Administration of Policy
The Dean of Students, Director of Residence Life, Assistant and/or Associate Directors of Residence Life and the Resident Assistants are responsible for administering campus student housing policies and procedures. Students are responsible for monitoring their own behavior as well as the behavior of others in their community. RAs are available to assist in documenting behavior that violates College and campus student housing policies.
Personal room air conditioners pose electrical safety concerns and are not permitted in campus student housing without approval of the Housing and Meal Plan Accommodation Committee. The College recommends that students with respiratory concerns use a HEPA air filtration system in their room to remove airborne particulate matter such as dust and pollen. For more details on the process for documentation, refer to the housing and meal plan accommodations information.
All residence halls are unlocked daily between 7 a.m. and 11 p.m. during most of the academic year. During select periods (at the beginning and end of each year and over certain breaks), only residents of a particular building will have access to that building. Refer to the section called "Dates of Occupancy" on this page for more details.
Because of their more private nature, the college-owned houses and apartments are not unlocked and non-residents wanting to access the houses or apartments must work with a resident of that space. Harlan House residents have 24-hour access to Russell Hall for emergency shelter location use only (any other use of that access is not permitted).
The intent of this access is for all students to be able to utilize the lounges and common area spaces in our residence halls (refer to the section called "Common Area Usage" on this page for more details). Note that this access does not extend to laundry rooms; only current residential students are permitted to do their laundry in a residence hall.
Cable television is provided in student rooms. One cable television outlet per student room is provided. Splitting the cable and/or rerouting the cable is prohibited. The College's cable television service contract prohibits multiple televisions hooked to one cable television outlet. Failure to abide by this policy will result in disciplinary action and a fine.
A television directory is maintained by Information Technology.
Candles, incense and other flame producing accessories pose fire safety concerns are prohibited in campus student housing. Failure to abide by this policy will result in disciplinary action and a fine.
Campus student housing opens for the academic year on the Saturday prior to the first day of fall classes (Tuesday for new students).
The first task at check-in is to complete the Room Inventory Form. Each student must carefully fill out the form and return it to his or her RA within 24 hours. If any preexisting damage is not recorded on the form at check-in, the student will be held responsible for the damage at move-out. The Room Inventory Form is a student's protection against charges for damage she or he did not cause. If the form is not completed, the student waives the right to appeal any assessed damage charges.
During check in, students are expected to keep the hallways clear of debris and also are expected to take all boxes and trash to the designated area in their building.
All students must checkout with their RA, apartment manager, or assistant director. First-year , sophomore, and junior students must checkout of their residence halls at 11:00 am the Thursday prior to Commencement. Graduating seniors must check out at 6 p.m. following Commencement. During checkout, students must keep the hallways clear of debris and take all boxes and trash outside of the building to the dumpster to prevent the accumulation of garbage in the residence halls. Failure to follow these procedures will result in fines. Residence Life staff will check all rooms on campus for damage and submit a list of charges by student to Business Services. Students are responsible for the cost of repairing damages to their assigned rooms.
Each student is expected to complete the following prior to checking out:
- Remove all personal items from room, including trash;
- Sweep floor (mop if necessary);
- Completely remove tape and other adhesives from walls, doors and windows; and
- Close and lock all windows
Common Area Usage
Special events, activities, programs and gatherings may be held in designated public areas of the campus student housing. Students may not store personal items in common areas (such items may be removed by student or professional staff members). Students may not sleep overnight in a common area without permission from the Residence Life Office. Review the expectations for reserved spaces for complete details on using common areas. Residents may request to paint the common areas of a residence hall and should review the common area painting policy for details.
As a member of the floor community, each person contributes to the growth and development of the floor. With that comes the responsibility to maintain a standard of living, holding everyone responsible for damages and repairs when those individuals who caused the community damage do not come forward.
Computer & Network Use
Students are expected to adhere to the Information Technology ResNET Policy and Network Usage Guidelines. Violations of this policy may result in disciplinary action.
Each residence hall has kitchen facilities with microwave, stove, refrigerator and sink. Kitchens are the only areas in the residence hall where cooking is allowed.
Damages to Student Rooms
Residents are responsible for the condition of their room. During check-in, each student is asked to complete a Room Inventory Form documenting the condition of the room. The condition of the room at checkout is expected to be the same as at check-in. The room inventory will be reviewed and the Residence Life staff will inspect each room, assessing charges as necessary. As appropriate, charges will be divided among roommates, unless there is documentation indicating specific individuals responsible for the damages.
Damages to Common Areas
Residents of a floor, suite, apartment or building are responsible for damage done to the common areas of their building. A common area is one generally used by, or available to, all residents or a group of residents. These areas include, but are not necessarily limited to, kitchens, lounge areas, bathrooms, hallways, laundry rooms and stairways. If damage occurs to property located on a floor or in a common area, the Residence Life staff and House Council will attempt to determine who is responsible for the damage. In the event that an individual(s) cannot be identified, costs of the repair/replacement will be assessed on a prorated basis to residents of the floor, suite, apartment or building involved. Residence hall damages are billed to student accounts after blocks 2, 4, 6 and 8. A student who is studying off campus for Cornell College credit may be eligible to have common area damage charges waived if those damages occurred while the student was studying off campus. In those cases, the student should follow the appeals process that will be outlined in the itemized statement that will be sent to the student's Cornell e-mail address.
Dates of Occupancy
Refer to our important dates for a list of opening and closing dates. Also note the following:
- Thanksgiving Break: The campus student housing will remain open during Thanksgiving recess. Refer to information on Thanksgiving Break for more details.
- Winter Break: All campus student housing is closed during winter break; students may not stay in the buildings during this time. The buildings close at 11 a.m. the day after 4th Term finals in December and reopen at 9 a.m. one day prior to the start of 5th Term in January. Students are not required to move personal belongings out of their rooms during the winter break if they plan to return for second semester. Refer to information on winter break for more details.
- Spring Break: The College reserves the right to vacate or consolidate campus student housing for all or part of spring break. Refer to information on spring break for more details.
- Spring Closing: Campus student housing closes at 11 a.m. the Thursday after 8th Term finals in May for non-graduating students and 6 p.m. the day of Commencement for students participating in Commencement. All student belongings must be removed from campus during the summer. Refer to information on spring closing for more details.
- For spring break and holidays when the halls remain open for occupancy, the College reserves the right to require any students who stay in the halls during that period to register for break housing, though no additional charge will be assessed to the student.
Decorating Rooms and Hallways
Students are encouraged to personalize the interior of their assigned rooms. The following guidelines have been established for safety and to help students avoid year-end damage charges:
- Items should be attached to walls with poster putty or similar products approved for painted surfaces. Double-sided or duct tape should not be used, because they are difficult to remove and damage painted surfaces. 3M strips are also not recommended.
- Painting room walls or furniture is not permitted.
- Students are not permitted to run electrical cords through doorways to light hallways and door frames, as this is a fire hazard.
- Personal decorations will be limited to within 2 feet surrounding a person's door.
- Decorations in the hallways should not block the hallway, nor should decorations hang from the ceiling or across the hallways.
- "Chalking" or otherwise defacing walls in the hallways is strictly prohibited.
- Floor decorations are at the discretion of the RA or Residence Life staff.
- Students posting decorations in public areas are encouraged to be mindful of the impact of their decorations on the community. Decorations, images and messages will be representing the floor to others. Students are encouraged to make responsible and well-reasoned decisions about content before decorating.
- The Residence Life staff reserve the final judgment of objectionable decorations in public areas.
The use of electrical appliances that have high surface temperatures or that in any other way may create a fire or shock hazard is not permitted in student rooms. The following electrical appliances are not permitted in residence hall rooms: microwave ovens, hot plates, coil heaters, cookers, electric woks, fry pans, irons, toasters, indoor grills or Pizazz Pizza makers. These types of appliances may be used in a designated kitchen or utility room area where there is a minimum of hazard. Violation of this policy may result in disciplinary action and a $50.00 fine.
Explosives and Weapons
Fireworks, firearms, ammunition, BB guns, paint guns, stun guns, air compressed guns, knives with blades exceeding five inches or with locking blades, projectile and other dangerous weapons or explosives are prohibited on College property. Replicas and facsimiles are similarly prohibited. Laboratory chemicals are not permitted in the residence halls or the Thomas Commons. Swords and martial arts weapons are permitted on campus for demonstration use only and are not permitted in the residence halls for any reason. These items must be registered with the Director of Student Activities and stored in the Thomas Commons. Any student found in violation of the above may be fined and subject to additional disciplinary action.
The College reserves the right to further determine the definition of a "weapon" and may prohibit other devices on an individual basis, such as unusual walking canes that may be more of a club, flashlights that may be used as a club, air horns, fluid discharge devices, etc.
The College expects all students to respect the fire safety systems that are in place. Students must exit the building immediately when a fire alarm sounds. Students in violation of this policy are subject to disciplinary action and a $50.00 fine. Activating a false fire alarm will result in suspension and possible legal action.
For safety reasons, students are not permitted on exterior fire escapes except in the event of an emergency. Students found misusing exterior fire escapes will be subject to disciplinary action and a $100 minimal fine.
The following guidelines have been established in collaboration with RHA to ensure that flyers are posted in a consistent manner in all residential areas:
- Each event has a limit of 15 flyers per building.
- All flyers pertaining to the particular residence hall may be hung on the individual floors of the hall. All flyers related to campus or off-campus events may only be posted in common areas (e.g. lobby entrances, designated bulletin boards and restrooms).
- All flyers will remain posted for one week or up to one day after the event occurs. Organizations or individuals responsible for posting the flyers are required to remove ALL flyers before the expiration time.
- No flyer will advertise or imply improper use of alcohol or drugs, or other inappropriate or illegal activities.
- For safety reasons, flyers are not permitted on glass doors, exit doors or windows.
- Off-campus businesses or organizations must receive both the sponsorship of a Cornell student organization and approval from the Residence Life Office prior to posting flyers in the Residence Halls.
- Individuals and groups posting signs are encouraged to be mindful of the implication of posting flyers in public places. Flyers will be representing to others the individual who posted them, the group sponsoring them and the College. Persons posting flyers are encouraged to make responsible and well-reasoned decisions about the flyer's content before posting.
- The Residence Life staff reserve the final judgment of objectionable flyers, advertisements and decorations.
Furniture from lounges, landings and public areas are for use by all students and cannot be moved to student rooms or exchanged with room furniture. Students who move common area furniture to their room are subject to disciplinary action and a $40.00 fine per piece per notice until the furniture is returned. College furniture in student rooms must remain in the room at all times and cannot be removed or stored.
- All roommates have agreed upon the appropriate hours of guest visitation.
- All roommates agree who is visiting and the length of the visit.
- At no time may a roommate deny other roommates access to the room.
- At no time may a roommate force other roommates to share the room with a visitor.
- Overnight guests are not permitted to stay in their host's room longer than a three-day period.
- All roommates involved make reasonable accommodations.
- Any student approved as an "early arrival" (meaning approved to live in the residence halls before the official opening of the halls, as detailed in the Dates of Occupancy section above) or as a "late stay" (meaning approved to live in the residence halls between the 1st closing and Commencement, also as detailed in the Dates of Occupancy section above) are not permitted to have any Cornell College student as a guest between. Those individuals are permitted to have non-Cornell students in accordance with established guest policies listed here.
Although Cornell allows for visitation of students to other rooms, the College also expects that each student lives in his/her assigned spaces on campus. Only Cornell students and staff are permitted to live on campus. A guest is any person who is not assigned to the room in which they are staying.
Hallways must be kept clear at all times for fire safety reasons. Students are not permitted to store items in the hallways. The custodial staff will dispose of shoes and personal items left in the hallways.
The use of halogen lighting is prohibited.
Students are issued a room key and, for some halls, an outside door key. The Residence Life Office should be notified immediately if a student loses a key. Students will be charged $40.00 for a lost room key and $10.00 for an exterior door key. Students who are locked out of their room should contact an RA. A lockout fee may be charged. Students are responsible for their keys and are not to loan their keys to others, or an access card.
Maintenance and Housekeeping
Students provide their own housekeeping in their rooms, including removing trash to the designated trash room. Rooms may be inspected for damage and cleanliness during vacation periods or if health/damage concerns arise. The furnishings of each room are expected to be maintained in good condition.
The College reserves the right to have its authorized representatives enter and inspect any room and its furnishings at any time. All repairs beyond normal wear and tear are the responsibility of the student. A student who has maintenance problems should contact his/her RA who will report the request. Maintenance work is performed on a weekly basis in each building.
Microwave ovens are not permitted in student rooms. The residence halls have microwaves in the kitchen areas for student use. Violation of this policy may result in disciplinary action and a $50.00 fine.
All individuals using injection needles are required to properly dispose of them to prevent students, visitors and custodial staff from accidental needle-sticks and injury. Refer to the Student Health Services website for information on proper needle disposal expectations.
Because a residence hall is home to a number of students, excessive or continual noise coming from any area will not be tolerated. Students are strongly encouraged to talk to peers responsible for excessive noise. Habitual or serious violations of the noise policy may result in disciplinary action for the individual(s) involved. House councils may elect to determine set quiet hours or finals quiet hours for the building. These hours will be posted on each floor.
Students may not maintain pets on campus in student rooms, common areas, carriers, or outdoor areas with the exception of fish or service animals. Mount Vernon uses chloramines to chlorinate the water. If you have fish you will need to remove the chloramines from the water with a product that you can purchase from a pet supply store. Pets or strays will be removed from the buildings and the owner(s) will be subject to disciplinary action and a fine of $40.00 per pet per day. Students are discouraged from feeding stray animals outside of the residence halls. Call Campus Safety to report stray animals.
Each year the Board of Trustees approves the annual rate for a space in a multiple occupancy room. If a student occupies a designated single room or super single room, a premium rate is charged in addition to the standard room rate.
Students are encouraged to recycle. Recycling areas in the residence halls are not permitted in stairwells or hallways. Recycling areas must be kept clean.
One small electrical refrigerator (up to 4.5 cubic feet) is permitted in each single and double student room. Two small electrical refrigerators (up to 4.5 cubic feet each) are permitted in each triple and quad student room. Larger units cannot be accommodated.
Relocation and Room Changes
The College reserves the right to make changes in room assignments and to assign the student to any room at any time. The College reserves the right to assign new roommates or consolidate partially empty rooms at any time. A student who selected a room and/or roommate through room selection is not permitted to request a room change until the 5th Block. A student assigned a room and/or roommate by the Residence Life Office is not permitted to request a room change until the completion of 1st Block. A student may appeal for an exception to this policy by submitting a request to the Residence Life Office for review. An occupant of a partially-filled room does not have the right to refuse a roommate and in some cases the student living in the room may not be contacted until after the assignment has been made.
As a residential college, Cornell requires students to live in campus housing. Learn more about the residency requirement.
Right of Entry
College representatives may enter Halls and student rooms at any time for the purposes of
- making necessary or agreed-upon repairs;
- supplying necessary or agreed-upon services;
- investigating health or safety concerns;
- ensuring compliance with evacuation procedures during a fire alarm;
- responding to a disruption (e.g. to silence a loud alarm clock or stereo when no one is in the room); or
- enforcing College policy when there is specific reason to suspect a violation.
For safety reasons, students are not permitted on the roof of any campus building. Students found accessing the roof will be subject to disciplinary action and a minimum of a $100 fine.
A single room is defined as a room designated by Residence Life to accommodate one person, a double room accommodates two people, a triple accommodate three people and a quad accommodates four people. When sufficient space exists in the residence halls, Residence Life may offer a "super single" (a double room in which the occupant pays an additional premium to convert that room to a single room). Residents are not permitted to change designations of rooms (either by adding or removing furniture). Single rooms and super single rooms are generally not available to new students (except in cases where the student has provided appropriate medical documentation).
Solicitation and Other Door-to-Door Activities
Soliciting, including solicitation by students and student groups, is not permitted in the residence halls without prior written authorization from Residence Life. Recognized student groups that wish to fundraise by going door-to-door in the residence halls should contact the Director of Residence Life with details of the organization, the cause and the scope of the request (general time frame, how many students would be going around, which floor(s) or building(s), etc.). If the request is approved, the student organization will be given certain parameters, most notably the day(s) and time frame in which the door-to-door fundraising is permitted. Students who have difficulty with salespeople should contact an RA or Campus Safety immediately.
Most residential buildings have a limited amount of storage areas for student use. Refer to our information on storage for complete details.
Each student is responsible for his/her room and the activities that go on in it. Students may be held accountable for policy violations that occur in their room despite the fact the student was not present at the time of the policy violation.
A student may not assign sublet his or her room or any part thereof, or permit the use or occupancy of the premises or any part thereof by anyone other than the student. Short-term guests are permitted in accordance with the guest policies listed above.
The Residence Life Office recommends that students use certified surge protectors in their room. Surge protectors can provide protection for computers and electronic equipment from various power problems. When equipped with a circuit breaker, they provide the added safety of protection from faulty equipment or overload conditions. Facilities Services recommends surge protectors rated for at least 10,000 joules for minimum protection. Students, however, should check with the manufacturer to ensure that their equipment is adequately protected.
Termination of Housing
The College reserves the right to terminate a student's housing without refund because of improper conduct. A student who withdraws or graduates from the College or takes a leave of absence is not permitted to live in College-owned housing. If the student withdraws or graduates from the College, his or her housing assignment will be terminated and eligibility for any refund will be determined by the College refund policy. The student shall vacate the halls by the date and time as agreed upon with or as directed by a College official, generally within 48 hours of separation from the College. A student who graduates during the middle of a semester may seek permission from the Director of Residence Life to remain in housing for the balance of that semester; if permission is granted, full room and board charges would remain in effect. A student who is enrolled but not actively taking a for-credit course (as defined by the Office of the Registrar) during a particular block (or while in summer housing) may be removed from housing without refund because of improper conduct.
In the event of a tornado, protect yourself from breaking glass and falling objects. You can best do this by taking shelter in the basement area of your building. Take shelter in a pre-designated safe area or in an interior hallway on the lowest level. If you are unable to reach a basement.
Students are encouraged to invest in a trash receptacle for personal use in their own rooms. College trash containers may not be used in student rooms. Trash, including pizza boxes, is to be taken to the trash containers in the trash rooms designated for each floor or area. Trash cans are not permitted in the hallways. Residents are responsible for removing their own trash from their room.
Vandalism & Destruction of Property
Vandalism and destruction of property are serious offenses against the College community and will not be tolerated. Students found in violation of this policy will be subject to disciplinary action, possible removal from the residence hall(s), a minimum $25.00 fine and cleanup costs.
Except as sanctioned by the Residence Life Office during Homecoming and other special events, hanging lights, flags and other decorations or objects out windows is not permitted. Students are not permitted to remove window screens, nor are they permitted to throw items from windows. Furthermore, students are not permitted to enter or exit buildings through windows. Students found in violation of this policy will be subject to disciplinary action.