I. Overview and Scope

In a residential college, active learning takes place outside the classroom. By design, learning is a part of every niche of campus life, including living and dining arrangements. These many points of interaction with others — for friendship, for the formation of values, for exercising communal and personal responsibility, for learning to lead and to be led — provide a rich environment for student growth. This is the hallmark of a college that takes the educational values of its residential life philosophy seriously. Residence Life is an integral part of the educational mission of Earlham College.

These policies apply to all campus housing, including residence halls, College Avenue houses, and Campus Village apartments.

II. Policies

A. Arrival

Each semester Residence Life sets a date when students are permitted to return to campus. See Academic Calendar.

B. Bathrooms

There are bathrooms designated for men, women, and all genders in all Earlham residence halls, houses and apartments.

C. Beds

Bed Disassembly: Beds may be disassembled but may not be removed from a student’s room. Mattresses may not be placed in direct contact with the floor. Students must reassemble their beds before checking out of their rooms. Failure to comply with any of the above stipulations will result in a $50 fine.

D. Bicycles

LOCK YOUR BIKE!! Students are requested to register their bikes with Campus Safety & Security. Bikes may be kept in individual residence rooms and outside in bike racks. Bikes may not block exits or entrances of any building on campus, be locked to railings of handicap ramps, or parked inside any building on campus except in individual residence rooms. Upon request by Campus Safety & Security, bikes parked in unauthorized areas will be removed by Maintenance and the owner will be assessed a $50 fine for return of the bike in addition to the loss of the bike lock. Bikes may not be stored on campus during the summer. All unclaimed confiscated bikes will be sold during the summer by Campus Safety & Security.

E. Cable Television Service

All residence facilities are provided with cable television services for common areas and student lounges. Pirating of cable services is illegal and such action may result in disciplinary action.

F. Charges for Damage and/or Replacement

Damage and cleaning charges are to be assessed by the Office of Residence Life on the recommendation of Area Directors, Assistant Directors and/or Maintenance, and with the authorization of the Associate Dean. Charges are made in accordance with general guide-lines established by Maintenance. In addition, all charges and fines are also subject to an additional charge for labor assessed for all Earlham staff who contribute time and energy to rectify a situation or problem. A listing of damage and replacement costs can be obtained from the Office of Residence Life.

Earlham encourages shared responsibility for community problems. Fines for problems or situations that either cannot be applied to an individual resident or that are clearly the result of an indeterminate group of residents will be shared by the community. Fines will be divided among all the students in a given area or building as appropriate. All Common Billing will be publicly posted and totaled at the end of each semester. The Area Director implements this policy in consultation with residents and the Office of Residence Life.

The College Judicial Council and the Student Judicial Council also have the authority to assess monetary fines. In addition, students are subject to automatic fines as listed in the chart on the following page and may be subject to additional judicial action.

G. Community Charges/Common Billing

As an intentional community, Earlham encourages shared responsibility for community problems. Any fines or problems that cannot be placed to an individual resident or are the result of a indeterminate group of residents will be shared by the community. At the end of each semester, fines are totaled and posted publicly. Fines are divided evenly among all residents of a given area of a building or as appropriate.

Earlham encourages shared responsibility for community problems. Fines for problems or situations that either cannot be applied to an individual resident or that are clearly the result of an indeterminate group of residents will be shared by the community. Fines will be divided among all the students in a given area or building as appropriate. All Common Billing will be publicly posted and totaled at the end of each semester. The Area Director implements this policy in consultation with residents and the Office of Residence Life.

H. Facilities

All residence facilities are coed. There are specific floors in residence halls set aside to accommodate those students who prefer single-gender housing.

I. Fall Semester Room Cancellation

Students who cancel their fall semester on-campus housing reservation after July 31, but before the start of fall semester classes, shall be assessed a $250 fee for their cancellation. Room reservation cancellation may be completed by either submitting: 1) a written request for a housing exemption, or 2) a written request to withdraw or take a leave of absence from their enrollment at the College through the Registrar’s Office. First semester new students who cancel their enrollment are exempted from this cancellation fee, as these students already pay a non-refundable deposit to the College for their first semester.

J. Fines/Charges for Violations

Disabling/tampering with fire protection equipment $500
Policy violation that results in activation of a false fire alarm $500
Pulling a false fire alarm $500
Smoking inside a building $500 per person
Use of candles, incense, fireworks or any items with an open flame or exposed heating element — which includes leaving stove/oven burners on. $500 per person plus damages
Failure to leave a building during a fire alarm $100
Propping open, leaving unlocked or disabling any exterior door $100
Living in College-owned housing not assigned by the Office of Residence Life; charge per day after being asked to move. $100 minimum
Converting common space to individual living space $50 per day
Participating in sports in a common area and the cost of any related damages (i.e., soccer, skateboarding, frisbee, football, etc.) $25 per person
Attempted or actual destruction/damage to College property; cost of repair or replacement $50 minimum, plus labor
Bed disassembly $50 minimum, plus labor
Excessive mess $50 minimum, plus labor
Failure to remove personal items after vacating the room $50 minimum, plus labor and
$20 per day storage fee
Removal of window screen $50 plus labor
Removing furniture from individual rooms or common areas $50 minimum, plus labor
Violation of pet policy $300 per incident
Violation of the extension cord policy $50 per resident
Yard mess — Residence Life Houses $100 minimum
Splicing into or connecting to internet or television cable (or any other form of wiring) $100 per room
Violation of roof policy $500

K. Fire Safety

Fire and related incidents pose the greatest danger to life and property. To reduce this risk, Earlham enforces the following guidelines:

  1. Extension Cords: In accordance with Fire Department regulations, surge protectors (containing a circuit breaker and three-pronged plug) are the only type of cords approved for use in residence facilities.
  2. Candles, incense and other items with open flame or exposed heating elements are prohibited in residence facilities. These items include but are not limited to candles, potpourri burners, electric skillets and hot plates.
  3. Halogen lamps and products are not permitted in residence facilities.
  4. Holiday Decorations: Only small artificial trees and small bulb light sets are permitted.
  5. Kitchen Appliances: Heat producing appliances and items with exposed heating elements such as toasters, toaster ovens, crock pots, coffeemakers and other cooking appliances are not allowed except in kitchen areas.

L. Furniture Policy

Furniture placed in common areas and individual rooms should not be removed or switched. Removal of furnishings for use in individual rooms disallows the use of common areas by other residents and visitors. Using common area furnishings in private rooms without the consent of your Area Director is a $50 fine. Fines for second-time offenders are $75 and increase $25 for each subsequent offense. Third time offenders will be referred to a Student Judicial Council.

M. Guest Policy

Guests of Earlham students are welcome to stay with their friends for no longer than three days. Guests may include Earlham students and non-students. Requests to stay for longer periods of time must be approved by the Area Director. Such arrangements should be made with the Area Director so that individuals may be notified or accounted for in case of emergency.

It is very important that students be considerate of their roommate and residence community. Students who wish to have guests in their room, must have the permission of their roommate. Students who feel their rights are being infringed upon have the responsibility to speak with their roommate. If the problem cannot be resolved directly, the student should talk with the Resident Assistant or Area Director.

N. Housing Exemptions

Looking for a housing exemption? Complete the Housing Exemption Request Form. If you have any questions, please contact Office of Residence Life, [email protected]

O. Housing Procedures Policy

Guidelines which govern room selection, placement, waiting lists, etc. are available from the Office of Residence Life.

P. ID Card Access

College identification cards are acquired from Public Safety. ID cards are used throughout campus, providing access to residence halls, dining hall, library, bookstore, Athletics and Wellness Center and various sporting and social events on and off campus. IDs also offer great discounts at movies and various establishments off campus.

Replacement cost of lost or stolen ID cards is $25.

Q. Keys

Residence Hall and House keys are issued by and returned to Public Safety. All keys are to be returned by specified deadlines or within 24 hours of the time the student moves or no longer resides in College housing.

If a housing key is lost or late, the replacement cost will be billed to the student’s personal account.

R. Laundry Facilities

Every residence hall facility is equipped with its own laundry facilities, which are free to access by residents. Students, as a part of their student bill, pay a one-time $30.00 laundry facility fee which grants them access to all the laundry facilities free of charge.

S. Living with a Roommate and Dealing with Conflicts

The roommate relationship can be one of the greatest joys of college life, or one of the most irritating aspects, but it is undoubtedly one of the most challenging learning experiences. The best way to ensure that you have a successful living situation is COMMUNICATION. Initial and ongoing discussions with your roommate, where each person shares his/her thoughts and feelings about the living situation, are essential to a healthy living situation.

While Earlham’s Community Code highlights the importance of Respect for Persons for members of the Earlham community, mutual respect is especially crucial for roommates in order to build trustworthy and honest relationships. Suggested topics to discuss early in your new living situation include sleeping hours, study habits, appropriate times to have visitors and guests, use of personal belongings, cleanliness and neatness, ways you deal with stress, ways you deal with conflict, use of the telephone, and any other personal habits which may affect your living environment. Being proactive by discussing these items before they become a problem will eliminate many potentially awkward situations.

If you are uncomfortable approaching your roommate about your living situation, of if you already have and its been unsuccessful, and you want or need some extra support, your hall staff are available to help. Your Resident Assistant (RA) and Area Director (AD) are available to help you. The RAs and ADs are trained in conflict mediation techniques and are happy to assist roommates in conflict by scheduling a mediated discussion.

The assistance of the mediator is important because this person can ensure that each person speaks, is heard and is understood accurately. While the goal of the mediated discussion is reconciliation of differences and/or heightened mutual understanding, if mediation proves to be unsuccessful, roommates are then able to pursue an official room change through the Office of Residence Life. Please seek the assistance of your hall staff if you are having roommate problems, unofficial room changes only confuse the issues and ignoring the problem does not make it go away.

T. Lofts

During New Student Orientation students can request, on a first-come, first-served basis, kits to loft their bed. Students may not loft beds without using Earlham Residence Life provided lofts. Loft kits will be assembled by the student and disassembled by the student upon check out.

U. Medical Meal Exemptions

Students with serious medical conditions requiring exemption from the meal plan should contact the Assistant Vice President for Business who will consider each individually. The following criteria must be met to be considered for a medical exemption:

  1. Student must provide a written statement on letterhead from a medical doctor, indicating why the student should be exempt from a meal plan, complete with diagnosis and course of treatment in relation to diet (foods not to be eaten); and
  2. After consultation with the Special Exemption Committee, it is determined that our regular food service cannot provide an adequate diet for the student.

Please note:

  1. A medical meal exemption will not be given based solely on the fact that a student is a vegetarian or that food service does not meet a student’s personal food preferences.
  2. Students will continue to be charged for meals until a medical exemption is granted in writing.
  3. A written statement from a doctor does not guarantee that the student will receive a medical exemption from the meal plan.
  4. Because medical conditions can change, students must reapply for a medical exemption each year.
  5. If a student did not receive a meal plan exemption through the lottery process and is not eligible for a medical exemption, no other exemptions are available.

V. Opening and Closing/Checking-In and Check-Out

Opening and closing times for residence halls and College-owned houses are specified in the Official Academic Calendar. These times have been chosen to best suit the needs of the College community. Check-out time is 5 p.m. of the day following the last final exam of each semester. Teams or organizations which need special arrangements during breaks must request authorization from the Office of Residence Life. Other students who arrive early or stay late must request permission from the Office of Residence Life. The charge is $25 per day for those who have received permission. Unauthorized students will be fined $50 per day and asked to leave College housing.

When checking in and checking out of a room, students are required to review and sign a “Room Inventory Form” which is used to record the condition of the room prior to and at the end of occupancy. Failure to sign in or out constitutes a waiver of the right to appeal any assessed costs. In the event that it is impossible to distinguish which roommate is responsible for damages, all roommates will be charged an equal share of the costs.

W. Painting of Individual Room and Common Areas

Painting of student rooms and/or public areas is not permitted in any residence hall or house.

X. Personal Items

Earlham College is not responsible for stolen or damaged personal belongings. This includes items in residence rooms, assigned lockers and storage areas. Residents are encouraged to keep their door locked at all times to prevent problems. Students are encouraged to check their parents’ homeowners’ insurance or renters’ insurance for insurance coverage of personal property.

Y. Pets

Only small fish and registered, water dependent, non-poisonous amphibians* in tanks of twenty gallons or less, are permitted in residence halls and College-owned houses. Pets are not allowed in dining areas or academic buildings.

*Individuals seeking permission to have water-dependent amphibians as pets must obtain permission through their Area Director.

Z. Policy on Room Access and Search

Earlham College has a general regard for the personal privacy of individual students. If the need for room access arises, the student is expected to be open to communication and cooperation with any administrative official of the College. If the individual student feels his or her rights have been violated in this effort, the student has the right and obligation to bring the matter to the attention of the Vice President and Dean of Student Development or the President.

Earlham College has the right to enter or search individual student rooms for maintenance, suspected possession of firearms, immediate threat of harm to individual community members, infraction of federal, state, and local law, and confrontation and dialogue regarding violation of College policies. In the event the individual student(s) does not cooperate with officials, Earlham College has the right to enter or search any room for possession of dangerous or illegal objects. The administrative official is accountable for his or her actions.

AA. Quiet Hours

In promoting respect for others and understanding the residence facilities are part of the academic environment at Earlham, it is expected that students will be able to study and sleep in their rooms. It is the responsibility of all residents to avoid nose that might disturb others in the building.

Residents are expected to request quiet from offending parties before asking a staff member to intervene.

Hoerner Hall, designated as a Quiet Residence Hall, observes the following quiet hours:

  • Mon. – Thurs. all hours except 11 a.m. – 1 p.m. and 4 – 7 p.m.
  • Fri. no quiet hours after 4 p.m.
  • Sat. no quiet hours
  • Sun. all hours except 4 – 7 p.m.

Residents on each floor in Barrett, Bundy, Earlham, Mills, Olvey-Andis, Warren and Wilson must establish quiet hours in accordance with the following procedures:

  1. A member of the Residence Life Staff will call a floor meeting within one week of the beginning of classes in the Fall Semester.
  2. Floor members will determine the following issues by consensus:
  3. Particular hours for weekdays and weekends.
  4. The expectation of floor members during quiet hours.
  5. These agreements should be written down, posted in a central location on the floor, with copies submitted to the Area Director.
  6. Any floor member may call a floor meeting to re-discuss these issues at any time. Persons moving on to a floor after procedures have been established must abide by the standing policies until such policies are amended.
  7. In the event that floors adjacent to, or above or below, each other have conflicts concerning set hours or designations of quiet, the Area Director will convene a meeting between floors to work out a solution.

BB. Roof Policy

Due to the danger of injury, CCL affirmed a policy prohibiting students from being on the roof of College -owned houses and campus buildings. A $500 fine will be charged to any student on the roof of any campus building.

CC. Room Furnishings

The College supplies the following items for each student: 1 bed, 1 desk with chair, 1 dresser, 1 towel rack or hook, 1 bookcase per room and 1 mirror per room. Drapes or shades are also provided. In addition, some rooms may have medicine cabinets.

Students who wish to personalize their rooms should do so under the following guidelines:

  1. Pictures, posters, mirrors, and similar items may be placed on room walls. Nails, glue, permanent adhesives, or substances leaving residue may not be used due to wall and paint damage they create. Damage charges may be assessed to repair damages in room.
  2. Students must remove all personal items (posters, pictures, and furniture) before checking out from their rooms.

DD. Screens

Students are not to remove screens from windows. A charge of $50 (plus any needed repairs) is assessed for each window which does not have the screen in place at any time. Charges for missing screens will be made in accordance with the replacement cost of the screen.

EE. Single Rooms

A limited number of singles are available by procedures designated in the spring housing selection process. Students who do not acquire a single during the housing process may request to be placed on a waiting list. Students who occupy double rooms without a roommate due to circumstance (e.g. a roommate leaves the College or moves) must take the responsibility for finding a roommate within one week. The Office of Residence Life reserves the right to use all available room spaces and may assign a roommate after that time. Students who occupy double rooms may not trade for singles. Vacant singles are assigned according to the Singles Waiting List. First year students are not eligible for single rooms. Students who feel they have medical or special needs for a single room should complete the Application for Special Housing for the specific guidelines of receiving a single room.

FF. Storage

The College accepts no responsibility for articles stored. Residents store at their own risks.

  1. Storage in Residence Halls: Each residence hall has a designated storage area; articles may be stored in that area only. The following restrictions apply:
    • The Area Director of the residence hall is in charge of storage. Hours will be posted at the beginning and end of each semester.
    • Each resident is allowed a combination of up to six items, i.e., trunks, bound boxes, and suitcases. Students may not store furniture, appliances, bikes or loose materials such as books or clothing.
    • Each item stored must be clearly marked; name, date stored, date to be picked up, and number of items (e.g. 1 of 4, 1 of 5).
  2. Storage in College-owned Houses: Storage space in College-owned houses is unavailable in either basements or attics. Storage space for students residing in College-owned houses is available in Warren Hall. Storage restrictions as outlined above applies with respect to the use of space in Warren Hall.
  3. Summer Storage: Students are encouraged to take their belongings with them at the end of the school year; however, all returning students scheduled to live in college housing may store their belongings in the residence hall to which they are assigned for the next academic year. There is no access to storage areas during the summer.
  4. Storage for those Off-Campus: Students going on off-campus study programs or on leave may store their belongings in Olvey-Andis.
  5. Storage is not permitted in the basement or attics of the College houses at any time.
  6. Storage is not permitted in the College houses during the summer months.

GG. Smoking

All College residence halls and campus houses are non-smoking. Smoking in residence facilities will result in a $500 fine per incident. Smoking on the Heart is also prohibited. Please refer to the College’s Smoking Policy for additional information.

HH. Theme House Policy

Theme houses are elements of our residential life program that have special connections to our educational program. In many cases they provide special experiences that extend various aspects of our educational program. In others they complement that program by providing opportunities to learn about things for which we do not have a formal education program. Theme houses enable both majors and non-majors with an active interest in a field to live together and explore a theme in a fun and comfortable residential setting. An especially good example of how these houses support and connect to the academic program would be when students who are preparing for or returning from overseas study use the language houses to give them opportunities to use the language on a daily basis.

Theme houses must have the following elements in order for continued functioning. Theme houses that fail to meet these standards may be suspended at the discretion of the Office of Residence Life. All must be submitted to and approved by the Director of Residence Life each year.

  1. A statement of purpose that is grounded in some aspect of our educational program.
  2. The commitment of an academic (or administrative at a lesser level) department to support and monitor the program.
  3. A faculty adviser from the committed department that is willing to work with students in the house on behalf of the theme over the course of the year.
  4. A commitment to doing outreach activities for the entire community. Houses should feature lectures, receptions, recitals, seminars, special projects and /or language tables in the dining halls for example.
  5. The house should have written procedures for selecting new residents. Each house must begin each semester at 100% occupancy and end the year at no less than 95%. Houses that are not maintained at this level would have their vacancies filled by the department of Residence Life.
  6. The house must submit a roster of residents for the upcoming year. Rosters must be submitted according to dates established as part of the annual housing sign-up process.
  7. House residents must identify and pursue resources available to the house for activities each semester.
  8. A year-end report/summary of house activities, successes and challenges to be submitted to Residence life by April 30 of each year.

The Department of Residence Life should do an assessment/review of Theme houses every four years in consultation with The Committee on Campus Life. This is done to ensure that the current programs meet the basic criteria set for Theme Houses and to ensure the house is a positive influence on the Earlham Community.

To create a new theme house a department or group of students must fill out a “new theme house” proposal through the Department of Residence Life. The proposal would insist that the applicants meet all the elements for being a theme house, plus overall contribution to community, size of house needed, and student population to be drawn from.

Clerical Notes

February 12, 2024: Section letters added for ease of reference.

Policy specifications

Last revision: 02/12/2024
Responsible office: Residence Life
Responsible party(ies): Director of Residence Life
Approved by: Vice President for Student Life and Dean of Students
Effective date: 02/12/2024
Associated division(s):
Associated audience(s):
Associated container(s):
Policy home: https://earlham.edu/policy/residence-life-policies