College Housing Discipline

College Housing seeks to serve the educational objectives of the University by offering facilities which provide a setting in which individual education is furthered. The intent of the rules and regulations of College Housing is to establish reasonable limits within which the greatest number of residents can work effectively and live pleasantly. These limits help to guarantee the basic rights of all residents to protection from behavior which creates excessive noise, endangers or disturbs other residents, or invites the intrusion of public authorities into the House System.

The basic rights and responsibilities of residents of College Houses include:

1. Each resident has the right to the use of his or her own room. Each resident has the right to visitors who abide by Guest Procedures and College Housing rules and regulations. Residents are responsible for the conduct of the guests they bring into the residence halls. A resident may not entertain a guest in a room over the objections of a roommate. Visitors may not take up occupancy in a room.

2. Each resident has the right to peace, quiet, and public order in the House sufficient to provide adequate conditions for study and sleep. Each resident has a responsibility to respect the possession of this right by fellow residents. Additionally, residents are responsible for working to constructively address violations of this right.

3. Each resident has a right to representation, if not actual participation, in the making of regulations by students in the House, subject to reasonable procedures for enactment and amendment. Implicit in this is the right to adequate enforcement of the House rules.

Rules and Regulations

1. Noise

It is impossible to set specific standards regarding levels of noise in a residence hall which will satisfy all residents. Individual levels of noise tolerance vary widely. The purpose of The College Houses is to offer conditions which permit reasonable order for study and sleep. At no time may a resident create excessive noise which will disturb other residents. After 11 p.m. on weeknights and 1 a.m. on weekends, residents must contain noise in their rooms and in the public areas of the Houses at levels which will not prevent other residents from studying or sleeping. Exceptions to these limits may occasionally be made on weekends for formal House events which have the prior approval of the House Council and the Resident Heads.

a. Residents may not practice or play musical instruments, electronic or acoustic, in student rooms, but should use music practice rooms for those activities.

b. Excessive noise is a problem not only for residents, but for people living in the buildings neighboring the residence halls. Residents must act to keep noise from unduly disturbing neighbors as well as other residents.

2. Threats and Harassment

The residence halls are intended to be communities where the individuality of all residents and their rights to make personal choices are respected, so long as those choices do not interfere with the rights of others. Housing staff members have the responsibility to ensure that this and all College Housing policies are observed. In protection of these rights and responsibilities, residents may not engage in threatening or harassing behavior that is directed against other residents, guests, or members of the housing staff. Any form of threatening or harassing behavior will be considered grounds for serious disciplinary action by the housing staff and may also be referred to University disciplinary systems. Residents must also respect the personal property and assigned space of other members who live in College Housing.

For additional information regarding what constitutes harassment please see the University’s Policy on Harassment, Discrimination, and Sexual Misconduct.

3. Dangerous Acts

Residents may not engage in activities which threaten the safety of themselves or others. A list of specific acts that come under the rubric of dangerous activities could never be exhaustive; however the following is a partial list:

a. Possessing or using fireworks, firearms, other explosives, or weapons;

b. Setting off false fire alarms. Tampering with fire extinguishers, fire sprinklers, or other fire safety equipment;

c. Playing with fire in any matter, whether or not any damage or injury occurs to person or property;

d. Tampering with elevators;

e. Physically attacking or threatening physical attack of other residents or visitors to the Houses;

f.  Going out onto a roof of any residence hall, dining commons or fire escape (if an active fire alarm is not present);

g. Throwing objects from the windows of the residence halls. The size, weight, and shape of such objects—and their potential for harm—cannot be subject to exhaustive debate. The Directors in the College Housing office will judge such cases. The rule is: no object may be thrown from the windows of the residence halls;

h. Obstructing the use of any residence hall door by tampering with locks or otherwise preventing free access or egress.

Residents who engage in any of the acts listed above will be subject to serious disciplinary action, including the likelihood of being removed from a House or College Housing altogether.

4. Alcohol in the Residence Halls

The State of Illinois prohibits the consumption or possession of alcohol by persons under the age of 21, and the supply of alcohol to any person under the age of 21. It is important that each resident living in College Housing is aware of the state law with regard to the consumption, possession, and sale of alcoholic beverages. The use of alcoholic beverages is not permitted in the common areas of the College Houses. Common areas include lounges, corridors, stairwells, study rooms, recreation rooms, music practice rooms, community kitchens, court-yards, entry-ways, and similar spaces.

The use of University funds to purchase alcohol for students under the age of 21 is prohibited. Members of the housing staff may not purchase for or serve alcohol to students under the age of 21.

The University expects each resident living in College Housing to be responsible for his or her own conduct and the consequences of that conduct.

5. Illegal Drugs

The possession, use, or distribution of illegal drugs, and the distribution of prescription drugs to someone other than for whom it is prescribed is not permitted in College Housing. Residents in violation of this rule may face serious disciplinary consequences, including the likelihood of removal from College Housing.

6. Private Parties in the Residence Halls

Students are allowed to host private parties in their rooms in the residence halls with prior approval from the Resident Heads and in compliance with the College Housing Private Party Policy. Student hosts must assume full responsibility for the party and for the conduct of all guests at the party. Copies of the Private Party Policy are available from Resident Heads.

7. Smoking

The Illinois Clean Indoor Air Act provides that "smoking is prohibited in any portion of a building used in whole or in part as a student dormitory that is owned and operated or otherwise utilized by a public or private institution of higher education" (Illinois HB 4174). As such, smoking is forbidden in the residence halls, including student rooms, lounges, lobbies, corridors and courtyards. The City of Chicago Clean Indoor Air ordinance prohibits smoking within fifteen feet of the entrance to any building, including residence halls and dining commons.

College Housing residents are obligated to comply with the law. Residents who violate the law will be addressed by resident staff and are subject to disciplinary action including oral warnings, formal written warnings (probation) and/or removal from the College Housing.

8. Visitor Procedures

All of the residence halls are served by front desks at which residents' visitors must register before gaining access to the residence hall. Hosts must be present in the building to acknowledge either in person or by campus phone that they are willing to receive the visitor. Visitors will not be permitted to enter unless the host is present. Visitors are required to show a government picture ID and to be signed in to the visitors log by the front desk clerk upon entry to the hall. The clerk will note clearly the visitor's first and last names and the time and date of entry. Failure to follow visitor procedures may be cause for disciplinary action.

It is expected that visitors will remain in the company of their hosts. Visitors do not have the privilege of using House or hall amenities such as computers, game rooms, kitchens, or laundry equipment, unless engaged in a shared activity with a resident.

9. Restricted Areas

Residents are not permitted to go on the roofs of the residence or dining commons, fire escapes (unless there is an active fire or alarm), or to any other areas which are designated as "off limits." Residents who violate this policy will be subject to serious disciplinary action, including the likelihood of being removed from a House or from College Housing altogether.

Residents may not tamper with the physical plant of the residence halls including removing screens, tampering with locks to gain access, exiting from secured alarmed doors, entering/exiting a building via a window, or tampering with electrical, fire, or phone systems, etc.

10. Pets

Residents may not keep pets in any of the residence halls. This prohibition is imposed for reasons of cleanliness, health problems, and noise. Exceptions are made for fish in a small aquarium. The only other pets permitted in the residence halls are those belonging to Resident Masters, Resident Heads, and the Directors of College Housing who live in The College Houses year-round.

11. Restricted Dining Commons

The residential dining commons are open only to individuals who have a residential meal plan and to those guests who purchase individual meals. Students must abide by the policies and procedures specified on the College Housing and UChicago Dining website.

12. Overnight Guests

College Housing guest procedures are based on the premise that residents of The College Houses ought to be able to have occasional personal guests in the residence halls, when space is available, under reasonable limitations that protect the rights of roommates and the interests of the University community. Anyone who is not a regularly assigned resident of a room is considered a guest. Residents may not host guests overnight in their room without the consent of all assigned residents of the room. Guests may not remain for more than three nights in the student rooms except in rare situations, and only with prior approval of the College Housing staff. Guests who wish to stay for more than three days will want to seek lodging in area hotels. 

Parents visiting students during the academic year should secure suitable hotel accommodations for overnight visits. Residence Hall rooms are not suitable for visiting parents; this includes apartments which are more spacious but shared with other students. The presence of parents for any extended length of time in a residence hall can be a source of uneasiness and discomfort among student residents. Consequently, no parent may stay overnight in a residence hall.

13. Door-to-Door Solicitation

Door-to-door solicitation in the residence halls is prohibited unless prior approval has been given by the Director of College Housing. This includes but is not limited to distribution of information, electioneering or campaigning, solicitation of funds, or sales of products or services by residents or non-residents. Activity related to hall-sponsored events such as signing up for House trips or Master’s events, or House fundraisers are not prohibited if conducted by residents or housing staff.

14. Posting

Posters and flyers for House and hall activities, as well as those approved for a Recognized Student Organization (RSO) are allowed on designated residence hall bulletin boards. Each House has at least one bulletin board that is reserved for the residence staff of the House. Postings may not be placed inside stairwells, inside elevators, on elevator doors, or on student room doors unless approved by the residents of that room. A posting will not be restricted unless it violates the law, falsely defames a specific individual, constitutes a genuine threat or harassment, unjustifiably invades substantial privacy or confidentiality interests, or is otherwise directly incompatible with the functioning of the University. Postings may neither advertise nor refer to the availability of alcohol at an event.

15. Posting and Solicitation in Dining Commons

Approval for public communications made in the residential dining commons including but not limited to handbills and flyers, banners, table tents, oral announcements and performances is given by  the Director of College Housing, or designee. Information about the approval process is available on the College Housing website.

Enforcement of college housing Rules and Regulations

It would be illusory to assume that all conflicts and disputes which are likely to arise in The College Houses will be easily resolved by mutual understanding and agreement. Initial responsibility for settling disputes rests with individual residents and the elected House Councils. Residents are expected to attempt to resolve problems whenever possible before turning to the housing staff. The Resident Heads and Assistant Resident Heads, as University officials living in the residence halls, will strive to protect the rights of all residents by advising and assisting individual residents and House Councils. When problems cannot be settled in this manner, the housing staff will enforce the rules and regulations of College Housing and will impose disciplinary action as appropriate. On those occasions when members of the housing staff find it necessary to act in the role of University authority, residents are obliged to follow their directives. If a resident believes that a member of the housing staff is acting improperly, the resident should:

a. Obey the instructions of the housing staff member.

b. Inform the staff member that the resident believes the staff member is acting improperly.

c. Register a formal complaint with the College Housing office.

Disciplinary Procedures

The goal of the College Housing office and the housing staff is to settle problems at the lowest possible level, and to institute formal disciplinary action only when necessary. Official responses will be governed by the nature of the particular dispute or infraction. Initial action will begin at a higher level for serious offenses. College Housing disciplinary sanctions include:

1. An oral warning from the Assistant Resident Head or Resident Head: The student is told why a particular behavior is a problem and what must be done by the student to correct the problem. No records of oral warnings are kept outside of the House.

2. College Housing Probation: College Housing Probation is a formal, written warning that a student's behavior is unacceptable and must change. Probation is imposed because the behavioral problem is serious or because the student ignored a previous oral warning. College Housing Probation is usually imposed by a Resident Head, but may sometimes be initiated by the Directors in the College Housing office. Probation is normally imposed for a specific period of time, either  for the remainder of the academic year or for more serious violations up to the remainder of one’s time as a resident in College Housing. If, after being placed on College Housing Probation, the student violates College Housing rules and regulations or engages in disruptive activity in The College Houses, the student is usually required to move within The College Housesor to leave College Housing altogether. College Housing Probation is treated as an internal, College Housing matter. Records of probation are kept only within the House and the College Housing office.

3. Visiting Restriction: The Directors of College Housing may restrict a resident from visiting particular parts of College Housing because of behavioral problems. Similarly, students living outside of College Housing may be restricted or "banned" from all or some of The College Houses for their failure to abide by College Housing rules and regulations. Students who violate a visiting restriction will likely face further disciplinary action, including the possibility of a referral to the College for further discipline.

 4. Moves within or Removal from College Housing: A resident who engages in seriously disruptive or dangerous behavior, or who violates the terms of College Housing Probation will be required to move to another College House or to leave College Housing  altogether. The decision will be made by one of the Directors of  College Housing, usually with the recommendation of the Resident Heads. A resident who is required to leave a House or all of College Housing is normally forbidden to visit in that House or in any part of College Housingfor a specific period of time, and is normally prohibited from returning to that House or to College Housing as a resident for a specific period of time. When a resident is required to move within College Housing or to leave College Housing, the student’s area Dean of Students is notified in writing of the action. If the resident is required to leave College Housing and is a first-year student in the College, the College residency requirement for first-year students is waived, and the parents of the student are notified of the action.

5. Area or University-wide: The Director of College Housing can recommend to the area Dean of Students in a particular academic area or to the Associate Dean of Students in the University for Disciplinary Affairs that a student from that academic area be brought before the College, division, or school disciplinary committee in that area or the University-wide Disciplinary Committee, respectively. If the area Dean of Students or Associate Dean of Students in the University for Disciplinary Affairs accepts the Director's recommendation, the student will be required to appear before the appropriate disciplinary committee. These committees have the power to suspend or expel a student from the University.

Review Process

Required Moves within College Housing

A student who is required to move within College Housing for disciplinary reasons may request a review of the decision of the Directors of College Housing by the College Housing Disciplinary Review Committee. This Committee consists of three students drawn from lists of residents appointed by the Residence Hall Student Councils, and two Resident Heads drawn from a list appointed by the Director of College Housing. A student who seeks a review of a disciplinary decision must, within 48 hours of the decision, submit a written request and any supporting material to the Director of College Housing. Upon request, the student may be granted an additional 48 hours to prepare this material. The Review Committee will be convened as soon as possible after the student files for the review. At the review meeting, both the Director of College Housing (or a designee) and the student are given the opportunity to present their cases and to rebut the other's presentation. A majority of three votes in the Committee is required to sustain, overturn, or modify the original decision. The decision of the Review Committee is final and binding on both the student and College Housing.

Removal from College Housing

A student who is required by the Directors of College Housing to leave College Housing for disciplinary reasons may request a review of the decision by the student's Area Disciplinary Committee. A student who seeks a review must, within 48 hours of the decision, submit a written request and any supporting material to the appropriate area Dean of Students with a copy to the Director College Housing. Upon request to the area Dean of Students, the student may be granted an additional 48 hours to prepare those materials. The appropriate Area Disciplinary Committee, to which will be added one Resident Head from the housing staff, will be convened as soon as possible after the student files for a review. (In the College, the review will be conducted by one faculty member of the Committee on College Discipline, a student member of the Committee on College Discipline, a Resident Head from the Housing staff and a representative from the Dean of Student's office) In conducting a review, the Area Disciplinary Committee will follow the procedures outlined in this manual (https://studentmanual.sites.uchicago.edu/page/area-disciplinary-systems) for a broad review. The Committee will not conduct a rehearing of the case, probably will confine itself to the written record, and will consider as grounds for review (1) that prescribed procedures were not followed, (2) that the penalty will have unforeseen consequences for the student that are harsher than intended, (3) that new information bears importantly in the student's favor. The decision of the Area Disciplinary Committee is final and binding on both the student and the University House System.

Questions about these rules, regulations, and procedures should be directed to one of the Directors of College Housing (collegehousing@uchicago.edu, 773-702-7366).