2020-2021 Student Handbook 
    
    Jun 16, 2021  
2020-2021 Student Handbook

Residential Life Policies


Room Assignments and Changes in Occupancy

Room Assignments

The University makes assignments without regard to age, color, creed, disability, marital status, national origin, race, and sexual orientation.

The University guarantees a residential space, not necessarily a given room assignment or roommate(s).  Students may indicate a preference for a particular residential unit, room, and roommate(s).  The University reserves the right to make assignments and reassignments in order to fully utilize available facilities and to consolidate vacancies.  

Room assignments and changes are prerogatives of the University and are processed by written authorization from the Director of Residential Life, or designee.  The University reserves all rights with respect to the assignment and reassignment of the room accommodations, and may at its sole discretion, terminate such assignment.  

Students living in a multiple occupancy room must accommodate a new roommate assigned if the room drops below capacity.  

Room Changes

In order to make administrative adjustments where necessary, there will be a 2-week room freeze at the beginning of each semester.  New requests for roommate changes will not be processed during this time.  Room changes due to roommate conflicts will not be permitted until after the students have attempted an agreement through the assistance of their Resident Assistant/Moderator and/or Residential Life Coordinator.  

Unauthorized room changes may result in administrative fines and/or referral to Student Integrity and Community Standards and/or other appropriate administrative action.  

Students may be administratively removed from their assigned residential unit if they demonstrate an inability to function in the group living environment.  

Roommate Conflicts

Students experiencing roommate conflicts must work with the residential life hall staff to arrive at some agreeable solution.  Before a room change will be granted, the roommates must attempt a resolution by taking the following steps:

  1. Meet with their Resident Assistant or Moderator

  2. If necessary, meet with their Residential Life Coordinator, who will mediate a discussion between all roommates involved with the goal of creating a signed contract containing agreed upon standards for room behavior.  

If, in the judgment of University officials, roommates should not remain together, an “as needed” room change will be provided.  If one of the students involved does not volunteer to move, both students may be required to move to other spaces on campus.

Consolidations

If vacancies exist in a residential unit to which a student is assigned, residents without roommates may be required to move in together (consolidate).  The Residential Life Office may assign, re-assign and adjust the occupancy of rooms at any time.  The consolidation policy serves to better meet the demand of students, reduce the number of room changes, open space for housing special groups during the year, and ensure maximum occupancy and efficiency of all residential unit spaces.  The Residential Life Office will determine who has a space in their room or suite.  In the case that two residents both have vacancies in their respective rooms and wish to voluntarily consolidate together, the Residential Life Office will honor the voluntary consolidation.  Administrative consolidation may require relocating one resident to another resident’s room.  

Vacancies

If a student has a space in their room, they must be prepared to accept a new roommate when assigned.  Students exhibiting behavior intended to discourage prospective roommates or to otherwise manipulate the housing assignment process may be referred to Student Integrity and Community Standards.

Students with a vacancy in their room at the end of the fall semester must leave their room with adequate space for an incoming student to move in for the spring semester.  If the student’s room is unacceptable for an incoming student to move into, that student may face an administrative fine and mandatory Super Single room rate increase.  The Residential Life Coordinator will assess the student’s room at semester break and determine if the vacant space is acceptable.  

Occupancy

The University will provide all students with a space in University housing and with food service for the times specified on the academic calendar.  Those days when the University is closed for vacations are specifically excluded.  No meals are provided during these periods.  

Initial occupancy is required by the University’s first day of classes.  Rooms not claimed by this date may be reassigned unless the Director of Residential Life, or designee, has given permission for late arrival.  

A student who has not notified the University of late arrival may be reassigned to any available space.  A room must be occupied by only the person(s) properly assigned to the room.

Check In and Check Out

Access to an assigned room is given to occupants only during regular academic sessions, which require their presence on campus.  

Students are responsible for completing, and returning to the Residential Life staff a room condition report (RCR) within the first week of their occupancy.  At check out, damages identified in your assigned room and noted on your RCR may be billed to you.  

Residential Life will post information for opening and closing of residential spaces each academic year.  A student is required to leave the hall within twenty-four hours after completion of their classes or examinations, or by hall closing, whichever comes first.  The student must check out in accordance with circulated checkout procedures.  Failure to do so will result in an improper checkout charge.  

Improper Check Out is defined as the failure on the part of the student to properly vacate (i.e. be checked out by a staff member and turn in the key.)  No credit will be given on any keys returned following checkout.  

Students leaving the University must remove all of their belongings.  A student who is dismissed or who voluntarily withdraws from the University has 48 hours in which to vacate the residential unit.  Students in need of an extension for move out due to extenuating circumstances may appeal to the Director of Residential Life.  Appeals must be submitted within 24 business hours of the student receiving notice that they must vacate the space.

Abandoned Property

Personal property that remains in a student’s room when they move out, leave the University, or at the end of the spring term is considered abandoned by the student.  When necessary, a student’s personal belongings will be boxed and stored at the student’s expense.  Student’s will be given 30 days to collect their personal belongings and will be notified of the deadline to retrieve their items.  After 30 days have passed, abandoned property will be donated to a local resale store.

Break Housing

The University reserves the right to use any of the residential unit rooms to house a student during breaks between semesters. 

During some of the break periods, University facilities and services are available on a limited basis.  There are no food services available during break periods.  

Students who plan to remain on campus after the closing and during the break must register with the Residential Life Office by the required deadlines.  Students registering past the deadline may not be approved to stay on campus.  Students must receive approval to stay on campus during break periods in which registration is required.

For winter break, the University may close all residential facilities completely; if not, students may be required to consolidate to one building.  

For break periods, students who are not registered to stay are required to vacate their residential unit by the posted times and may return when the residential units are reopened.  Students who are found to be accessing residential facilities during break periods will be subject to daily rate charges and may be asked to vacate the campus.  In some circumstances, presence on campus and/or in residential facilities without permission may be considered trespassing. 

Cleanliness of Spaces

Students are responsible for the cleanliness of their personal space, including disposal of trash and recyclables. For safety purposes, students should maintain their rooms in a way that allows quick and safe egress to their doors in case of emergency. It is also expected that spaces used by students are left in the order that they were found. 

Damage

Residents are held accountable for property destruction that occurs in their room and/or in the public areas of their residential unit.  Residents will be charged for repair or replacement costs due to the removal of or destruction of property in their residential unit.

When two or more students occupy the same room and individual responsibility for damages to that room/furnishings cannot be determined, the damage charge will be assessed equally among those assigned to the room.  Residents are responsible for their guest(s) and, therefore, could be held responsible for any damages incurred.  A student may not be assessed a fine for damage if (1) they notify a staff member immediately and (2) they accepts responsibility for the cost of the repair

The student or students responsible for damage resulting from abuse of facilities, negligence, or means other than those attributed to normal deterioration will be expected to assume the cost of repair or replacement.  If the responsible individual or individuals are unknown, then the occupants of the residential unit will be expected to assume the cost of the repair or replacement.  

Community damage will be divided among the residents and assessed to each individual student account.  

Damage bills will be sent to residents at any time at the discretion of the Residential Life Office and at the end of the academic year or when the student leaves the residential unit.   Any appeals to damage bills must be in writing to the Residential Life Office by the posted deadline.  Community damage charges are not subject to appeal. 

Doors and Keys

Residents will be issued a room key for their use only. Keys may not be shared or loaned to other students.  Residents are required to carry a room key at all times. If a room key is lost, the student responsible for losing the key will be assessed charges for a replacement. 

If a student is locked out of their room, they can contact their Resident Assistant and/or Public Safety.  A fee may be assessed for lock outs.  Appeals for lockout charges may be written to the Director of Residential Life via email.

Room doors should be locked at all times when the room is unoccupied. 

For security purposes, the OWU student ID card will be used to access the outside door of residence halls, fraternity houses, theme houses, and SLUs. A fee will be assessed if the card is lost, damaged, stolen, or needs replacement.

Exterior doors are not to be propped; students are encouraged to un-prop doors that have been propped open.  Fraternity house doors are also equipped with propped door alarms that serve as an added security measure.

Furniture and Other Supplied Items

Residents may not remove or modify designated University furniture from their room or place common area furniture into their room.  Facilities and services provided by the University include:  Bed, mattress, desk, desk chair, dresser, closet space, window blind/curtains, intra-campus mail, cable TV access, Internet accessibility, laundry.

Furniture and mattresses may not be removed from an assigned residential room.  Mattresses or waterbeds are not permitted to be brought into residential facilities unless approved by the Residential Life office.

Window screens may not be removed from windows. Alert Residential Life staff if a screen is damaged or needs repair.

Residents may not hang beds from the residence hall ceilings or walls.

Microwaves, computers, refrigerators, and any other electrical appliances that produce heat cannot be stored under beds.

Insurance and Property Protection

The University does not assume any responsibility for loss or damage to the personal property of hall residents for any reason. It is recommended that students insure their personal property to cover student property losses due to theft, flood, fire, etc., often provided through a homeowner’s insurance policy. 

Affordable student property insurance is available through Ohio Wesleyan University on an “opt-in” basis and is highly encouraged for all students whether they reside on campus or not.  For more information on student property insurance, please inquire at the Residential Life Office or refer to the Residential Life web site to learn more.

Lofts

Custom built lofts are prohibited.  Upon request, OWU Buildings and Grounds may provide appropriate materials to students who wish to elevate their university issued beds. These materials may be available on a first-come, first-served basis.  Lofts must be assembled in such a way as to allow a 36” clearance between the top of the mattress and the ceiling.  Students may not place their bed upon desks, dressers, wardrobes, etc. as a means to elevate their bed.

The Residential Life Office oversees all matters relating to living on campus, including room and roommate assignments, residential programming, requests to commute from home, and meal plans.  For the purposes of this student handbook, the phrase “residential facility” refers to all on-campus housing options, including residence halls, Small Living Units (SLUs), fraternity houses, Williams Drive houses, theme houses, and House of Black Culture.

Students are encouraged to utilize lounge space and other meeting spaces on-campus, but it should be cleaned to the best of their ability after they have finished using the space. Students who do not properly clean up their space and/or whose uncleanliness causes permanent damage to the room or furnishings may be subject to fines and/or referral to the student conduct resolution process. Damages that occur to public areas (e.g., restrooms, lounges, study rooms, etc.) that are not attributable to a specific individual or group may be equally shared by the residents of the area(s) where those damages occurred.

Lounge Spaces

Students are encouraged to utilize lounge space and other meeting spaces on-campus, but it should be cleaned to the best of their ability after they have finished using the space. Students who do not properly clean up their space and/or whose uncleanliness causes permanent damage to the room or furnishings may be subject to fines and/or referral to the student conduct resolution process. Damages that occur to public areas (e.g., restrooms, lounges, study rooms, etc.) that are not attributable to a specific individual or group may be equally shared by the residents of the area(s) where those damages occurred.

Residency Requirements and Room Assignments

Living in an on-campus residential learning community throughout one’s college career is an integral part of the Ohio Wesleyan University educational experience.  As a residential university, we require full-time enrolled students to reside on campus unless they meet one of the following criteria of exception:

  1. Residing with parents or legal guardians at their primary place of residence within 30 miles driving distance of campus.  The student must provide documentation that the address given is the bona fide primary place of residence of the parents or guardians. “Primary place of residence” is defined as the one place where an owner of the property has his/her true, fixed, and permanent home and it shall continue as a primary place of residence until another primary place of residence is established.  If the parents or legal guardians rent, and do not own, their primary place of residence, copies of leases reflecting the necessary continuous period of occupancy must be provided.  Further documentation may be required at the discretion of the Residential Life staff.  

  2. 23 years of age or older during the academic year for which an exception is requested; 

  3. Fifth year seniors;

  4. Legally married (must provide documentation);

  5. Parents of dependent children (must provide documentation);

  6. Medical or psychological conditions that cannot be accommodated by the university.  Ohio Wesleyan University is committed to making accommodations in our residences for medical or psychological conditions for which a student has been diagnosed by a licensed healthcare provider. These accommodations are made in consultation with university personnel including representatives from Student Health Services, Counseling Services, and the Academic Resource Center.   In rare circumstances when the university is unable to make accommodations as determined by these university personnel, the student will be granted an exception.

If a student who is approved for a housing exemption based on criteria #1 above (residing with parents or legal guardians at their primary place of residence) is later found to be residing somewhere other than their parents’ or legal guardians’ primary place of residence, the University reserves the right to require the student to move back on campus with applicable room and board charges and refer the student to the student conduct system.

Eligibility

Requirements for University housing include a.) being duly registered as a student, b.) payment of debts to the University and c.) continuous compliance with University Residential Life policies, guidelines, standards, the OWU Code of Student Conduct, and the instructions of residence hall staff members and other University personnel.  The student is committed to meet financial payment for food service and his/her space in the residential unit (residence hall, Small Living Unit, fraternity house) and for the selected board plan.  Failure on the part of the student or his/her co-signer to fulfill the financial obligations of this contract will be cause for cancellation of enrollment, cancellation of graduation, and/or forfeiture of the right to academic transcripts.  In the event that the student does not sign this contract, payment to the University makes this contract binding.

Room Capacity

The number of individuals permitted in a residential room or suite is equal to three (3) times the number of residents assigned to the room or suite at full occupancy.  See the chart below for specific information:

Number of Individuals Permitted in Rooms and Suites

Single

May not exceed 3

Double

May not exceed 6

Suites/Quads

May not exceed 12

Quiet Hours

Every residential facility has quiet hours from 11:00 p.m. to 7:00 a.m. Sunday night through Friday morning, and from 1:00 a.m. to 7:00 a.m. Saturday and Sunday mornings. Designated honors floors also have 24-hour quiet hours in order to be more conducive to study. Courtesy hours exist 24 hours a day, which means that anyone may ask another person to decrease the noise level as a courtesy with a reasonable expectation for compliance. 

During designated quiet hours, audio/visual equipment (e.g. stereos, TVs, gaming systems) must be used at a low volume, with headphones, or with the room door closed, so they are not heard outside the room or living unit.  During courtesy hours, this equipment should be used at moderate volumes so as to not disturb others from sleeping or studying.  The University reserves the right to remove any items which are repeatedly used in a manner disturbing to other residents.

Quiet hours may be adjusted in the event of a registered social gathering, but must be approved by the appropriate offices such as Residential Life and the Student Involvement Office.

Use of Rooms

Students may not repurpose areas in their residential spaces for alternative uses (i.e.: turning a common room into a bedroom or turning a living space into a business space).

Students may not alter permanent fixtures, paint walls, or cause damage to a room beyond general wear and tear of a space.

Furniture may not be moved from room to room or from lounges and other public areas.

Decorations

Students may display pictures and other decorations in individual student rooms.  Pictures and decorations being placed upon walls should be done in a manner that does not damage the wall surface.  A metal hanger strip, which is permanently installed on the walls of most student rooms may be used for this purpose.  Nails, thumbtacks, tape/adhesive, and other devices that may damage painted or wood surfaces are not permitted.  

Signs for which proof of ownership cannot be established (i.e. traffic, realty, or business signs) are not permitted. 

Pictures, wall hangings and other decorations may be displayed in shared rooms or suites with the agreement of all room/suite residents. 

Posters, signs, banners or other materials visible from outside a residence hall or personal living space should align with the University’s statement on Academic Freedom and Free Expression.  Signage cannot be directed towards specific persons, and any material displaying hate speech or vulgarity is prohibited.

Decals on mirrors, doors, ceilings, or walls are not permitted.