Office of Residence Life

Information Concerning Community Standards and Policies

Although our student body includes a diverse population of people with varied lifestyles, the residence hall community is based on the understanding that all resident students have both rights and responsibilities. In order to uphold the integrity of the Residence Life programs and its goals, the Office of Residence Life has established the following expectations for those students selecting to dwell in the residence halls.

Use, possession, distribution, or being under the influence of alcoholic beverages on any part of the Berks campus is prohibited. Such behavior is a breach of the Housing Contract and will result in disciplinary action and possible expulsion from the residence halls.
Students found guilty of disorderly conduct (public drunkenness) may be cited by Police Services and transported to a local jail for processing and/or referred to a local alcohol treatment center. Due to the nature of this offense, the student's parent(s) or guardian(s) will be contacted. Any municipal charges and/or treatment charges are the financial responsibility of the student involved.

Illegal Drugs
Use, possession, distribution, or being under the influence of narcotics or drugs (unless lawfully permitted for medical reasons) is prohibited. Such behavior is a breach of the Housing Contract, and will result in disciplinary action and/or criminal charges, referral to a drug treatment center, and/or immediate expulsion from the residence halls.

Failure to Comply
It is a violation of the discipline system to fail or to refuse to present identification to University officials acting in performance of their duties. University officials include, but are not limited to, the Residence Life staff, Police Services, faculty, and staff. Failure to comply also includes the failure to cooperate with any University official in the performance of his or her duties and failing to meet with staff when required to do so.

Fire Alarms/Extinguishers
Misuse of fire alarms and extinguishers threatens the safety of all residents and guests and is a violation of Pennsylvania State law. Such misuse will result in disciplinary action, possible expulsion from the residence halls, and criminal charges, which may include excessive fines and possible incarceration.

Firearms/Dangerous Weapons
Use, possession, or carrying of firearms, bows/arrows, paintball guns, knives, or other dangerous weapons while living in the residence halls is strictly prohibited. Items found in the possession of students will be confiscated by Residence Life and/or Police Services, who will withhold these weapons until the student's departure from the campus. Violation of this University policy will also result in disciplinary action and any applicable charges according to local and state ordinances. Students wishing to store weapons on campus must make arrangements through Police Services.

Fire Drills
Pennsylvania state law requires that fire drills be conducted in the residence halls on a monthly basis. Fire drills will be unannounced. Procedures for a fire drill will be explained to you at your first house meeting. All students MUST exit the residence halls as quickly as possible during fire drills, or they will be subject to disciplinary action.

Fire Exits
Fire exit doors are located in all of the residence halls. These doors are alarmed and are not to be used for routine exit and entry. Non-emergency use of these doors will result in disciplinary action.

Fire Hazards
For the optimal safety and well being of the residential student population, certain guidelines have been established to minimize the threat of fire in the residence hall environment.
Candles, incense, halogen lamps, and other sources of open flames or smoldering heat sources pose a potential threat to the lives and personal property of building residents. Therefore, they are prohibited from use and/or display in the residence halls. If found, such items may be confiscated, and the student will be subject to disciplinary action. Since cooking is prohibited in the residence halls, the possession of cooking appliances such as rice cookers, toasters, and toaster ovens are also prohibited.

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Possession of or the use of fireworks is prohibited by Pennsylvania State law and Penn State University policy and will result in disciplinary action and criminal charges, as well as expulsion from the residence halls.

Fundraising/Commercial Activities in the Residence Halls
To protect the privacy of residents, solicitation, sales, canvassing, fundraising, and contributions are restricted. (See Policies and Rules Handbook for Students). Conducting any business enterprise for personal profit is prohibited in and around University-operated units. Such enterprises may be conducted only by recognized student activities and student government personnel within the residence hall area, subject to the prior approval of the Housing and Food Service Director and the Residence Life Staff. If you are approached or contacted by an unauthorized salesperson, please notify Residence Life or Housing and Food Services immediately.

Guest Policy
A guest is defined as a person visiting a resident of the resident hall at the resident's invitation. All non-residents are considered guests.

The following stipulations relate to all guests:

  • It is the responsibility of the host student to ensure that his or her guest(s) is/are aware of University and residence hall policies. Guests are also held responsible for their actions and for knowing University regulations. However, the host may be held accountable for the behaviors of and damages perpetrated by his or her guest(s).
  • Students may have guests in their rooms only if their roommate concurs. Common courtesy should be used for bathroom use among suite-mates and guests.
  • No keys shall be provided for guests. Resident students are not to give their keys or IDs to guests for access to buildings, suites, or rooms.
  • All guests must be escorted at all times by the host resident. Guests must be escorted into, through, and out of buildings.
  • All guests are required to carry some form of positive picture identification at all times while visiting.
  • All overnight guests are required to check in with the Resident Assistant and are limited to a three-consecutive night visit.

Access to a residence hall provided by any person to unescorted guest(s), i.e., propping or opening doors, is a violation of University policy, and disciplinary action may be taken.

Violation of visitation privileges (on the part of a host or guest) may result in the loss of such privileges and may subject them to disciplinary action and criminal charges (if applicable).
NOTE: In the interest of maintaining personal security in and around the residence hall complex, residents should report all unauthorized persons to a Residence Life staff member or a campus police officer.

Harassment/Acts of Intolerance
Harassment and/or acts of intolerance are unacceptable in the residence hall community. If you are witness to or a victim of harassment or intolerance, you are strongly encouraged to report it to a residence life staff member or police services. These behaviors include but are not limited to sexual harassment, hate crimes, or harassing behavior targeting ancestry, race, disability or handicap, national origin, religious creed, sex, sexual orientation, or veteran status.

Please contribute to maintaining a clean campus. Garbage receptacles are located in various areas around the campus. Please use them for appropriate trash disposal. Any student observed littering will be referred for disciplinary action.

The lounges are open to residents of the building for QUIET socializing and study. All lights are to remain on and appropriate dress is expected at all times. Sleeping in the lounges is not permitted.

Pets (dogs, cats, birds, reptiles, rodents, etc.) are not permitted in the residence halls. Small aquariums for fish are permitted only when approved by Residence Life and, ultimately, Housing and Food Services.

Quiet Hours Policy
Mandatory quiet hours are between the hours of 9:00 p.m.-9:00 a.m., Sunday through Thursday and 1:00 a.m.-9:00 a.m. on weekends. Stereos and radios are not to be used in the lounges during quiet hours.
Courtesy Hours 24 Hours: It is expected that a proper study atmosphere will be maintained during courtesy hours. Residents are also reminded that these hours may be extended if additional study conditions are required. Hours may be extended by Residence Life or by a floor, building, or area vote. It is also expected that electronic sound equipment (radios, TV, stereos, electronic games, computers, etc.) and room activities will not be heard outside of the room. Such equipment should never be played so loudly so as to disturb other residents. It is important that residents take the initiative to discuss a noise problem with the offender. If you are bothered by someone else's noise, ask them to quiet down. You have every right to expect them to do so. Likewise, if you are requested to quiet down, please do so - thus showing your respect for a fellow student. Resident assistants will continue to deal with excessive noise. However, they cannot always be aware of every problem.

There will be mandatory 24-hour quiet hours during finals week, which begin on the preceding Sunday and remain in effect until the halls close at the end of the semester.

Room Decorations
Although personalizing one's room through decorations and furniture arrangement is encouraged, students must be mindful of the need for clear exit paths in case of an emergency. Furniture should not block a direct path to the door. No materials (sheets, flags, posters, etc.) shall hang from the ceiling, as such items also present a potential fire hazard in addition to being an impediment to a quick exit. Decorative lights (i.e., holiday lights) are only permitted in a private living space and are prohibited from use in the suite hallway.

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Security of Buildings
For your security, the front door of every residence hall is locked 24 hours a day. Take your keys/ID with you when you leave. Remember: The residence hall is your home and is only as safe as you make it. Take responsibility for the security of your home. NEVER PROP OPEN A DOOR OR OFFER ACCESS TO PEOPLE YOU DON'T KNOW.

ALL GUESTS ARE TO BE ESCORTED AT ALL TIMES BY A RESIDENT OF THAT BUILDING. A phone and resident directory is located outside of each building so that guests may contact the person(s) they wish to visit.

Penn State has developed a policy which prohibits smoking in all buildings, thus creating a smoke-free environment. In the residence halls, smoking is not permitted in student rooms, bathrooms, hallways, or stairwells. Smoking in a University building is a violation of University policy and will be handled accordingly. Throwing cigarette butts on the ground is considered littering and is prohibited.

Playing sports and related activities is prohibited in the residence halls and the areas adjacent to the residence halls, including the Village quad. This includes, but is not limited to, throwing balls, batting balls, soccer, playing hockey, and skateboard or roller-blading stunts. Students are permitted to toss frisbees in the Village quad; however, ulimate frisbee games are not permitted in the qaud area.
For the safety of residents and to avoid building damages, snowball throwing is prohibited in the areas adjacent to the residence halls

Student Conduct
All cases of alleged student misconduct will be processed through Residence Life and/or Judicial Affairs. Detailed information regarding the University discipline system can be found in the 2008-2009 Policies and Rules handbook.

Unauthorized Entry/Access
For the safety of all students and to avoid property damage, climbing onto buildings and trees or jumping from balconies is prohibited.

Visitation/Overnight Privileges
Students and friends of Berks campus students have the privilege of visiting residence hall students under the conditions outlined at the opening of the fall semester (which take effect for the entire academic year). The policy and privileges are subject to review and revocation if they do not prove to be in the best interest of the educational goals of Berks campus students (see the Policies and Rules handbook for complete details).

The walkways were designed for movement about campus without disruption of the landscape. When walking at night, please use lighted walkways, avoid walking alone, and report any unlit walk areas to Residence Life, Housing and Food Services, or Police Services.

Water-Related Activities
Any water-related activity involving water waste, safety risk, and/or water damage (i.e., water guns, balloons, buckets, etc.) taking place in the residence halls will result in disciplinary action for housing and safety violations, in addition to restitution for damage to the facility.

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