
College officials may periodically inspect students’ rooms to check the condition of safety systems, structure and furnishings.
During vacations, efforts are made under the authority of the Director of Residential Life to recover from residence hall rooms misappropriated College property. 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 $75 charge for removal. College officials retain the right of access to students’ rooms at all times.
During the academic year, Facilities and members of the College community make periodic room inspections to determine dorm damage and condition of buildings. When possible prior notification of entry will be given to students. At all times a note will be left if a Facilities professional entered a student’s assigned room for maintenance work.
7.10. Room Assignments and Reassignments
The College reserves the right to assign a resident to another room or residence hall. Prior to reassignment, the College will attempt to 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 a measure conforms to health and safety regulations.
7.11. Move-out Deadline for Returning Students
First-year students, sophomores and juniors are required to vacate the day after spring-semester examinations end. Graduating seniors may stay until 5:00 pm on the day of Commencement but may be asked to move from their rooms to consolidate area and make rooms available for parents and families during Commencement week. Note: The dates and times in the section are subject to change and, if changed, will be posted with as much advance notice as possible.
7.12. Commencement/Reunion Housing
Commencement and Reunion workers and other students authorized by the Office of Student Affairs to remain on campus will be relocated—they will not remain in the rooms to which they were assigned during the spring semester. Questions about housing during Commencement week should be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
It is important that students comply with deadlines, so that rooms can be cleaned and prepared in time for Commencement and Reunion use. If necessary, the College will pack and clean those rooms not vacated in time at the students’ expense.
If a student loses a room key or does not return a key at checkout, a lock charge of $75 per lock will be assessed, in addition to a $1 charge for each key that must be replaced. Students living in multiple-room configurations, such as suites, and who lose or fail to return a room key at checkout will be assessed a lock charge of $150. When students are issued keys to their rooms, they must sign the Student Residence Hall Key Policy form, which outlines the charge policy for loss of keys. Key problems should be reported to (413) 542–2254. All residence halls have been equipped with proximity card access for student safety. Damage done to the access panel will result in a charge equivalent to the actual cost of repair.
7.14. Walls and Ceilings
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 can be hung, and others are equipped with built-in tack boards. The following suggestions have been prepared by Facilities:
7.14.1. Students should not hang anything on doors, wood-paneled walls or woodwork.
7.14.2. Students may use push-pins (not thumbtacks), in reasonable numbers, to affix items to the walls. When a student moves out of a room, he or she should pull out the push-pins. Push-pins will work on walls unless there is very hard plaster underneath.
7.14.3. 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.
7.14.4. Nails should not be pounded into the walls for any reason.
7.14.5. Students are not allowed to paint the walls or ceilings of their rooms. Students who do will be charged to repaint the room.
7.14.6. Curtains should not be hung up as room dividers under any circumstances, whether the curtains are fire-safe or not.
Furniture is a precious resource for a residential community. Often mobile and fragile, furniture is easily mistreated and made unusable if the community is not careful. Unauthorized furniture may not meet applicable safety standards.
7.15.1. Student Room Furniture
Student 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 or when a student vacates a room. The College may require personal furniture and furnishings to be removed, at the student’s expense, from any residence where, in the judgment of the Environmental Health and Safety Manager, there is a potential fire, health or housekeeping hazard. Waterbeds, inflatable pools, 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.
7.15.2. Lounge Furniture
Furniture not authorized for the room in question is considered stolen property. Students found in possession of it will be adjudicated. Room searches for stolen or missing furniture may be conducted periodically.
7.16. Energy Conservation
Facilities is actively involved in energy conservation. Energy problems should be reported to the service desk at (413) 542–2254. Students should call (413) 542–2644 for answers to questions pertaining to energy conservation. The following is a general outline of energy conservation procedures.
The standard room temperatures on campus are 68 degrees Fahrenheit during occupied times and 64 degrees during unoccupied times. Students should first try to control the temperatures of their rooms by adjusting thermostats, rather than opening windows. If you do not know how to adjust the thermostat, please call (413) 542–2254 for assistance. If your room is too hot even with the thermostat turned all the way down, please call the Service Center to have the system repaired. Opening your window to compensate for a radiator that won’t shut off wastes a tremendous amount of energy and can cause damage to pipes.
When you leave for Winter Recess, please make sure your windows are shut tightly and your curtains drawn and leave your radiator turned on to the setting that was most comfortable for you during the year. Every residence hall has a central thermostat that will allow the building to be set to a lower temperature, allowing the College significant energy cost savings for the few vacation weeks.
Students are asked to report broken, loose, or drafty windows. Storm windows are designed as an extra layer of insulation. The concept of additional insulation works only if exterior and interior windows are closed and tightly fitted. Locking windows helps ensure tight fitting. Window shades can be used as additional insulators during colder months. Keep shades down as much as possible during the day and at all times during the night. Closed shades can prevent up to 25 percent of the energy leakage. If windows are loose or leaking, call (413) 542–2254.
Common sense applies very directly to the conservation of electricity. Students should use the smallest appliance that will perform the requisite function and turn off electrical appliances when they are not in use or when leaving an area for more than five minutes. Refrigerator doors should remain shut. When doing laundry, students should not overload dryers.
As with electricity, the first rule of water conservation is, “If you aren’t using it, turn it off!” Leaving the water faucet running while you brush your teeth or shave can waste up to 10 gallons of clean water per person daily. Along the same line, turning showers down or off while applying soap can save many gallons of water daily. Dripping faucets and toilets that run continuously can waste hundreds to thousands of gallons of water per day and should be reported immediately to the Service Center at (413) 542–2254. Remember, even a few gallons of water saved per person per day add up to a lot of water in a town of 35,000 people—or in a country of 318 million!
There is no laundry service provided by the College, but in residence halls and houses, washers and dryers are available for use by any student. There are also several Laundromats and dry cleaners in town. The College does not provide linens; students must provide their own.
7.18. Satellite Dishes and Antennae
Satellite dishes and antennae are not permitted and may be removed by Facilities. A fee for removal will be incurred by the student.
Vendors are prohibited from selling, soliciting or making deliveries in College residences. Students may sell in College residences with the written permission of the Director of 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 the Amherst College Police Department.
No objects may be dropped, thrown or propelled from windows, as serious injury may occur to persons below. College adjudication may be initiated against any person or residence community involved in defenestration.
Students who use dartboards may not place them near doorways or hallways where a dart may strike someone. Students are also encouraged to avoid charges for dart holes in walls by investing in a 4-foot by 8-foot piece of Homasote (costing around $12) on which to mount the dartboard.