Residence Life Policy and Procedures

A. Housing Terms and Conditions

1. Housing Application and Contract

The housing application and contract is a legally binding agreement between the university and the resident. All students are responsible for the stipulation of the contract they are entering when a housing application is signed.  All specific policies on payments, cancellations, deposits, and refunds will be included in the contract.

2. On-Campus Residency Policy

It is University policy that all single, full-time undergraduates who are under the age of 21 be required to live on campus until they have earned 60 semester hours (junior status) or have lived on campus for four consecutive semesters (excluding summer semesters).

3. Housing Exemption Policy

Any student who lives within a 50-mile radius of Americus with a family member who serves as a guardian will be exempt from this policy if an Exemption from Residency Requirement form is submitted to the Office of Residence Life. Other reasons for exemption from the residency policy include being married or having a dependent child. Failure to submit this request will result in a hold being placed on a student’s account until cleared.

4. Payments

a. Per semester housing fees are due and payable in advance at the prescribed rate per academic term. If payment is not made by the stipulated deadline, the student's registration may be cancelled.

b. Monthly housing fees are due the first day of each month. Payments will be due for the following months: August, September, October, November, December, January, February, March, and April. If payment is not received by the fifth day of the month, the payment is considered late and a late fee of $35.00 will be assessed.

5. Cancellations

a. New and continuing applicants for campus housing who decide not to enroll at Georgia Southwestern must cancel their housing contract in writing no later than thirty (30) working days prior to the first official day of classes for the affected term. Cancellation after this date will result in forfeiture of deposit

b. Students who have signed this contract and enroll at Georgia Southwestern are obligated to the contract for the entire academic year and may not cancel this obligation. This obligation requires 100% payment for Fall and Spring semester fees.

6. Right of University to Cancel

a. The University reserves the right to refuse admission or readmission to University housing or to cancel the contract during the academic year for the student's failure to meet University requirements or to follow policies or regulations, or in the event of criminal conviction by civil authorities, or for any other reasonable cause.

b. If the student is removed from the residence halls for judicial reasons the student is responsible for 100% of the fees for that semester. If the student is still under contract for the Spring, the student will be charged 25% of the fees for that semester.

c. If the student fails to pay housing fees, additional fees, or assessments by the dates required by the University, the University is entitled to pursue any or all of the following actions: termination of the contract, evict the student from University housing, cancellation of registration, and withholding transcripts, diplomas or other records or documents maintained by the University.  

d. If the student has not checked into his/her assigned room by Tuesday, August 20, 2013, the student could risk losing his/her housing assignment or be reassigned to a different room or residence hall.

7. Deposits

a. A $250 deposit must accompany the housing contract and is nontransferable to another person. The deposit is refunded according if/when:

  1. The University is unable to provide campus housing,
  2. the terms of the contract are fulfilled,
  3. the student has been officially checked out of the room by a residence hall staff member, and/or
  4. the student is cleared of responsibility for damage to the room or building.

b. The deposit will be forfeited, wholly or in part, when the student:

  1. is responsible for damage to the room or building,
  2. fails to follow departmental check out procedures ,
  3. terminates the contract after the established deadlines or before the terms are completed, or
  4. owes the University any debt, fine, or other obligation.

8. Short Term Contract

Short-term housing for commuter students is available up to two nights each week. Cost for the overnight stay is $25 for a single room and $20 for a double-occupancy room. Rooms are issued to commuters and guests only as space is available.

9. Schedule

The University residence halls will open as announced prior to the beginning of each semester. Students shall vacate the halls by the day and time announced in advance of closing of the halls or they will be assessed an improper check out fee and charged for additional days/nights spent in the hall. During official holidays within a semester, or between semesters, the University reserves the right to close all or some of the halls and require students remaining on campus to move temporarily to another hall. The University reserves the right to charge extra rent when housing is provided during breaks.

B. Campus Living Policies and Procedures

1. Occupancy

a. Students may occupy residence hall rooms on the opening date announced prior to each term. Failure to occupy a reserved room within 24 hours of the beginning of classes may result in cancellation of a specific space assignment. Students contracting for housing prior to the first day of the term will be held responsible for payment of the entire term regardless of when they check in.

b. Occupancy of rooms is allowed only by students to whom the room is assigned. Rooms may not be sublet to another person. In all residence halls, rooms shall be vacated by the date published by Residence Life.

c. The University reserves the right to:

  1. Authorize or deny room and roommate changes,
  2. Place additional students in a student’s assigned room,
  3. Consolidate vacancies,
  4. Re-designate building usage, or
  5. Relocate students for reasons including, but not limited to, renovation, maintenance, construction, roommate conflicts, and disciplinary sanctions.

d. In all residence halls, rooms shall be vacated no later than twenty-four hours after cancellation of the contract.

e. Any items left in the residence

2. Visitation

  1. The following rules apply to all residence halls:
    • a. Guests must enter and exit from the lobby entrance(s).
    • b. Guests must be escorted by a resident of that building at all times.
    • c. Residents are responsible for the behavior of their guest(s).
    • d. During the hours when a desk assistant is on duty, all guests must present a picture ID and sign the visitation log.
  2. Freshmen students have the following hours of visitation:
    • Sunday - Wednesday 10:00 AM. - 1:00 AM
    • Thursday - Saturday 10:00 AM - 3:00 AM
  3. Upper-class students have no limitations on the hours of visitation. However, the 24-hour visitation policy does not allow for cohabitation. Residents may not have an overnight guest more than 3 times per month.  If a guest is going to stay past the time that a desk assistant is on duty for that night, the resident must complete an overnight guest registration form and leave it with the desk assistant.  If a resident has an overnight guest more than three times during any month, it may result in a loss of all visitation privileges for that resident, and the guest may be banned from visiting the residence hall at all.
  4. A resident may not have more than two guests at any one time.  No suite or apartment may have more than four guests at any one time.
  5. Due to insurance restrictions and liabilities, children under the age of 12 are not permitted to stay past 10:00 p.m. in residence halls nor at any time for babysitting purposes.   Children must be accompanied by the resident being visited while in the residence hall. Children must not be left alone in residence hall rooms or public areas.

3. Liability

The University will not be liable for injury to persons or for loss or damage to items of personal property that occur in its buildings or on its grounds. This includes, but is not limited to, damage from fire, windstorm, vandalism, interruption of utilities, or condition of facilities. Students are strongly encouraged to carry appropriate insurance to cover possible loss of personal property. The RLC for each residence hall can provide you information about obtaining student renter’s insurance.

4. Lock Outs, Lost Keys, and Student Responsibility

  1. The Residence Life Staff realizes that even with the best precautions, students may still lock themselves out of their room. If this happens, the student should:
    • i. Contact the RA on duty by calling the duty number listed on the duty board
    • ii. Locate any available RA
    • iii. If no RA is available, find the Residence Life Coordinator or Residence Hall Director in the building.
    • iv. If the Residence Life Coordinator or Residence Hall Director is not available, contact the Office of Residence Life Mon-Fri from 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM or Public Safety during all other times and on holidays.
  2. A student will receive a key to his/her room from the residence hall staff during check-in procedures. It is the student's responsibility to keep the key secure and return it to the Residence Life staff upon vacating the room. Students should not loan their keys or access card for any reason to any person. Possession of unauthorized keys is prohibited.
  3. A resident who loses his/her room key will be held responsible for the cost of lock replacement.
    • i. Double occupancy room (Oaks/Duncan) - $75.00
    • ii. Single occupancy (Oaks/Magnolia/2-Bedroom apartments) - $125.00
    • iii. 4-Bedroom Apartments (Pines) - $250.00
  4. Should the key be broken, a replacement key will be provided when the broken key is returned at the cost of $25.00 per key.

5. Room Entry

While the University will make every effort to respect the privacy of the student, the university reserves the right of entry for inspection, verification of occupancy and repairs, or when there is reason to believe the Student Code of Conduct is being violated. The university also reserves the right of entry without notice in circumstances posing a threat to life or property or as reasonably necessary to preserve campus order and discipline.

6. Solicitation

Solicitation within the residence halls is only permitted in compliance with applicable University policy and the approval of the Director of Residence Life. Research may be conducted in the halls only with the prior written approval of the Director of Residence Life and GSW’s Institutional Review Board.

7. Conduct in the Residence Halls

Students and their guests are expected to conduct themselves with proper regard for the rights, property, and privileges of other residents. Pets, solicitation of business, weapons, alcohol, controlled substances, alteration of locks, removal of university or other students’ furnishings, and tampering with any security or fire system is prohibited. Violations of these regulations may subject the individual to disciplinary action, confiscation of contraband, and removal from University housing or from the University itself.

8. Quiet Hours

Residence Life realizes that part of college is to socialize. However, we also feel that students that choose to study should be able to do that. Therefore, we have come up with the following quiet hours for specific times.

  • a. Students must vacate the building lobby by 9:00pm. Students will not be allowed to congregate past this time. (This includes sitting areas outside of the residence hall doors, porches, and courtyards)
  • b. Social gatherings in the hall way should NOT go past 9:00 PM. If a group wishes to have an event past 9:00 PM, they should reserve a community multi-purpose room. The group must keep all noise to a minimum.
  • c. Quiet hours begin at 9:00 PM and end at 9:00 AM. During finals, these hours are 24 hours a day.
  • d. Courtesy Hours are from 9:00 AM to 9:00 PM. During these hours a resident’s music should not be heard more than an apartment or room away from their own.

C. Safety and Security

1. Security

For security purposes, the Residence Life staff may, at any time, request proper identification from a student or any person in or around the residence halls.

2. Emergency Door Usage

The emergency exit doors of all residence halls should be used only during an emergency. All emergency doors will be alarmed 24 hours a day. 

3. Exterior and Hall Doors

Propping exterior lobby doors and/or hall doors compromises the security of the residence hall and is expressly prohibited unless special permission has been granted by the Residence Life Coordinator/Residence Hall Director.

4. Roofs, Ledges, and Windows

  • a. Residents are not permitted on roof areas and window ledges as they are not intended to hold excess weight. The University is not responsible for injuries that result from a fall from a ledge or roof area.
  • b. Residents are not to use any residence hall windows as an entrance or exit to the building.

5. Fire Safety

a. All residents and guests are to vacate the building when a fire alarm sounds. They must be at least 100 ft away from the building. No one may re-enter the facility until they are given permission.

b. Tampering with smoke detectors, fire extinguishers, or fire alarms when there is no emergency, is prohibited.

c. Smoking is not permitted in any of the residence halls. 

d. No candles, incense, or other items that require burning are allowed in the residence halls. This includes all decorative candles and candles with the wicks removed. The University reserves the right to confiscate candles or other questionable flammable materials and the student will face a judicial hearing.

e. There is no cooking allowed in the residence hall rooms other than in the microwave or a coffee maker (Southwestern Pines excluded). Students may store other cooking appliances in their room, but they are only to be used in the kitchen area of the residence hall. If any student is found using an unauthorized appliance in his or her room, the appliance will be confiscated. Confiscated materials may be returned to the student at the end of the semester for the student to take home per approval of the Residence Life Coordinator/Residence Hall Director.

f. Students may have small refrigerators and microwaves in the residence halls. The following appliances are not permitted in the residence halls: any appliance requiring 220 volts or 1500 watts, space heaters, hot plates, air conditioners, or any appliance with an exposed heating element. If any student is found using an unauthorized appliance in his or her room, the appliance will be confiscated and the student will face a judicial hearing. (Note: Confiscated materials may be returned to the student at the end of the semester for the student to take home per approval of the Director of Residence Life.)

g. All surge protectors, power strips, etc must be used appropriately. Microwaves and refrigerator must be plugged directly into the wall outlet.

D. Condition of Facilities

1. Health and Safety Inspections

a. Only fish are permitted in the residence halls. Fish may be maintained in aquariums no larger than ten (10) gallons. Only one aquarium per resident is permitted.

b. There should be a clear pathway throughout living facilities. Dishes should be cleaned after usage and any food should be stored properly.

c. Trash should be disposed of and taken out to the allocated trash facilities located in the parking lot on a routine basis. During health and safety inspections, unwashed or abandoned dishes, cooking utensils, or food may be discarded to prevent pests.

2. Student Responsibility of Facilities

The student is responsible for the condition and for maintaining the cleanliness of the assigned room and its furnishings. The student shall reimburse the university for all damages to, loss of, and/or special cleaning of these accommodations and furnishings. Residents are required to check out of their assigned room by following procedures posted at the end of each semester. When inspected, the room should be cleared of all personal belongings and debris.

3. Common Areas and Hallways

a. Residents of a hall also may be required to share expenses of repair, replacement, and/or special cleaning of any university-owned property in areas commonly used by residents and their guests.

b. Any use of residence hall furniture other than in public areas of the residence hall is prohibited.

4. Community Areas

In the event of damage in hallways or common areas, students may be charged for repairs or replacement of damaged property when not attributed to a specific individual. Determination of room and common area damage, loss, or cleaning assessments shall be made by the university at its sole discretion. This includes all community kitchens, computer labs, multi-purpose rooms, and lobby areas.