General Policies and Procedures

Each member of the Mount Holyoke community is expected to adhere to the honor code and all regulations in the Student Handbook. The effectiveness of a residence hall community rests firmly on an accepted code of behavior in which personal and collective integrity are the hallmark. Each student must make themselves familiar with and uphold the residence hall policies and procedures. Failure to comply with Residential Life and College policies will result in disciplinary action and may lead to a loss of housing privileges.

Alcohol

The College is bound to adhere to all Massachusetts state laws regarding distribution, possession, and consumption of alcoholic beverages. No alcoholic beverages of any kind may be served to those under the age of 21. No kegs or deliveries of alcoholic beverages are allowed in the halls.  Students 21 and older may have alcohol in their rooms, but there is no alcohol allowed in public areas such as halls, lounges, television room, etc., unless they are participating in a sanctioned College event. For more information about the Mount Holyoke College Alcohol policy and sanctions, please refer to the Student Handbook.

Bias-Related Incidents

Harassment based on race, national or ethnic origin, sexual orientation, gender/gender expression, religion, age, or disability is not tolerated in the residence halls. Such behavior includes unwelcome slurs, jokes, graphic or written materials, and all other verbal or physical actions related to an individual's personal background or attributes.  Mount Holyoke College has procedures and protocols in place for dealing with bias incidents both on and off campus.

Bicycles

All bicycles on campus must be registered with the Campus Police Department. Registration is free and can be done through the online form, or at the Campus Police office Monday–Friday 9:00 am–3:00 pm. The registration decal will expire upon the students graduation date but in no case longer than four years from the original registration date.

All bicycles on campus must be stored in approved residence hall locations and secured to a bicycle rack. If the bicycle is outside, it should be secured to an outside bike rack. Bicycles may NOT be secured to fire hydrants, tress, parking signs, ramps, railings, or left in the path of egress in any building on campus. Bicycles left over the summer that have expired decals or are not registered will be considered abandoned and will be confiscated and discarded.

Any bicycle in violation of the College’s bicycle policy or unregistered will be confiscated and if it is not claimed within 30 days it will be discarded.

Community Responsibility

Students are members of a residence hall and are expected to act responsibly and not to interfere with the rights, comfort, or safety of their roommates and other students.

Community Standards & Violation of Res Life Policy

If a student violates any of the Residential Life policies and procedures, the student may be asked to meet with a member of Residential Life professional staff. This meeting will outline what policy has been violated, list any sanctions that the student will be required to complete, and will act as a student's agreement not to violate this policy again. If a student has multiple offenses or does not complete the sanctions set out in the agreement, the matter may be referred to the Director of Residential Life, Dean of Students, or the Honor Code Council. For more information on the Honor Code Council, hearing procedures, and the sanctioning process, please refer to the Student Handbook.

Disposal of Medical Sharps

Massachusetts regulations prohibit disposal of needles or other medical sharps in the trash or recycling.  For more information regarding proper disposal in the residence halls, please refer to the Disposal of Medical Sharps policy as outlined by the Environmental Health and Safety office.

Drugs

In accordance with the Federal Drug Free Schools and Community Act and Massachusetts state law, using, possessing, or distributing illegal narcotics is prohibited. For more information about the Mount Holyoke College drug policy and sanctions, please refer to the Student Handbook.

Escort Policy

All guests will need to be escorted by their host, but not necessarily escorted while on the floor of their host. Guests must be escorted to other floors in the hall. In the case of co-ed bathrooms, a guest will need to request permission to enter. All guests need to be escorted throughout the hall during residence hall parties. Each residence hall will be charged with the responsibility to develop policy modifications for each residence hall floor or spontaneous events or special event weekends as members of the community deem appropriate.  Policy modifications should be consistent with current community standards. Guests should not be let into the residence hall by anyone other than their student escort.  Guests should let students know they have arrived by contacting them via the call boxes outside of each residence hall.

Fire Safety

Furniture & Furniture Removal

Each residential space is equipped with furniture provided by the College. All College-owned furniture must remain in the student’s room. The resident(s) of a room will be charged for any damaged furniture and/or furniture missing from their space. Any request for accommodation must be approved through the Office of AccessAbility Services prior to removal of the furniture.

Guests

Student rooms serve multiple purposes and the Office of Residential Life encourages roommates to discuss rest, academic, and social expectations within their room. As a residential college, rest and study have priority over entertainment. This is a priority occupants sharing a room must honor. This policy on guests applies to all residential students and is in effect for the fall and spring semester. No guests are permitted during summer housing, winter break and Intersession.

Students are allowed to invite guests into the residence halls. The College considers a guest of the campus to be anyone who is not an actively registered Mount Holyoke student. A guest in a residential context is any student who is not a resident of the hall or assigned occupant in the residence hall room.

Specific Guidelines of the Guest Policy:

  • Student Organizations hoping to have more than 15 guests on any given night must follow the hosting guidelines.
  • Guests must abide by the regulations of the residence hall and the larger College community while they are on campus.
  • If the guest's conduct offends other residents, breaks policy, or if the frequency of visits becomes problematic, the hosts will be asked to have the guest leave immediately.
  • Any guest without a host will be asked to leave immediately.
  • The host(s) is held responsible for the behavior of their guests.
  • The host(s) assumes full responsibility for informing their guests of the College policies, procedures, and community expectations.
  • In instances of inappropriate behavior, this policy will be applied to currently registered Mount Holyoke students.

Overnight Guests

Students are permitted to host guests for overnight stays. The Office of Residential Life asks roommates to discuss and come to agreement on overnight guests, including overnight visits of Mount Holyoke students. The overnight provision of the guest policy is intended for short term visits. Short term is typically a weekend. The overnight provision of the guest policy also applies to students living in apartments, singles, and suites as well as students living with roommates.

Specific Guidelines for Overnight Guests:

  • Overnight is considered any stay in the residence hall between the hours of 2:00–8:00 am.
  • The actual permitted number of overnight days should be agreed upon by roommates. The maximum number of overnight days per semester is 16 per visitor.
  • No overnight guest can stay in residence longer than seven (7) consecutive days. Overnight guests are limited to one seven (7) consecutive day stay per semester.
  • Host and guests cannot sleep in residence hall common rooms, nor may any student remove common room furniture or cushions to accommodate a guest in their room.

Hallways

Hallways must always be clear in case of fire. Items found in hallways and stairwells are considered abandoned.  A delay in removing items from a hallway will result in their immediate removal and disposal.  This includes but is not limited to doormats, boots, umbrellas and decorative items.

Illegal Moves/Room Changes

Students are not allowed to move into a new room assignment or change rooms with another student without the express permission of the Office of Residential Life. For more information on room changes, please contact the Office of Residential Life. For questions about changing rooms, please contact the Office of Residential Life. For more information on room changes, please consult the room change section of the Housing Process website.

Key Replacement

Lockouts

Students locked out of their rooms should look for the senior community advisor (SCA) or community advisor (CA) from their building. The SCA or CA will provide each student with three lockouts per semester. If the student staff is unavailable, or the student has surpassed three lockouts per semester, the student should call campus police. Lockouts handled by Campus Police personnel will be charged a fee is $15. There are no free lockouts provided by Campus Police personnel.

Staff is not authorized, under any circumstances, to let anyone into someone else's room, therefore, a student must show proof of identification (student identification card, driver's license) prior to entry. If the student has no form of identification at the time, the student will be required to show identification immediately upon entrance to the room.

Animals

Pets are forbidden in College provided housing with the exception of service animals, and fish that can be safely and humanely contained in a tank/bowl of five gallons or less. Students may also have an animal if approved as an accommodation through the Office of AccessAbility Services.

Aquarium lights and filters are allowed and must meet Mount Holyoke College's fire safety guidelines. Students are responsible for the well-being of their pets throughout the academic year and break periods. 

Visiting pets

For the safety and comfort of all of our residents, we do not allow pets outside of the exception noted above to visit you inside College provided housing for any length of time. If a student's family or friends intend to bring an animal to campus, they must remain outside of College provided housing and follow all College policies on walking animals on campus.

Service animals

Students seeking to bring a service animal on campus should refer to the Service Animal Policy for specific details and guidelines. 

Other animals

The College will consider other animal species in residence on a case-by-case basis in accordance with federal regulations. Such requests should be made through the AccessAbility Services Office.

Quiet Hours

Students are expected to be courteous and respectful of one another regarding room noise and activity at all times. Established quiet hours are 10 p.m.-8 a.m. Sunday night - Friday morning and 2 a.m.-10 a.m. Friday night-Sunday morning. Quiet floors are located on the second, third and fourth floors of Brigham Hall and the fourth and fifth floors of 1837 Hall. These spaces have 24-hour quiet hours with silent hours 10 p.m.-8 a.m. Outside of quiet hours and courtesy hours, there are 24 hour quiet hours during the examination period, which begin at midnight of the first reading day. Quiet hours can be extended through voting facilitated by the hall staff.

Right to Assign/Reassign Student Room Placement

The College, through the Office of Residential Life, reserves the right to assign any vacancy in College-owned housing at any time and/or to reassign any student at any time. The College reserves the right to relocate housing assignments as deemed necessary. This includes relocating a student to another room/hall or assigning a new roommGuesate to any open housing space.

Statement on Privacy and Room Inspections

Residential Life and Facilities Management assess the condition of each room at the beginning of the academic year. This assessment indicates the physical state of the room and all of its contents at the time of the student's arrival in the fall. Any missing furniture or change in the state of the room or its facilities beyond reasonable wear will be billed to the student.  Students will be charged for actual labor and replacement costs of furniture.  A $100 cleaning fee is assessed if personal belongings or trash is left behind in the residence hall room when they vacate at the end of their contract period.  Any painting of student rooms or College furnishings is prohibited. There will be a minimum $400 fee for any painting in a student room or on College furnishings.

Residential Life staff and Facilities Management staff inspect rooms periodically to ensure compliance with fire safety regulations. Another inspection takes place after students leave. Students will be notified in advance of inspections.

In addition, South Hadley departments of public health, public safety, and fire may send inspectors to conduct routine inspections of residence halls, including student rooms, bathrooms and common areas, and storage areas. These inspections may result in College sanctions for any student who is responsible for violations of College policy.

Routine inspections are scheduled in advance and generally occur during the College business day (Monday–Friday, 8:30 a.m.–5 p.m.). Inspectors will provide a minimum notice of 24 hours. Inspectors are escorted by a Mount Holyoke College employee. To inspect an occupied student room, the inspector must present the appropriate credentials and request permission from an occupant before inspecting.

If permission for a scheduled inspection is denied and the occupant refuses to arrange a convenient time for the inspection, the inspector may obtain a court order permitting entry without the occupant’s permission.

These inspections are limited to the purposes for which they are authorized and should not involve examining any desk, bureau, trunk or other presumptively private container. Closets may be searched for illegal heating devices.

If an inspector should see evidence of a crime in plain view, the inspector has the responsibility to report the observation to law enforcement authorities. At Mount Holyoke College, these reports can be forwarded to campus police.

To ensure the health and safety of the community, emergency and/or safety inspections can occur at any time without notice.

Searches by Law Enforcement Officials

Nothing in the legal relationship between the College and the student gives the College authority to consent on students’ behalf to the search of a student’s room, vehicle or other possessions by law enforcement officials.

The College will advise law enforcement officials that they must obtain the student’s permission or a judicial search warrant for permission to search a student’s room, vehicle or other possessions.

(Note: Law enforcement search warrants must be based on probable cause to believe a crime has been committed and that evidence of that crime is in the place to be searched. Law enforcement officials do not have to have reason to believe that the occupants of a particular room, or the possessors of a vehicle or trunk, have committed the crime under investigation.)

Law enforcement officials who have a valid search warrant are required to show it to the occupant of the room if the occupant is present. Law enforcement authorities have the authority to use whatever physical force is necessary to affect the warrant. Questions about the validity of the search warrant should be reserved for the courts.

In exigent circumstances (such as an immediate situation where there is insufficient time to obtain a search warrant and where evidence would be destroyed by the delay), particularly with motor vehicles, law enforcement officers operating on probable cause may not need a search warrant.

The campus police department is responsible for the coordination of all searches and seizures by public officials and outside law enforcement on the Mount Holyoke College campus.

Roommates’ Rights and Responsibilities Connected to Privacy and Inspection

Students may incur legal liabilities as a result of actions taken by their roommate(s). Roommates who tolerate the commission or evidence of a crime (including illegal drugs) in their rooms open themselves to the possibility that all of their private possessions in that room may be searched pursuant to a warrant, even though they are not suspects, and that they may be prosecuted for any stolen goods or prohibited substances found therein.

Roommates may authorize law enforcement officers, official inspectors, or anyone else to enter rooms shared in common and a successful prosecution may follow from the observation of the evidence of a crime in plain view. However, a roommate may not waive another student’s right to the privacy of a desk, bureau, closet, trunk or other presumptively private container not shared in common. A judicial warrant is required to search closed containers.

College Staff Access to Rooms

College staff (including but not limited to campus police, the professional staff on call, Residential Life, Facilities Management and LITS personnel) may enter a student’s room to perform services and maintenance or respond to an emergency. Professional Residential Life staff may enter a student’s room in case of health and safety concerns.

Occasionally, rooms may have to be entered in a student’s absence to carry out non-requested services or maintenance, or the restoration of heat, water or electricity. In these circumstances, the College will endeavor to leave behind notice of the entry and its time and purpose.

All student rooms will be regularly inspected during vacations and other scheduled times throughout the year by College custodial, housekeeping or maintenance personnel to inspect for fire, health or safety hazards; to liberate confined pets; or to ascertain damage to College property.

The College reserves the right to escort insurance inspectors, engineers and other officials through the residence halls and to conduct surveys of selected buildings or rooms for the purpose of planning renovations. Advance notice of these inspections will be given whenever possible.

The College reserves the right to enter a student’s room when necessary for the furtherance of College business, which includes, but is not limited to, inspection for compliance with fire, health and safety regulations; inspection and inventory of College property; maintenance of security; the furtherance of security investigation; and necessary building maintenance.

Residence Hall Common Room Reservations

Students are able to reserve the common spaces in their residence hall for small gatherings and events.  Please see the Common Space Reservations page for more information.

Smoke Free Residence Halls

All residence halls are completely smoke-free spaces. The definition of smoke-free includes all tobacco products - cigarettes, cigars, pipes, bongs, etc. - as well as all types of electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS) - vaporizers, vape pens, hookah, hookah pens, electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes), and e-pipes. No smoking should take place in any space in these buildings. This includes, but is not limited to, student rooms, lounge spaces, bathrooms, balconies, porches, or within 20 feet of the hall. Students caught smoking in the residence halls will be assessed a minimum fee of $50.

See the Residence License Agreement.

Trunk Rooms

Vandalism

Vandalism is defined as any intentional behavior that causes destruction of College and/or private property. Students are expected to refrain from behavior that can damage their residence or the belongings of others, including any College property. In addition, students are responsible for the behavior of their guests and will be held accountable for their actions. Students will be billed for the costs of any vandalism that they cause or that may be caused by their guests, and may face additional sanctions.