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Residence Life & Housing Handbook & Policies

Updated September 2023

The Willamette University Housing Policy Guide serves as an extension of the Housing Contract and Community Expectations, the set of terms and conditions that each resident signs before moving into on campus housing, and the Student Code of Conduct. On-campus residents agree to follow all of the policies outlined in this Policy Guide. Please note that this guide may be updated at any time and for any reason by Willamette University staff.

The following policies are covered on this page:

  1. Alcohol
  2. Common Spaces
  3. Fire Safety
  4. Guest Policy
  5. Health and Safety
  6. Keys
  7. Noise
  8. Prohibited Items & Actions
  9. Room Condition
  10. Room Modifications and Decorations
  11. Sporting Activities

I. Alcohol

Alcohol guidelines in University residential spaces are listed below (to view the full policy, refer to the University Alcohol Policy):

  • Persons under 21 years of age are prohibited from:
    • Possessing or consuming alcohol on campus.
    • Being in a campus housing space where alcohol is being consumed. 
    • Possessing empty alcoholic beverage containers.
  • Persons 21 years of age or older may only consume alcohol in a university residential space when the following conditions are satisfied:
    • Appropriate Host. A resident of the room or apartment is present and is 21 years of age or older.
    • No Minors. No persons under 21 years of age are present. Persons who are 21 years of age or older may be implicated when they are in a residential space where persons under 21 years of age are consuming alcohol.
    • The unit’s entry door must be closed during alcohol consumption.
    • Alcohol storage. Alcohol can only be stored in residential spaces, if the alcohol is stored and closed in the original container.
    • Open containers. Alcohol must be transported in the original unopened or screw-on top container (i.e., no open containers in hallways or in transport).
  • Possession of common source containers. Possession or use of kegs, mini kegs, or other common source containers of alcoholic beverages, such as trash cans, tubs, or similar containers when used to contain alcohol on university premises, in residential space, or in offices, or in connection with a University activity is prohibited.
  • Drinking games. Facilitating, arranging, or participating in any extreme alcohol consumption game or activity that constitutes, facilitates, or encourages competitive, rapid, or excessive consumption of alcohol when such activity occurs on University premises, in the designated housing of any Willamette University organization or group, or in connection with any University event is not allowed, regardless of age. Actions or situations that involve forced consumption of liquor or drugs for the purpose of initiation into or affiliation with any organization are prohibited (i.e., hazing activities are prohibited.)
  • Providing or purchasing alcohol. Employees and students are prohibited from providing alcohol to individuals or groups in circumstances inconsistent with this policy.

II. Common Spaces

Common spaces and lounge areas serve as locations for programs and activities as well as places to relax. Lounge furniture is intended for the use and enjoyment of all residents. Proper care and use of this furniture is everyone's responsibility. Furniture that is removed without authorization, damaged, or stolen shall be the financial responsibility of the individuals involved (if known), or the community (if unknown).

Furniture from foyers or lounges cannot be used in a student room, suite or apartment. Students who violate this contract/lease term by moving furniture into their room, suite or apartment are responsible for the cost of having a staff member return the furniture to the lounge and may be referred through the conduct process.

Each hall has one or more kitchens or “kitchenettes” for hall community use. These kitchens are for residents of that respective living group. The kitchens may not be reserved or otherwise held off-line by any one group, but are to be shared, with residents being expected to take turns on specific items such as stovetops, ovens, counter space, and sinks. Dishes should be cleaned after use and not left in the common space. Everyone needs to do their own dishes. While it is recognized that some items are easier to clean after soaking, residents must not leave dishes in common spaces if they are not present. Items left unattended in the kitchen are considered abandoned and will be discarded. Excessive mess or damage may be billed to the entirety of the living group. Students are welcome to store food in the community refrigerators but do so at their own risk. Items placed in refrigerators must be labeled with the student’s name. Unlabeled and expired items may be disposed of and removed.

Each hall has laundry facilities. Maintenance for washers and dryers are handled by an outside company. It is each student’s responsibility as a member of the community to report any issues with laundry machines to the company which provides repairs and maintenance for the machines. Information on this is posted throughout the laundry rooms. Do not leave belongings in the laundry machine unattended.

III. Fire Safety

Fire poses a serious risk to life and property. In addition to disciplinary action, residents and guests can be held responsible for criminal and financial liability for creating fire hazards. Residents and guests are prohibited from burning anything or using an open flame in campus housing, for any purpose, including ceremonial, decorative, or burning purposes. Religious and/or spiritual accommodation can be requested through the Residence Life and Housing office at

Fire Safety Equipment, Fire Alarms

  • Hall fire doors must be closed at all times unless they are held open by magnets that are connected to the fire alarm system. These doors must be free of obstruction and able to close should the fire alarm sound.
  • Students may not plug power strips or extension cords into other power strips or extension cords. Please refer to the “Appliances and Prohibited Items” section of this handbook for other prohibited items.
  • Hallways must remain clear of all items that pose a tripping hazard. These items include, but are not limited to shoes, bikes, bed parts, and trash.
  • Residents and their guests are not allowed to sleep in public or common areas.
  • Residents and their guests may not leave food unattended while cooking. Residents may only put food and items that are microwave safe into a microwave.
  • Fog, smoke, and haze machines are prohibited.
  • Any fire equipment that requires maintenance should be reported immediately to a Residence Life and Housing staff member.
  • The use of barbecues or open flame cooking devices is prohibited within campus housing, including on balconies and porches. Possession of barbecues, propane or charcoal is prohibited. When available, residents are permitted to use community barbecues on the outside grounds away from buildings. Propane must be stored in Campus Safety.
  • Residents shall not tamper with or decrease the effectiveness of provided fire safety equipment. Nothing may cover, attach to, or hang from smoke detectors, fire alarms and sprinkler heads. This includes tapestries or flags hung from the ceiling.

IV. Guest Policy

Guests of Willamette residential community members are welcome, provided they follow all policies of the University. The guest policy recognizes the right to privacy and the proportionate use of the room, both in terms of space and time, and the right of residents to be free of unwanted guests in their rooms. The policy also acknowledges the privilege of residential students to have guests in their space. It is imperative for the safety of the community and the guest that all of the below policies be followed by hosts and their guests:

  • Residents must escort their guests in and out of their buildings at all times. The purpose of the Escort Policy is to ensure the safety and security of the residential community. This policy is designed to give students control of common areas to ensure safety and protection of the residential facilities. To accomplish this, guests must be escorted at all times (excluding bathrooms). Guests include non-Willamette community members as well as students who do not reside within the building which they are visiting. Escort Policy does not apply to students visiting within their assigned Area. The University reserves the right to ask a guest to leave at any point.
  • All Willamette University policies apply to all guests.
  • Residents are responsible and accountable for the conduct of their guests while on Willamette University property and at sponsored events.
  • Guests must carry a valid form of identification and provide it upon request of a University official.
  • Residents are responsible for gaining permission from their roommate or apartment-mate for a guest to visit in advance of the guest’s arrival.
  • Overnight guests are welcome for two consecutive nights/three consecutive days in a given month.

V. Health and Safety

In accordance with law, residents must keep their space reasonably clean and free from health, safety and fire hazards. This responsibility extends to common spaces as well. Health and safety inspections are conducted at least twice during the academic year for health and safety violations. Contract violations will be noted as well. A Residence Life and Housing staff member along with another member of the WU staff will enter each room to look for violations. Residents will get notice of these inspections for at least 48 hours.

Entry into residential rooms

It is the University's policy to respect resident’s right to privacy in their room/suite/apartment. When possible, notice is given prior to entering a room/suite/apartment for routine maintenance and inspection. However, the Housing contract authorizes Facilities Management (maintenance), University personnel and their authorized designee(s) to enter room/suite/apartments to complete any work order that is submitted. University personnel and their authorized designee(s) may enter residences without notice for an emergency, maintenance work, health & safety inspections (conducted at least twice a year), fire drills, ensuring compliance with health standards, or if there is reasonable cause to believe there have been violations of University policy, state or federal law. The residence may be entered during semester and spring breaks without prior notice by University personnel when they are conducting building inspections and doing maintenance work.

VI. Keys

A key is issued to each room/apartment at Check In. Residents are responsible for their key until checkout. Most keys are picked up at the Residence Life and Housing Office or Service Center at check-in and returned to Residence Life and Housing via express check out boxes at check-out. If a room/apartment key is lost, contact Residence Life and Housing in Matthews Academic , to order a lock change and new keys. If a key is lost or not returned at check-out, residents will be assessed a lock change fee in order to ensure the security of the next resident ($100).

For the security of all campus residents, students may not lend their key or Compass Card to anyone. The unauthorized possession, use, reproduction or sale of keys to University facilities is a violation of the Standards of Conduct and is prohibited.


It is important that all residents keep their doors locked. Residents should carry their keys and ID at all times. Locked out students should first try to find their roommate. This is the quickest, least expensive option. Second, depending on the time of day, call the RA on Call or Campus Safety. Students living on campus get two free lockouts per academic year. Additional lockouts are charged at $20.00 each. Residents may be asked by staff if their keys are present after completing the lockout. Please answer honestly, so the halls are as secure as possible

VII. Noise

Residents and guests are mutually bound to a 24-hour courtesy policy that is in effect at all times. Under this policy, residents and guests agree to the following:

  • All residents have a right to study or sleep in their own room without unreasonable interference from noise.
  • Residents and guests are responsible for anticipating when noise from their space may be disturbing others and adjusting noise levels accordingly.
  • Residents who are affected by noise are responsible for contacting the source and requesting the source to reduce the noise.
  • Residents and guests are required to respond to any request to reduce any noise at any time. While residents are encouraged to use these principles to resolve noise concerns informally, there may be times when staff assistance is required. Residents are encouraged to contact their RA or AC whenever the issue cannot be resolved informally.

Quiet Hour Policies:

  • Quiet Hours denotes the time when noises, such as music and voices, must be kept to a low level and contained within each residential space. In general, noises should not be detectable two doors down or twenty feet, whichever is closest.
  • Quiet Hours are Sunday through Thursday, from 10 p.m. to 8 a.m., and Friday and Saturday, from midnight to 10 a.m. Quiet Hours may be more or less restrictive, especially during final exam periods, holidays, and breaks; adjustments will be advertised. To ensure a healthy living and study environment, University personnel may address and document noise concerns without receiving a complaint from a resident and without issuing a noise warning. When a violation of the noise policy occurs, guests and residents who are not assigned to the space where the violation occurs may be required to vacate the space upon request of University personnel.

VIII. Prohibited Items & Actions

There are many appliances acceptable in the residence halls, provided they operate with an enclosed element and have an automatic shut off. However, due to electrical limitations and fire safety regulations, certain appliances are not allowed.

Items Prohibited in All Residential Spaces:

  • Air conditioner or space heater
  • Amplified sound instruments
  • Any 2.4GHz cordless/wireless/radio devices (including cordless phones, wireless access points, Apple Airports, and ad-hoc wireless network devices like the Playstation 3)
  • Candle warmers
  • Candles
  • Drugs
  • Fireworks
  • Fish tank larger than 15 gallons
  • Flammable liquids
  • Gas powered scooter (can only be used/stored outside)
  • Halogen lights
  • Hot plate, Foreman grill, or rice cooker
  • Household extension cords (16 or 18 AWG), multi-plug adapters or splitters. Heavy gauge surge protected power strips (12 or 14 AWG) are allowed instead.
  • Hoverboard
  • Illegal substances
  • Incense
  • Lava lamps
  • Microwave oven
  • Multi-bulb floor lamps
  • Nails, tape or anything that damages walls
  • Open flame devices
  • Pets (except fish). Refer to Animals on Campus Policy 
  • Refrigerator larger than 1.5 amps
  • Toaster/ toaster oven
  • Waterbed
  • Weapons

Conditionally Allowed Items:

  • Amplified sound instruments. May be stored in the room, but not played anywhere in the hall.
  • Sealed unit hot pot. Sealed unit coffee pots, hot pots, and popcorn poppers. Must have an automatic shut off.
  • Iron (with automatic shut off). Only allowed for use in the community laundry room.
  • Lamps (non-halogen). Lamps must be UL approved and multi-bulb floor lamps are not allowed.
  • Microwave ovens. Are only allowed in apartments and doubles with kitchens. Most community kitchens are equipped with microwave ovens.
  • Toasters and toaster ovens. Are only allowed in apartments or community kitchens.
  • Refrigerators. Must be less than 4.8 cubic feet and draw less than 1.5 amps of power. Apartment kitchens are already equipped with full sized refrigerators.
  • Hot plates and rice cookers. Are only allowed in apartments and community kitchens. Must have an automatic shut off.
  • Storable items. Toasters, rice cookers, waffle makers, Foreman (or similar items) grills. Must have an automatic shut off.
  • Fish tanks no more than 15 gallons. May only be used for fish. Refer to Animals on Campus Policy.
  • 3-to-2 prong adaptor. Only Matthews and Belknap residents are permitted to use this adaptor.

Entry and Exiting Buildings

Unauthorized entry into, or use of, institutional facilities, including buildings and grounds, is prohibited. Entry or exit onto roofs, sides of buildings, or outside ledges of the buildings is prohibited. Nothing is to be placed, stored, or exhibited on the outside ledges of the buildings. Windows are to remain in their tracks. No one is allowed to sit on windowsills or extend any part of their body outside the window sills. Removal of any window screen or protective barrier is prohibited. Nothing is to be thrown, dropped, or spilled from the roofs, ledges, or windows. Nothing is to be thrown at windows or through doorways. Residents may not jump from or climb onto inside or outside balconies of any residence hall. Violations of this policy may result in referral to the conduct process and may result in immediate removal from the residence halls.

IX. Room Condition

Checking in

At check-in during fall semester, an RA will provide residents with a Room Condition Report (RCR). It is essential to document any damages that occurred prior to move in. Residents will review the RCR with an RA, adding any comments and signing it, within 48 hours of moving in. If there is not a submitted RCR, residents will be responsible for any undocumented damages. Students are held responsible for any damage or other loss incurred which is in excess of normal wear and tear and which was not documented at check-in, unless it can be verified that another individual is responsible.University furniture cannot be moved or switched between rooms. If there is extra furniture in a room, it must remain throughout the academic year.

Checking out

Residents are responsible for completing an Express Checkout form when moving out at the end of the contract period. . Occupancy ends 24 hours after the last final exam or commencement for participants. This 24-hour time allowance may vary with the last day of each semester. Residents are responsible for returning the room/suite/apartment to its original state and returning the key via the Express Checkout Box located in the complex. A student is considered checked out when they have signed their completed RCR and returned their key. Residents must vacuum and clean the bathroom and kitchen, if there is oneRemember to clean (wipe down) the shelves, drawers, closets, window sills, doors and walls. Failure to follow these recommendations may cost at minimum a $50.00 cleaning fee.

Students are responsible for all damages (beyond normal wear and tear) not previously noted on the RCR. In addition, Facilities Management (maintenance) and Facilities Services (housekeeping) staff will inspect rooms, suites, apartments and common areas after closing for cleanliness, damages beyond normal wear and tear, and missing furnishings. Residents will be assessed for any damages, missing furnishings, extra cleaning charges (including common areas), and the removal/disposal of abandoned furniture, carpet or other personal property not properly stored.

X. Room Modifications and Decorations

Decorations and furniture may be added if it does not create a health or fire hazard. However, all current, university provided furnishings must remain in the room/suite/apartment.

  • Hanged items on the wall must be adhered using painter's tape (“blue” tape) or command hooks. No other type of tape or adhesive is permitted. Using adhesive on walls should be done at one’s own risk, and students are responsible for any damages upon removal that occur as a result.
  • Do not use staples, push pins, screws, or large nails as they may damage the walls. Do not hang items from or stick items to the ceiling as this may cause damage and interfere with the sprinkler system.
  • Sidewalk chalk may not be used inside residence halls (on cement/brick walls or floors). Tape cannot be applied to furniture or carpet due to the sticky residue that is left behind.
  • Residents are not permitted to paint their rooms/suites/apartments. Students who violate this contract/lease term are responsible for the cost of repainting the space and may be subject to disciplinary action. With advanced planning and permission, students may submit a proposal to paint selected common areas in their residence hall. Examples: hallway murals or graphics. Residents interested in a paint project should talk with their Area Coordinator.


Because it is important for emergency personnel to have a clean “line of sight” and custodial staff to do their work uninhibited, all windows in residence halls, including, but not limited to, front doors, rooms, and lounges, must be kept clean of all postings. Postings include, but are not limited to signage, paper, tape, stickers, and “window clings”. Requests for exceptions to this policy can be requested by writing to

Bed Bunking and Adjustments

  • Raising or bunking beds can increase storage space in the room. Bedrisers may be purchased and residents are responsible for installation. University staff will not install them. Guidelines for bunking and adjusting bed height include: Residents can not adjust the height of their bed, bunk their bed or make other adjustments themselves. To request a change in bed height, please complete a work request.
  • Beds are to remain intact and not taken apart. If a student disassembles their bed, they are financially responsible for all bed parts, for storing the bed parts in their room/suite/apartment and for the cost of reassembling the bed by Facilities Management staff.
  • Beds in most residences can be bunked, unbunked, raised or lowered. Rooms that have one set of tall bed ends and one set of short ends may request that their beds be bunked. Work orders to bunk beds will only be completed in the above described rooms. Residents requesting to bunk beds must complete a waiver and submit a work order. Area Coordinators can help provide guidance through the process. For bed adjustments to raise or lower a bed, submit a work request.
  • Raising beds off the floor may be unsafe and/or void the manufacturer’s warranty. Students need to use supports specifically manufactured for that purpose.
  • Lofts are not permitted in student rooms/suites/apartments.

XI. Sporting Activities

Sports, Sporting Equipment, Physical Activities

Residents and their guests are free to use courtyard areas for sports and physical games if done so responsibly and in observance of noise and other University policies. University personnel reserve the right to restrict or redirect such activities when safety to persons or property may be compromised. If damage occurs to windows or other property as a result of such activities, responsible parties are expected to report the damage and pay for repairs or replacement. All persons are prohibited from using sporting equipment, throwing objects, or engaging in physical games within campus housing. Roller blades, skateboards, and bikes, which may be used for point-to-point transportation in designated areas on campus, shall not be used for transport within campus housing. They must be carried or walked through hallways and corridors.

Flying Objects

All persons are prohibited from throwing, dumping, or projecting anything from windows, porches, balconies, or inside the residential buildings. Drone use is not permitted within residential facilities. For specifics regarding drones, please see the university drones policy.

Willamette University

Residence Life and Housing

Matthews Academic Commons
Willamette University
900 State Street
Salem Oregon 97301 U.S.A.
Phone: 503-370-6212
Fax: 503-370-6709
Hours: M-F, 8 AM - 5 PM (PST)