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Cornell University

House Rules 2022-2023

Table of Contents







Animals in Residence
Appliances and Electronics
Barbecue Grills
Bed Elevating
Bicycles, E-Bikes, and Hoverboards
Break Periods
Campaigning (Leafleting, Canvassing and Petitioning)
Census Report
Commercial Business
Common Area Usage
Compost, Recycling, and Landfill
Controlled Substances

Cooking and Community Kitchens
Decorating Rooms
Donation Drives and Collection Boxes
Exercise Equipment
Fire Safety
Guests and Hosting Responsibilities
Hall Sports
Health and Safety
Keys and Lockouts
Motorized Vehicles
Pools, Hot Tubs, and Waterbeds
Quiet and Courtesy Hours
Restroom/Facilities Use Guidelines
Room Change Requests
Room Damages
Smoking and Vaping

Other Important Campus Policy Resources

Cornell University Student Code of Conduct

Cornell University Policy 6.4: Prohibited Bias, Discrimination, Harassment, and Sexual and Related Misconduct

Good Samaritan Protocol


Statement Of Principles

Cornell University is committed to the overall educational and personal development of its students. The unique experience of living in a residential community contributes greatly to such development. To facilitate this goal, the residential communities have established the Residential Community Standards and Responsibilities and Residential Community Policies (together, the “House Rules”), that are consistent with the educational mission of Cornell University. 

The House Rules apply to all undergraduate on campus residential communities within Housing and Residential Life (including First Year residences, Program Houses, and Upper-level communities) and the West Campus House System.

Students residing in the residential communities are responsible for becoming familiar and complying with these House Rules and the terms of their housing license, as well as community procedures, regulations, and standards specific to their residential community. Students are also responsible for complying with all other Cornell University rules, regulations, policies, and procedures contained in official Cornell University publications and announcements that may be issued from time to time, including the Cornell University Student Code of Conduct and Cornell University Policy 6.4: Prohibited Bias, Discrimination, Harassment, and Sexual and Related Misconduct, as well as all local, state, and federal laws. 

Housing & Residential Life and the West Campus House System reserves the right to review all alleged violations of the House Rules. While it is the goal of the disciplinary process to educate students about the purpose and importance of abiding by these policies, sanctions will also be issued as appropriate and necessary to ensure continued and/or future adherence.

It is worth noting, while not part of the House Rules, per the Terms and Conditions of the Housing License, students may be administratively removed from on campus residential housing or reassigned to another residential community when in the judgment of a representative of Housing & Residential Life or the West Campus House System the student has engaged in or threatened acts of misconduct such that their continued presence would endanger public order or property, threaten the personal safety or security of others (by acts of physical or mental harassment or other means) or be sufficiently disruptive as to adversely affect the ability of others to pursue their educational goals.

Residents are responsible for the Terms and Conditions of the housing contract, and any additional attestations for living on campus. Please note that where any additional attestations differ from the House Rules outlined below the attestation overrides the House Rules. The full Housing License can be found at: This includes responsibility for damage billing due to damages incurred to University property beyond normal wear and tear. To see a detailed list of charges, go to:

Any additional agreements, policies, and terms layer on top of the House Rules and students are responsible for any agreements they sign in addition to the House Rules outlined below.


Residential Community Standards and Responsibilities

To promote students’ growth and to be their best selves, residents’ behavior should be considerate and respectful of other community members and the physical space. We encourage debate and discourse in the spirit of understanding and promote this freedom and responsibility. This understanding and responsibility includes respecting and being sensitive to the rights of others while not condoning messages or actions that promote hatred, intolerance, or violence.

Each resident is expected to: 
  • Respect the rights of others.

  • Respect the property of individuals, groups, and Cornell University.
  • Refrain from activities that interfere with the regular operation of Cornell University.
  • Present identification upon the request of an authorized Cornell University official.
  • Comply with reasonable requests from residential staff and University officials acting in the capacity of their positions.

Conduct Procedures for Alleged Violations of the House Rules



Student Rights

Students have the following rights within the House Rules conduct process: 

  • Notification of the House Rules

  • Timely process
  • Response
  • Confidentiality (consistent with law) 

Student Responsibilities

When an alleged violation of House Rules occurs:

  • It is the responsibility of each resident to respond to and meet with the Residence Hall Director or Area Coordinator (RHD/AC), House Assistant Dean (HAD), or Peer Review Board (PRB) when requested, in a timely manner. The purpose of the meeting is for the student to respond to charges or to provide clarification about the alleged violation.

  • It is the student's responsibility to provide any necessary supporting documentation or witnesses on their behalf.
  • It is the responsibility of each resident to keep appointments. If the student does not attend a scheduled appointment, the appointment may proceed as scheduled with a review of the case and the issuance of educational sanctions as necessary and appropriate in the student’s absence. If there are emergency circumstances beyond the student’s control, permission to postpone an appointment may be allowed.
  • It is the responsibility of each resident to comply with University officials by surrendering, when asked by Cornell University staff members and/or law enforcement officials (such as Cornell University Police or Ithaca Police), any contraband materials and/or items.

Charge of Alleged Violation

A complaint against a resident may be brought by another resident, a guest of a resident, a member of the Housing & Residential Life or West Campus House System (WCHS) staff, any affected parties, other administrative offices, or persons not affiliated with Cornell University. 

Students wishing to make a complaint can speak with their Residence Hall Director (RHD), Area Coordinator (AC), House Assistant Dean (HAD), or representatives from Residential Life or the WCHS.

Information Gathering

The RHD/AC, HAD, or a designee in their absence will investigate complaints of a violation of the House Rules in a residential community. 


Notification to Student

If the RHD/AC, HAD, or designee determines a student conduct meeting is warranted for the alleged violation(s) of House Rules, the student will be notified of the meeting and specific charges.

The RHD/AC, HAD, or designee may choose to refer the student to meet with the Peer Review Board (PRB) in lieu of a meeting with the RHD/AC, HAD, or designee. The PRB is a student conduct board made up of residential student leaders who oversee alleged House Rules policy violations during fall and spring semesters. When the matter is referred to the PRB, the student will receive notice of the referral from the RHD/AC, HAD, or designee. Members of the PRB will then inform the student of the specific charges and student conduct meeting information.

Student Conduct Meeting

When the student meets with the HAD, RHD/AC, their designee, or the PRB, the meeting will include the following steps:

  1. Review of student’s rights and responsibilities
  2. Review of student conduct procedure
  3. Review of incident and alleged violations
  4. Fact-Finding discussion
  5. Determination of Responsibility - The PRB, HAD, RHD/AC, or designee will determine if a violation of the House Rules occurred based on a “preponderance of evidence” standard (meaning, a policy violation is more likely than not, or, 51% likely vs. 49% unlikely to have occurred).
  6. Notification of Next Steps - If a student is found responsible for a violation, this includes a discussion exploring appropriate educational sanctions. Specific educational sanctions are assigned based on the nature of the incident as well as the specific House Rules violation(s). The student receives notification of assigned sanctions and relevant details such as due dates and instructions for completion.

The above process may sometimes extend over multiple meetings. 


Educational sanctions may include and are not limited to community service, reflection or research papers, putting on a program in the community, making a bulletin board, letters of apology, referrals to other agencies for alcohol or other drug education, and/or changes in your Housing License up to and including termination of your Housing License.


Appeals must be submitted in writing within 5 days of the conclusion of the Student Conduct Meeting.

Students may submit an appeal under the following conditions:
  • the student’s rights as outlined in the conduct process were not met, or

  • new information about the incident is available that may change the original outcome decision.

If the above conditions are not met, an appeal meeting will not be granted.

Appeals are addressed by an Assistant Director in Residential Life, two HADs in the WCHS (from Houses other than where the original incident was adjudicated), or by the PRB Executive Board for incidents heard by the PRB. After meeting with the student to discuss the appeal, the student will receive notification in writing of the appeal outcome within 5 business days of the meeting.

Students should be prepared to complete assigned sanctions according to the original due date in the event the outcome of the appeal does not change the original conduct meeting outcome.


The conduct procedures for alleged House Rules violation(s) are not considered part of a student’s Cornell University disciplinary record. 

Student records pertaining to the House Rules conduct process are retained internally by Housing & Residential Life and the WCHS and are referenced if subsequent allegations of violating the House Rules occur.    

Jurisdictional Timeframe

All violations must be adjudicated in a timely manner from when received by Housing & Residential Life 


Residential Community Policies


  • HRL /WCHS prohibits kegs, beer balls, and other similar beverage containers commonly used to serve multiple individuals.

  • Alcohol paraphernalia (such as empties, flasks, or funnels) is prohibited in residential communities, except in rooms where all assigned persons are 21 and over.
  • Public intoxication by an individual under 21, whether or not disruptive to the community, will be subject to disciplinary action.
  • Public intoxication by an individual 21 years of age or older who is disrupting the community will be subject to disciplinary action.
  • Possession or consumption of alcohol is prohibited in any common area (such as lounges, kitchens, bathrooms, hallways, laundry rooms).
  • A person who is 21 or older may not consume alcoholic beverages in any residence hall room/suite, including suite common rooms, unless all who are present are 21 or older.
  • A person under 21 may not be in a room where alcohol is present. 
  • In accordance with the Guest Policy, each resident is responsible for and may be held accountable for the actions of their guest(s) who are students or non-students.
  • If an underage student is found drinking alcohol in a room in which they do not reside, the resident(s) of that room may be held equally responsible for permitting the violation to occur.
  • No alcohol (possession or consumption) is allowed in Akwe:kon.

Note: The following law and University policies also apply in the residential communities and alleged violations will result in referral to Cornell University Police and/or the Office of the Office of Student Conduct and Community Standards:

    • Under New York State Law, persons under the age of 21 are prohibited from possessing any alcoholic beverages.

    • It is a violation of the Student Code of Conduct to give or sell alcoholic beverages to anyone who is under the age of 21 years.

Animals in Residence

·      Pets in on-campus housing are prohibited except as outlined below. 

o   All residents of the room/suite/apartment agree to have a fish tank in the space;

o   Fish tanks cannot exceed 10 U.S. gallons in any residential community;

o   Flesh-eating species (e.g. piranha) are not permitted;

o   All appropriate precautions must be taken to ensure that the electrical connection to the fish tank is safe, and that other potential hazards have been properly addressed;

o   Maintenance of the fish and take, including over break periods, must be ensured.

o   See Housing License and “Service Animals and Emotional Support Animal” section below regarding service animals and ESAs.

·      Service Animals and Emotional Support Animals

o   Service animals and emotional support animals are permitted in campus residences. Students who require the use of an assistance animal should contact Student Disability Services (SDS) SDS will provide assistance in navigating the campus, including the selection of housing if the student plans to live on campus. Assistance animals must be approved by SDS as an accommodation for a disability.

·      Pets in Ecology House

o   Due to the environmental focus of Ecology House, residents are permitted to have pets under specified conditions. Residents must contact the Ecology House RHD for the specific policy and for approval and pet registration prior to bringing any pets into the residence hall. 

o   Arrangements should be made in advance for the care and feeding of pets during breaks and/or any anticipated time away. Keys cannot be shared with others and permission cannot be granted for a non-room owner to enter the room if the room owner is not present. Please note that for most pets automatic feeders are not appropriate for absences of a month, such as over winter break.

o   Residents keeping pets must comply with all aspects of the University Pet Policy.

o   Pets may not be left in the residence hall during breaks where the student is not present.


Appliances and Electronics

  • Minifridges are allowed in student rooms provided they do not draw more than 7.3 amps [700 watts] to start and 1.5 amps while running.

  • Stand-alone microwaves are prohibited in individual rooms; students may use the microwave in their building's shared kitchen instead. The exception is in the Townhouse Community, where residents may bring a microwave for use in their apartment kitchen.
  • A “microfridge” (combined microwave and minifridge) is permitted when rented from the University-approved vendor.
  • Appliances with self-contained, thermostatically controlled heating elements with automatic shut off may be used in kitchenettes only.
  • Coffee makers with automatic shutoff may be used in student rooms or kitchenettes.
  • Due to the risk of fire or nuisance/false fire alarms, the following items are not permitted in the residence halls (additional items may be added based on Cornell Fire Marshal direction and would be communicated:
    • Appliances with immersion coils, water heaters without automatic shutoffs, and exposed coils (such as space heaters) are prohibited in the residence halls unless provided by Student and Campus Life Facilities (hereafter referred to as SCL Facilities). 
    • Appliances with open heating elements (toasters and toaster oven). 
    • Air fryers may not be used or stored in residence halls
    • Humidifiers
    • Lamps with open halogen or fluorescent bulbs are prohibited.
    • “Octopus/spider” lamps may be used provided they are LED type and bulb wattage does not exceed the lamp’s UL listing.
  • Only electrical equipment and accessories identified with the Underwriter's Laboratories (UL) label are allowed.

Barbecue Grills

  • Students must receive authorization from the RHD/AC/HAD and from Environmental Health & Safety by putting in an event registration form.

  • Storing flammable liquids (including instant light charcoal) or gases is not permitted anywhere in the residence halls.

·      Charcoal may only be kept in storage areas identified by a professional staff member.

  • Grills must be set up on level ground at least 6 feet from sidewalks and 25 feet from buildings, structures and vehicles.

  • Grills cannot be set up under trees or overhangs.
  • Grills must be located so smoke does not enter nearby buildings.
  • Charcoal must be completely extinguished and cold to the center of the charcoal before disposal.
  • Grills must be used for cooking in the manner intended by the manufacturer and may not be used to burn trash, papers, wood, etc.
  • Use of grills requires completion of an Event Registration Form to be filed with Campus Activities. Note it may take up to three weeks for a form to be approved.
  • Individuals are expected to follow all guidelines provided by the office of the Fire Marshal and/or Department of Environment, Health and Safety.

Bed Elevating 

·      Residents are not permitted to use homemade or other bed lofting units not provided by SCL Facilities. Anyone found in non-compliance will be charged for the removal and is subject to disciplinary action.

·      Cinder blocks may not be used for raising or lofting beds and will be removed at the resident's expense. Any cinder blocks found in the building at the end of the year will be billed to the resident responsible. In addition, any damage to furniture or floor due to use of cinder blocks will be billed to the resident responsible.

·      Residents wishing to have their beds lofted, bunked, or raised must submit a Maintenance Request through SCL Facilities Requests for bed adjustments are accepted beginning September 1st. 

·      In order to comply with Fire Codes, beds cannot be placed directly under a sprinkler head or within 3 feet of the lowest point of a smoke or heat detector. If bunked beds are used in a room, the room shall have a minimum ceiling height of 7 feet and 6 inches. Beds also cannot cover more than 33% of the floor or exceed 36 square feet or obstruct any exit, window, door, heating equipment, or any other equipment that could create a fire hazard.

·      Beds bunked or lofted must remain in the same place where they have been positioned, when done or approvedby the SCL Facilities staff.  Note that any Fire Code violations that are issued which are the result of beds placed out of position by the resident shall result in a charge to the resident.

·      Beds cannot be lofted in the 122 McGraw, Barbra McClintock, Ecology House, Ganędagǫ:, Hu Shih, Ruth Bader Ginsberg, Sheldon Court, Toni Morrison, Townhouses.


Bicycles, E-Bikes, and Hoverboards

·      All bicycles must be registered on campus There are a limited number of outdoor bicycle racks and indoor bicycle storage rooms. (Not all residence halls or on-campus properties have indoor bicycle storage available). Cornell University Campus Police strongly recommends the use of a U-Bolt lock to secure bicycles.

  • Bicycles, e-bikes, and hoverboards may not be stored or charged in student rooms, with the exception of fold-up bicycles provided they do not impede egress.

  • Bicycles, e-bikes, and hoverboards cannot be left or charged in alcoves, hallways, stairwells, or common areas. They will be confiscated and turned over to Cornell University Police.
  • Any bicycles found in bicycle rooms or on bicycle racks after Commencement will be handled in the following manner:
    • The bicycle will be removed (the lock will be cut if necessary) and taken to the Lost and Found in Barton Hall.
    • If the bicycle is registered with the University, Cornell University Police will contact the owner via a registered letter to their permanent address.
    • If the bicycle is not retrieved from the Lost and Found within one year, it will be entered in the Tompkins County Police Auction.

Break Periods

·      Residents must comply with all directives from Housing & Residential Life related to breaks when housing facilities are closed.

·      Residential communities are scheduled to open and close on specific dates; early arrivals and late departures are generally not allowed. Students must make arrangements to move in or out by dates outlined in the Housing License: When exceptions are made, students may be charged additional fees based on an hourly or daily rate. During Winter Break all residential communities are closed except for the Jerome Holland International Living Center and Loving House, which is open to international students and other students, depending on space availability and prior approval.  Housing and Residential Life may designate other residential communities to remain open over the Winter Break.


Campaigning (Leafleting, Canvassing, and Petitioning)

·      Canvassing and leafleting are not permitted in residential communities with the exception of approved organizations following specific guidelines (see below for details). 

o   Leafleting includes activity in which an individual distributes papers (flyers, brochures, leaflets, posters, etc.) from door-to-door or to people passing by.

o   Canvassing includes activity in which an individual moves door-to-door asking residents for their support in an election or advertising an event. 

·      Leafleting and canvassing is permitted for candidates for the Residential Student Congress, Student Assembly, Class Councils, or the Board of Trustees on three designated nights during the campaign period, from 7:00p.m.-10:00p.m. in undergraduate areas and from 6:00p.m.-8:00p.m. in graduate areas pending residential professional staff approval. Before campaigning can occur, candidates must follow the procedures outlined below: 

o   The candidate submits an Event Registration Form (following all Event Registration Process procedures and timelines). In addition:

§  The candidate must include the position for which they are campaigning on the Event Registration Form.  

§  No more than three candidates, one building, and one night may be listed on the Event Registration Form. (Candidates will need to submit multiple forms to campaign in multiple buildings or for multiple nights.)

o   The candidate receives approval in advance of the event from residential professional staff through the Event Registration Form. If the candidate has not received approval after one week (5 business days), the candidate should contact the Residential Life Administrative Office (607-255-5533).

§  Same day campaigning requests will not be approved.

o   The residential professional staff will notify the candidate of how to gain access to the building.

o   The candidate carries a printed copy of the Event Registration Form approvals and presents it upon request to any University staff member.

o   The RHD/AC/HAD determines the appropriateness of leafleting or canvassing taking place.

o   The RHD/AC/HAD notifies the community of the leafleting/canvassing to take place and includes instructions for residents who do not wish to be approached: 

§  Residents may place a sign on their door indicating "No Leafleting/Canvassing." 

§  Candidates must respect the request not to be approached.

o   The leafleting/canvassing material must identify the name of the sponsoring candidates and contains no requests for money.

o   The leafleting/canvassing does not occur in entry/exit areas or archways.

o   The candidate is required to remove all materials from residential communities within 5 days of the election.

·      Residents are allowed to petition in their own residential community under the following rules:

o   The resident attends a meeting of the Residence Hall Leadership Organization or meets with their RHD/AC/HAD, notifies the organization of the days and times the resident would like to petition, and receives permission from the organization to proceed.

o   If the Residence Hall Leadership Organization is not active, the resident may submit notification (as outlined above) to the Residential Student Congress (RSC).

o   The petition subject matter is of a topic that relates to the resident’s community.

o   The petitioning does not take place during quiet hours.

o   The RHD/AC/HAD notifies the community of the petitioning to take place, indicating that residents may place a sign on their door(s) indicating "No Petitioning" if they do not wish to be approached.

o   If any of the above guidelines are not followed, the petitioner will be asked to stop petitioning and if not cooperative, could be subject to disciplinary action.

o   Please also see the Guests and Hosting Responsiblities policy.

Census Report

·      All residents are required to participate in the census reporting throughout the academic year as designated by Housing and Residential Life. The census report confirms the occupancy of each residential building. 

Commercial Business

  • Residents may not use their room, telephone, data lines, or wireless connection for profit-making purposes.

  • Commercial businesses are not permitted in residential communities or on the grounds surrounding them. Some exceptions are possible for programming events where a vendor's presence is a key component. The Director of University Relations and SCL Marketing and Communications must authorize such events and an Event Registration Form must be filed. 

Common Area Usage

  • Lounges, meeting rooms, lobbies, hallways, elevators, entryways, stairwells, bathrooms, and kitchens in residence halls are areas held "in common" among the residents. They are not open to the general public.

  • All residents of the community are responsible for the condition of the common areas. Damages or stolen University property from these areas, for which a responsible individual is not identified, will lead to the floor, suite, unit, building, and/or complex being billed for the repairs, replacement, or cleaning. 
  • If a pattern develops in which common areas are being misused, damaged, or left unclean, the space(s) could be closed. Entering a space when it is closed is prohibited.
  • It is the residents’ responsibility to keep lounges and common areas clean and to return furniture to its proper location.
  • Vomit and other bodily fluids in common areas is the responsibility of the community. Individuals responsible should take proper measures to clean the area. Contact the staff member on call to receive a clean-up kit. Failure to do so may result in individual or common area damage charges.
  • Bathrooms that are cleaned by Building Care staff must be cleared of personal belongings, except where cubbies and racks are provided.
  • Residents may not remove furniture from any common area.
  • Residents may not move beds or any other furniture from student rooms into common areas (including suite common rooms).
  • Students may not sleep in public spaces in the building. 
  • Decorating common areas requires approval of residential staff and must comply with all Decorating Rooms and Fire Safety policies. 

·      Personal property may not be left in common areas (including laundry rooms) and will be addressed by the RHD/AC/HAD.

    • Lost or abandoned items of value will be turned over to Cornell University Police in Barton Hall (607-255-1111) or Service Centers. After the waiting period prescribed by law, the item(s) will be entered in the Tompkins County Police Auction.

  • To reserve common areas, contact the RHD/AC or West Campus House Office and follow guidelines in place for a given community. It is expected that the area be returned to its original state after use. The sponsoring residents are responsible for any damage and clean up after an event.
  • Behavior in common areas should conform to the standards of the community as a whole. Loud, offensive, or lewd behavior or language directed at anyone (including staff) is not acceptable. Residents should exercise good judgment and demonstrate consideration of others when using common areas.
  • Balconies will be opened by residential staff as weather permits. Balconies must be used respectfully or they will be closed. Inappropriate behavior including, but not limited to, moving furniture onto balconies, smoking on balconies, throwing items off of balconies, or storing food on balconies is prohibited.
  • Clothing must be removed from laundry machines in a timely manner. It is strongly recommended that residents remain in the immediate area while doing laundry.
  • If a pattern develops in which common areas are being misused, damaged, or left unclean, the space(s) could be closed. Entering a space when it is closed is prohibited.

Compost, Recycling, and Landfill

·      Residents must collect all trash, compost, and recyclable materials using the receptacles provided in their room, or community area in the case of compost, and take these materials on a regular basis to floor or building trash and recycling containers. 

·      No personal trash may be left in bathrooms, common areas, suite common areas, hallways, or outside of room doors.  

·      Bodily fluids and biohazards are not permitted in trash and recycling containers.


Controlled Substances

  • Possession of drug paraphernalia is prohibited, whether or not it is being used for use or consumption of drugs.

  • A person may not be knowingly in the presence of illegal drugs and drugs prohibited on campus. 
  • While New York State has legalized the recreational use of cannabis for adults over the age of 21, Cornell University is subject to federal laws (per the Drug-Free Schools and Communities Act and the Drug Free Workplace Act) that expressly prohibit the possession, use or distribution of cannabis on University property, including all residential communities.

Note: The following laws and University policies also apply in the residential communities and alleged violations will result in referral to Cornell University Police and/or the Office of Student Conduct and Community Standards:

    • It is a violation of the Student Code of Conduct to traffic in, manufacture, dispense, use, possess, or sell any illegal drug.

    • “Illegal drugs” includes legal prescription drugs that were prescribed to someone other than the individual in possession/using them.
    • While the University prefers to handle a student's use of any controlled substance on an individual counseling and medical-care basis, such treatment does not offer immunity from local, state, and federal law. Any information that comes to the attention of Cornell University Police concerning the sale, exchange, or transfer of drugs from one individual to another is communicated to public officials. The University cannot prevent federal, state, or local law enforcement officials from investigating and prosecuting drug law violators. 

Cooking and Community Kitchens

  • Cooking is prohibited in hallways, bathrooms, and lounges.

  • Student must remain present while using the kitchen equipment.
  • Shared kitchens must be kept in a clean and sanitary condition. 
    • Food stored in common area refrigerators must be removed by the owner on a regular basis.
    • Residents must clean up after using the kitchen (dirty dishes should not be left behind, counters should be wiped down).
    • Food and personal items must be removed from common area kitchens and refrigerators by the owner prior to moving out at the end of their Housing License.

Decorating Rooms  

·      Resident rooms must be in the same condition upon departure, as they were upon arrival. Room damages or decorating violations will be assessed and charged against the resident(s) responsible. If a responsible party does not come forward, the damage bill will be split among all residents of the room. 

  • No more than one 8.5-inch by 11-inch sheet of paper, per resident, is allowed on the outside of a room door.

  • Pictures, posters, and other materials must be hung from picture moldings, tack strips, or bulletin boards only. Nails, tacks, screws, tape, glue, and other adhesives may not be used on walls, ceilings, wardrobes, woodwork, doors, or furniture. Note- it does remove paint or damages surface, even products that claim not to.
  • Wall paper of any kind is not allowed on walls or doors including contact or “removable” wall paper.
  • Decorations including natural evergreen trees, wreaths, or boughs are prohibited. Artificial plants are also not allowed. Metal trees are acceptable, with illumination by spot or reflective lights only. All winter seasonal decorations must be removed prior to leaving for the intersession break. 
  • Decorative strands of lights are permitted with an Underwriter's Laboratories label or listing (UL), but should not be adhered to any walls or ceiling.

·      Alterations (including but not limited to painting) to a room/apartment or to any University property within a room/apartment or common area is prohibited.

  • Hanging or extending anything outside the windows is prohibited.

  • Internal cables may not be spliced and run to individual rooms.
  • Maintenance in student rooms and common areas may only be completed by authorized staff.
  • Objects may not block the windows.
  • Hanging or posting anything on ceilings is prohibited.
  • Hanging anything from sprinkler pipes or any part of the fire sprinkler system is prohibited.
  • Covering smoke detectors and/or sprinkler heads is a life safety issue and is prohibited (see Fire Safety section for more information). 
  • Tapestries, cloths/sheets, plastic signs, and flags may not be hung in student rooms.
  • No more than ten percent of the wall can be covered by decorations in compliance with fire code.
  • Windows in all student rooms come already equipped with drapes, shades, or blinds. Students may not hang their own window treatments in their rooms, unless material is fire rated and labeled as such (certification must be on file with the SCL Facilities Office). 
  • Students may not bring their own upholstered furniture such as, headboards, couches into the halls as they are not properly fire treated for residence hall environments.  Small chairs are allowable within space restrictions

Donation Drives and Collection Boxes

·      Residents must contact their RHD/AC/HAD for approval for any form of donation drive and/or collection box. Residents who sponsor such drives must adhere to following policy regarding placement, maintenance, and removal:

o   In-house or single complex supported drives – If the complex chooses to support a donation drive, the complex and its staff are responsible for reservation, group contact information, setup, collection, and box removal. 

o   Multi-complex student supported drives – These drives should be redirected to the Community Centers for North Campus/South Campus and the HADs for the WCHS. The student group needs to reserve lobby space via the online registration form for donation bins/tabling/assembly. The boxes will be provided to each group by the Community Center Support Team (CCST). CCST will put the bins in the designated areas for each building. Each reservation will be allowed for 7 days.  Bins must be checked and emptied daily. The Community Center is not responsible for items in the bins. Students who do not reserve space and/or are not standing in the appropriate area will be asked to leave the Community Centers.

o   Multi-complex, University initiated and approved drives – SCL Facilities group initiates these drives with special donation boxes (e.g., Share the Warmth, United Way, Dump & Run). The SCL Facilities group is responsible for setup, collection, and removal.



·      As Cornell is within five miles of an airport, students wishing to fly drones on campus must comply with all Federal Aviation Administration regulations, which includes contacting the Ithaca Tompkins International Airport control tower to receive approval for flying his/her/their approved and licensed drone.


Exercise Equipment

  • Possession or use of barbells and other weight-lifting equipment in common areas is prohibited except in designated areas. Small weights under 30 lbs. may be used.

  • Pull up bars are prohibited and may not be used in doorways, closets, or other residential areas.

Fire Safety

·      Smoke detectors are located throughout student rooms, corridors, and common areas. Do not block, cover, or tamper with any detector.

  • Objects may be no closer than 18 inches to the ceiling or to any fire safety device (such as sprinklers).

·      Fire extinguishers are located on each floor of each building and residence hall to be used only by trained personnel. Residents should familiarize themselves with the locations of Fire Alarms and marked EXITS located throughout the buildings.

·      Manual pull stations are located at exit points from each floor and the building exterior doors.  In the event of a fire emergency, activate the station to sound the fire alarm. This will automatically contact emergency responders.

·      In the event of a fire or other emergency, residents must exit the building following EXIT signs that are located throughout the building.

·      The University conducts periodic evacuation drills to practice education and safe exiting from buildings. Residents must exit from the building when the fire alarm is activated, and cannot re-enter the building until given permission by University personnel. Evacuation plans are posted at elevators, stairs, and exit points throughout the buildings. These plans will indicate means to exit the building safely. All persons should be familiar with the procedures for evacuating a building.

·      Student room doors cannot be propped open if they are designed to automatically shut.

  • Storing flammable liquids and gases are not permitted in residential communities.

  • Use of open flame is prohibited.  
  • Candles (wick or wickless) and incense are not allowed. 
    • Groups of students may request approval to burn candles for religious purposes. To obtain approval, individuals should abide by the following procedure:
      • Obtain and complete a “Candle Open Flame Permit” from the RHD/AC/HAD at least two weeks in advance of when the event is to take place. The permit must include the date(s) and time(s) of use with the following stipulations:
        • the RHD/AC/HAD will be present during the use of live candles
        • the event occurs in a common area and not an individual student room
        • a fire extinguisher must be within the immediate vicinity of the use of live candles
      • Approved open flame candles must also be placed in a stable container, preferably a glass-globe type of holder.
  • To ensure safe egress, students may not leave personal items in hallways or stairwells.
  • Extension cords and multi-plug adapters are prohibited (this includes bed risers with integrated electrical outlets). An outlet strip with a breaker switch that is identified with an Underwriter’s Laboratories label or listing (UL) is allowed.

  • Outlet strips cannot be plugged into each other (creating a “chain”). 
  • Floor lamps must have the required wattage light bulbs and cannot exceed what is stated on the lamp’s UL label. The UL and wattage labels are commonly found on the shade or near the outlet for the light bulb.
  • Fire and Safety Inspections:
    • The University is subject to fire and safety inspections by various agencies. If a fine is incurred as a result of the student’s failure to comply with the terms of their Housing Contract or with any request from University staff, the student will be responsible for the amount of the fine.
    • Any material that is in violation of the House Rules is subject to confiscation during fire and safety inspections. Any material taken will be identified by room, kept by the RHD/AC/HAD, and will be available for collection on designated dates before University breaks. If items are not collected by the end of the semester, they will be disposed of.  

·      University safety plans can be reviewed online .

  • Fire Safety policies are subject to compliance changes and updates based on local and state regulated standards. Advance notice of changes/updates will be provided whenever possible.


Note: The following laws and University policies also apply in the residential communities and alleged violations will result in referral to Cornell University Police and/or the Office of Student Conduct and Community Standards:

o   Tampering with fire extinguishers, smoke detectors, sprinklers, fire and emergency doors, and other fire safety equipment.

o   Destruction/damage to exit signage

o   Falsely reporting a fire verbally or by falsely pulling the fire alarm/pull station.

o   Failure to follow evacuation procedures during an emergency or an alarm. 



Note: The following laws and University policies also apply in the residential communities and alleged violations will result in referral to Cornell University Police and/or the Office of Student Conduct and Community Standards:

    • Use or storage of fireworks of any kind is prohibited. 



·      Furniture may not be removed from a resident's room regardless of occupancy or any common area. Parts of furniture or closets may also not be removed, e.g. closet doors. Resident(s) will be billed for items removed or missing from any room.

·      Any upholstered furniture brought in must meet NYS and Federal code requirements for residence hall use.



  • All forms of gambling in residential communities are prohibited.

  • Raffles for fundraising purposes are not permitted.

Guests and Hosting Responsibilities

  • Guests to a building may not enter the building without being escorted by the person they are visiting. 

  • Residents are responsible for and may be held accountable for the behavior of their guests.
  • Overnight guests are permitted in residential communities if they do not constitute a problem for roommates or other residents. Overnight guests may not remain in the residential community for more than three consecutive nights within a given week.
  • Overnight guests may not sleep in common spaces (such as lounges, suite common rooms, hallways, or laundry rooms).
  • No room keys or temporary access cards will be issued or given to guests, and residents may not give their keys or ID card to someone else in order for the person to gain entry into a room and/or residence hall.
  • Occupancy limit for student rooms:
    • Private rooms- within a student’s private assigned room the occupancy limit (including room owners) is as follows.  Single room 2 people, Double room 4 people.
    • Suite common areas- In buildings where the suite has a common area appropriate for social gatherings (furnished to allow for people to socialize/gather) maximum occupancy is equal to the number of residents able to live in that suite.  Example 7 person suite, suite common area occupancy limit is 7 people.
  • Note that if the room door is open to the public area of the building the room is no longer considered private and those present must abide by rules related to public conduct.

Hall Sports

  • Playing sports and using sports equipment is prohibited in residential community common areas.   Playing sports includes, but is not limited to, gymnastics, running, wrestling, dribbling, etc.  Sports equipment includes, but is not limited to, basketballs, bikes, Frisbees, hacky sacks, toy guns (water, nerf, dart, paintball, etc.), scooters, skates, skateboards, sticks, balls for throwing/kicking, gloves, etc.

  • Any damage caused by hall sports will be billed to the responsible student(s).

Health and Safety

  • Students are not permitted on roofs, ledges, overhangs, or balconies accessed through a window.

  • Students are not permitted to climb the exterior of buildings.
  • Removing window screens is prohibited.
  • Throwing items out of windows or off of balconies is prohibited.
  • Students cannot hang antennae, flags, or other materials from the exterior of buildings.
  • Tampering or non-emergency use of the Blue Light or Elevator emergency buttons is prohibited.
  • Use of windows for the purpose of entering or exiting the building is prohibited.
  • Students may not prop open or enter residential communities through propped doors as this jeopardizes the security of the building. Students are encouraged to report any door that is not closing correctly.
  • Students may not allow access for another person unless they are the host for that person or specifically knows that the person is a current resident of the building.
  • Egress access must be safe and passable at all times, including corridors, stairwells, lounges, other common space and living space. In student rooms, state and city regulations require a clear path from the bed to the door, as well as a minimum of 36 inches between the door and any other item in the room. 
  • Students must keep rooms in a sanitary condition. Food must be put away in closed containers. Rooms should be clean of any food scraps or crumbs that could attract insects/rodents.
  • Dangerous and/or hazardous materials are prohibited in residential communities. 
  • In the event that a student's room needs to be accessed by a University Official (for example: emergency maintenance, pest control, medical situations, or fire safety inspections), students may be required to remove excess items from their floor and furniture tops. Twenty-four hour advance notification will be given whenever possible. Failure to complete the requested tasks could result in students being charged for the tasks to be completed by SCL Facilities or any fees associated with rescheduling the work, as well as judicial action.
  • The storage of bodily fluids is prohibited in residential communities. Bodily fluids must be disposed of in the proper waste removal system. 
  • Students may be required to move from their rooms in a designated amount of time as required by the Office of Residential and Event Services, Residential Life, or the WCHS for health and safety reasons. 

Keys and Lockouts

  • Keys must not be duplicated or loaned.

·       Residential Life/WCHS staff and Service Center/House Office staff will not provide entry to a room for anyone other than a resident of that room, including parents, friends, guests, and/or other individuals. Exceptions may only be made in case of emergency as determined by a Residential Life WCHS professional staff member.

  • Residents are responsible for their building and room keys. Residence hall exterior doors are locked at all times.

  • Cornell University Police will not unlock doors for residents.
  • When a student is locked out during Service Center/House Office hours, their Service Center/House Office will provide them with a loaner key for a fee, or for free if the student has a lockout voucher. Students must have proper identification such as an ID, or knowledge of the information on the key card, and must sign a Loaner Key Agreement before they take the loaner key. If the loaner key is not returned within five days (5) from the date the agreement is signed, the student will be Bursar billed lock charges, and the locks will be changed.  
  • When a student is locked out when the Service Center/House Office is not open, the residential staff member on call will open the room with a master key. A lock out fee may be assessed. 
  • Students with electronic access who lose their access card (Cornell ID) must report the loss to the Service Center/House Office. The student will receive a temporary card that will be valid for 72 hours. After that period, if the access card is not located, the student must obtain a new ID card from University Registrar (B-7 Day Hall). After the 72 hours, a charge will be Bursar billed to the student if the loaner card is not returned. 
  • All lost or stolen keys must be reported to Cornell University Police and the Service Center/House Office staff immediately. If the keys are not found within 5 days, the lock core will be replaced at the student’s expense. There are no exceptions to this policy. 
  • If a student room or mailbox key is not returned at the end of the academic year or at the termination of the student’s residence hall contract for that room, the student will be Bursar billed for a lock cylinder change. There is no exception to this policy.
  • Religious Restrictions: Students who are prohibited from using electronic devices on certain days due to religious restrictions may request an alternative access key from their Service Center/House Office and must sign an Alternative Access Key Agreement. The professional staff member of the Service Centers/House Office will approve these requests, issue keys, and maintain a file of all keys issued and returned. Keys checked out for religious observation must be returned to the Service Center/House Office during winter intersession. Keys will be available to pick up upon return for spring semester.
  • Bike Rooms: Students needing access to bike rooms may request an alternative access key from the Service Center/House Office and must sign an Alternative Access Key Agreement. The professional staff member of the Service Center/House Office will approve these requests, issue keys, and maintain a file of all keys issued and returned. 

Motorized Vehicles

·      Storing or parking motorized vehicles in residential communities is not permitted. Please see Commuter and Parking Services website  for polices about motorized vehicles (Motorcycles, Motor Scooters, and Mopeds). 


  • If a student wishes to paint a mural, they must contact the RHD/AC/HAD to receive a request form and guidelines. All submissions must include a full-color drawing with the mural request form.

  • A request for a mural to be painted needs to be submitted to the RHD/AC/HAD by April 15th. The RHD/AC or HAD will notify the student(s) if the mural is approved.
  • When a mural is approved, the mural will be shared with SCL Facilities Office no later than the last week in April.
  • The mural must be completed no later than the first day of final exams in May.
  • Failure to follow the guidelines, receive approval, or complete the mural will result in charges to the student(s) for repainting of the wall.

Pools, Hot Tubs, and Waterbeds

·      Waterbeds and hot tubs are prohibited.

·      Pools are not allowed in any internal residential space.



·      The following guidelines must be observed when seeking to post advertisements in North Campus and South Campus residence halls:

o   Non-Residential Life (University registered or non-profit organizations) flyers or announcements may only be posted with the permission of Non-Residential Life staff.  

§  All flyers must be taken to the Residential Life Office at 1501 Clara Dickson Hall for approval before they are posted. Poster approval and stamping can be received between the hours of 8:30 AM and 4:00 PM, Monday through Friday.

§  Non-Residential Life organizations must leave approved posters at the Residential Life Office, where professional staff will retrieve them for posting. Allow 7 days prior to the event for posting.

§  Flyers and announcements may be posted on designated spaces only. Residence hall staff will monitor bulletin boards for inappropriate usage. Any materials lacking the name of a sponsoring group or appropriate approval stamp will be removed and discarded.

§  Posters should be 8.5"x11" in size. Accommodations will be made for posters up to 17"x24"; organizations should realize that this size will limit the quantity approved for posting.

o   No other organizations or groups are permitted to post in the residence halls.

o   Postings are not allowed on outside walls of buildings, sidewalks, stairwells and stairwell doors, and glass/windows on doors.

·      The following guidelines must by observed when seeking to post advertisements in the West Campus House System:

o   House staff will post flyers at the discretion of the House leadership and will monitor bulletin boards for inappropriate usage. 

o   Flyers should be dropped off at the House Office.  

o   Allow 7 days, prior to the event, for posting. 

o   Any materials lacking the name of a sponsoring group or that are posted without approval of the House leadership will be removed and discarded.

·      Posters and common area bulletin boards may not be defaced or inappropriately removed.

·      Chalking is not allowed on outside walls of buildings or other vertical surfaces, stairwells, doors, glass surfaces, windows, or under archways.

·      Refer to the Postering in the Residence Halls information for more details.

Quiet and Courtesy Hours

  • Courtesy hours are in effect 24 hours a day. Members and guests of a community are expected to observe courtesy hours and may be asked at any time to limit the amount of noise they are creating.

  • Quiet hours are: Sunday-Thursday begin at 11pm, Friday and Saturday begin at midnight.  Monday- Friday end at 7:30am, Friday and Saturday end at 9am.
  • During quiet hours, amplified sound, loud talking in hallways, and other noise or behavior that might prevent others from sleeping or studying is prohibited.
  • As a guideline sound that can be heard from two doors away when your door is closed is too loud at any time of day.  During Quiet Hours noise that can be heard from one door away with your door closed is defined as too loud.

Restroom/Facilities Use Guidelines

·      In keeping with the University’s policy of nondiscrimination and the commitment to inclusion, the University allows students, staff, faculty, and visitors to use the restroom or facility that corresponds to their gender identity*. In addition, the University maintains a number of universal restrooms across campus to address restroom facility access not necessarily related to gender identity, such as access for parents with children and for other attendants/caregivers. These facilities are all-gender, accessible spaces, which may include amenities for families such as baby changing stations.

*Gender identity refers to an individual’s internal sense of gender. A person’s gender identity may be different from or the same as the person’s sex assigned at birth.


Room Change Requests

  • Any resident wishing to apply for a room change must first contact the RHD/AC/HAD. During the first three weeks of each semester, residents may apply for a room change, but requests will not be processed until the Housing Office completes the room census to determine vacancies, which may take up to a month after opening.

  • Once a student receives another housing assignment, the new housing contract must be signed. Along with the new contract, students will also receive check out and check in directions to complete the room change process. Students are not allowed to move until they receive authorization from the Housing Office. Moving prior to this notification may result in disciplinary action.
  • Residents requesting direct room switches with another resident must not move or take possession of the new room until they have received official authorization from the Housing Office and all residents involved have signed a new housing contract. All residents involved in a direct switch must come to the Housing Office together to sign new room contracts.
  • There is a $100 fee for room changes which occur during the academic year including direct room switches.
  • If a student switches rooms without permission, they may lose the right to live on campus.

·       Refusing to accept or impeding an effort by Housing Office to make an assignment to a vacant space is prohibited.

Room Damages

·      Each resident is responsible for inspecting their room upon move in.  Any broken items or damages should be reported via a work order and an email to the professional staff member of the building. When vacating, any damages noted during the move-out inspection that were not reported and that are beyond reasonable wear and tear for the time the student was assigned the space are the resident’s financial responsibility.

·      Residents are responsible for any damages to their assigned room. If the responsible individual does not take responsibility for damage done in a room, the damage cost will be split among all residents in the room/suite/apartment.

·      If a resident changes rooms or leaves the University, a staff member will inspect the room when it is vacated. Appeals to damage assessment may be made only by the resident following the damage appeal process ( Residents who fail to check out with a staff member forfeit the right to appeal any damage charges.


Smoking and Vaping

·      Smoking is prohibited in all University residential communities. This includes student rooms and any common area (such as offices, lounges, entryways, hallways, kitchens, elevators, laundry rooms, and stairwells)

·      Persons who smoke outside the residence halls must do so at least 25 feet from the building or any extending wall, awning, or other building feature, or where it is otherwise posted.

·      The use of electronic cigarettes and hookahs in residential communities is prohibited. (Use of electronic cigarettes and hookahs must occur at least 25 feet from the building.)



·      Students found responsible for damage to property or theft of property may be referred to the Office of Student Conduct and Community Standards and may be billed for the amount to repair or replacement 

·      If common areas are damaged and the responsible parties are not identified, the University reserves the right to hold all residents of the floor, unit, hall or complex responsible for the cost of repair and/or replacement of damaged items



·      Possession of firearms (including but not limited to rifles, shotguns, BB guns, ammunition, paintball guns), explosives, knives (including but not limited to swords, bayonets, and machetes), or other dangerous weapons, instruments, or substances are prohibited in University residence halls. Possession of such weapons might be a violation of the Student Code of Conduct and therefore may be referred to the Office of Student Conduct and Community Standards. 

  • Residents who need to have a weapon on campus (e.g., members of the skeet team, hunters) must register and store their weapons with Cornell University Police in G-2 Barton Hall. Residents will have twenty-four hour access to these weapons.


Other Important Campus Policy Resources

The following Cornell University rules, regulations, policies, and procedures also apply in residential communities. Students who have alleged violations will be referred by Non-Residential Life or WCHS staff to the appropriate governing offices. Students are responsible for making themselves knowledgeable about any campus rule or policy that may apply to them based on use or agreement of the individual even if not listed here specifically.  For example, campus parking regulations.


Cornell University Student Code of Conduct


Cornell University Policy 6.4: Prohibited Bias, Discrimination, Harassment, and Sexual and Related Misconduct

Good Samaritan Protocol