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Residential Life

As a residential university, Colgate is concerned with bridging academic and residential learning. The university provides rich and diverse options for campus living in traditional residence halls, independent living communities, apartments, and townhouses. Colgate’s approach to residential education is centered on providing students with the resources and support necessary to build vibrant and diverse communities that fosters intellectual engagement and promote individual growth and personal development and community.

Residential Life Staff

The Office of Residential Life, located in Drake Hall, is staffed by a Director of Residential Life and other professional and student staff. Office hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday. Additionally, one member of the professional staff is on call at all times.
    An assistant director (AD) is assigned to each living community on campus. AD's are full-time staff members who live in student residential areas to provide mentorship and coaching to student residents. ADs are responsible for helping students establish and maintain healthy communities that promote educational, cultural, social, and personal development. Each AD supervises a team of undergraduate student resident leaders re-ferred to as community leaders.
     Community leaders are undergraduate student peer mentors assigned to live in each community and assist students in making their Colgate experience as fulfilling as possible. They assist the community in establishing guidelines and living agreements that are reasonable for everyone.

Community Standards

Students who come to Colgate agree to be part of the Colgate community. Membership in this community is a privilege that comes with certain expectations. Students must be prepared to conduct themselves at all times in a way that will not infringe on the rights and privileges of others and in accordance with Colgate’s Code of Student Conduct. The right of students to sleep and study in their rooms has the highest priority at all times.
    Students must act responsibly in the use of their rooms, apartments, townhouses, and common facilities, respecting the rights of others at all times. At the beginning of the fall semester students in each living unit (e.g., house, suite, apartment, townhouse, or floor) are expected to come together as a group to determine the standards and expectations for their community. These standards and expectations must be in accordance with Colgate policy but may also clarify specific concerns of the particularly community. The standards and expectations are then documented and serve as the guidelines by which that community agrees to live. In addition to establishing guidelines for the community, this decision-making process provides an opportunity for each resident to take responsibility for their community and to participate actively in developing guidelines for that community.

Policies and Procedures

Alcohol and Drugs

See “Policy on Alcohol and Drugs” elsewhere in the student handbook. Students and their guests must comply with university policy on alcohol and drugs.


Bicycles must be kept on bicycle racks, or in areas designated for bicycle storage. Bicycles may not be stored in student rooms. Improperly stored bicycles will be removed. Riding a bicycle indoors is prohibited. To discourage theft, students are ad-vised to lock bikes using a high quality lock, keep a record of the bicycle’s make and serial number. Students may contact Campus Safety for assistance in registering their bicycles and should report thefts to Campus Safety.


Children under the age of 17 are not permitted to be in Colgate residential facilities unless they are in the immediate company of a parent or legal guardian. Siblings may be registered as special exceptions during Parent and Family Weekend.

Campus Solicitation

See “Policy on Campus Solicitation and Concessions.”

Checking In and Out of Rooms

Students are responsible for picking up their room or apartment key(s) at the time of check-in and returning them to the Office of Residential Life at the time of check-out; students who fail to do so will be charged for a lock replacement.
    Students are responsible for checking the condition of their rooms and furnishings thoroughly and completing a room condition report at check-in. Students shall be held responsible for loss and/or damage to university property beyond normal wear and tear. If two or more students reside within an area where damage has occurred, the charges will be divided evenly among the residents of that living area.
     Students must follow the proper check-out procedures, remove all property and trash and complete a final room condition report with their CL. Students may be charged for failing to check-out properly.

Terms for Student Residences

Upon signing the housing agreement, a student affirms that they will follow the policies and guidelines contained in this handbook. Non-compliance may result in disciplinary action. Students with repeated and/or serious violations may be required to vacate their room or apartment and/or may lose the privilege of living in university housing.
     Housing agreements are for the entire academic year. Should special circumstances arise, the student should contact their administrative dean. Only in rare circumstances are releases granted.
     The agreement guarantees the student a space on campus, not a particular room or apartment. The university reserves the right to reassign students to new spaces as it deems necessary. Whenever possible, the Office of Residential Life will honor requests of groups who wish to share a room or apartment.

Custodial Operations

Students are responsible for cleaning the interiors of their rooms/apartments/suites. Although many common spaces within university residences are cleaned regularly by the custodial staff, students are responsible for maintaining an environment that is healthy and safe and does not require excess cleaning. All lounges and common bathrooms in residence halls are cleaned by custodial staff on a regular basis. Custodial cleaning provided in houses varies dependent upon the size of the house and programming initiatives.

Damage Billing

Damage to university residential facilities should be reported immediately to residential life staff. Additionally, regular inspections of all university residences will be carried out to ensure that damage is reported. Students are responsible for avoidable damages (damage that is the consequence of careless, willful, or malicious actions) and losses that occur in student residence halls. Damage fees shall be determined by the Facilities Department on the basis of labor and material costs. Charges are assigned equally to all occupants of the designated room, floor, building, or residential area, unless the person(s) responsible for the damage assumes the full charge.
     When individual responsibility for damage and loss in public areas (e.g., bath-rooms, lounges, etc.) cannot be determined, a charge will be made to all students with-in a reasonably defined area (e.g., room, floor, building, etc.) following the same procedures as above. Common area damage assessments cannot be appealed.
     Students are not allowed to paint, renovate, or modify their rooms, and must hang decorations and/or art in accordance with stated protocols. Damage resulting from violations of stated protocols will result in damage charges for the repairs.
     The director of residential life may refuse, revoke, suspend, or reassign housing for a student or group of students based on inappropriate behavior or damages.

Hall Entry

The entrances and exits of all residence buildings are locked 24 hours a day. Some of the residence halls require an access card to gain entry while others require the use of a door code. The distribution or public display of door codes is prohibited. In order to ensure the safety and security of all residents, propping or otherwise interfering with the closure of any exterior door is prohibited.

Fire Safety

See “Fire Safety” in this handbook.

Fire Alarms & Drills Fire drills in each residential area are scheduled regularly and are conducted in accordance with state and local fire codes. Fire drills are intended to orient the residents of the building with fire evacuation procedures and emergency exit locations. Students must comply with fire alarms and evacuate when the alarm sounds. Failure to do so may result in disciplinary action.

Fire Doors Fire doors must be kept closed at all times.

Fire Extinguishers and Other Fire-Safety Devices Every residence is equipped with fire extinguishers and smoke detectors. Tampering with any fire safety equipment (including but not limited to fire extinguishers, covering smoke detectors or fire sprinklers) or obstructing other fire-safety devices is considered a serious offense that may lead to disciplinary action.

Items prohibited for Reasons of Fire Safety The following items are prohibited from
student housing facilities:

  1. Candles (even for decoration and unlit), incense, potpourri burners, halogen lamps, and neon signs. Students wishing to use candles as part of religious observance should contact the Office of Residential Housing for approved designated locations for candle use.
  2. Flammable liquids (including but not limited to turpentine, paint, gasoline, propane, kerosene, charcoal lighter fluid, and ether) and equipment that uses combustible fuel (e.g. motorcycles, mopeds) cannot be stored in a residential building.
  3. Fireworks, including sparklers.
  4. Gas or charcoal grills are not permitted in student residences. Students may use the installed outdoor grills located throughout the residential areas. Gas and charcoal grills are prohibited from use or storage on the decks and porches of apartments, houses and townhouses at all times.
  5. Extension cords.
  6. Natural holiday trees are prohibited in all residential facilities. UL approved lights may be used for decorative purposes. Trees cannot be located at the bottom of a stairwell, in an egress, or within 25 feet of an exit. All holiday decorations must be removed prior to semester breaks.

Furniture, Lounge Furniture and University Property

  1. Furniture must remain in the room/unit which it is designated.
  2. No university property may be removed from residence halls, college houses, apartments or townhouses at any time.
  3. No university furniture or property may be removed from lounges, conference rooms, or other community areas for use in student rooms.
  4. Waterbeds are not permitted in university residences.
  5. Failure to observe these regulations will likely result in labor and/or replacement charges and/or disciplinary action.

Lofts and Repositioning of Beds/Furniture Lofting and/or bunking and/or raising and lowering of beds is available in some buildings. Some beds do require tools for adjustment, and requests can be placed for this via the Office of Residential Life. Bed adjustments can be made during the first two weeks of the semester or two weeks following a move to a new room at no cost to students. All other times students will be charged for labor.


Any non-resident of a room or apartment is considered to be a "guest" and must be sponsored by a host who is a resident of the hall, house, apartment, or townhouse. Although occasional overnight guests are permitted, the right of one’s roommate(s) to sleep and study must be respected at all times.

No overnight guest will be permitted in any room before:

  1. Each room occupant gives consent.
  2. Any conditions on the guest’s stay are understood by all concerned.
  3. These arrangements are confirmed and approved by all parties involved.
  4. Residential Life staff are made aware of and provide permission for the guest's stay.

Duration of a guest's stay may not exceed three (3) days. It is the responsibility of the host to explain residential life and university rules to guest(s), including parking restrictions. The host is accountable for their guest's behavior during their entire stay on campus.

Health and Safety Inspections

Scheduled health and safety inspections are conducted throughout the year and will be announced the week before inspections begin to provide ample notice to residents. During visits to rooms, apartments, townhouses and houses, staff are looking solely for health and safety concerns, assisting with any maintenance needs and providing preventative support for cleaning and facilities management. Staff will provide residents with 48 hours to correct any concerns. All residents are expected to comply with requests to meet health and safety expectations in their living spaces.

Holiday Decorations/Lights

See “Fire Safety” above and elsewhere in this handbook.

Holidays/Breaks in the Semester

The university observes several breaks throughout the year, however, students may be in the facilities during all breaks with the exception of winter and summer breaks. Please note that meal plans are not in effectwhen the residences are closed and during breaks.

Early Arrivals Students may not return to campus early in August or January without being registered with the Office of Residential Life. Only students pre-approved by a sponsoring faculty or staff member are permitted to be registered to return to campus prior to the official opening of the halls. Students who arrive early without permission may be subject to university disciplinary action, may not be issued a key, may not be able to drop off belongings in their room, and may be asked to vacate the premises by university officials.

Late Stays Students are required to vacate their rooms by the posted closing time for in-term breaks and at the end of each term within 24 hours after their last exam. Students who fail to leave within this time frame may be subject to late stay charges and university discipline, and may be asked to vacate the premises by university officials.

Travel plans should be made well in advance. In extreme circumstances, students may request an extension to stay after the halls officially close at the end of each term. Such requests must be made in writing to the Office of Residential Life Housingand may result in additional occupancy charges.


The university is not responsible for theft or destruction of personal property. Personal property insurance information is mailed to each student over the summer, and is also available by contacting the treasurer’s office. Students are strongly encouraged to secure coverage through either a homeowner’s insurance policy or a personal property insurance policy (commonly known as renter’s insurance.)


Keys are issued only to the assigned occupant(s) of a room and with the presentation of a Colgate ID. By signing acceptance of and obtaining receipt of a key, the recipient assumes acceptance of the Colgate University housing agreement and all Colgate Student Handbook expectations related to conduct and Residential Life policies. “Swapping” keys without returning to the Office of Residential Life for approval and signing for the correct key may result in lock change charge. Keys are the property of the university and their duplication is expressly forbidden. Students who lose their keys will be charged to cover labor and replacement expenses.

Lockouts See “Lockouts” in this handbook.


See “Mail” elsewhere in this handbook. Student mail is delivered to the mailboxes in the basement of O’Connor Campus Center. Apartment residents must also use their campus mailboxes. Mail addressed to apartment street addresses will be returned as undeliverable.

Maintenance Concerns

The Facilities Department addresses power and plumbing failures, as well as any general repairs. Any damage or malfunction in a student room or common area should be reported immediately to the Facilities Department between 7:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. on weekdays. For emergency maintenance during the weekends or evenings, please contact the heating plant.


All students must follow 24-hour courtesy hours and respect others’ rights to live in an academically supportive environment.

Quiet Hours Minimum quiet hours in all residences are 12:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m., Sunday through Thursday. Quiet hours on Friday and Saturday nights are 1:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. Residents are permitted to extend quiet hours but may not abbreviate quiet hours from those outlined above. During quiet hours, any noise (e.g., stereos, televisions, and verbal interactions) must be kept at a level such that it cannot be heard by neighboring residents. Please note that throughout final exam period (from the end of the last class until the end of the last final exam); 24-hour quiet hours are in effect.

Off-Campus Housing/Living Off-Campus

Consistent with Colgate’s four-year approach to residential education, the university allows a small number of seniors to live off campus in apartments and other private housing units1. The option to live independently off campus is intended to provide students with the opportunity to develop the skills needed to manage a household and live as part of a broader community, and to accept the responsibilities attendant to this privilege. The experience that students gather through negotiating a lease, paying rent, managing routine expenses, maintaining a kitchen, and living among neighbors of varied ages and backgrounds can be invaluable in preparing them for life after college.

For a variety of reasons, living off campus is not the right choice for all students. For many, the opportunity to live in Broad Street houses or to develop on campus communities in Colgate owned apartments or townhouses better meets their interests. Moreover, Colgate is acutely aware of the impact that off-campus students can have on the local residential community. As such, Colgate normally limits the number of students allowed to live off campus to 250 members of the senior class.

The following guidelines govern off-campus living for enrolled undergraduate students at Colgate University:

  1. Off-Campus Housing Selection Process Students who wish to live off campus must participate in the off-campus housing selection process in the fall prior to their sen-ior year to gain permission to live off campus. Consistent with Colgate’s residency requirement, only students who have permission to live off campus may live in non-Colgate housing. Permission to live off campus is a privilege and not a right afford-ed to all students. Dean of the College staff may, in its discretion, deny or revoke permission to live off campus to individual students who have violated the Colgate Code of Student Conduct, particularly when the violations call into question their ability to live in the local community without disrupting or endangering their neighbors. The university does not endorse any landlord, management company, or individual who lists available rentals with the Office of Residential Housing. The residential housing staff serve as resources only, and offer information and pro-grams for students approved to live off campus to understand lease agreements, town ordinances, and expectations while living in the village.
  2. Neighbor-to-Neighbor Program All off-campus students must participate in the Neighbor-to-Neighbor program administered by the Office of Residential Housing. All students approved to live off campus must attend the Neighbor-to-Neighbor workshop by the spring prior to their senior year. These workshops provide students with important information about living in the Hamilton community, re-sources available to them if they encounter difficulties, and expectations for student conduct while living in the village. Permission to live off campus may be revoked if students fail to meet this requirement.
  3. Adherence to Code of Student Conduct The Colgate University Code of Student Conduct applies to student behavior both on and off campus. The opportunity to live off campus is a privilege and not a right afforded to all students. The university is sensitive to the importance of maintaining quality of life standards for our neighbors in the Hamilton community. As such, students living off-campus whose conduct adversely impacts the lives of others living in the Hamilton community may, in addition to facing disciplinary action from the university, have their permission to live off-campus revoked. Financial penalties incurred by breaking a lease will not be considered in determining whether to revoke a student’s permission to live off campus.
  4. No Congregate Living Off-Campus Given the history of problems associated with students residing in congregate living facilities not owned and managed by the university, the New Vision for Residential Education adopted by the Colgate University Board of Trustees in May 2003 called for university supervision, oversight and ownership of fraternity and sorority congregate living facilities. Just as students are not permitted to reside in fraternity or sorority houses not owned by the university, students granted permission to live off-campus are not permitted to reside in off-campus congregate living facilities.

This policy also recognizes that large groups living together in private housing units can have an adverse impact on neighbors and the broader Hamilton community, and are inconsistent with the goals of promoting individual self-sufficiency and experience of independent living for those students granted the privilege of living off-campus during their senior year.

For these and other reasons, the privilege of living off campus is restricted to individuals and groups of up to eight students and congregate living in larger groups is not permitted.

Colgate defines congregate living as any group of eight or more students living in one residential location in which they share facilities such as kitchens, common/social spaces, and bathrooms (i.e. does not include multi-unit apartment buildings or houses with discrete facilities like those listed above). The Office of Residential Life will determine whether a location constitutes a congregate living facility for purposes of this policy in any given case.


Students are not permitted to have pets in residential housing other than small aquarium fish (in tanks no larger than 10-gallon capacity). Students who are found to have animals in their rooms will be subject to a cleaning charge as determined by the Facilities Department and and may be subject to disciplinary action.

Personal Property Liability

The university does not insure students’ belongings and is not liable for loss or damage. Students are encouraged to check with their family’s insurance provider to determine how their homeowner’s/apartment dweller’s policy might cover their personal property. If this coverage is not provided, students are strongly encouraged to obtain personal renter’s insurance.

Roofs, Ledges, and Balcony Areas

The presence of individuals or objects on roof, balcony, or ledge areas is prohibited at all times, except in an emergency. Roof, balcony, and ledge areas are restricted for safety reasons and for protection of property.

Room Entry

The university recognizes and respects a student’s right to privacy. There may be times, however, when certain university staff members require entry to your room. Designated university officials have the authority to enter your room consistent with the guidelines set forth in the Colgate University Code of Student Rights and Responsibilities. See “Fire Safety” in this handbook and “Student Rights and Responsibilities” in this handbook.

Room Changes 

The staff in the Office of Residential Life works with residents to minimize the number of room changes that occur on campus. Compromise and respect for one an-other are considered important skills learned by living with a roommate in the first year. First-year students work with their community leader when a conflict occurs with their assigned roommate(s). A room change may be approved if mediation does not improve the relationship, and only if a resolution to the conflict and concerns is not possible. In instances when first-year student roommate conflicts are not able to be resolved through mediation, a professional staff member from the residential life office will determine if one or all roommates will change rooms, as well as where new assignments will be located.

Sophomore, junior, and senior students have the opportunity to select their own roommates. Therefore, room changes in these areas are also expected to be minimal. Students are required to move into their assigned rooms when they arrive to campus at the start of a semester.

Room Consolidations

The Director of Residential Life reserves the right to consolidate vacant spaces, assign new resident students and/or make changes in room, house, and residence hall assignments when deemed necessary. Residents in any room, suite, apartment, or house with a vacant space must be ready to accept a roommate at any time.

Room Selection

Colgate University’s residential life program offers several campus residential options, each with its own special features. Specific information will be distributed to students during the spring semester that explains the room selection process.

Students requiring special housing based on dietary or medical needs must submit proper documentation, prior to the deadline for room selection, if possible. These requests must be approved by the Special Accommodations Committee, and do not guarantee a student an exemption from on-campus housing or the meal plan. Every attempt will be made to accommodate students’ housing and dietary needs.

Only full-time, registered students are eligible to participate in room selection and to live on campus. By participating in room selection and signing a housing agreement , students agree to abide by all university policies and procedures.


Smoking is prohibited in all Colgate facilities. Students who smoke in rooms or common spaces will be charged with cleaning fees and furniture replacement associated with smoke damage in accordance with the damage policy.


See “Weapons” elsewhere in this handbook.

Windows and Screens

For reasons of health, safety, and maintenance, screens may not be removed from windows. In addition, decorations or personal items may not be hung outside a window or be placed on windowsills or ledges. Throwing objects out of windows is strictly prohibited.