Feb 06, 2023  
2021-2022 University Student Handbook 
    
2021-2022 University Student Handbook [FINAL EDITION]

Residence Life: Program Policies, Procedures, and Regulations



Room and Board Charges

For comprehensive information about room and board charges, as well as fees and payment, visit the Enrollment Services website: widener.edu/BursarOffice

Flexible Spending with the Campus1card

Students may have Pride Bucks and Printing Dollars on their Campus1Card flexible spending debit account. For detailed information, visit the Campus1Card webpage: widener.edu/Campus1CardOffice

On Campus Residence Requirement

Freshman and sophomore undergraduate students must reside on campus unless they qualify for commuter status. All full-time undergraduate students are required to live on campus until they attain senior class status (completed at least 57 credits or more). Please note that students in a co-op program may be released from housing to complete their assignment after review and approval from the Co-op Office and Office of Residence Life.

Students who violate our housing policies may be assessed monetary fines and/or face disciplinary action.

Commuter Status

To qualify for commuter status, a student must live at home with parent(s) or legal guardian(s) and within 25 miles from the university or from his/her co-op, internship, or student teaching location. If a student wishes to change from resident to commuter status, they should confirm eligibility by contacting the Office of Residence Life via email at residencelife@widener.edu or by phone at 610-499-4390.

 

More information is available online at: https://www.widener.edu/profile/residence-life

Off-Campus Status

All full-time students who are married, are the custodial parent of a child, veterans with at least two years of active military service, or 24 years of age or older may reside off campus (no married student housing is available on campus). Students falling into this category must confirm eligibility for Off-Campus Status by contacting the Office of Residence Life via email at residencelife@widener.edu or by phone at 610-499-4390.

Students with junior-class standing (completed at least 57 credits or more) may live on campus or reside off campus. Students with junior status who wish to live off campus but do not plan to commute from their permanent address are considered off-campus students. Students who believe they fall into this category must confirm eligibility for Off-Campus Status by contacting the Office of Residence Life via email at residencelife@widener.edu or by phone at 610-499-4390.

Students and parents are advised not to sign a lease or rental agreement for off-campus housing until off-campus eligibility is confirmed with the Office of Residence Life. Students should be aware that a change in residence status might affect their financial aid.

Change from Commuter to Resident Status

Any individual originally accepted by the university as a commuter may apply for on-campus accommodations by completing a housing application via the Housing Portal. Depending upon the time of year the request is made and the availability of space on campus, the request will be granted on a space available basis or the student’s name will be entered into the campus housing selection process.

Assumption of On-Campus Status

If a student does not have approved commuter or off-campus residence status, it will be assumed that the student is living on campus and will be assigned campus housing and will receive a bill for room and board.

Change of Residence Status Notification

Students who change their status from resident students to off-campus or commuter status must notify the Post Office of the approved change within 5 business days. Failure to make a timely notification will result in a mailbox lock charge fee.

If the student meets the above criteria and chooses to live off campus for the academic year, he or she should review the following items below to assist in a successful experience off campus.

· Make a thorough daytime and evening check of the neighborhood to assure comfort level.

· Most of the rental properties near the university are older. Seek assurance/proof that wiring has been inspected.

· Be sure the property has smoke detectors. Check batteries on a regular basis.

· Invest in renter’s insurance.

· Invest in handheld fire extinguishers for kitchen and upstairs hallway.

· Check for multiple means of exit. Have emergency escape routes planned.

· Retain a signed copy of your lease.

· Have emergency phone numbers available for all roommates.

· Pay rent by check (a cancelled check may serve as a back-up receipt.)

· Learn your neighborhood and its customs, parking, trash pickup times, etc.

· Respect your neighbors.

· Be sensitive to noise and parking. Be sure that your friends and visitors are also respectful.

· Remember you will be responsible for adhering to the university’s Student Code of Conduct, and you will be held accountable to city and state laws by local law enforcement.

Housing Procedures

Opening of Services

Services begin on check-in day; see the university calendar.

Right of Entry

In cases of emergency, the university reserves the right to enter an individual’s room at any time without advance notice. Additionally, the university may enter a room without advance notice for the purposes of inspection, maintenance, and/or protecting the health, safety, and security of residents. Staff members may enter residential spaces for any of these reasons, as well as for the purposes of community building and other job related duties. All staff members must announce themselves and knock on the door before entering students’ residential spaces.

All university staff are obligated to report evidence of noncompliance observed during such visits. Similarly, while maintenance and custodial personnel will not search personal property, the performance of their duties may require them to move items of personal property in rooms. They are obligated to report any observed evidence of unlawful conduct or conditions.

Break Housing

All residential communities remain open during break outlined in the academic calendar (fall, Thanksgiving, winter, and mid-term breaks) for students who wish to remain on campus. More information regarding Break Housing is available to students prior to each break via an email from the Office of Residence Life.

Closing of Services

Before the residence halls close at the end of fall and spring semesters (residence halls are closed by 6 p.m. on the last day of each semester), students will receive a move-out memo with more detailed information and dates. Residents should leave their accommodation at the end of the school year within 24 hours after their last final exam. Improper check-out fines will be charged if residents fail to follow check-out procedures.

Deadline to Claim Services

Students must claim their housing assignments and identification cards for food service before 11 a.m. on the second scheduled day of classes each semester or within 72 hours of receipt of assignment if the assignment is made after the first class day of a semester. If any emergency prevents a student from appearing to claim services, immediate written notice must be given to the university. Failure to notify the Office of Residence Life of delayed arrival may result in the space being offered to another student. To claim a housing assignment, students must report to the location designated through the university check-in procedures.

Change in Room Assignment

The Office of Residence Life reserves the right to reassign any student to a different room at any time. While every attempt will be made to notify the resident student of changes in room assignment prior to his or her arrival on campus, situations may arise that make this impossible.

If a member of the Residence Life staff becomes aware that a student may have discouraged a potential roommate from moving into his or her room, a mandatory meeting will be called to discuss the situation. If the violation appears to be valid, the student(s) may face disciplinary action.

Once a student occupies his or her assigned room, the assignment may not be changed unless the Office of Residence Life gives approval.

No room change requests will be allowed during the two week “room freeze” at the beginning of each semester. Students who make unauthorized room changes are subject to disciplinary action.

Proper check-out of the current assignment is required before moving to a new assignment. The Residence Life staff will assist with the necessary documentation.

A student who is in single occupancy of a double accommodation (e.g., because a roommate withdrew from the residence hall) may be required to move or may be assigned a roommate at any time at the discretion of the Office of Residence Life.

Themed Housing Options

Students interested in living together in a group or cluster should inform the Office of Residence Life by following appropriate housing selection process. The organization or group of students must be in good standing with the university (i.e., student(s) must not be on disciplinary probation). A variety of student groups have taken advantage of the benefits afforded by participating in a themed housing community. Each group must fully occupy its assigned space. Organizations not meeting capacity during an academic semester may be subject to denial of requested cluster grouping or dislocation from the current assignment.

In cases where extraordinary circumstances prevent an organization from meeting their occupancy requirement, that organization may submit a written request for reconsideration to the Assistant Dean of Students for Residence Life for a waiver of the requirement. Such requests must be made in writing explaining the extraordinary circumstances.

Summer Housing

Students who register for co-op or any Summer Day session can obtain information and an application by following instructions electronically provided by the Office of Residence Life in the spring semester.

Residence Hall Visitation

In a community setting such as a residence hall, responsible behavior must stem from a recognition of and a basic concern for the rights and sensibilities of others. Consideration for roommates is of primary concern. Students who violate this policy will be subject to disciplinary sanctions.

Visitation specifically excludes continued residence in any university residence facility by individuals who are not assigned residents of a specific room or hall by the Office of Residence Life.

Residents are responsible for the behavior of their guests. If a guest violates the Student Code of Conduct, the host will be sanctioned for the guest’s offense. The residents of a room where a policy violation has occurred may be held responsible for the violation, whether or not they were present in the room at the time of the violation.

Matriculated Widener students have the privilege of 24-hour visitations. Widener students visiting another residence hall are responsible for their behavior, as are their hosts. All Widener students, when requested by a resident, staff member, safety officer, or university administrator, are required to show a valid Widener identification card and to state whom they are visiting.

Students may enter another student’s living area only after permission has been granted by the student residing in that area. All guests must be escorted by their hosts at all times.

Resident students are limited to two nonstudent guests at a time. Residents are responsible for the behavior of their guests. In addition, all guests must possess and present a valid form of identification upon request. Failure to do so will result in removal from campus. In addition, all overnight guests must be at least 18 years of age.

Guests may stay a maximum of two consecutive nights in a 14 day period. Residents are responsible for complying with these procedures and for the actions of their guests, including compliance with all traffic and parking regulations

Quiet Hours

Residents in each hall are expected to act in a manner conducive to effective study. Each individual must adhere to this basic expectation. Quiet hours in all residence halls and apartments will be from 9 p.m. to 7 a.m., Sunday through Thursday, and midnight to 10 a.m. on Friday and Saturday during normal school session. In addition, 24-hour/day quiet hours go into effect immediately prior to final exam week and continue through closing. Residents are expected to be considerate of others at all hours.

A few basic principles should govern each individual in regard to noise. Resident Assistants (RAs) are expected to help maintain a reasonably quiet environment on the floor with the cooperation of residents. Residents are expected to comply in reducing or ceasing all noise when asked by any staff member or fellow resident. Such requests may come at times other than the established quiet hours. Failure to cooperate or stop the noise violation could serve as grounds for disciplinary action, which may include housing contract probation or termination of contract. Residents are held responsible for the behavior and actions of their guests or visitors.

Electronic devices like televisions and speakers are normally permitted in rooms provided they do not disturb others; they should be heard only in the confines of the individual’s room, and the door should be closed when they are operated. Such equipment will be ordered to be removed immediately if, after other residents or hall staff have made a complaint, their use continues to be distracting to study/living conditions or is judged to be a hazard. Television antennas or other articles are not permitted on any exterior areas of the residence buildings.

Room Furnishings

Furniture

Each room is supplied with a desk, desk chair, bed frame, and mattress for each student assigned to a room. No furniture can be removed from a room. The hall staff will do an inventory control check at the completion of each term. Any missing items will be billed to the occupants of the room.

University-owned mattresses are to remain on bed frames and are not to be placed on the floor. Refusal to comply with this policy will result in the student being charged with the cost of mattress replacement. Lofts are prohibited by order of the fire marshal.

Students are expected to provide their own study lamps, bedspreads, blankets, throw rugs, pillows, and linens.

Some beds are designed to be bunked, if desired. Generally, beds will be set up so as not to be in a bunked position. Students who want these special beds stacked to allow for more floor space should see the residence hall staff after having checked in to arrange for it with a maintenance work order.

Special Note: Residents are expected to bring their own floor or table lamps. Ceiling fixtures are limited and may not be provided in each residence hall.

Cooking and Storing Food

Food may not be kept in residence areas except in closed tin, plastic, or glass containers. Microwaves should draw no more than 10 amps. Cooking in residential facilities, other than those designated by the university, is strictly forbidden. Violators will be subject to disciplinary action and fines.

Students may purchase refrigerators for their rooms under the following conditions:

· The refrigerator should be no more than 5 cubic feet.

· Refrigerator use must conform to fire and health regulations by having at least two inches of clearance on all sides.

Decorating and Furnishing Rooms

Students will be held responsible for property that is issued to them and will be required to sign a receipt for the same.

· Nails, tacks, screws, or tape will not be affixed to walls, doors, ceilings, woodwork, or furniture.

· Objects may not be suspended from ceilings, nor will ceiling tile be removed.

· Nothing may cover a fire/smoke alarm for any reason.

· Nothing may be put on exterior windowsills or hung out of windows.

· Wall coverings and upholstered furniture must adhere to state fire codes and guidelines of insurance underwriters.

· Students may not paint rooms.

· Beds and desks must not be dismantled.

· Water beds are prohibited in all residential facilities; they are not permitted by safety and building codes.

· Cinder blocks are prohibited in all residence halls.

· Halogen and lava lamps are prohibited in residence halls.

· Live trees and artificial lights (decorative or otherwise) are prohibited in all residence halls.

· Any items that may be considered weapons (e.g., decorative swords) are strictly prohibited and will be confiscated. Students who fail to comply are subject to disciplinary action.

· Other prohibited items include extension cords, toasters and toaster ovens, air fryers, electric heaters, hover boards, dart boards and darts, and flammable materials such as charcoal, gasoline, and lighter fluid.

Room Inspections and Damages

Each student occupying a room in a residence hall must sign a “Room Condition Report” form at the beginning of occupancy. This form not only lists the items of furniture but also their condition, as well as general room conditions. The students assigned to a room will be responsible for any damage beyond normal wear and use that occurs during the students’ occupancy. When a student ends occupancy of the room, the RA will sign the “Room Condition Report” form. Until the sign-out procedure has been completed, the student will be held responsible for the room’s contents and condition. Students are also fined for improper check-out or lack of completing any part of the check out procedures.

Loss or damage of furniture should be reported immediately to the Resident Assistant (RA) in writing, as furniture will be charged to the occupants unless recovered. Students with university-owned furniture in their rooms without the specific approval in writing from the Office of Residence Life will be required to return immediately such property to its proper place and will be subject to fines, restitution, and/or disciplinary action.

The university reserves the right to inspect students’ rooms at any time. The underlying reason for inspections is the protection, safety, and welfare of the students and of the university. Such inspection by university officials shall be done generally in the presence of a room resident and/or staff. Exception to this procedure is emergencies when imminent danger to life, safety, health, or property is reasonably feared. Each semester , health and safety inspections will be conducted to ensure the security of the hall.

Damage Billing Procedures

Students are responsible for damage to rooms or loss, damage, destruction, or third party theft of property issued to them and for loss, damage, destruction, or theft of property resulting directly from actions of their guests. If the person responsible for the loss, damage, destruction, or theft cannot be identified, the cost of repair or replacement will be divided equally among the residents of the room or apartment.

When damage occurs in a common area (such as hallways and bathrooms), every attempt is made to identify the individuals responsible and hold them accountable. All students are required to inform the Office of Residence Life of any information they may have in such cases. Should it be impossible to determine the individuals responsible, the university reserves the right to divide the cost among the residents of that area. Inquiries about specific billing should be made in writing and submitted to the Office of Residence Life. Bills for any common area damage, shared equally among the residents, will be posted on the students’ bills.

A “hold” may be placed on a student’s account if the student fails to pay or reimburse the university for any loss, damage, destruction, or third-party theft to living quarters or property issued to them by the university.

Personal Property Insurance Coverage

Many students have valuables in their rooms, such as personal computers, jewelry, and televisions. It is the student’s responsibility to follow all rules designed to protect these items. Students should make an inventory of items brought to campus. Students must also lock their rooms when they leave no matter how short the time they plan to be away. Students should not leave

personal property unattended. In addition, students should report any suspicious persons or occurrence to Campus Safety immediately. They must also close all doors to the outside when entering and exiting so that intruders cannot gain entrance to the residence halls.

Note: The university is not responsible for loss or damage of personal property by any means or for any cause. Students are encouraged to see that they are covered under their parents’ or guardians’ homeowner’s policies or to take advantage of special insurance programs available for college students. Students may wish to review the application from National Student Services, Inc. Widener does not in any way endorse this program as being either the best or the only alternative available to students, but it is one that has been used successfully by other institutions. Valuables must be taken home during break periods and over summer sessions.

Maintenance Work: Entry into Residence Halls/Houses

Normal Procedure When School Is in Session: Workers should enter a student’s room only when a properly approved “Maintenance Support Request” form has been submitted online via MyWidener to the Maintenance Office or in response to an emergency situation. Students’ rooms should be entered only between the hours of 9:00 a.m. and 3:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, unless otherwise requested by the student or Resident Assistant (RA).

Procedure During Break Periods: During break periods (Thanksgiving, winter, midterm, etc.), access to residence halls and rooms will be limited to emergency projects only.

Procedure Related to Outside Contractors: Access to the residence halls should be allowed only with the approval of the physical plant director. Outside contractors will be accompanied by a representative of the university whenever they enter a student’s room or when they enter a residence hall over a break.

Procedure for Notifying Students of Maintenance and Housekeeping Projects: The Office of Residence Life will make every effort to inform residents of maintenance and housekeeping projects whenever possible.

Requests for Repairs: Requests for repairs for rooms or public areas should be reported to the Maintenance Office via the online “Maintenance Support Request” form on MyWidener: Log on to MyWidener, search “Request Maintenance Support, then log in using your widener credentials. Follow the instructions to fill out a work order on that page. Requests for work orders include heating, air conditioning, and housekeeping services. In case of an emergency situation, contact the Office of Residence Life between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, or the Office of Campus Safety if after hours. Students should allow 10 working days for completion of nonemergency repairs. Repairs not completed within that time should again be reported to the RA. NOTE: These procedures are in reference to work done by the Offices of Maintenance and Housekeeping. The university reserves the right to enter rooms at anytime for safety inspections and reasonable cause.

Security

The executive director of Campus Safety cooperates with and advises residence hall personnel regarding the security needs of each hall. The following security procedures are instituted in all residence halls: 

  • All exterior doors to the hall are locked 24 hours a day. 

  • Campus Safety officers make routine inspection rounds of all exterior doors. 

  • Residents are requested to report any suspicious situations or persons to the Office of Campus Safety immediately (ext. 4200). 

All students share responsibility for using and following security procedures for their own and other halls. This means using security devices, keeping doors locked, asking visitors to be escorted, and questioning strangers in the hall. Emergency exit doors in residence halls have alarm systems to discourage illegal entry and exit.  Do not prop open doors.  Abusing the alarm system results in increased theft and vandalism in the residence halls. Persons who abuse this system are subject to disciplinary action. (See also the “Safety and Security” section of this handbook.) 

Keys and Locks

Each resident is issued a room key/card during the period of his or her occupancy. Loaning, borrowing, duplicating, or swapping keys is prohibited. All residents MUST have their keys/keycard on their person at all times. Lost keys will be replaced and the cost of the replacement will be added to the student’s account. The cost is for all services and materials to replace and/or repair all impacted facilities to maintain safety and security.

Students locked out of their room must contact one of the Resident Assistants (RAs) as soon as possible to gain access to the room. If an RA is not available, call Campus Safety (ext. 4200). Campus Safety will require identification to prove the person is assigned to the room in question. “Room Lock-Out” requests will be honored as soon as possible, subject to other priority calls. There is a service charge for “Room Lock-Out” requests.

Each residence hall room is equipped with a working lock. Tampering with any lock can violate The Widener Compact. Violators are subject to disciplinary sanctions and fines plus damages for restitution. Report any lock problems to the Office of Residence Life immediately. 

Air Conditioning

Some residence halls are equipped with air conditioning. Students may not install or use their own air conditioners. Those who require air conditioning for medical purposes must submit written documentation from their physician to Student Health Services prior to the Housing Selection process for the following year placement. Requests made during the year will be honored on a space-available basis. Please be aware that students requesting medical placements are not granted a roommate preference. 

Painting and Decorating

Nothing may be put on exterior windowsills or hung out of windows. Wall coverings and upholstered furniture must adhere to applicable fire codes and the guidelines of insurance underwriters. Students may not paint their rooms.

Fire Safety

Smoke detectors are placed in student rooms and public areas for the safety of the community. Students may not tamper with this equipment (e.g., remove batteries). Students caught tampering will be subject to immediate disciplinary action. Nothing may cover smoke detectors.

Hot plates (exposed and internal coil elements), air fryers, candles, incense, live trees, decorative lights, lava lamps, and George Foreman and other grill devices are not allowed in the residence halls. If discovered, they will be confiscated. Students responsible will be subject to disciplinary action.

As per the instruction from the Fire Commissioner of the City of Chester, “No couches, chairs, or futons are permitted in in any residence facility unless a resident can provide manufacturer’s certification that the furniture meets California Technical Bulletin 133 for fire retardancy of upholstered furniture.”

All residents are required to attend a fire safety meeting at the beginning of the semester.

Closing Procedures

Before the residence halls close at the end of fall and spring semesters (residence halls are closed by 6 p.m. on the last day of each semester), you will receive a move-out memo with more detailed information and dates.  Residents should leave their accommodation at the end of the school year within 24 hours after their last final exam. Improper check-out fines will be charged if residents fail to follow check-out procedures. 

A student properly terminates occupancy by confirming eligibility with the Office of Residence Life, gaining release approval from the Office of Residence Life, notifying their floor RA, removing all belongings from the room, having the room checked by the RA, turning in all keys to the Residence Life Office, and signing a check-out form. The student is required to arrange the time for a proper check-out with the RA.

A fee will be imposed for an improper check-out (i.e., departing without processing through the RA). 

Students who leave a room in unacceptable condition, as determined by the Residence Life staff, will be billed per resident for cleaning. Personal belongings left in a room after the vacating deadline will be removed and disposed of by the university at a charge to the student. 

Graduating resident seniors will be permitted to occupy specially assigned rooms during announced senior days, if an application has been filed and approved by the Office of Residence Life. Failure to comply with this policy will result in a $50 fine. 

Pets

Animals (including lab specimens) are not permitted in residence halls or other university facilities because of health hazards, except for trained service animals and approved assistance animals. Persons violating this regulation will be referred immediately to the Office of Student Affairs for disciplinary action, and violators will be required to remove the animals from campus immediately. Fish may be kept in the residence halls if they are cared for responsibly and kept in a maximum 10-gallon tank.

Recycling

All resident students are required to cooperate with the city of Chester by recycling.

Littering and Trash

Everyone is expected to properly dispose of their refuse in trash receptacles on campus and in residence halls. Any Widener University student or guest who litters campus or community property, or who throws objects out of windows or from balconies, will receive disciplinary sanctions in addition to fines against them for damages and incurred costs.