Student Handbook - Housing & Life Safety


Housing and Life Safety

Students living in College-owned facilities are expected to comply with the Terms and Conditions of the Union College Residence Hall Contract, on the Union College Residential Life website, the Student Handbook, and the Academic Register. The Residence Hall Contract is binding for one academic year (Fall, Winter, and Spring Terms), excluding vacation periods. All students are required to live on campus during the course of their undergraduate years, if space is available. Failure to check into halls, reside in the assigned room, or pay room charges will not release students from their financial liability to the College. Exceptions may be made for students graduating at the end of a term or entering residence for the winter and/or spring terms. Students who have signed a contract and participate in a Union College International Program or study away are still bound to the stipulations of the residence contract when they return from their program, but are not financially responsible for the housing portion of their bill during the term away.

All students, except those assigned to rooms previously designated for single occupancy, should expect a roommate. The Office of Residential Life reserves the right to re-assign and consolidate students when deemed necessary. In such cases, students without roommates will be contacted by the Office of Residential Life and will be required to relocate within one week.

The College takes no responsibility for losses due to fire, theft, water damage, or any other causes. Students are advised to obtain renter’s insurance to supplement family insurance coverage. The risk of having personal property in a Union College residence hall is borne entirely by the student. Students are advised to keep their rooms locked at all times.

When a student violates any of the housing policies, a Housing Policy Violation may be levied with a fine and/or disciplinary sanctions. Students will be notified of these charges in writing via email from the administrator who met with the student. All students have the opportunity to address the situation with a Residential Life professional staff member.

Housing Policies

Abandoned Personal Property
Any personal property left in the residence halls 24 hours after checkout will become property of the College. Students will be held responsible for the labor costs to remove abandoned property from the residence halls, as well as any fines or fees for improper checkout.  The fine for an improper checkout is $50. 

Access ID Cards/Keys/Locks
Residents are issued a picture identification card that also serves as their meal card, food debit card, and access card to the front door of their residence hall. Residents are also issued one or two keys (depending on where they live), which opens their room door.  Giving or loaning a key or ID card to another person is not permitted because it jeopardizes the safety of the entire residence hall or house. Students who loan their key or card, or students who are found in possession of keys or cards other than their own are subject to fines or disciplinary action. The duplication of room keys is not permitted.  Students receive their first lock-out at no charge.  For each subsequent lock out, students will be charged $5.  The cost of a lock change for lost keys is $50.  A lost ID card may be replaced at the Campus Safety Desk in College Park Hall at a cost of $25.

Bicycles
Bicycles must be stored in designated areas or in the student’s room. Bicycle racks are available outside many of the residence halls. Hallways, stairwells, and lounges, or other common spaces are not designated storage areas for bikes. Motorbikes and motor scooters are not permitted inside the residence halls.

Bottle and Can
Cans and/or bottles may not be stored, collected, or used as decorations in student rooms, suites, or apartments. The first violation of this housing policy will result in a warning and subsequent violations will result in conduct charges.

Cooking
Cooking is permitted ONLY in those areas equipped with kitchenettes or microwaves. Students must be mindful of fire safety concerns while using the facilities. In apartments with kitchens, residents must clean the kitchen thoroughly before the end of each term. If the kitchen is not cleaned to acceptable standards, Facilities Services will clean the kitchen at the residents’ expense.

Damages/Vandalism
As part of community living at Union College, students must respect the safety and security of all College property, including property found in individual rooms and public areas. Students must also encourage their fellow residents to be respectful in ensuring that property is not damaged or stolen, and must report any knowledge they have of someone responsible for damages to College property. Students aware of any person responsible for specific damages are expected to contact a member of Residential Life or Campus Safety.

Individual Charges: Students will be held responsible for any damage, misuse, or misappropriation of any College-owned property in their rooms. Occupants are required to pay any costs associated with replacement or repair of the furnishings (including labor, materials, and overhead costs). Where two or more students occupy the same room or suite, and where determination of specific responsibility for the damage or losses cannot be determined, an assessment will be made against both or all equally. Individuals responsible for damages within the common area of the residence halls will be assessed a bill to repair the damage and will also receive an additional fine of $100 for vandalism along with facing possible conduct charges for violating the Student Conduct Code.

Group Charges: When damage, misuse, or theft of College-owned property occurs within common areas of buildings and the responsible person(s) cannot be determined or the property is not returned, appropriate costs and/or fines will be assessed to a group of students. In such cases a minimum of $5 will be charged to each student within the group.

Early Arrivals
Any students wishing to arrive to campus prior to the date set for either first year or upperclass student move-in must obtain permission from the Office of Residential Life.  Student may not arrive on campus prior to a week before the scheduled move-in date and there is a cost per day to arrive early.  An application is available from the Office of Residential Life for any student interested in this option.  

Furniture
All College-owned furniture assigned to a room or suite must remain in that room or suite. Exit paths from the room or suite must remain clear and unobstructed at all times. Occupants will be billed for the replacement of any missing furniture. Furniture assigned to lounges or common area spaces is not allowed in individual student rooms. Students who violate this policy may receive a fine and possible conduct charges for possession of common area furniture.

Guests
Students may have no more than two overnight guests in their rooms for no more than two consecutive nights and only if they obtain approval of all roommates.  Guests may not sleep in lounges or hallways and are expected to follow all the rules and regulations of the College.  The host assumes all responsibility for the guest’s conduct, both in the halls and on campus.  Any conduct violation for which the guest is documented will result in the identical conduct change being brought against the host.

Hall Sports
Sports are not permitted in common areas or hallways of the residence halls due to the potential for injury and damage. This includes, but is not limited to, activities such as rollerblading, throwing/hitting/bouncing balls or pucks, throwing Frisbees, wrestling, etc.

Laundry
Washers and dryers are located in each residence hall and are free to operate to students living on-campus.  A $20 laundry fee will be assessed to a student’s term bill each term they are on campus.  Any problems with washers or dryers should be reported to the Facilities Services office.  They can be reached at 518-388-6181 or

http://www.union.edu/offices/facilities/index

Lofts
Lofts can be rented or purchased through the Timbernest Company (www.timbernest.com; 1-800-865-NEST).  Only lofts rented or purchased through this company may be used in the residence halls.

Maintenance/Repairs
Students are responsible for cleaning their rooms and for cleaning floors and lounges after programs. Any maintenance emergency should be directed immediately to Facilities (or to Campus Safety Monday-Friday after 5:00 p.m. and on weekends). If these areas are found unkempt, students will be charged for excessive cleaning. Students requiring repairs in their room can notify their Resident Advisor, Residence Director, House Coordinator, House manager  or contact Facilities Services directly at 518-388-6181 or via the internet at 

http://www.union.edu/offices/facilities/index

Any maintenance emergency should be directed immediately to Facilities (or to Campus Safety Monday - Friday after 5:00 p.m. and on weekends).

Off Campus Releases
All students are required to live on campus for their entire time at Union College, if space is available. When space is unavailable, a lottery will occur in the winter term for rising senior students wishing to be released from campus.  Only a limited number of students will be released from campus and that number will change each year based on class size and on-campus beds available.  If the number of rising seniors wishing to be released is not high enough, the process will be opened up to members of the rising junior class.  Students are discouraged from signing a lease with a landlord off campus until they are giving explicit permission to be released.

In particular instances, non-traditional aged students may petition to live off campus at the discretion of the Director of Resident Life.  

Painting
Painting is not permitted in any residential, common area or hallway without permission to do so.  Any residents found to have painted a residential area without permission will be subject to costs for repair and possible disciplinary action.

Pets
All animals, including those used as lab specimens, are strictly prohibited inside or outside residential facilities, except as allowed under the Service Animal Policy in the Students with Disabilities Handbook. Visitors may not bring pets inside the residential facilities. Fish are permitted; however, tank size may not exceed 10 gallons. Further pet regulations are listed under Campus Safety Regulations and Policies. If an unauthorized pet is found in a residence hall, the student(s) will be charged a fine of $50 plus $10 per day until the pet is removed.   

Porches and Yard Space
Some apartments, theme, and Greek houses on campus have front and back porch space, in addition to lawn space, that residents can utilize. All of these spaces are considered open spaces on campus property and all college policies must be abided by. Open container policies will be enforced and residents may face judicial action for excess and/or dangerous occupancy of porch spaces. Residents are not allowed to install fire pits, swimming pools, or any other open element hazard. Residents are allowed to have and use grills, as long as the grills are 25 feet away from the property while in use.

Quiet Hours
Quiet hours are established to ensure the rights of students to study and sleep in the residence halls. Quiet hours are defined as those hours when noise, including music, must be contained within the room or suite with the door closed. Quiet hours are 10:00 p.m. - 8:00 a.m. Sunday through Thursday and 1:00 a.m. - 10:00 a.m. Friday and Saturday. Residents may extend the hours on their floor or building, but may not reduce the hours. Even though quiet hours begin in the late evening, courtesy is always expected by all students to maintain a living environment conducive to academic success.

Room Assignments/Changes
All students are required to live on campus during the course of their undergraduate years, provided housing is available.  All students must reside in their assigned rooms, and are prohibited from switching rooms, taking a roommate, or permitting any part of the room to be shared by persons not assigned by the Director of Residential Life or his/her designee.  Students experiencing problems with a living situation should first consult with their Resident Advisor. Room changes are not permitted during the first or last two (2) weeks of any term, unless it is an emergency situation. All room changes (including those within a suite) must be authorized through the Office of Residential Life before any moves take place.  The Director of Residential Life may relocate a student for disruptive behavior whether or not disciplinary action has been taken or completed.  The fine for an unauthorized room change is $100 and the student may be required to return to their assigned room and may be subject to disciplinary action. 

Room Check-Out
Students are responsible for checking out of their rooms when they leave campus for a term away, summer break, academic dismissal, leave of absence, room change, etc. Students need to be checked out of their rooms by a Residential Life staff member, or complete an “Express Checkout” form at the Office of Residential Life.  A student who uses the express check-out method waives their right to appeal any room damages.  Rooms must be left clean with all the furniture intact, and the room key returned. The Residential Life staff will inspect rooms and assess appropriate charges and fines based on the comparison of the check-in and check-out Room Condition Report. Residents must vacate their room and check-out properly within 24 hours after their last final exam or withdrawing from the College.

Room Search
The College reserves the right to inspect and/or search rooms for the purpose of furthering the educational mission of Union College or for safety, health, security and maintenance purposes.  In all cases where the health, safety, or welfare of a person may be in danger or in cases where College property is in jeopardy, a College official may enter a suite or room immediately and without notice to, or consent from, the student. A room search can be conducted by a College Official at any time regardless of whether or not the student is present. 

Roofs
The roofs of all residence halls, theme houses, apartments, and Greek houses are unprotected areas and are not designed for recreational use. Students must not climb onto a roof or congregate on any roof for any purpose.  Students found to be in violation of this may be subject to disciplinary action.   

Housing Accommodation Requests
Students with medical conditions which may require special housing needs or exemptions from standard housing regulations should contact the Office of Residential Life to obtain the necessary Special Housing Accommodations Request Forms.  Special needs housing requires advanced planning and documentation. Once the forms are completed in full as requested, they can be returned to the Office of Residential Life and will then be forwarded to the Committee on Special Accommodations for review.  Just the submission of the forms does not grant the approval of the request. Students must hear from the committee that they have been officially approved or denied for the request.  Students will be notified of their status after a decision has been made by the committee.  Appeals may be made to the Director of Residential Life. Students with documented disabilities or extreme medical conditions who are requesting accommodations should meet with Molly MacElroy (Director of Residential Life) or Shelly Shinebarger (Director of Student Support Services) (a phone call can be scheduled during the summer months).  Students must (re) apply for accommodations each year.  Even if a student has had accommodations in the past, updated documentation must be submitted and meeting with either of the two persons mentioned above.  Special needs housing is intended for individuals with a medical disability which substantially limits their ability to function daily in a residence hall environment. There is a different between housing accommodation and housing preferences.

 
Student preferences for certain types of housing (ground floor, air conditioning, etc.) cannot be granted, whereas reasonable accommodations are provided to students with documented disabilities.  The Special Housing Accommodations request Forms can be found here:  

http://www.union.edu/offices/residential-life/forms/index.php

Storage
The College does not provide storage for students’ personal belongings at any point throughout the year, including break periods. Students wishing to store belongings some place other than their room may wish to contact a local storage company to make arrangements. All College provided furnishings must remain in the room.  Students interested in storage for the summer may contact the Office of Residential Life for information about storage companies in the area. 

Solicitation
Soliciting in the residence halls is prohibited. Students are advised to contact Campus Safety or notify a Resident Advisor if there are solicitors in the building.

Summer Housing
Summer Housing space is very limited, and is not guaranteed. In order to be considered for summer housing, students must be affiliated with the College for the summer. Preference will be given to students involved in research with professors and those attending summer session classes offered at the College. All requests for summer housing must be made to the Office of Residential Life by the posted deadline during spring term. Students are billed a designated rate per week during the summer for the number of weeks they reside in the halls. 

Voice, Data and TV
Each residential area is provided with phone, internet, and cable connections. If you have questions regarding your phone line, please contact Telecommunications at 518-388-6411. If you have questions regarding your internet connection, please contact Information Technology Services at 518-388-6293. If you have questions regarding cable, please contact Time Warner at 518-640-8621 or www.twalbany.com.

Waterbeds
Waterbeds are not permitted in residence halls because of excessive weight and potential for water damage.

Windows
Windows must remain unobstructed. Furniture, bedding, fans, lights, etc. must not block windows. Items may not be hung from or in residence hall windows. It is strictly prohibited to hang, drop or throw items out of residence hall/house windows. Students must not remove the screens in the windows at any time.

Withdrawal from Housing
Students who are granted on-campus housing and then decide to withdraw from the College must notify the Dean of Students Office to process an official withdrawal. The student will be held responsible for payment of their room charges in accordance with the refund schedule published in the Academic Register. Students who withdraw from the College, are dismissed by the College, or are officially released from their residence contract, must vacate their residential area within 24 hours.