Guidelines for Community Living

The following guidelines have been established in order to support the mission of the Department of Housing and Residence Life at Valdosta State University. These community guidelines ensure that all students residing in the residence halls and their guests are aware of the expectations for all members of the residential communities. All residents and guests are expected to follow these guidelines and assist in the effort to create residential communities where all community members feel safe and comfortable, can study and focus on academics, while growing and developing personal skill sets. Any residents who do not follow these guidelines may be documented and asked to go through the student conduct hearing process. 

The Guidelines for Community Living are in addition to the Student Code of Conduct . All residents, visitors of residents, guests, and staff are expected to abide by both the Student Code of Conduct and the Guidelines for Community Living. The Guidelines for Community Living are intended to create a standard for behavior that promotes positive relationships with others in an environment that is welcoming and conducive to studying.

1.01 Appliances

1.02 Solicitation

1.03 Hall Sports

1.04 Courtesy Hours

1.05 Visitation

1.06 Decorations

1.07 Roommate Agreement

1.08 Keys/Student ID Cards

1.09 Alcohol

1.10 Quiet Hours

2.01 Building Access

2.02 Fire Hazards

2.03 Smoking

2.04 Pets

2.05 Furniture

2.06 Gambling

2.07 Windows

2.08 Locks

2.09 Ammunition

2.10 Room Changes

3.01 Room Condition

3.02 Trash

3.03 Checkouts

3.04 Community Spaces

 

1.01 Appliances

a.  Students may use only UL approved surge protectors (no more than 2 surge protectors are permitted per room) that contain their own fuse to increase their number of outlets. Any device that is plugged into another device must have a surge protector.

 

  b.  Appliances not permitted in traditional and suite style halls include open element appliances, appliances that glow red and appliances with a heated surface.

  • Examples of permitted appliances:
    • Computers, radios/stereos, televisions, Digital multimedia receiver/video game systems, Bluerays/DVD players, desk lamps, coffee makers and Keurig coffee makers, small refrigerators (must not exceed 5.0 cubic feet or 1.5 amps), microwaves of 1000 watts or less, and electric blankets.
  • Examples of appliances not permitted:
    • Open element appliances and/or appliances that glow red – e.g. toasters, hot plates, broilers, space heaters, kerosene heaters, griddles, toaster ovens, electric grills (George Foreman type), and electric fry pans/skillets.
  • Electrical appliances in apartments - In addition to appliances permitted above, residents of apartments may have kitchen appliances like George Foreman Grills and toasters/toaster ovens. 

 

c.  Extension cords, window air conditioning units, 2.4 GHz cordless phones, and wireless routers are not permitted.  Halogen lamps and light bulbs are also prohibited in any form.

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1.02 Solicitation

Solicitation for purchase of goods or services occurring within the residence halls and/or utilizing the residence halls, except by Valdosta State University students who have received prior written approval from the Vice President for Finance and Administration, is prohibited. This restriction is established for the security and safety of residents and to create a more comfortable environment for residents.  All fliers and publicity hung in the building must have the prior approval of the Associate Director of Housing. Solicitation also includes any word of mouth advertising and any advertising through social media and other online formats that utilizes the residence halls. All campaigning, distribution of literature, conducting of research and surveys, and other activities where residents are approached door to door, via personal approach or distribution of materials, must be approved in advance by the Director of Housing and Residence Life and can only take place daily between 12:00pm and 7:00pm. 

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1.03 Hall Sports

a.  Bicycles, motorcycles, scooters, Segways, skates and skateboards are not to be ridden or used in Housing facilities.

  b.  Bicycles are to be secured to racks outside the facility and may be confiscated if found secured to any other objects.  A student may store a bicycle in his/her room, if his/her roommate provides permission first.  If a bicycle is stored in the room, it may not block the path of egress from the room.

  c.  Running, participating in any form of rough-housing, the use of any balls or other sports equipment in hallways or public areas is prohibited. (Exceptions are made for proper use of Housing provided lobby game equipment) 

  d.  Darts and dart boards are not permitted in the residence halls. 

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1.04 Courtesy Hours

Courtesy hours are in effect 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Students are expected to respect the rights of others by refraining from the production of loud volumes of noise (e.g. stereos playing out the windows, excessive noise from within a suite/room, slamming of doors, yelling or talking through windows etc.).  Students are expected to comply with reasonable requests from other members of the community. Residents may be asked to remove any items producing large amounts of noise such as stereos, musical instruments, etc.

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1.05 Visitation/Overnight Visitors

a. Visitation and Overnight guest hosting is a privilege, not a right. Any non-resident to a hall must be checked in as a guest with their resident host for the duration of their visit when the hall desk is open. Each Valdosta State University on-campus resident has a reasonable expectation for the following:

•To live in a clean environment.

•To personal privacy.

•To sleep with as little disturbance as possible.

•To have your personal belongings respected.

•To have free access to your room and facilities without interference.

 •To study and feel comfortable, which supersedes the right to have guests.

•To veto a roommate’s/suitemate’s/apartment mate’s guest(s) for justifiable reasons.

•To be free of intimidation, physical and/or emotional harm.

•To seek reasonable cooperation from your roommate/suitemates/apartment mates.

•To speak out openly and constructively on ideas, opinions and grievances. Any visitor or overnight guest which compromises these expectations for our residents will not be permitted to remain in the residence halls. 

b. A "visitor" is defined as a guest, present in a particular residence hall, apartment or residence hall room with the consent of the “host”. The host is a resident of that hall, apartment, or room. The Host assumes responsibility for their visitor, both behaviorally and financially, upon the visitor’s arrival at a residence hall. Visitors within or around a residential facility must abide by all Student Code of Conduct and Housing Guidelines for Community Living. Visitors must be escorted within the confines of the residence halls at all times.

1)      The Host assumes responsibility for their visitor, both behaviorally and financially, upon the visitor’s arrival at a residence hall.

2)      Visitors within or around a residential facility must abide by all Student Code of Conduct and Housing Guidelines for Community Living.

3)      Visitors must be escorted within the confines of the residence halls at all times.

4)      Visitation will not begin until an agreed upon and signed roommate contract is on file with the hall staff. Once visitation is permitted, visitors will be permitted, unless specifically excluded in the Roommate Contract, or until the visitor or host loses visitation privileges due to failing to follow the Student Code of Conduct and/or the Guidelines to Community Living, or if a person assigned to the same living space issues a complaint and requests for an amendment to the roommate contract so that visitor is no longer permitted.

5)      “Overnight Guests” are visitors who are present in the building during these hours:

 

First   Year Students

Upperclassmen

Monday-Friday

Midnight-8AM

2AM-8AM

Saturday-Sunday

2AM-8AM

2AM-8AM

6)    No Overnight guest can stay within the residence hall for more than 3 consecutive nights, nor can a host have any guests staying 3 nights consecutively. Hosts can have 8 nights to host an overnight guest each semester. Similarly, any guest can only stay in any residence hall space for a total of 8 nights a semester.

7)   Visitors or Overnight guests involved in an incident or policy violation may be asked to immediately leave the residence hall by Housing staff or University Police at any time, and may lose visitation privileges completely.

8)   Cohabitation is not allowed in any residence hall. Cohabitation is defined as any person who is not currently assigned to that room staying more than the time

9)   Any visitors under the age of 16 must be accompanied by a legal guardian and must not be in the halls between 8 PM- 8 AM. No babysitting or watching of minor children is ever permitted in the residence halls at any time. All overnight guests must be at least 16 years of age.

10)  Men must use restrooms designated for males and women must use restrooms designated for females. Under no circumstance are visitors to utilize the showering facilities of the opposite gender. 

11)  Non-residents are not required to check in if they remain in the lobby with their hosts. Non-residents may be asked to leave the hall if they are causing a disruption.

Any visitor or overnight guest which compromises these expectations for our residents will not be permitted to remain in the residence halls.

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1.06 Decorations

We recognize students may wish to decorate their rooms and other areas of the residence halls for a variety of reasons including holiday celebrations. The following standards must be met to prevent fires or other safety hazards and to ensure that the room condition is maintained. Damage caused by decorations may result in a fee.

a.  Residents must remove all holiday decorations one week after the holiday or before each hall closing (whichever comes first). Cords, lights, paper streamers, etc. may not cross doorways at any height or be placed under carpet. Natural Christmas trees are prohibited.

  b.  No items may be hung from the ceiling and sprinkler system in any way. Flammable items such as sheets, cloth, and netting should not be hung or draped on the walls. Light fixtures should not be covered with any flammable materials such as cloth, paper, or cellophane. If there is an immediate fire safety concern, Housing staff members may ask residents to remove these decorations immediately or may personally remove the decorations and leave them in the room of the residents if the residents are not present.

  c.  The painting of any walls, windows, or surfaces in the room or any furniture belonging to VSU is not allowed. Any type of painting or spray painting for arts and craft projects must be completed outside in areas that will not create permanent damage (e.g. grassy areas or areas of dirt). A few small potted plants are allowed per room but students should not plant any flower beds or gardens in their rooms. Residents will be fiscally responsible for any paint damage or change in paint color.

  d.  Only easily removable adhesive materials should be used to adhere items to the walls. Any materials that will cause damage to the walls should not be used. This includes but is not limited to: nails, screws, Scotch tape, duct tape, and stickers. Any adhesive materials should be used at your own risk, regardless of who provides the materials and which materials are used, as fees may be assessed for any damage.

  e.  Only 20% of each door and wall should be covered in combustible materials as required by the Environmental and Occupational Safety office

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1.07 Roommate Agreement

a.  Roommates will agree on a roommate agreement each time there is a new roommate in the room.  This roommate agreement will be kept on file with the Residence Hall Director of the building. Visitation will not be permitted until a signed roommate agreement is on file with the Residence Hall Director.

  b.  Any violations of the roommate agreement may result in disciplinary action. It is the responsibility of the residents to report any infractions of their roommate agreement.  Violations of the roommate agreement may result in the student going through a conduct hearing.  Possible sanctions include mediation, creating a new roommate agreement, reflection & research papers (on topics such as conflict resolutions), and in severe situations, a student may be reassigned to another room (room to be determined by the hearing officer).  Both students may be moved temporarily before a hearing process.  Before a student is moved permanently, there will be a conduct hearing.  Moving a student is reserved for extreme situations.

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1.08 Keys/Student ID Cards

a.  Residents are responsible for the security of their rooms and their residence hall. The resident will be issued a room key and/or electronic access to his/her assigned hall and room. Residents should carry their room keys, residency cards and student ID cards at all times. 

  b.  Students are not to be in possession of residency cards that were not originally issued to them. Anyone found to be in possession of a residency card not in that student’s name and/or originally issued to that student will be asked to forfeit the card to a Housing staff member. Anyone found to be in possession of a OneCard not in that student’s name and/or originally issued to that student will be asked to forfeit the card to a UPD officer or the OneCard office. Students should not attempt to use any residency cards not originally issued to them in order to illegally gain access to a residence hall. Any residency cards that are found by another student should be immediately given to a Housing staff member and any OneCards that are found by another student should be immediately returned to the OneCard office or UPD.

  c.  If a student is locked out, a staff member can assist him/her in gaining access to the assigned room. If the resident requests a lock out code for a Persona (card access) lock (Centennial, Georgia, Hopper & Reade) or if a resident requests for a staff member to open the door, Housing reserves the right to assess a fee for each lock out using the following fee schedule:

  • 1st lock out: Free
  • 2nd lock out: $15
  • 3rd lock out: $25
  • 4th lock out: $50 with an automatic lock change (for hard keys)

*Housing may change the lock at any time if it is believed that the key has been lost.

 

  d. In suite style (Hopper & Georgia) and traditional style (Brown, Langdale, Lowndes, Patterson, Reade) halls, residents must show their residency card each time they seek to walk pass the front desk to residents’ rooms. It is the residents’ responsibility to show their residency cards, whether or not asked to do so.  If a resident does not have his/her residency card, a resident should stop at the desk so the Front Desk Worker can verify that he/she lives in that hall. 

  e.  A lost residency card should be reported to the Hall Director.  The fee for a new residency card is $15.

  f.  Each resident is issued a key to his/her room. For the safety of the resident and the roommate, lost keys should be reported to a Housing staff member at the Front Desk. The fee for a lost key is $50.  Loss of this key or failure to return the key at the time of check-out will result in a charge being assessed for a lost key/and or lock change.

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1.09 Alcohol

The full University alcohol policy is printed in the Student Handbook (Student Code of Conduct). These are some additional considerations and regulations for the residence halls:

a.  Students that are not of legal drinking age cannot possess or consume alcohol in the residence halls. Underage students found to be in possession of alcohol will be asked to dispose of the alcohol in the presence of Housing staff members. The possession of empty alcohol containers may also be considered as a violation of this policy and students found in possession of empty alcohol containers may also be asked to dispose of them or remove them from the building. If the student(s) is not present, Housing staff members may still dispose of the alcohol. Residents may be asked to remove any decorative or empty alcohol containers that violate policy from the halls within 24 hours. Failure to do so may result in more judicial procedures.

  b.  Students of legal drinking age may consume alcohol in their rooms with the door closed. If a student of legal drinking age lives with students who are underage, alcohol cannot be stored or consumed in any areas that are shared or accessible by the underage roommates.

  c.  Kegs, beer balls, and other large size containers of alcohol (larger than 40 oz.) --whether empty or full-- are prohibited in the residence halls. Large quantities of assorted and/or mixed alcohol are prohibited. Residents found to be in possession of large amounts of alcohol, violating this policy, will be asked to remove the alcohol from the hall immediately or dispose of the alcohol in the presence of Housing staff members.

  d.  No student shall knowingly be present during the illegal use of alcohol.

  e.  Alcohol containers are allowed in the residence halls for decorations only if the student is of legal age and if the containers are completely empty and filled with a solid substance (sand, etc.). Alcohol containers and alcohol paraphernalia for decorations cannot be displayed in public viewing. Alcohol containers include any bottles that originally contained alcohol and any type of container designed specifically to hold alcohol such as wine glasses, flasks, shot glasses, martini glasses, beer mugs, pilsners, and champagne glasses.

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1.10 Quiet Hours

a.  Quiet hours are designated to be from 10:00pm-8:00am Sunday through Thursday and 12:00am-10:00am Friday through Saturday. Noise during quiet hours should be at a level that cannot be heard two doors down from your room when standing in the hallway. Noise should not be heard through walls.

  b.  The areas surrounding the residence halls and apartments have been designated as quiet zones from 7:00pm until 10:00am daily. During this time period, students and guests are expected to respect the residence hall and apartment residents' right to a quiet environment. 

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2.01 Building Access

a.  All emergency doors are alarmed and should never be propped open.  All emergency doors are labeled as such.  Do not use emergency doors unless it is an emergency.  Emergency exits, doors exiting to the exterior of the building, and doors connecting to lobby and stairwell areas should never be propped or left open due to safety concerns.

  b.  Anyone entering the residence hall must do so by entering through a designated entrance.  No one may enter or exit through an emergency exit unless an actual emergency is occurring. Students may not enter or exit through doors that may be closed during certain hours of the day and are properly labeled as such.  No one is allowed to enter/exit the residence hall through a window. 

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2.02 Fire Hazards

a.  Burning of any materials is not permitted in the residence halls or apartments due to the danger of fire. The possession of candles, incense, Sterno, potpourri burners, hookahs, other flammable liquids, and fireworks and other explosives in the residence halls is not allowed.

  b.  Only cigarette lighters are allowed and should not be used inside the residence halls. Wax warming units are allowed, only if they do not contain any type of wick and do not overheat or cause any significant chance of starting a fire. Any prohibited materials or items capable of causing a fire may be confiscated by Housing staff member unless immediately removed by the resident.
Items should not be left in any hall, stairwell, or any other community space. Any items found in the halls, stairwells, and public spaces may be confiscated by Housing staff. This is due to fire safety concerns.

*Residents should refer to the VSU Student Handbook and Student Code of Conduct for all other fire safety related policies.

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2.03 Smoking

There is no smoking in the residence halls. There is no smoking within 25 feet of building entrances and windows. Further, effective October 1, VSU will be a tobacco and smoke-free campus in compliance with the USG's system wide policy. Thus no smoking or tobacco related items, including e-cigarettes will be allowed on the VSU campus.

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2.04 Pets

Non-carnivorous fish are the only pets allowed in the facilities and only in aquariums that do not exceed 10 gallons.  Please see your contract for further details. 

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2.05 Furniture

VSU provides each room and apartment with basic furnishings. Students may be assessed a fee for violating the furniture policy.

a.  Removal of furniture or appliances from a room or apartment is prohibited.   Furniture may not be removed from community spaces (such as lobbies, study rooms, etc.) and individual apartments.  Residents will be financially responsible for any missing furniture, including any furniture that is moved to another part of the residence hall.

  b.  Water filled furniture is prohibited. If discovered, residents will be asked to remove the furniture in question immediately and storage for the item(s) will not be provided by VSU.

  c.  Only lofts constructed from University provided equipment are allowed. All other bed raising equipment is not permitted.

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2.06 Gambling

Conducting, organizing, or participating in any activity involving games of chance or skill for money or other items of value is prohibited

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2.07 Windows 

a.  Window screens must not be unfastened or removed.  A fee may be assessed if window screens are removed or unfastened.

  b.  Throwing or dropping items out of the window is prohibited.

  c.  Window air conditioning units are not permitted. 

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2.08 Locks/Propping Doors

a.  Installing personal locks or chains on doors or windows is prohibited. Any altering or tampering with existing locks is also prohibited. 

  b.  Due to fire safety and for the safety of the residents and their property, all students are encouraged to keep their doors locked. Room and suite doors are to be propped only with the appropriate use of a door stop at the bottom of the door and only while the resident(s) is in the room. If the resident(s) leaves the room, the door is to be secured. Room and suite doors are not be propped with the assistance of the deadbolt or by tampering with the lock. Housing staff members will properly close any open room or suite doors found to be illegally propped or propped while the room in unoccupied and the resident(s) will be responsible for gaining access to the room/suite. Students will be held responsible for the cost of repairing the damages caused from propping their doors open without the appropriate use of a door stop at the bottom of the door.

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2.09 Weapons and Ammunition

 

In addition to weapons, ammunition is not permitted in the residence halls. The University Police Department will be contacted to collect any weapons or ammunition found in the residence halls and residents will have to inquire about the collection of those items at the UPD office. For a detailed weapons policy, please refer to the Student Code of Conduct and State of Georgia law.

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2.10 Room changes

a.  When a student requests a room change, a student is required to move to his/her new room within the timeline given.  If a student is unable to move within that timeline or no longer desires to move, permission to stay in the current room must be obtained from the Contracts and Assignments Coordinator.  If permission is granted by the Contracts and Assignments Coordinator, the resident will be charged a $100 administrative fee.

  b . Outside of the two scheduled room change request weeks each semester, room change requests are to be made by the resident to their Complex Director.  The Complex Director will decide if a referral to mediation is appropriate before sending to the Office of Housing and Residence Life.  For further information on the process, please visit the Central Housing Office located in Hopper Hall.  Room changes may not be made without the approval of the resident’s Complex Director.  Illegal room changes will result in a $100 fee assessment.

  c.  Residents that do not currently have a roommate and/or have an empty bed space in their rooms are to keep all personal belongings on their designated side of the room only. All open bed spaces are to remain ready for new residents to move into immediately. If a resident is utilizing more than the space or side assigned to that resident, without purchasing the space as a single from Housing, the resident will be charged the current rate of a double as a single in that building immediately.

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3.01 Room Condition

a.  Residents are expected to keep their rooms, suites, or apartments clean. This includes the cleaning of common spaces in suite style and apartment style rooms. Housing staff members will conduct room inspections on a monthly basis. A fee may be assessed for not complying with this policy. Residents may also be asked to address any cleanliness issues that may cause health concerns for themselves and others in the community (e.g. food items that may attract insects, strong smells, etc.).

  b.  All rooms, suites, and common areas should be clean and the trash should be removed during any time that the buildings are closed for breaks. Housing staff members will enter and check each room, suite, and common space during the beginning of the break periods. Any trash and other items of health and safety concern will be removed and residents of that space will be assessed a fee and/or may face judicial procedures.

  c.  Residents are expected to report any and all maintenance concerns including, but not limited to electrical problems, plumbing problems, and/or life safety concerns (e.g. smoke detectors, fire extinguishers, etc.) in a timely manner.

  d.  All heating and air conditioning units, vents, and rooms with access to the heating and air conditioning units should not be blocked or covered in any manner. Any items that are prohibiting or hindering air flow and/or access to maintain the units will be moved to another place in the same room by the appropriate VSU staff member.

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3.02 Trash

All trash should be disposed of in the proper space. Room trash is not to be disposed of by leaving it in the hall, stairwell, community bathroom, laundry room, or any other community space. No food items should be left in the community bathroom trash or disposed of in the community bathroom sinks. Room trash, personal items, and all other large collections of trash and/or larger trash items such as boxes should be disposed of in the dumpsters, located outside of each residence hall. Trash should not be swept out into the hallway. Students who violate this policy may be assessed a fee. VSU also encourages students to recycle when possible.

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3.03 Checkouts

a.  All residents are required to properly check in and check out with a Housing staff member. When checking into a room, the resident should complete the necessary information and sign a copy of the Physical Inventory and receive the appropriate room key or OneCard access and residency card from a Housing staff member. When a resident is leaving his or her assigned room, whether moving to another residence hall room or leaving for the remainder of the contract year, the resident should contact a Housing staff member to schedule and conduct a checkout. During a proper checkout, the Housing staff member will review the physical condition of the room and update the information on the Physical Inventory. The resident should be present for this review. The resident will then sign and receive a copy of the updated Physical Inventory and will return any room keys and residency cards that were issued to that resident during the year. The act of returning a room key and/or residency card to the front desk and leaving does not constitute a proper checkout. All steps in the check-in and checkout processes must be completed. Failure to complete all steps in the check-in and checkout processes may result in illegal room change charges and fees. An improper checkout will result in an automatic $50 fee.

  b.  If a resident fails to collect all personal belongings and items when leaving a room, regardless of whether the checkout was proper or improper, Housing staff members will collect and store the items or dispose of any items that are considered to be trash. Housing staff members will attempt to contact the resident believed to own the items. If no effort is made on behalf of the resident to contact the Housing staff members about collecting the items within thirty (30) days of the communication from the Housing staff members, then the items will be donated to a local charitable organization or properly disposed of. No one from the Office of Housing and Residence Life or any other member of the VSU staff will be responsible for the safety and security of the items while in storage. Additional fees may be charged to the student if a large number of items have to be packed and stored.

*This policy also applies to any items found in common spaces. Any items remaining in the lost and found areas will be donated after 30 days of being unclaimed. OneCards and other items of value may be transferred to other offices on campus for collection.

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3.04 Community spaces

a.  Sleeping or napping of any sort and for any reason will not be permitted in the community and common spaces of the residence halls. This includes, but is not limited to, the lobby area, desk area, hallways, study rooms, classrooms, laundry rooms, art rooms, and music rooms.

 

  b.  All residents assigned to that particular residence hall are responsible for the condition of all the community and common spaces in that hall. Residents are encouraged to keep these spaces clean and undamaged. Residents are also encouraged to ask their guests to do the same. The cost of repairing or cleaning any damages that have occurred in the common spaces may be divided and charged to a certain physical area of residents or the residents of the entire hall if the person(s) responsible for the damage are not identified.

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