Policies & Guidelines

Residence Life Policies and Guidelines

Like any living community, the Residence Halls have standards of behavior designed to create a positive living environment. Mars Hill’s Student Conduct Code as well as state and federal laws apply to all students who live in university owned and operated housing. Additional policies and guidelines have also been established specifically for the residence halls. These policies are designed to ensure that each resident is respectful of their obligation to a communal living situation. There are three guiding principles or community interests that residential policies and guidelines are designed to support.

The guidelines listed below are not intended to be a comprehensive description of Mars Hill’s housing regulations. Instead, it is written to explain the most common situations under each of the three compelling community interests. Any action, whether listed below or not, that goes against any of these three principles is not acceptable behavior in the Residence Halls.

Each resident is responsible for asking himself or herself if a behavior falls under one of these principles and then regulating their behavior accordingly. Residence Life staff may confront residents about any action if the staff member believes this action may go against one of these four principles:  Health and Safety, Property Loss and Damage, Maintenance of a Healthy Living and Learning Environment.

HEALTH AND SAFETY

Any behavior that jeopardizes the physical, mental, or emotional health and safety of either the group or individual is unacceptable in the Residence Halls.

Pets: Because of health reasons, such as sanitation, allergy concerns, and consideration for others, pets are not allowed in the residence halls. Fish in a tank no larger than 10 gallons are the single exception to this policy (just remember to make arrangements when you leave for vacation).

Smoke Free Environment: All university owned buildings are smoke free. Smoking is not permitted within fifty feet of any entrance, window or air handling unit of a university residence. Please dispose of cigarette butts and ashes in the appropriate receptacles placed outside of the buildings and residences. Burning incense is not permitted within any living unit on campus

Cleaning: Residents are expected to take reasonable care in maintaining the cleanliness of their rooms, apartments, and suite bathrooms. In addition, students are expected to not litter in public areas (inside or out) of the buildings. Room Health and Safety inspections will be conducted to ensure student rooms are being maintained. Although every building has custodial staff, residents should not expect these staff to do more than regular maintenance of the common areas. Failure to meet these guidelines may result in residential life disciplinary action and/or relocation. The custodial staff will deep clean bathrooms in suites (and kitchens in apartments) during the Winter Break or when it is deemed an emergency by the housing staff. Extra cleaning will be billed to all suite members.

Closed Areas: Roofs, balconies, and outside ledges of residence halls are closed to students. Fire escapes may only be used for egress in the event of a fire or similar emergency. Students are strictly prohibited from hanging or throwing things from windows.

Building Security: To prevent unchecked access to residence halls by people not welcome or uninvited, all residence hall entrance doors are locked by staff every night. Propping doors is strictly prohibited because of the security risk that it poses. Please report unusual people or other circumstances at once to building staff.

Open Flames: Fire is a serious threat to life, health, and property. Because this is such a serious issue, total compliance to the open flame policy is expected. Due to the risk of starting a fire, the burning of any candles, use of open flames, or use of open element cooking equipment is strictly prohibited. Outside grills are not permitted inside the building or within ten feet of any structure including decks and porches.

Electrical Appliances: Many of the residence halls were built before or during the 1960s and are not equipped to handle the electrical requirements of many modern appliances. Air conditioning units, ceiling fans, full size refrigerators, and large microwaves are therefore not allowed. Small microwaves (max 700 watts) and mini refrigerators no larger than 4.0 cubic feet arepermitted.

An increase in the number of fires in residence halls across the country requires us to be restrictive on cooking appliances in the residence halls. Except in the apartments and townhouse kitchens, cooking appliances with open heating elements/surfaces such as toasters, toaster ovens, “Foreman grills,” electric fry pans/woks, and hot plates are not allowed in student rooms. Space heaters, halogen lamps, and sun lamps, are also fire risks and are not allowed in resident rooms. Cooking appliances with contained heating elements such as percolators and hot pots are permitted.

Fire Safety: Fire safety equipment should only be used in cases of emergency. Misuse of fire and/or safety equipment is strictly prohibited. This includes fire escapes, fire fighting equipment, and alarms. Tampering or altering smoke detectors in any way, including removing the batteries, is also strictly prohibited. Violations will result in disciplinary action and/or removal from the residence halls. Violations may also be referred to city or state agencies for action.

Fire and Building Evacuation: Fire is a serious threat to life, health, and property. Because of this, all students and their guests are expected to follow the building evacuation guidelines whenever an alarm is sounded. Evacuation plans are posted on all floors.
Building Evacuation Guidelines:

  1. Wear shoes and coat
  2. Leave your room and shut the door behind you
  3. Proceed outside and stand at least 50 feet away from the building
  4. Remain outside the building until a return signal is given

In case of Fire:

  1. Sound an alarm for the building by activating a pull station
  2. Leave the building
  3. Notify the Fire Department OR
  4. Advise an RA or the Hall Director that a fire condition exists.

Explosives/Flammable Materials: Explosives, including firecrackers or other fireworks, and other highly flammable material are not allowed in the residence halls. This includes motorized vehicles such as motorcycles, or motor scooters.
Firearms and Weapons: State law prohibits the possession of weapons of any kind on campus. Any student found in possession of a weapon will be asked to remove it from campus and be subject to disciplinary action and/or sanction under state law. Weapons include, but are not limited to, guns, pellet guns, bows and arrows, machetes, Ninja stars, knives with blades over five inches, and explosives.

Flying Objects: To prevent personal injury or property damage, throwing anything from building windows or down hallways is strictly prohibited.

Room Entry: Mars Hill respects the privacy of students’ living accommodations. However, it does reserve the right to enter rooms or apartments for reasons of health, safety, maintenance, or to assure compliance with Residence Life or university regulations. Except in emergencies, students will be notified in advance of any room inspection. The university also reserves the right to search a room (if reasonable cause is determined by the Dean of Students) for substances that are illegal or a violation of the student code of conduct. Students requesting repairs or maintenance of their room must give written consent for maintenance staff to enter their room during the school day. The Residence Life Office reserves the right to conduct a safety/maintenance inspection of each room or apartment. Prior notice will be given.

PROPERTY LOSS AND DAMAGE:

Maintaining the condition of both university and personal property is important to the integrity of the community. Any action that causes damage or loss of property is considered inappropriate.

Keys: We strongly urge all residents to keep their rooms locked whenever they are not present or sleeping. The university is not responsible for lost or stolen personal property. You are responsible for the keys issued to you. If you lose your room key contact a staff member immediately and we will have the room re-keyed. You will be charged re-key costs but at least your room will be secure again.

Vandalism: Damaging, defacing or destroying school or private property is unacceptable behavior. Students who accidentally damage property will be expected to make restitution for the damage but malicious acts will be also be considered judicial infractions and will incur additional fines.

Furniture: Students share in the responsibility of maintaining all residence hall facilities. Room furnishings must remain in the room at all times. Lounge/common area furniture is intended for the use of all students and should not be moved to individual rooms or away from its assigned location. Students may bring other furniture at their discretion but must fit it around existing room furniture. Water furnishings such as waterbeds or hot tubs are not permitted in any housing unit. In addition to disciplinary action, students may be billed for any missing or damaged furniture.

Room Decorations: We feel that it is important that you personalize you space. Posters, plants, bedspreads, and a throw rug can help make your room seem more like home. However, we do ask that you avoid doing things that will damage the walls or woodwork. For example, transparent tape is almost impossible to clean off. Masking tape and self-adhesive tape/hooks can be used with care but may pull paint off walls. Carefully review the manufacturer’s suggestions for removing these products. Blue tape and white adhesive putty is highly recommended because of their easy removal. The question to ask yourself is whether you will be able to return your room to its previously unimaginative condition at the end of your stay.

Lofts: Beds are provided in all student rooms but, while not needed or required, lofts are permitted. Bed frames can not be removed from the room so they must be either incorporated into the loft or stacked on the side of the room.

The following guidelines must be followed in order for a student to build a loft in her/his room:

  1. Lofts shall be self-supporting/free standing and not attached to any part of the room
  2. The top of the mattress must be at least 30” from the ceiling.
  3. The loft shall not restrict free access to doors or windows.
  4. You must supply all building materials and tools. We recommend that all wood be construction grade and treated with a fire retardant.
  5. Mechanical fasteners (screws and bolts) shall connect all joints. Nails cannot be used in any stage of construction of the loft.

Bicycles: Bicycles may be stored either in student rooms or outside the building but should not be left in the hallways or stairwells. Bicycles should not be parked so as to block or prohibit the use of walkways, hall entrances or fire exits.

DISRUPTION OF THE EDUCATIONAL LIVING AND LEARNING ENVIRONMENT:

It is the responsibility of each member of the community to respect the needs and rights of those living and working around them. Behavior that does not contribute to fostering and encouraging a proper living environment is considered inappropriate.

Noise: Noise is any sound, human or otherwise, that is disturbing to a resident. This includes stereos and musical instruments. Generally speaking, the sound level should be confined to an individual’s room only and not be heard by others who are trying to study or sleep. Additionally, specific quiet hours from 11:00 p.m. to 9:00 a.m. exist for all residents throughout the week. Twenty-four hour quiet hours are in effect beginning the last weeknight before the First day of exams. Students are expected to be courteous, and upon request or complaint, lower the noise level of their activity.

Alcohol: Mars Hill is committed to maintaining an academic and social environment conducive to the intellectual and personal development, safety, and welfare of all members of the university community. The possession, consumption, and selling of alcohol on campus is strictly prohibited. This includes being in possession by consumption. The possession of empty alcohol containers is also prohibited. Offenders will be subject to the campus judicial policy, legal prosecution, or both. The university adheres to and enforces all federal and state legislation governing alcohol.

Drugs: The use and/or possession and/or provision of a place for the use of illegal/controlled drugs is governed by local, state and federal laws and is strictly prohibited. All cases or evidence of use, possession, cultivation, distribution, or sale of drugs will be referred to the appropriate law enforcement agencies as well as be subject to university and Housing disciplinary action.

Physical Violence: Residents have the right to live in a secure and save environment, free from the threat of physical harm, malicious aggravation, or personal affront. Physical violence will be considered an act against the entire residence hall community. Intimidation and coercion of any type will not be tolerated.

Visitation: Visitors in student rooms of the opposite sex are limited to the following hours: Sunday–Thursday: noon to midnight; Friday–Saturday: noon to 2:00 a.m. All visitors must sign in on the sign-in sheet located near the entrance to the building. Visitors of the opposite sex must be escorted by a resident the entire time they are in the building.

Overnight guests: All overnight guests must be registered with the RA staff. Approved guests may stay in the resident’s room provided there is no roommate conflict or displacement. Any stays longer than two nights must be approved in advance by the Director of Residence Life. Guests must be at least 13 years old. Unapproved guests may be asked to leave the building. Guests are expected to abide by all residence hall policies and resident hosts are responsible for the behavior of their guests. Resident hosts may be subject to disciplinary action if a guest’s behavior is inappropriate.