Residential Life Policies

Affinity Housing

Affinity housing options center on lifestyle themes that participants agree to follow in order to remain in the living area. Typical affinity themes include:

  • Quiet-study: A floor where everyone is committed to 24 hour courtesy hours and an extended set of quiet hours.
  • Substance-free: A floor where everyone is committed to not bringing any kind of restricted substances (tobacco, alcohol, drugs, etc.) on and/or off the floor.
  • Non-smoking living area: A floor where everyone is a committed non-smoker.

The available options are indicated in the housing application packet. Not all options are offered in every building.


See the Student Code of Conduct for more details.

Alcohol (under 21) and drugs are illegal and against the College’s Code of Conduct however there are also additional rules associated with alcohol and drugs in the residence halls.

Open Container

Possession of an open container of alcohol anywhere on-campus is prohibited, except in a residence hall private living space, which includes common areas within suites/apartments/houses where all occupants are over 21. If some any occupants of the unit are under 21, alcohol cannot be in common spaces.

Empty Containers

In rooms where the students are under 21, empty containers (e.g., beer cans, wine bottles) or items such as shot glasses are prohibited—even if decorative.

Common Container

Possession or use of kegs, beer balls, or other common containers is prohibited for all residents regardless of age. Specifically, common containers are in violation of the code of conduct when any individual container exceeds the maximum amounts of 64 ounce container of beer; 5 liter container of wine; or 1 liter container of distilled spirits.

Drinking Games

Drinking games or contests (e.g., "quarters," "beirut/beer pong," etc.) are prohibited.

Note: The presence of alcohol where the game is played is sufficient to classify the incident as a drinking game violation, even when a game is played with a non-alcoholic beverage. Where interpretation is necessary, student(s) will be charged with the violation, and a hearing board/officer will interpret this policy. Paraphernalia associated with drinking games, (e.g., funnels, beer pong tables, etc.) is prohibited.

First-Year Areas

Possession and use of alcohol by all persons in all first-year rooms and building common areas is prohibited. Residential life staff, resident advisors, first-year fellows, and D'Lions of legal age are permitted to possess and use alcohol in private living spaces.

Prescription Drugs

A drug that can be only obtained by means of a physician’s prescription. Intended solely for the use of the holder of the prescription and must be maintained in its original container. Note: some students may indicate a prescription or prescription card for marijuana - marijuana is still a controlled substance on the federal level and these items are not allowed to be used or stored on campuses which receive federal funding. If you have further questions, please reach out to your Area Coordinator.


The possession of paraphernalia typically associated with drug use, such as bongs or pipes, is prohibited, regardless of whether or not the item is used in conjunction with illegal drug activity.


Leaving or storing bicycles or other items in stairways, stairwells, hallways, or other public areas is prohibited. Students can store bikes in their personal rooms as long as it does not violate egress (block exits or clear path through the room/unit). Bikes can be stored in outside designated bike racks with a U lock however cannot be locked to fences, walls, picnic tables, or other areas.

Building Security

Students are expected to never prop the doors to the residence halls for any reason and should not let people who do not have proper ID into the buildings. Letting such people in may compromise the security of the hall. Remember the following for personal and building safety:

  • Whenever you see a propped door, un-prop it for your safety and that of others, and make sure the door is secure again.
  • ALWAYS lock your room when you leave and carry your keys with you. Most thefts occur when rooms are left unlocked, even for a few minutes.
  • Remember, if you cannot see your unlocked room, you cannot protect your belongings. Please lock your door even if you are going to the restroom, kitchen, lounge, or just down the hall.

If you damage or lose residence hall property, you will usually be charged the full replacement costs, unless there is evidence of previous significant wear and tear to justify prorated charges. Labor charges may be assessed at regular or overtime rates depending on the repair. Public area damage or theft of residence hall property that no one claims responsibility for is charged equally to all members of the involved living area. See the damage billing page for more information.

Decorating your Room

We understand you wish to make your room reflect your personality and taste. However, when decorating, you must observe fire safety policy (for the protection of you and your fellow hall residents) and must not permanently alter the room in any way. Remember the room must remain in good condition for future residents. If you damage or alter the room, you will be charged for the cost of the repair, restoration, or replacement. You are responsible for following all fire safety regulations when decorating your room.

When decorating your room, you cannot:

  • Paint your room
  • Tack a carpet onto the floor (though you are allowed to have a carpet so long are you don’t tack it down)
  • Have cords that are under carpets, tacked, or taped up on the walls or above doors 
  • Have curtains or drapes
  • Use homemade lofts (some furniture does loft, check with your area office for more information)
  • Add an air conditioning unit
  • Have Crepe paper, plastic or Mylar decorations

Mounting a mirror to walls or furniture may be billed as damage if it is not removed at the end of the year. Bed risersare permitted, some areas have some for student use, check with your area office for details.

When hanging items on walls in all student rooms and public areas of houses students stick to the following guidelines:

  • Do not use nails or thumbtacks to hang items on walls, please use removable, non-damaging materials instead
  • 3M command strips may be used but they can cause damage if not applied and removed properly; white poster putty or blue masking tape (commonly known as painters’ tape) are preferred
  • Any damage caused to your room walls will be billed at the end of the year.

There are lots of older buildings on our campus (both residential and classroom), many of them dating back to times when asbestos was commonly used as a fire retardant, insulation and sound retardant in many building materials. We do not know all the places asbestos may be on our campus. We do know that if it is left undisturbed, it poses no threat to health. Cutting, drilling, or even pounding a nail into a wall can potentially release asbestos fibers into the air if they are present. Larger breaches (a large hole punched in a wall) can potentially require a costly abatement process (billed to the responsible student) and residents may need to be relocated if that were to happen.


Tampering with facilities or equipment is prohibited.

Fire Pit

The Jackson Court fireplace and grounds are located outside of O’Brien, Anderson, and Wilder halls in the center of Jackson Court. It may only be used on Monday-Saturday nights between 6-11:45 p.m. and Sundays between 2-8 p.m.

Department staff or clubs/organizations may reserve this space in advance through the Jackson Court Area Office and must complete a fire pit training to use the fireplace. Contact the Jackson Court Area office to sign up for training. Burning books, furniture, paper, or non-sanctioned combustibles is PROHIBITED. Do not deface or otherwise vandalize this space. Be safe and courteous when using it.

Fire Safety Policies (General)

Failure to comply with fire and life safety rules and regulations or the directions of safety personnel will be treated seriously, as well as any of the following behaviors:

  • Setting a fire
  • Damaging or disabling fire safety or fire alarm equipment
  • Intentionally activating a heat or smoke detector
  • Failure to remove illegal appliances
  • Turning in a false alarm
  • Failure to evacuate or reentering buildings during a fire alarm or fire drill
  • Interfering with a safety officer performing his or her duties
  • Other safety violations
Grills (Personal)

Some areas have outdoor grills for use near residential areas. The Office for Residential Life does not reserve or maintain those and they can be used on a first come first serve basis by students. Lighter fluid and charcoal are prohibited in the residence halls so students are advised to purchase only what they need to use as leftover items cannot be brought back into the halls.

Insurance and Liability

Although the Office for Residential Life and Housing Services places a high priority on facilities management and student security in our residence halls, there are incidents that can happen that result in theft or damage to student property.

The Office for Residential Life is not responsible for covering the loss and damage (due to water leak, fire, etc.) to residents’ personal effects or for other theft of or other damage to personal property. Additionally, the Office for Residential Life is not liable for damages that occur accidentally or as the result of natural causes or an “act of God”; nor liable for damages which occur because of the actions of others. Therefore, we strongly recommend that every resident makes sure that their belongings are covered by either their parents’ homeowner’s policy or an individual insurance plan.

Misuse of Keys

Each resident is given his or her own key. Your keys are your responsibility and it is not permitted to lend your keys to another student or guest at any time. Remember to always take your key when leaving your room. The Office for Residential Life expects that students have their keys on them at all times and are responsible for them and their use. Repeated lock outs may result in a conduct referral.

Overnight Guests

You must seek permission from your roommate or suitemate for any visitor staying overnight. Students are not allowed to host guests for more than four nights in any calendar month.

You are responsible for all the actions of your guests (overnight or not). It is important to note that you will be held accountable if your guest violates any Standard of Student Code of Conduct or Office for Residential Life policy and procedures, regardless of whether or not your guests are University of Rochester students. Cohabitation is prohibited.

No student or guest can at any time sleep in a public lounge space.


The only pets allowed in University housing are fish in a small aquarium (not larger than a five-gallon tank).

Posting and Solicitation

Advertising is strictly limited to bulletin boards in residence hall areas. Posting is not allowed on entry doors, fire doors, windows, bathroom mirrors, floors or rugs, in elevators, or in stairwells. Advertising may not be slid under student room doors.

Promotional literature for recognized student organizations, approved student programs, and campaign posters may be distributed on residence hall bulletin boards unless the board is specifically for a particular use (i.e. RA, RHA, or EcoRep). When posting on bulletin boards, only one advertisement per organization is allowed. Groups must not cover up other ads when posting their own advertisements.

Staples, thumb tacks, and painters tape are approved methods of hanging advertisements on bulletin boards. Do not use duct tape or packing tape.

Promotional literature posted on any surface other than bulletin boards will be removed by the Office for Residential Life staff.

Commercial advertising is not permitted in any residence hall building. Such advertisements will be removed by staff and companies run the risk of being banned by the college.

Public Area Damages

Charges will be assessed for damages/cleaning/vandalism to public areas in the residence halls. If responsible individuals cannot be identified, charges will be shared among all students sharing corporate responsibility for that public area (corridors, floor lounges, elevators, bathrooms, kitchens, etc.).

Quiet and Courtesy Hours

Quiet hours are in effect Sunday–Thursday, midnight to 8 a.m. Friday and Saturday quiet hours are 2 a.m. to 10 a.m. Courtesy hours are 24 hours a day.

Around the clock (24 hour) quiet hours occur at the end of each semester typically beginning the last day of classes. There are no warnings for violations of this policy, and you will be documented any time it is violated. A student’s right to sleep and study during this time must take precedence. You may be asked to leave the residence halls if you violate this policy.

Please note: A resident’s right to study or sleep takes precedence over another’s right to make noise.

Roof or Ledge Access

Roof or ledge access is not allowed. Attempting to access a roof, ledge, or other restricted area is prohibited.

Room Entry

It is the University's intention to assure all reasonable privacy in student rooms. When appropriate, reasonable advance notification will be provided before entering a student room. However, University officials (including but not limited to Public Safety, NY State Fire Marshall, Office for Residential Life staff, and the environmental service workers) reserve the right to enter your room without notice:

  • For verification of occupancy and other Office for Residential Life administrative functions
  • For performance of protective housekeeping or maintenance functions
  • For health and safety inspections
  • To protect life, limb, or property
  • To assure compliance with housing contract conditions as well as State, Federal, and University regulations
Room Occupancy

There can only be twice the number of occupants plus one extra person in a student room at any given time. A double room could have five people total in the room (2 residents x 2 +1) and a triple or quad room can have seven people total. Singles can have a total of three people. Residents must entertain additional visitors in the public lounge areas.

Smoking Policy

All undergraduate housing is smoke-free, including the use of electronic smoking devices and chewing tobacco. Use of these items in the residence halls is prohibited and is also prohibited on campus per the Tobacco-Free Campus policy.

Please note that select floors and residence halls have been designated as smoke free, meaning the residents have pledged to not smoke anywhere at any time (including off campus). See the Student Code of Conduct for more details.

Social Gatherings

Parties are NOT PERMITTED in the residence halls except for in the Fraternity Quad, subject to event registration approval. Parties are defined by behavior and atmosphere, as well as excess of room occupancy. While we encourage our residents to be social, they should do so without breaking any University, State, or Local laws (including, but not limited to possession alcohol, underage drinking, drinking games, and or noise policies). Gatherings will be asked to disband if there are any disturbances to the community.

Student Furnishings

Do not remove furniture from your room and/or living areas. Furniture must remain indoors and not on balconies or porches. Do not take furniture out of the lounges or other public spaces. You may not build/bring your own lofts or alter the University furniture in any way. This includes constructing your own furniture/lofts.


Any form of threat or intimidation to persons or property; excessive noise or disruptive behavior and any behavior that constitutes a perceived or actual danger or threat to persons or property is prohibited.


Vandalism of any university property or another student’s property is prohibited.


No weapons are allowed in residence halls, including decorative weapons as stated in the Student Code of Conduct.


Removal of window screen and throwing or dropping objects out of windows or from buildings is prohibited.