Residential Life Policies and Procedures

As a residential college, Hamilton expects all students to live in College housing and participate in the College Board plan each of their four years. Individuals must be enrolled as full-time students to live in College housing. Students with special circumstances may request to be exempted from this policy. Such requests should be submitted to the assistant dean of students for residential life at least three weeks prior to the beginning of each semester.

Residence Hall Housing Agreements

All students living in College-owned housing are expected to review and abide by the Hamilton College Housing Agreement. This agreement lists important dates during the academic year, meal plan options and information about billing for damage to College property, key replacement and return, room changes and liability for personal property. This agreement is binding for the academic year.

Room Assignments and Residence Hall Access

Hamilton believes in the educational value of sharing a room or suite with other students. A limited number of single rooms are available to upper-class students through the spring lottery process.

A residence hall space is assigned to an enrolled, full-time student for the entire academic year. This assignment is not revocable except in the case of a student leaving the College between semesters.

Several residence halls are wheelchair accessible and provisions are made for students with physical disabilities.

The residence halls officially open for first-year students on the first day of Orientation in the fall. Returning students may move into their rooms the two days prior to the first day of classes for both the fall and spring semesters.

All residence halls remain open during the fall, Thanksgiving, and spring breaks. Residence halls close for the December break. At the end of the fall semester, students must vacate their rooms no later than 24 hours after their last final exam. At the end of the spring semester, first-year students, sophomores, and juniors must vacate their rooms no later than 24 hours after their last final exam; seniors must vacate their rooms no later than noon on the day following Commencement.

The exterior doors of each residence hall are equipped with proximity sensors.  Students have 24-hour access to their residence hall during the academic year using their Hill Card.  Students may access other residence halls using their Hill Card between the hours of 8am and 11pm Sunday through Thursday and 8am through 1am Friday and Saturday.  Students are welcome to visit any residence hall after hours but must be let in by a resident of that building.

Check-in/Check-out Procedures

At the beginning of each year, a copy of the room inventory will be placed on the back of each room door. All students are responsible for checking this room inventory form when moving in and notifying their RA of any disputes with the room inventory or changes to the room condition within three days upon moving into the room. Any damaged or missing items from the room will be charged to the individual responsible.

Room Changes

Any requests for a room change must begin with a discussion with the resident advisor and/or area director. The Office of Residential Life must approve all room changes before the change takes place. A request should normally be made through the resident advisor after a trial period when a student is unable to resolve a roommate or personal conflict in his or her living area. There is a two-week period at the start of each semester when room changes are not permitted. This is intended to allow time for students to adjust to their living environments. Since it is important that the College have accurate information regarding housing assignments, students who make unapproved room changes will be subject to disciplinary action. The consequences for making an unapproved room change may include but are not limited to, the requirement to return to the originally assigned room and a penalty in the upcoming housing lottery.

Gender Inclusive Housing

Students are permitted to live with any other student regardless of biological sex, gender identity and/or expression, except on floors designated as single gender. On floors designated as single gender, students must identify as sharing the designated gender of that floor.

Questions about single gender areas are welcomed and can be answered by the Office of Residential Life. Requests for specific arrangements under this policy should be made at least two weeks before the applicable housing lottery.

Room Vacancies

The College reserves the right to fill any vacancies in student rooms when necessary. Whenever possible, the Residential Life Office will make an effort to consult with current residents in making changes in roommate assignments. Residential Life will only place a student who chooses gender neutral housing in a gender neutral vacancy. In keeping with the principles of fairness and guidelines for equitable community living, students are expected to welcome and accept new roommates. If it is determined that a student has been difficult with a new roommate, or has actively created a hostile environment, the Residential Life Office will take appropriate action that may include a referral for judicial action or reassignment to another residence hall room on campus.

Housing Lottery

In order to continue in college housing, returning students select their rooms for the next academic year through participation in the housing lottery process at the end of the spring semester. In order to be eligible for the process, students must have pre-registered for enough classes to be considered a full-time student for the fall semester. The housing lottery information booklet, published in the middle of the spring semester, contains additional requirements pertaining to the process and student eligibility.

Meal Plans

Each student must participate in a meal plan while classes are in session. All first-year and sophomore students must participate in the 21-meal plan. Most junior and senior students will participate in the 14 or 21-meal plan (depending on where they live). Griffin Road, Farmhouse, Saunders, and McIntosh, Minor and Milbank faculty apartment residents (regardless of class) have the option of participating in the seven (any seven) meal plan. Rogers Estate and Woollcott residents must participate in the 21-meal plan. Certain housing locations permit students to take fewer meals in the dining halls. However, all students (including off-campus residents), at a minimum, must participate in the seven meal plan. Students with medical restrictions need to consult with the assistant dean of students for residential life. For more information on meal plan placement, refer to the Residential Life web page.

Meal Plan Appeal Process

Students who wish to appeal their meal plan status based on a medical necessity or religious restriction must first meet with Reuben Haag, general manager of Bon Appetit, to determine how those needs might be met. In the rare cases when Bon Appetit cannot accommodate a medical or religious need, students must send an appeal request to Travis Hill, assistant dean of students for residential life.  The appeal must be accompanied by documentation from a doctor or religious leader qualified to assess the necessary restrictions that detail the specifics of the dietary restriction, and why the accommodation requested is medically or religiously necessary. The appeal must also include a note from Bon Appetit confirming the lack of accommodation. The request will be reviewed by the Accommodation Committee, which will make the final determination on whether the meal plan should be waived.

Responsibility for Personal Property

The College is not responsible for personal property lost, stolen or damaged. It is advisable to protect belongings with insurance through a homeowner's or renter's insurance policy. Doors and windows should be kept locked to prevent theft. In the case of theft or suspected theft, Campus Safety should be notified immediately.

Room Condition

The condition of student rooms is assessed and an inventory is done by the residence hall staff prior to the beginning of the fall semester and following the close of the academic year. Students are responsible for the condition of their assigned rooms and furnishings, and upon vacating their rooms are required to return them to their original condition. Students will be billed full cost for any college owned furniture not in the room when the student vacates the space.  Students are also responsible for cleaning the room and removing all personal belongings. Vacuum cleaners are available in each residence hall for student use. Students whose rooms do not meet acceptable standards of cleanliness at the end of the academic year will be charged for any necessary extra cleaning and/or removal of personal belongings. The cost of repairing damage to the room will be charged to the occupants. Students needing repairs to their rooms should submit a work order request through their resident advisor.

Students are not allowed to paint their rooms.  Students who paint their rooms may receive judicial points and will be charged $200.00 (for a single room) or $400.00 (for a double room) for repairs.

Access to Student Rooms by College Officials

The College reserves the right to enter student rooms to perform routine maintenance, to inspect for fire, health or safety hazards, to investigate misuse or misappropriation of College or other property, and in the event of a missing student or for that student's health and welfare.


Students are responsible for the conduct of their guests on campus. There are no restrictions on the hours that guests may be entertained in students' rooms, but each student should recognize that this privilege is dependent on his or her assuming the responsibility to respect the dignity and privacy of roommates and others. No guests may stay longer than three days without permission from the Office of Residential Life. Guests with cars should go to the Campus Safety office to obtain a temporary parking permit.


Students living in co-ed hallways have the opportunity to vote on whether their bathrooms may be open to both men and women. Resident advisors facilitate this discussion and vote at the beginning of each semester.


Each student is provided with a desk, chair, dresser, bed frame, mattress and mattress cover in their residence hall room. All College furniture placed in a room is the responsibility of the occupant(s) of that room and must remain in rooms throughout the academic year. Students will be charged the full replacement cost of missing or damaged furniture when they vacate the residence halls. The College reserves the right to prohibit arrangement of furniture that may cause personal injury or damage to the furnishings. Students may be referred to judicial action if furniture is left out in the hallway or outside.

Lounge Furniture

In an effort to make the living environment more comfortable, residence hall lounges and common areas are furnished with couches, chairs, and tables. This furniture is for the use of all residents and may not be used in student rooms or placed outdoors. Students found responsible for removing lounge furniture are subject to disciplinary action. An inventory of lounge furniture is completed at the end of the fall and spring semesters. Missing furniture is replaced, and replacement costs are charged equally to all the residents of the building.


Costs of damage repair in the residence halls are charged directly to the person responsible. Those responsible for intentional damages will be held accountable through the College's judicial system. When damage occurs within individual residence halls and the responsible party is unknown, costs are prorated among building/suite residents.


Students who experience difficulty with a residence hall facility (i.e. sink, radiator, etc.) should notify their resident advisor. If there is an emergency, such as a flood or loss of heat, students should call the campus switchboard, and the operator will notify the appropriate personnel for assistance.


Students can access information about local storage options on the Residential Life web page at any time.

Bicycle Storage

Students may only store bicycles in their rooms or they may lock them to the bike racks in their residence halls where available. For fire safety reasons, bicycles may not be stored in stairwells, hallways, laundry rooms or entranceways, or locked to railings on public walkways.


Cats, dogs, birds or other animals are not allowed in the residence halls without prior authorization. Fish tanks up to 15 gallons are the only exception to this policy. If this policy is violated, disciplinary action may be taken, and the animal will be removed from the residence hall.

Windows and Screens

For health and safety reasons, all screens must remain in windows at all times. Any missing or damaged screens will be charged to the individual responsible.

Game Equipment

There are ping-pong and pool tables in many residence halls. Students may check out equipment for these games from their resident advisor. Any missing or broken equipment will be charged to the individual responsible for the damage or to the residents of the buildings if those responsible are unknown.

Computer Network Jacks

Each residence hall room is equipped with one multi-purpose jack per student which includes a network, telephone, and cable connection. Students may connect to the high-speed campus network with their individual computer. Any student found tampering with or altering the network, cable or telephone wiring will be subject to judicial action by the College and will be responsible for paying any repair costs incurred by these modifications. For more information, contact Information Technology Services (ITS).

Cable Television/Satellite Dishes

Students are not permitted to use satellite dishes for their individual rooms, suites or apartments. Those who violate this policy will be subject to disciplinary action and the unsanctioned hookups or satellite dishes will be dismantled at the student's expense. Many residence hall lounges include a television set with basic cable service and all student rooms have access to cable service.

Room Personalization

Students may personalize their rooms by attaching posters, hanging pictures or other items on the walls and rearranging furniture as they wish. Items must not cover smoke detectors. In order to be in compliance with State Fire Regulations, students may not have flags, tapestries, string lights, drapes or curtains in rooms unless they are tagged as being fire rated. Any damages to the walls, floors or furnishings will be charged to the individual responsible. Students may bring additional furniture for their room or suite. This furniture may not be left outside overnight.


All residence halls have washers and dryers. There is also a laundry room available in the basement of the Bristol Center. All College washers and dryers are operated through funds on one's Hill Card, with the exception of Bristol's laundry facilities that are both Hill Card and coin operated. In order to deposit money onto a student's Hill Card, one should go to the Hill Card page. Dry cleaning service is available in the Village of Clinton.


Each student is provided with free on-campus calling and his or her own voicemail box. Roommates share a telephone number and are expected to bring their own telephones. Students may make off-campus calls by using a calling card. The College offers no long distance service.

In order to comply with the National Fire Prevention Association Code, the National Electrical Code and the New York State Building Code, students are not allowed to run phone cords in residence hall corridors. Phone cords found running across hallways will be cut by Facilities Management.


It is every student's right to live in a residence hall without being subjected to disturbing noise regardless of the time of day. Excessive noise is a serious offense against members of the community. Offenders will be subject to disciplinary action. Quiet hours in residence halls housing first-year students will be between 11pm and 8am Sunday through Thursday, and from 1am to 8am Friday and Saturday.  Students in upper-class residence halls will have the opportunity to vote on residence hall quiet hours at the beginning of the year.


Hamilton College complies with county recycling laws and makes provision for easy compliance in the residence halls. There are designated garbage collection areas in each living area. Bins are provided for designated items. Failure to comply with the recycling policy may result in disciplinary action and/or county fines.

Smoking Policy

Smoking is not permitted in residence hall rooms, lounges, public spaces or entranceways.  This applies to all forms of tobacco, electronic cigarettes or similar smoking devices.

Salespersons and Canvassers

Solicitation of students is not permitted on the campus or in campus facilities unless prior authorization has been received. Authorization does not constitute an endorsement of products or services. All requests to solicit within residential buildings should be directed to the Office of Residential Life. Student rooms may not be used as places of business.


Mail or parcel deliveries can be picked up at the Campus Mail Center in Beinecke Student Activities Village. Flowers can be picked up at Campus Safety. Pizza deliveries can be picked up at residence hall exterior doors.

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