Offices & Services

Student Handbook

Residential Life

Washington College educates its students in the broadest sense. Living in a residence hall is an educational opportunity, augmenting learning gained in the classroom. Living on campus also provides students with many opportunities to create rich and rewarding relationships with other students especially those formed by involvement in social and educational activities on the floors and buildings. Students have a unique opportunity to shape their community while living and learning with peers.

All students have the right to expect that residence halls will be reasonably quiet and well maintained. The College recognizes that a student’s residence hall is his/her “home away from home” and should be treated as such. The College assumes the responsibility for maintaining the buildings, and students must assume responsibility for reasonable usage of facilities and for establishing an atmosphere where all students may study, sleep and live. Students who violate the spirit of the residence hall system or violate the rights of other students are subject to disciplinary action.

 

  • Residential Life Staff

    Residential Life Staff

    The residence halls are staffed with professional and paraprofessional student staff who provide supervision, guidance, and support to individual students and to floor and hall communities.

    Assistant Directors of Residential Life are professional, full-time staff with masters level education and background in student learning and development. Assistant Directors of Residential Life provide direct oversight to two areas of the residential campus. Under the supervision of the Associate Dean of Students and Director of Residential Life, the Assistant Directors of Residential Life supervise the Resident Assistant (RA) and Resident Area Director (RAD) staff, address student well-being or behavior concerns, manage minor student conduct issues in their areas, and coordinate programming and events. The Assistant Directors of Residential Life hold regular office hours and are available to provide individual student assistance.

    Student Resident Area Directors (RADs) are experienced, upper-class student leaders trained to provide additional support and supervision to the RAD staff. RADs serve as chairs of various Residential Life committees and assist in major departmental programs and initiatives.

    Resident Assistants (RAs) are assigned to a floor or a residence hall. The RAs help build a community within the residence halls by getting to know residents, upholding policies and planning floor and hall activities. RAs understand the College’s mission, procedures, policies, and the Honor Code, and are instrumental in working with residents to shape community standards and respectful behavior.

  • Residency Requirements

    Residency Requirements

    All matriculating, full-time students are required to live on campus. Third and fourth year students with junior or senior credit standing and good academic and social standing may request an exemption to this policy by completing the Housing Exemption Request form.

    Requests will be reviewed by the Off-Campus Review Committee.

    Circumstances where a student may be exempted include:

    • An incoming transfer student with junior or senior standing.
    • A student who is over the age of 23.
    • A student whose home is within reasonable commuting distance to Washington College and will live at that home.
    • Other compelling circumstances approved by the Off-Campus Review Committee.

    Students requesting to move off campus should do so by the deadlines as detailed on the request form. Once the deadline for such requests has passed, only students with special circumstances will be considered for off-campus residency. Students who move off campus without permission of the Office of Residential Life Office or Off-Campus Review Committee will be billed for on-campus housing. Once the academic year has started, students wishing to move off campus must apply to break the housing contract.

    Students approved to live off campus are required to provide the Office of Residential Life with contact information including local street address, phone number and landlord contact information. Students who have chosen to move off campus may apply to return to on-campus housing through the Office of Residential Life. Space may be limited and housing will be offered to students based upon availability

    The Housing Exemption Request form can be found on-line via the Residential Life webpage. Please note that housing contracts cover one academic year. Requests to cancel contracts mid-year will only be considered under exceptional circumstances. Exemptions to any of these deadlines will be reviewed at the discretion of the Chair of the Off-Campus Review Committee. 

  • Room and Board Contracts

    Room and Board Contracts

    All students living in campus residence halls must accept a formal housing contract with the College. Students contracting for accommodations in the College residence halls assume the responsibility to abide by all College regulations. Students whose relationship with the College is terminated by withdrawal, suspension, or expulsion shall vacate the residence hall within 48 hours.

    All students residing on campus, except in Kent Crossing Apartments, must select a full meal plan option. Dining services offers various meal plans to meet individual needs. Please check the Dining Services page on the website for more specific information.

    Students must select a meal plan when completing their individual housing contracts. Students may change their meal plan choice within the first two weeks of each semester on their WebAdvisor account. All contract changes must be made within the first two weeks of classes each semester. 

  • Residence Hall Room Assignments and Rooms
    Residence Hall Room Assignments and Rooms

    The room assignment procedure for the following academic year will be announced during the preceding spring semester. Students will receive e-mail notification about the room selection process and will find additional information online.

    The College reserves the right to change room assignments when necessary. No room changes may be made without the permission of the Office of Residential Life. Students should see their Resident Assistant or Assistant Director for Residential Life for assistance or questions about room change procedure guidelines.

    At times, Residential Life may need to convert lounges and temporarily expand occupancy in some rooms to accommodate housing demands.  Students placed in expanded occupancy rooms will be required to move to a standard placement as they become available.

    Students studying abroad returning in the spring semester will be contacted in October regarding housing arrangements.  Students returning for the following fall semester will be able to sign-up for campus housing through the lottery process during the spring semester.  

     
  • Themed Living Options

    Themed Living Options

    Washington College offers several themed housing options allowing students to live with others who share their social and academic interests.

    Presidential Fellows Housing is an option for first year students selected as Presidential Fellows upon admission. Students enjoy planned and often informal opportunities to interact with each other’s faculty outside the classroom and participate in activities focused on leadership and campus involvement.

    The Wellness House brings together students interested in learning and practicing wellness and healthy living. Students have the opportunity to interact with faculty and staff while learning to enhance their personal wellness and academic success. This living option is substance free (alcohol, tobacco, non-prescription drugs).

    The Arts House provides programming and activities geared towards those students interested in the visual and performing arts. Students can participate in plays on the Middle Hall stage, or showcase their art in the annual student art show.

    The Science House is an excellent option for students interested or majoring in one of the sciences. This program is designed to help students achieve their academic potential through study groups, social programming, and close interactions with faculty.

    The International House attracts students interested in learning about a wide range of cultures and global issues. Students from all around the world and gain insight from cross-cultural experiences while making friends that can last a lifetime.

  • Occupancy of Room Assignment

    Occupancy of Room Assignment

    Dates and times that residents may occupy the residence halls are determined by the Office of Residential Life. The published dates and times for both move in and move out will be communicated to all residents. The residence period for each semester usually begins one day prior to the first day of classes and usually ends 24 hours after the student’s last final or on the day the last day of final exams, whichever comes first. For graduating seniors, the residence halls will close graduation day after commencement ceremonies. All residence halls are closed between the end of the fall semester and the beginning of the spring semester.  Permission from the Office of Residential Life must be obtained to arrive before or stay after the above dates and times.

  • Room Check in and Check Out

    Room Check in and Check Out

    Residents checking in and out of rooms must do so during the dates and times announced by the Office of Residential Life. Residents are required to complete a Room Condition Report with their RA upon checking in and out of their rooms. Students are responsible for cleaning their room, returning all furniture to the way it was at check-in and removing and placing trash in approved locations.  Based on the room condition report, the room will be assessed for damages above and beyond normal usage and students will be assessed a charge for damages to the room. Additional charges may be assessed for reassembling furniture, removal of a resident’s belongings, trash, and cleaning.

  • Room Changes

    Room Changes

    Occasionally, students encounter difficulties with roommates and while a room change may be desired,  students are first encouraged to resolve the conflict themselves by having a conversation with roommate(s) or suitemates.  Resident Assistants are available for advice about how best to approach this conversation.  If no resolution is reached, the resident should talk to the floor RA. The RA will discuss the situation with all roommates and explore options. If a room change seems warranted after this step, the resident will be asked to discuss the matter with the Assistant Director of Residential Life who will determine whether a room change is advisable and approved. All room changes are based on space availability or willingness of all participants to exchange rooms.  Room changes can only happen at certain times during the academic year.  Room changes will not be made during the first three weeks of each semester. 

  • Care and Furnishing of Rooms

    Care and Furnishing of Rooms

    Students are asked to keep their rooms reasonably clean and orderly. The walls, doors, and ceilings of the rooms are not to be defaced. Nails, tacks, and adhesives (tape, glue, etc.) may not be used on walls and students may not paint walls or furnishings. Rooms contain beds, desks, chairs, dressers, closets, window blinds, and screens on the windows. Students may not move furniture from lounges or floor common areas to their rooms.  Students need to provide their own blankets, pillows, desk lamps, towels, sheets, etc. Students may not remove furniture from their rooms and the College is unable to store room furniture. The repair or replacement cost of any items of room, suite or residence hall furnishings that are removed, damaged or lost will be charged to the assigned occupants. Students may not make their own repairs.  The College reserves the right to make announced periodic room inspections in order to assess safety and damage.  Students may make cleaning and repair requests using the College’s on-line system found at http://maintenance2.washcoll.edu/mc_web/onsite/mc_login_mac.asp.

  • Damage and Cleaning Charges

    Damage and Cleaning Charges

    Resident students are responsible for common areas of their residence. Room and common area damages, including cleaning charges, will be assessed to the responsible student whenever possible; however, when the responsible person or persons are not identified, the cost for repair or cleaning will be divided among all occupants of the suite, floor or building (whichever is appropriate). Students should report damage to their RA or Public Safety immediately.

  • Common Area Damage

    Common Area Damage

    Residents of an area are responsible for all common area damage and resulting charges.  Charges will be divided amongst residents of an area unless the responsible party comes forward or is identified by residents or staff within 7 days.  Responsible party will then assume the full damage charge.  Students are encouraged to report all damages they (or others) have been involved in or have knowledge of, in order to effect prompt replacement of repairs and appropriate billing.

  • Fire Safety

    Fire Safety

    Each semester, Public Safety will hold un-announced fire drills for all residence hall students.  Students are expected to vacate their residence hall when they hear a fire alarm or are directed to do so by appropriate College staff.  Failure to do so may be considered a violation of College policy.

    Tampering with fire extinguishers or smoke detectors is a violation of College policy that may result in suspension.

    Per state code, students are not permitted to store their bicycles or any personal property in building stairwells.  Bicycles or property left in stairwells may be removed.  Bicycle racks are provided outside most residence halls.

  • Small Appliances

    Small Appliances

    A student may bring a small refrigerator to campus in good working order that does not exceed 5 cubic foot capacity. All electrical appliances must be UL approved.

    Additional items that may be brought include:

    Game Systems, Fans, Televisions (may not be mounted on walls), Small Closed-Element Electric Grills, Popcorn Poppers, Microwaves, Hair Dryers, DVD Players, Coffee Makers with automatic shut-off.

    Due to safety considerations, the following items are prohibited from the residence halls:

    Portable Heaters, Halogen Lamps, Hot Plates, Toaster Ovens, Propane Grills, Incense, Candles and anything with open flame, Anything with an exposed heating element, Multi-arm lamps with plastic shades.

  • Guests

    Guests

    All visitors to a residence hall are the responsibility of the host resident who invited and/or admitted that visitor into the building, suite or room (visitors are those not directly affiliated with Washington College or Washington College students who are not residents of the building, suite or room). This means that students are responsible for the behavior of their guests through the campus conduct process.  Visitors must be escorted at all times by the host resident. Unescorted visitors may be asked to leave and both the host resident and the visitor may be subject to judicial action.

    Residents allowing non-residents into the building are putting themselves and others at risk. Allowing nonresidents into the building means that person becomes the resident’s visitor and the resident’s responsibility. This includes a resident holding the door open for a non-resident behind them, allowing them to follow him or her into the building.

    Overnight guests (students and non-students) are permitted in the residence halls within reason. Guests may only stay for two consecutive nights with the permission of the other roommate or roommates. Exceptions to this may only be granted by a professional staff member of Residential Life.  Under no circumstances should a residence hall room or suite become the primary residence of anyone other than the assigned students. 

  • Quiet Hours / Courtesy Hours

    Quiet Hours / Courtesy Hours

    Residence Hall quiet hours are from 11:00 pm-10:00 am Sunday through Thursday and 1:00 am to 10:00 am Friday and Saturday. “Courtesy hours” are in effect at all times. A student should expect to be asked to reduce noise that is audible beyond their room (especially if it can be heard in rooms two or three doors away). 

    The student is expected to comply with any such request from either staff or other residents.  Excessive noise is unacceptable at all times. Residents are responsible for ensuring noise levels do not disturb other students.

    A student who fails to respond to reasonable requests to lower or eliminate noise may face judicial action. During exam week, quiet hours are extended to twenty-four (24) hours per day.   Quiet hours in Kent Crossing begin at 8:00 p.m. every night of the week, in accordance with complex policy. 

    Students who need to practice their music are encouraged to utilize the Gibson Center for the performing arts. 

  • Selling and Soliciting

    Selling and Soliciting

    Selling, canvasing, or campaigning door to door in the residence halls is not permitted.  Students are not permitted to operate a business or maintain inventory for a business from a residence hall facility. This includes businesses operated through the internet or phone.

  • Smoking

    Smoking

    All residence halls, including entryways, are smoke-free.  Students may not smoke in the building.  Students choosing to smoke must do so outdoors a minimum of 25 feet away from any residence hall building.  Students who smoke in their residence hall rooms can expect to be charged for cleaning or replacement of all furnishings, floor tiles, and paint in addition to facing judicial action. Hookahs - single or multi-stemmed water pipes used for smoking tobacco - are allowed to be used on campus grounds but, in accordance with the Smoking Policy, cannot be used inside of residence halls or any other campus building. Furthermore, in accordance with the drug laws and policies, hookahs should not be used to smoke marijuana or other illegal drugs.

  • Outdoor Sports/Games

    Outdoor Sports/Games

    Students and guests are not permitted to engage in any kind of sport in the residence halls (i.e. dribbling basketballs, throwing a frisbee, etc.) These activities can cause safety, noise and damage concerns for all residents. Individual or group behavior that causes damage, harassment, accident, or injury to an individual or group or to College or personal property is not permitted. Students responsible for behavior that causes damage, harassment, etc., will face judicial action.

  • Window Screens

    Window Screens

    Room window screens are not to be removed. Removing window screens or in any way changing or altering a screen or window may be considered vandalism and result in judicial action.

  • Pets

    Pets

    Pets are not allowed in any residence hall. Students violating this policy, either by having a pet or where there is evidence of a pet, may be subject to judicial action plus necessary repair, cleaning and/or fumigating charges where applicable. Exceptions are made for aquarium fish (in tanks of 10 gallons or less) and approved service or therapy animals.  If a non-approved animal is discovered, the animal needs to be removed immediately by the student.  Service or therapy animals must be approved by the Office of Disability Services and Academic Skills prior to coming to campus or risk immediate removal.

  • Keys/Access Cards

    Keys/Access Cards

    The Department of Public Safety is responsible for issuing all room, mailbox, and departmental keys, as well as ID/access cards. Please safeguard all keys and ID cards. Contact the Department of Public Safety with questions or concerns regarding keys or ID cards.

    One room key and one mailbox key will be issued to each student residing on campus. Students residing off campus must make arrangements with the mailroom for mail delivery. 

    It is the responsibility of the student to carry his/her key, and ID card at all times.  Students who are locked out of their rooms should first make contact with their RA to get room access.  If the RA is not available, the student may contact Public Safety.  Students given admission to their rooms will be asked to provide his/her key and ID card to the responding staff member. If the student does not produce the key, he/she will be directed to Public Safety to request a replacement.  A continued pattern of lockouts or failure to request a replacement key, when asked to do so, may result in a referral to the campus Honor Board.

    Keys lost or not returned in accordance with this policy will result in a replacement charge of $25.00 for a room key and $25.00 for a mailbox key. When necessary, Public Safety may change the key core at the student’s expense.  This is in addition to the charges for replacing the key and/or lock. 

    Students are to return all keys at the end of their residency, but keep their ID card. The Office of Residential Life must approve requests for room assignments changes. If approved, the Department of Public Safety issues new keys after written notification is received from the Office of Residential Life.

  • ID Cards

    ID Cards

    New students will receive a Washington College Student ID Card which employs multiple technologies, one of which allows the ID to be used as an access card for certain residence halls, as well as access to other facilities (when requested by members of the faculty or staff). When cared for properly, the ID card should last for the entire period that an individual attends Washington College. The ID card should not be folded, bent, or punctured in any fashion. The cost of replacing a damaged or lost ID card is $15.00.

    When accepting a key or ID card, students will comply with the following rules and regulations:

    • All room, mailbox, and other keys and access devices issued by the College are the property of Washington College.
    • When a key (or ID card) is lost or stolen, it must be reported to the Department of Public Safety.
    • Keys and identification cards are assigned to students individually and are not to be given or loaned to anyone else.
    • Keys are not to be duplicated.
    • It is each student’s responsibility to return keys by the end of the semester or school year.
    • Upon request, College keys and ID cards must be surrendered to Public Safety officials.

    It is the responsibility of each student to return all keys (room, mailbox and departmental keys) at the end of their residency. Keys not returned within five (5) days after official departure from campus will be charged to the student’s account. Any requests for variance from this policy must be made in writing or by e-mail, and endorsed by the Department of Public Safety prior to a student’s departure.

  • Expectations for Off Campus Behavior

    Expectations for Off Campus Behavior

    Washington College students can contribute greatly to the Chestertown community when engaged in positive activities and respectful relationships with neighbors.

    As members of the Chestertown community, Washington College students are expected to comply with all town, state and federal laws and local ordinances.  Students are also expected to demonstrate responsible citizenship off campus and behave in a manner that is considerate of their neighbors.  Neighbors have a right to the peaceful enjoyment of their property and to protect their property investment.  Any student who engages in disruptive, disorderly or destructive behavior off campus will be held accountable by Washington College.

    If a citation is issued or a nuisance call/complaint is made regarding an off campus house owned, rented or leased by Washington College students, the tenants of the residence will be held accountable by the Washington College Honor Code in addition to the civic authority.  All tenants, whether present or not at the incident resulting in a police, Public Safety response or neighbor complaint, are responsible for behavior that takes place at their dwelling.

  • Individual Student Behavior

    Individual Student Behavior

    Any off campus student who repeatedly violates community standards or is involved in a single serious incident may be required to move into on campus housing with all costs associated being the student’s responsibility.  Students who already reside on campus will be held accountable for behavior off campus.

  • Maryland Social Host Liability Law

    Maryland Social Host Liability Law

    As of July 5, 2016, Maryland Court of Appeals has ruled that adults (18 and over) who knowingly and willingly furnish alcohol to someone under 21 will be held culpable.  Also passed, “Alex and Calvin’s Law”, a bill that has stiffened the fines and jail time for adults who provide alcohol for underage guests.

    All students hosting a party, gathering or individuals either on campus or off should be aware of the presence of alcohol when guests under 21 are present, control access to alcohol provided by host, and take steps to ensure safety of underage students.

    Hosts are strongly encouraged by Washington College to monitor the behavior of all guests and take appropriate action to minimize behavior that will impact the host, the guest in question, other guests, and the neighborhood.

  • Chronic Nuisance Properties

    Chronic Nuisance Properties

    Any off campus student who is a tenant of a house that is deemed a chronic nuisance property by the town will be required to move into on campus housing with all costs associated being the student’s responsibility.

    In accordance with Chestertown Ordinance:

    59-4, Conditions Constituting a Nuisance

    A disorderly house nuisance is a dwelling, as defined in this chapter, where any of the following has occurred within a 365-day period.

    1. Two or more calls for police service that result in criminal arrests, criminal citations, criminal indictments, criminal warrants, criminal summonses, civil citations or civil summonses arising out of separate and distinct facts and disturbances (as defined by the statutes of the state and/or the ordinances of the town or of the county) which occur at a dwelling or on property in close proximity to a dwelling:
    2. Two or more violations of Chapter 45 of the Town Code relating to alcoholic beverages arising of separate and distinct facts and circumstances;
    3. Two or more violations of Chapter 68 or Chapter 117 of the Town Code relating to nuisances, arising out of separate and distinct facts and circumstances;
    4. Two or more violations of Chapter 54, Chapter 135 or 159 of the Town Code relating to property maintenance, arising out of separate and distinct facts and circumstances;
    5. Two or more violations of Chapter 170 of the Town Code relating to zoning, arising out of separate and distinct facts and circumstances; or
    6. A combination of two incidents from any of the above categories, arising out of separate and distinct facts and circumstances.
  • Policy and Expectations

    Policy and Expectations:

     

    1.  General care and upkeep of the residence: Care and maintenance of a rental property is expected to be consistent with and blend in with owner occupied homes in the neighborhood.  Since many student-rented houses are in the historic district, this is particularly important.
    2. Behaviors that may be illegal, disruptive, and/or disrespectful. Students should be particularly aware of the following behaviors:

              1. Use and misuse of alcohol

    1. Use or possession of alcohol by underage students
    2. Providing or distributing alcohol to underage students and non-students
    3. Carrying open containers of alcohol on sidewalks and streets
    4. Possession or us of fake ids
    5. Excessive noise, associated with service of alcohol to large groups      

             2. Noise and/or disruption while traveling in and through a neighborhood

    Chestertown is a pedestrian-friendly town and the proximity of the College to the center of town and other amenities encourages walking.  As students travel through the various neighborhoods in town, they should conduct themselves in a manner that does not disrupt the area.  Noise, littering, public intoxication and urination, etc. disturbs and creates an unsafe environment for residents.

    The following behaviors may be disruptive and/or illegal:

    1. When people travel in large groups, they typically become louder.  Excessive noise associated with travel in large groups ads to the nuisance level.  Conversing with raised voices, yelling and screaming at any time of day or night is disruptive.
    2. Public urination
    3. Littering

            3. Parties at student owned or rented houses

    Students hosting parties at off campus houses are responsible for the size of the party, the activities occurring at and associated with the location, and the impact on the neighborhood, particularly in regards to noise, trash and vandalism.

    Parties at student houses can generate disturbances in the neighborhood and surrounding areas.  In particular, excessive noise is often generated by people on the porch and/or an outside area of the house, and by large groups traveling to and leaving from the party.

    “Progressive” or “around the world” type parties involving alcohol can, by their nature, be especially disruptive to neighborhoods.  All housing locations participating as a host “stop” can be held accountable for planned excessive disruption to the neighborhood and surrounding area.

            4. Noise:

    Students residing off campus as well as students who reside on campus but are traveling through a neighborhood must abide by all Chestertown ordinances regarding noise. Specifically:

    117-5: Noise generated from sources used for entertainment purposes or group noise purposes…

    (A) Prohibited noise. The noise created by groups or individuals in a building or other structure or outside a building or other structure on public or private property and the sound can be heard more than 50 feet away from the building or structure beyond the boundaries of the property surrounding such building or structure, whichever is greater or measuring above 65 decibels in the daytime or 55 decibels at night.  Noise generated by altercations, parties, social events, rallies, meetings or other celebrations are included in this section to the disturbance of the citizens residing in the area.

    (C) Presumptions, (2): Where the source of the prohibited noise, as set forth in division (4-A) of this section, is located in a building or other structure, the owner, occupant, resident, manager or other person in possession of the premises shall, if present, be presumed to have permitted the noise in violation of this section in the absence of evidence to the contrary.

                 5. Trash/Litter

    Students, either living off campus or passing through residential neighborhoods, are expected to follow town ordinances regarding garbage and litter.  For off campus student rental or owned properties, it is expected that residents will collect and dispose of garbage as required by the town and maintain a property free of loose garbage, recyclables, or litter.  This includes storage of items on porches, yards or driveways.

    Ordinance 85-1, “Trash”:  Waste material or objects, including bulk trash and garbage, that has been discarded or apparently discarded by its owner and its existence on public and private property is subject to penalties prescribed in this and other town ordinances”.

    1. Cans, bottles, cups, food containers and food should be disposed of in trashcans or recycled as appropriate. Improper disposal of food waste, including pizza, wings and their containers, invites pest animals to infest that home, yard and surrounding areas.
    2. Residents should not store trash on porches, including household trash and indoor furniture such as couches and recliners.

                6. Other

    1. Vandalism to public and private property: Students who engage in vandalism of public or private property off campus will be held accountable.
    2. Vehicles: Students living in or visiting need to follow all parking restrictions.  Students should be aware that parking in some neighborhood streets is for residents only.  Even on streets without such restrictions, students should be aware that the vehicles of their guests regularly parked on the street may be problematic for their neighbors.  Also, at no time can one or multiple vehicles impede traffic or be parked in such a manner as to block the passage of another vehicle, including emergency vehicles.

    Ordinance 160-5 (A) All vehicles within the town shall be driven and parked on the right-hand side of the street, unless a street or avenue is designated by a sign to be for one-way traffic.  At any time that it shall become necessary, the Mayor and Council may mark and designate areas which may become congested for parking restrictions, banning parking altogether if necessary.  No automobile or other vehicle shall stop in any street, avenue, or highway in a manner so as to hinder or delay traffic or passage, and the Police Department is empowered to enforce this provision by impounding the vehicle.