Residential Living

All undergraduate students live in housing approved by the Deans of Students and the Directors of Residential Life, and with few exceptions, reside in college residence halls and eat in college dining facilities during all of their undergraduate years. This residential policy is formed in the interest of cultivating community, promoting supportive relationships, building diversity, and integrating academic life with extracurricular experiences. A student usually shares a room with another. Single rooms are usually assigned to seniors by lottery. Students residing in college housing are required to sign a housing contract and a room condition form at the beginning of each academic year.

Resident hall rooms are assigned by the Deans of Students and the Director of Residential Life for a full academic year. Each spring, after some rooms are set aside for students entering in the fall, students are given the opportunity to select rooms through a room lottery system. (Details for room lottery are available in the spring.) Priority in the lottery is granted to rising senior gownsmen, rising seniors, rising junior gownsmen, rising juniors, rising sophomore gownsmen, and rising sophomores, in that order. (Class status is determined by anticipated graduation date as determined by the Registrar’s office and not by earned credits.) Students who do not acquire a room through the lottery are assigned a room over the summer. Students may not reserve their room from one academic year to the next. Upperclassmen who have not paid the reservation fee or pre-registered for the following year by the designated date forfeit all priority in the selection of a room.

Transfer students entering the college for the first time or students returning from leave-of-absence (including from study abroad) may express preference for a dormitory or a roommate, although no assurance is given that such requests can be granted. Residence hall rooms are generally assigned based on the student’s housing form. Room assignments are mailed by the first week in August.

First-year students are assigned roommates and housed according to their first year information form.  Roommates cannot be requested.
Students may not move from one room to another or switch roommates without prior approval from the Directors of Residential Life, nor may students live in housing outside the college dormitories without prior approval of the Assistant Dean of Students.

In addition to the policies and procedures outlined below, the Residential Life web page offers current information and announcements.

In order to make residential life safe and pleasant for everyone, the following residential living policies are to be observed.

Air conditioning * Alcohol and Drugs * Breaks and Vacation Periods * Cable Television * Check-in * Check-out * Cohabitation * Common Rooms * Contract with Students (Searches) * Damage to Facilities * Damage to Personal Property * Early Arrival * Fire Safety * Furniture *Glass Bottles * Guests * Keys * Noise and Quiet Hours * Parties * Pets * Privacy * Rooftops * Security * Smoke-Free Facilities * Substance-Free Housing * Visitation * Window Displays

Air conditioning

Window air conditioning units may not be installed in residence hall rooms without documentation from a treating physician explaining that air conditioning is “medically necessary” for the student. Such documentation must be submitted to the Office of Residential Life prior to room selection or two weeks before the start of the academic year. If permission to have an AC unit is granted by the Directors of Residential Life, costs for installation and removal are the responsibility of the student. Air conditioning is provided in some but not all residence halls. Most of the residential buildings at Sewanee are quite old and some are not equipped with adequate electrical service to accommodate window AC units. See the residential life webpage for detailed information about special features of each residence hall.

Alcohol and Drugs in Halls

Alcoholic beverages are not allowed in the common areas of residence halls. Please see the “Alcohol Policy” section. Opened containers of alcoholic beverages (including cups and glass bottles) are forbidden in all public areas of residence halls such as courtyards, breezeways, and halls. No display of alcoholic beverage containers (or any sort) if underage is allowed in Residence Hall facilities. See the Student Code of Conduct for more detailed information, especially concerning alcohol and other drugs.

Breaks and Vacation Periods

The residence halls remain open for students during Fall Break and Thanksgiving Break. Students may not stay in residential facilities during the winter, spring, and summer vacation periods unless express, written permission is given by the Directors of Residential Life. For security reasons, locks are changed during the Christmas and Spring break periods and students do not have access to the dorms or their dorm rooms during these periods.

Cable Television

Cable television is provided for dormitory common rooms only. Splicing into the cable system for use in personal rooms is considered stealing and is reported to the Honor Council. Furthermore, students may not install satellite dishes or antennas in dormitories.


Upon arriving on campus, students are expected to collect their keys and sign a Room Condition Report and Housing contract for the academic year. Failure to pick up keys or complete the appropriate paperwork results in a fine.


Students are expected to leave their rooms in a clean and orderly manner at the end of the term. Each room must be inspected by a Proctor, Head Resident, or Area Coordinator and the checkout form completed and cosigned by the Proctor, Head Resident, or Area Coordinator before the student departs for the summer. Failure to check-out of the residence hall results in a $50 fine. Unless involved with commencement or directly related to a graduate, all freshmen and sophomores are required to check-out of their residence hall 24 hours after their last exam.

Residential Life no longer allows on-campus storage for student belongings over the summer. Contact information for local storage facilities will be posted in each building early in the spring semester.

The University assesses fines for damage including but not limited to damage to walls, carpet, furniture, doors, windows, screens, and other University property. The University assesses charges for the disposal of any improperly stored item. Students are also charged $25 for each key that is missing upon check-out of the residence hall.


Students of the opposite sex or same-sex partners are not assigned and may not arrange to live together in any facility in the residential system.

Common Rooms

If all residents of a residence hall agree, a common room in the dorm may be designated available for 24-hour use with the following stipulations: access must be limited to residents and their guests and guests must always be accompanied by a resident; quiet hour policies apply at all times; guests may not sleep in common rooms overnight; common rooms may not be used for organized or spontaneous social activity which restricts any resident’s use of the common rooms or for activity which results in the violation of University policies. Should these stipulations not be followed, the 24-hour access policy may be revoked and those who violate the policy may be subject to disciplinary action.

Contract with Students (searches)

The University reserves the right

  • of entry by authorized personnel for inspection and repair, for disciplinary purposes upon reasonable cause to suspect violations of University conduct regulations, in an emergency, or for any other appropriate reason;
  • to levy and collect charges for damage to, unauthorized use of, or alterations to room or equipment;
  • to remove unauthorized or improperly used equipment;
  • to reassign, evict, or levy fines against students who violate the above rules.

Damage to Facilities

Students are responsible for keeping their rooms clean and orderly and for damage to their rooms and furnishings. When a student is assigned to a dormitory, it is understood that the assignment carries with it an obligation to maintain a reasonably clean and orderly environment and to protect University property. Doors to rooms, bathrooms, and closets, and window screens should not be removed. A student who violates these general expectations is fined $50.

Needed repairs should be reported to the Proctor, Head Resident or Area Coordinator and should not be attempted by students.

Students must not mark or mar walls, doors, or carpets. Decals or contact paper should not be attached to walls, doors, windows, ceilings, and room furnishings. Only removable plastic adhesive should be used to attach decorations to the walls. Use of nails or tape is not allowed.

A student who intentionally or carelessly damages residence hall property or damages the facility is fined for vandalism, charged restitution, and subject to lose priority for room assignment for the next year. At the discretion of the Assistant Dean of Students, a community service option may be made available in lieu of or in addition to the cost of the repairs.

Whenever the Directors of Residential Life and the Deans of Students are unable to determine the person(s) responsible for dormitory damage that is clearly not the result of normal use, the cost of damage and repairs is split amongst the residents of the building. Charges related to damage in common areas of the residence halls may not be appealed.

Damage to Personal Property

University insurance does not cover personal losses. Students should take precautions to protect personal belongings from theft, fire, water damage, accident, or other loss.

Early Arrival

Students may not come to campus until their designated arrival date, as stated on the yearly academic calendar. Students who come early, without permission, in August, January, or March are charged $100 per night until the residence halls officially open. Students may also be asked to leave campus 24 hours after their last exam in both December and May.

Fire Safety

Students are expected to observe the following fire code regulations. Violators of these regulations or general expectations of safe behavior are subject to a minimum of a $25 fine, disciplinary action, payment of any damages, and a maximum fine of $500. If the fire department answers a call due to misbehavior, the responsible parties are likely to be charged a minimum fine of $200 (the cost of response by the fire department is approximately $500 per hour).

  • For the protection of residents, dormitories are equipped with smoke and fire detection and prevention devices. Tampering with the smoke detector and alarm system or with fire extinguishers is a college offense as well as a violation of the fire code. Inappropriately discharging a fire extinguisher is a $100 fine as well as the cost of clean-up and the cost of recharging the extinguisher.
  • Stairwell doors leading to hallways should be kept closed.
  • Hallways must be kept clear at all times. Furniture and personal belongings such as bicycles, trunks, boxes, and drying racks may not be placed in the hallways.
  • Ceiling hangings of any description are not permissible as they interfere with the proper function of the fire/smoke detection and prevention devices.
  • Fireworks, firecrackers, and flares are not permitted in the residence halls. (Students are not permitted to possess fireworks and firecrackers while on the campus.)   Violators are fined $200.
  • Lighting or heating devices which produce an open flame or smolder are prohibited in the residence halls. This includes candles, incense, and kerosene lamps. No hotplates, indoor grills, toaster ovens, or auxiliary heaters are to be used; hot irons and coffeepots should not be placed on the carpet. Halogen lamps are discouraged; bulb wattage must not exceed 150 watts.
  • Cardboard boxes and boxes of like materials may not be stored in attics of dormitories if gas water heaters are present in these attics.
  • Bicycles left in dormitory common rooms, halls, stairwells or where they obstruct exits will be removed. They should be stored only in areas approved for bike storage.
  • Personal refrigerators (limited to half-size, “under-the-counter” models) are allowed in student rooms. Refrigerators must meet all requirements and specifications as prescribed by the Residential Life Office. Those found unsafe are removed. It is recommended that a plastic drop cloth or other covering be placed underneath any refrigerator to prevent damage to floors and carpets.
  • Students should not tamper with electrical fixtures.  Only power strip extension cords are permitted.
  • Students must comply with all fire safety measures undertaken on campus, including vacating buildings when a smoke/fire detection device has been activated or when the fire department is engaged in a practice session. Failure to exit during an alarm results in a $75 fine.


Furniture and other residence hall equipment may not be removed from the dormitory, from the common room, from one room to another or to the hallways. Such property may also not be borrowed by fraternities, sororities, or other social groups.

Beds other than those provided by the University as normal furniture are not permitted in the dormitories. Students may not build loft-type beds or other structures. Beds may not be disassembled. Bed frames, box springs and mattresses, mattress covers, and head and footboards should not be removed. Concrete blocks may not be used in dormitory rooms; however, plastic bed risers are permitted.

Students should not tamper with built-in furniture such as wall-mounted bookshelves or wardrobes. Metal-frame futons are prohibited in the residence halls.

Glass Bottles

The intentional breaking of glass (bottles, windows, etc.) results in a $50 fine and five hours of assigned community service. (The fine and the hours may be increased if the incident involves multiple bottles or windows being broken.) Violators will be asked to recycle their glass containers. Persistent violators may be fined $25 per bottle.


Residents may not have long-term guests in the residential facilities. All guests must only stay in a dormitory room with the permission of all persons assigned to the room or suite. All guests must be respectful of the entire residential community. No guest or visitor under the age of 18 is permitted in the residence halls unless she/he is a sibling of a current student and/or is in the halls under the sponsorship of the Office of Admissions.

Residents should register their guests with the Head Resident, Proctor or Area Coordinator. Guests are required to abide by University policy including the policies governing alcohol and drug use. Residents are held responsible for any damages or infractions perpetrated by guests. Privileges to have guests in the residential halls may be revoked if a student’s guests violate University policies.


Individual room keys and front door keys should be used only by the student to whom they are issued. The keys are to be used only when school is in session and are to be returned at the end of the year to the Office of Residential Life. Lost keys, for which there is a $25 fine, must be reported and replaced.

Noise and Quiet Hours

Excessive noise should be avoided at all times. Excluding periods of final examinations, quiet hours are from 7:30 p.m. to 8 a.m. Sunday through Thursday and 10 p.m. to 8 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays. During final examination periods, quiet hours are in effect 24 hours every day until the last exam. During times when seniors living in the residential halls are preparing for comprehensive examinations, quiet hours are 7:30 p.m. to 8 a.m. Sunday through Saturday. Quiet hours violations result in a minimum fine of $25.


Parties or large gatherings are not permitted in residence hall rooms at any time. Students hosting parties in their rooms will be referred to the student conduct process.


Students living in University housing may not own pets, may not feed or keep pets in the residence hall, nor keep pets anywhere on the Domain. A minimum of $25 fine is imposed for violation of this policy and students may be fined an additional $25 per day that the animal continues to be kept on the Domain.


Residence halls are off limits to all persons except members of the University, their guests, and others who have legitimate business. Off-campus salesmen and persons advertising business products are not admitted to the dormitories without a letter from a Dean of Students dated after the first day of the beginning of each school year.


Students are not allowed access to rooftops under any circumstances.


Room doors should be locked to prevent theft. The University assumes no financial responsibility for lost or stolen property. Please contact immediately the Police Department (Ext. 1111) and your Proctor, Head Resident, or Area Coordinator if you become aware of a theft or of intrusions by unauthorized persons.

Exterior doors to residence halls are normally locked. The schedule for locking and unlocking doors may change according to the academic calendar or special events occurring on campus.

Propping exterior doors is prohibited and jeopardizes the safety of all residents of a residence hall.

Smoke-Free Facilities

Smoking and the use of smokeless tobacco is prohibited in all residential facilities and on balconies. Smoking is prohibited within 50 feet of a building. Incense and candles are also prohibited in the residential facilities. Violators of this policy are subject to a minimum of a $25 fine.

Substance-Free Housing

Students living in substance-free agree not to possess or use alcohol, tobacco, smokeless tobacco or other illegal substances while on campus. It is not only restricted to a substance-free room/suite. In substance-free housing, this policy effectively extends to students rooms, regardless of the resident’s age. Specific floors and wings of some buildings are set aside for substance-free living each year. The locations change each year based on the number of requests received.

Students who violate the conditions set forth for substance-free housing are subject to disciplinary action including fines and sanctions; and they are likely to have their substance-free housing privilege revoked. Should an individual’s substance-free housing privilege be revoked, he/she will be required to move to the first available space, as determined by the Directors of Residential Life or the Deans of Students.


A roommate’s right to free access to the room at all times must not be abridged by visitation. A roommate must not be deprived of the right to privacy, study time, or sleep because of a guest. When there are infractions of the visitation rules, action is taken against all offending parties according to the following guidelines:

  • In the case of an infraction involving a first-time offense where the guilty parties react in a cooperative manner, the Residential Life staff member should give the students a reprimand and turn in their names to the Dean of Students, who normally takes no further action.
  • In the case of an infraction involving persons who are not cooperative, who are repeat offenders, the guilty parties should be reported to the Dean of Students. The Dean levies a minimum fine of $25 and may send the persons to the Student Discipline Committee.
  • In the case of individuals who are reported for a visitation infraction after having already been warned by the Dean or in a case involving cohabitation, the guilty parties should be turned over to the Dean. The Dean then decides on a fine (not less than $25), determines whether or not the persons should be turned over to the Student Discipline Committee, and may also select additional punishment from the following options depending on the severity of the case: loss of priority for room sign-up for the next year; loss of visitation/guest privileges in one’s dormitory; eviction from the dormitory system.

Window Displays

Students may not display neon signs, commercial signs, flags, or generally offensive materials from their dormitory room windows.