Policies

Residential Services and College Houses and Academic Services work together to ensure students' residential experience is the best it can be. It is important that students living in College Houses and Sansom Place abide by the policies outlined here in the Residential Living Guide and understand the expectations of them as residents.

In this section, you will find information about:

  • Conduct
  • Substances
  • Safety and Security
  • Prohibited items
  • Facility Related
  • Animals in Residence
  • Important University Policies

Conduct Policies

All Penn students and their guests are expected to adhere to requests made by any University staff member performing their duties (including House Directors and Faculty, RA, GA, desk staff, custodial or Facilities staff or Residential Services staff).

 

Residents are expected to provide honest and accurate information in their interactions with University staff members.

No resident should engage in behavior that interferes with or compromises the personal safety or well-being of another. Behavior unsuitable for residential living, including, but not limited to, any practice that limits residents’ rights of equal use and access to room/suite/hall facilities, is not permitted. Residents should also not engage in conduct that is disorderly and/or negatively impacts community and academic success.

Email is one of the main methods used by College Houses and Residential Services to communicate with residents.  Residents are expected to check their Penn email of record on a frequent basis and, when prompted, respond to University officials by email in the timeframe established by that official.  A daily email check is recommended.

Indoor sports or recreational activities that may cause damage to property or disruption or injury to others are not permitted. Activities include (but are not limited to) tossing, bouncing or kicking of balls or objects, and the use of water guns or water balloons.

All on-campus residences adhere to 24-hour Courtesy Hours. Courtesy Hours serve as a reminder to all residents of the primary rights to sleep and study within residential communities. Residents are expected to exercise courtesy when playing music or participating in other activities that may disrupt other residents and/or interfere with the attempts of others to study.

 

Quiet hours are in effect at the following times:  11:00 p.m until 9:00 a.m. on weekdays (Sunday through Thursday) and 1:00 a.m. until 9:00 a.m. on weekends (Friday and Saturday).  Quiet hours are in effect at all times during reading days and finals.

All notices and signs posted in College Houses and Sansom Place must clearly state the name of the responsible organization and be posted only on designated bulletin boards. No such notices should be placed on interior or exterior doors, windows, or elevators. Flyers may not be placed under student room doors. Any student or organization found in violation of these policies may face fines and disciplinary action. Additional posting policies and information are posted on each College House website and the Sansom Place website.

All residents are encouraged to communicate clearly their needs regarding privacy matters with roommates and floor mates.  All residents should respect personal privacy within their student rooms and bathroom facilities.  Students who violate an individual’s privacy by entering their room without permission or invade their privacy within bathroom facilities will face disciplinary action that may result in their removal from their residence.

Residents, visitors, guests, and campus organizations may not conduct or solicit commercial business in the residential buildings.  Solicitation is defined as any activity designed to advertise, promote or sell any product or commercial service or encourage support for or membership in any group, association or organization and includes door-to-door canvassing.  This includes leafleting under room doors and similar unapproved marketing efforts.  Soliciting/selling includes conducting a business in a University residence such as baby-sitting, beer distribution or selling such items as food, raffle tickets, magazines, candy bars, etc.

Residents, visitors, and guests are responsible for all costs related to intentional or negligent damage of University property within residential buildings.

Substances

All residents are expected to show support for community members by addressing concerns that may arise from substance use/abuse.  College Houses and Residential Services supports and expects adherence to the University Alcohol and Drug Policy, as well as state and federal laws regarding use of alcohol and other drugs.

The consumption of alcohol in building common areas is also strictly prohibited without prior approval from the House Director or Sansom Manager.

All residents are expected to show support for community members by addressing concerns that may arise from substance use/abuse. College Houses and Residential Services supports and expects adherence to established University policies, as well as state and federal laws regarding use of other drugs and narcotics.

All smoking and tobacco use (including the use of smokeless tobacco) is prohibited in all University buildings and facilities, including but not limited to any meeting rooms, community areas, performance venues and private residential space within University of Pennsylvania housing.  Finally, smoking and the use of tobacco products is prohibited on any University of Pennsylvania property, including but not limited to outdoor spaces within any College House, as well as parking lots, paths, fields, sports/recreational areas, and stadiums.  Where University of Pennsylvania buildings are adjacent to public sidewalks or streets, smoking and the use of tobacco products is prohibited on those public sidewalks and streets within twenty (20) feet of the entrance to the building.



The tobacco policy covers all smoking methods, including but not limited to the use of electronic smoking devices (e-cigarettes, e-cigars, e-pipes) and hookah smoked products.

Safety and Security

The security of our communities is central to the comfort and academic success of our residents. Security, however, is a shared responsibility.  Residents must play their part by observing security procedures and practices, in consideration of their neighbors and classmates and in order to minimize personal harm or loss.   Abuse of security staff, vandalism of security equipment, and misuse of exterior building doors and locks will not be tolerated and will result in disciplinary action.

Any action of a Penn student, resident or guest that may lead to physical harm to oneself or others is considered endangering behavior and will typically result in removal from housing, disciplinary action (including cost of repair and/or cleaning) and/or criminal charges.  This includes the careless use of appliances or materials, tampering with internet hard wired or wireless devices, and installation of partitions or lofts.  Throwing any object from windows, roofs, ledges, etc. is dangerous and also prohibited.  

 

In situations when an individual or group poses an immediate threat to the health, safety or property of others or of oneself the individual or group may be relocated or removed from housing prior to a hearing to address the specific behaviors. 

Residents are expected to comply and familiarize themselves with the Fire and Emergency Safety procedures of the University. Compliance includes properly evacuating, following the instructions of emergency personnel, and not damaging, tampering with, or blocking fire safety equipment or signs. Banners, flags, nets, holiday lighting, cable wire, and hangers cannot be installed in such a way as to interfere with the operation of any fire safety equipment (i.e. sprinkler heads or smoke detectors). No items may be installed on or suspended from the ceilings nor should non-flame-resistant decorations be hung on room/suite doors or hallway bulletin boards. Additionally, residents should not place furniture or items in any halls, fire exits, or otherwise block any other means of egress. Residents who fail to comply with any of the above are subject to fines and disciplinary action.

Guests are defined as individuals who are not currently enrolled University of Pennsylvania students.  Visitors are defined as currently enrolled University of Pennsylvania students who are not assigned to the room, suite, or apartment that they are visiting.

 

  • Hosts must check with their roommates, suitemates, or apartment mates for approval before inviting a guest or visitor to the room.  If the other occupants of the space do not approve, the guest or visitor cannot stay in the room.
  • Hosts are responsible for the actions of their guests or visitors and will face disciplinary action if their guest or visitor violates College House, Residential Services, or University policies.  Hosts should familiarize their guests or visitors with community expectations. Visitors are also responsible for their actions and are subject to disciplinary action.
  • Guests and visitors are allowed to visit in a student room, suite, or apartment for a period not to exceed three days and two nights during a two-week period.
  • Visitors are unable to sign into residential buildings between the hours of 2:00 a.m. and 8 a.m.  Hosts will need to sign in all visitors during this time period.
  • A guest or visitor cannot occupy a student’s room when the student is not present. Residents also cannot supply anyone their room key or any PennCard as a means to provide access to the room or building.
  • Guests must sign-in with a photo ID and must be accompanied by a host at all times.  This host must carry a valid PennCard and guests must keep their ID with them at all times.
  • Each visitor must present their own valid PennCard.  Visitors may not sign in other visitors or guests at any time.
  • Visitors may sign-in guests in Hill College House, Kings Court English College House, and Lauder College House for the purpose of dining together in the Penn Dining Halls of those buildings.  Visitors cannot sign in guests to those buildings outside of the open hours of those Dining facilities.
  • At no time may guests or visitors sleep in a common area within a College House.

Residents are required to carry their University of Pennsylvania ID Cards (PennCard) at all times per University policy.  PennCards are used to access College Houses and also serve as electronic key access to assigned rooms.  A PennCard should not be transferred to anyone other than the owner.  Residents should be aware of the whereabouts of their PennCard at all times.  A PennCard used by anyone other than the owner will be confiscated.



Confiscated PennCards may be picked up at the PennCard Center, located in the University of Pennsylvania Bookstore, during business hours of 8:30am to 5:00pm, Monday through Friday.   Lost Penn Cards must be promptly reported to the PennCard Center as well.  For more information and policies on PennCards, please visit the PennCard website.

Prohibited Items

Possession, storage, and/or use of the items below are prohibited in all rooms/apartments:

 

  • Firearms (including but not limited to: air rifles, air soft guns, paint ball guns, pellet guns, pistols, ammunition, gunpowder)
  • Dangerous Weapons (including but limited to: clubs, knives not intended for kitchen use, swords, martial arts weapons, bows & arrows, etc.)
  • Stun guns and tasers
  • Explosives of any kind, including fireworks and sparklers
  • Hazardous substances (including but not limited to: gasoline and other flammable-combustible liquids, solvents, degreasers, lab chemicals, mercury, acids, and alkaline materials, etc.)
  • Other dangerous materials (such as automobile batteries) or other potentially lethal devices that explode or deflagrate and can propel projectiles
  • Any weapon not listed
  • Pesticides such as Raid and/or other pest management chemicals except where provided by Residential Services

It is also a violation of this policy to use an item with a lawful purpose (i.e. scissors, baseball bat) in act or threat of violence.

Possession, storage, and/or use of the items below are prohibited in all rooms/apartments:

  • Extension cords, outlet adapters, and splitters. Note that surge protectors are allowed and encouraged, but they should never be overloaded, nor used in tandem
  • Halogen Bulbs
  • Air Conditioners except where provided by Residential Services
  • All large appliances (including but not limited to: non-University stoves, washer and dryers, dish washers, refrigerators over 4.1 cubic feet, etc.)
  • Space Heaters except in situations where they've been installed by Facilities Staff
  • Power tools such as saws, drills, drill presses, and jack hammers (unless used by Facilities staff)
  • Hoverboards and electronic scooters (possession and use)
  • Bikes and Skateboards (use only)
  • Water filled devices like pools of any size, hot tubs, or water beds
  • Surveillance cameras and equipment
  • Lava lamps
  • Strobe lights
  • Smoke/fog machines
  • Music amplifiers
  • Any item used for door propping (wedges, etc.)

These items are prohibited in all non-kitchen units:

  • Toasters
  • Toaster Ovens
  • Instant Cookers (like Instant pots)
  • Countertop Grills such as panini makers, George Foreman grills, sandwich makers
  • Electric Skillets and Kettles
  • Hot Plates
  • Waffle Irons
  • Popcorn Poppers
  • Convection Ovens, Deep Air Fryers and Oil Fryers
  • Any items with an exposed heat producing source or element (i.e. immersion coil)

All appliances must have a manufacturer's label that shows the electrical ratings and listing by a nationally recognized testing laboratory (e.g., ETL, UL, etc.) .

Possession, storage, and/or use of candles, incense, incendiary devices, and fire producing items (including but not limited to: fuel burning stoves, fuel burning lamps, heaters, grills, torches, charcoal, lighter fluid, and propane cylinders) are prohibited. Residents are allowed, however, to possess matches and small cigarette lighters.

 

Holiday decorations, such as cut trees, wreaths and other live decorations are also not permitted. Visit here for more information: https://www.publicsafety.upenn.edu/files/Guideline-8._Holiday-Tree-and-Decorations.pdf.

 

Special exception requests to use candles for religious or ritual observance should be referred to the House Dean or Sansom Manager. Visit here for more information: https://www.publicsafety.upenn.edu/files/2014/07/Guideline_10._Religious-Candle-lighting-in-college-houses.pdf.

Facility Related

The use of residential common areas is restricted to the residential community occupants, their guests/visitors, and University affiliated groups and organizations that have reserved the space.

 

  • Students, guests, and visitors may not sleep overnight in common areas.
  • Common area furniture and equipment must remain in in the common room.
  • All individuals who use common areas are expected to keep these spaces reasonably clean and orderly for community use.

Out of consideration for all residents, any individual using common areas such as kitchens, lounges or recreational space is expected to return the space to the condition in which it was found. This includes cleaning up after preparing and serving food, putting away food items by storing them securely in pest-proof containers, returning furniture to its proper location and set up, and properly disposing of trash.  Residents should also not dispose of room and food waste in common bathrooms.  Residents should not leave unattended items in public spaces.  Unattended items left in these spaces are subject to disposal by the University.

 

Although they are University buildings, the College Houses and Sansom Place residences and their common spaces, amenities, etc. are first and foremost intended for the use by on-campus residents.   This includes on-campus residential laundry facilities, which are to be used solely by on-campus residents.

Residents found to be consistently overloading electrical circuitry (tripping breakers) through use of appliances or other electrical equipment will be required to reduce their electrical usage.  Residents are also encouraged to use surge protectors as a means to further protect electrical equipment.

Residents are encouraged to keep their exterior room or apartment doors locked at all times. Residents are not allowed to damage, hinder the proper use of, or make changes to any locks or fixtures associated with their rooms or apartment.  Residents cannot add fixtures or locks to any doors, walls, or other surfaces within their apartment.

RDO rooms are set aside for short term emergency situations; an average stay is 2-4 days.  Residents are required to follow instructions regarding move-in and move-out of these spaces.  Residents should also not expect a permanent relocation into a RDO room. 

Residents are responsible for their own PennCards and, when issued, their brass keys. They should not share keys or PennCards with another individual or duplicate their keys for any purpose. Residents should be aware of the whereabouts of their keys (if applicable) and PennCards at all times.

As responsible members of a larger community, residents are expected to maintain reasonable standards of cleanliness and order within their rooms as a means to discourage pests.  Over the counter pesticides do not solve pest issues. They only move the pests elsewhere and potentially put any roommates or neighbors with chemical allergies at risk. 

Residents are also expected to return their rooms to a broom swept and reasonably clean condition similar to the state at check-in when they move out, including disposing of all trash and non-university furniture from their spaces.

Residents who fail to properly maintain, clean, or clear their apartments or rooms will be subject to disciplinary action, including fines and cleaning costs.

Residents will also be assessed fines for any damage that occurs in their rooms during the school year, including any damage done to walls in the hanging of decorations within their spaces. All roommates are held responsible for the condition of all of the space within their rooms or apartments.

Any resident, visitor or guest found within unauthorized areas (student rooms in which they are not either a resident or an accompanied and welcomed guest, mechanical rooms, housekeeping closets, steam tunnels, etc.), found using emergency exits for any reason other than an emergency, or found on any roof, portico or any other architectural feature not designed for recreational or functional use will be subject to fines, assessment for any damages caused and disciplinary action.  Residents, visitors, and guests are not permitted to place any items in any unauthorized area.  The University assumes no financial or legal responsibility for any student, guest, visitor, or property as a result of such actions.

Residents are required to keep all assigned room furniture within their rooms for their period of occupancy.  Missing furniture or furniture found in the hallway, a lounge, a common space, or any other space other than its original room or apartment will result in fines and potential disciplinary proceedings.  Furniture removed from halls, even by the University, will be treated as “missing” for the purposes of post-move-out charges.  Student room furniture cannot be “stored” elsewhere or otherwise placed into lounges.  Furniture placed in lounges is subject to being removed by the University and will be treated as “missing” for the purpose of post-move-out charges.

Residents may not tamper with window stops where they exist.

Animals in Residence

When and after approval by the Office of Student Disability Services and in order to provide reasonable accommodations and in compliance with federal law, students may have one Service or Emotional Support Animal (ESA) in the residences.

 

A Service Animal is individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability, including a physical, sensory, psychiatric, intellectual, or other mental disability. Service animals may accompany its owner anywhere in the residence halls.

 

An ESA provides comfort to an individual with a disability upon the recommendation of a healthcare or mental health professional. An emotional support animal does not assist a person with a disability with activities of daily living but rather its role is to live with a student and alleviate the symptoms of an individual’s disability to provide equal opportunities to use and enjoy residential life at the University. ESAs must remain in the owners assigned room at all times.

 

Important rules and responsibilities on owner care and handling:

 

  • The ESA should reside in your bedroom and not any space shared with another resident (such as the bathroom or kitchen) or outside the residence hall. The ESA is not permitted in common spaces in your building (such as lounges), other residences, dining halls, academic buildings, or any other space outside of your room, with the exception of when being taken for a walk or transported off campus, as noted below.
  • If your roommates cannot or do not wish to have an animal in their residence, the Housing Assignments Office will work with individuals to relocate the ESA owner or a roommate or roommates and place whomever is relocated to a similar residence.
  • If the ESA is in the room when you are not in your room, the ESA must remain in its crate/fishbowl/cage/or similar product to allow for safe entry of University personnel who may need to enter your apartment for maintenance or safety purposes.
  • The ESA must comply with all applicable laws, as well as all PA licensure and vaccination requirements. A current license and vaccination record for your ESA will be required prior to moving into the residence with ESA. This information must remain current during the period of this approval and be presented to the Housing Assignments Office.
  • The ESA is not to leave the residence except with you for, as applicable, walks, visits to the veterinarian, etc. While on University property, the ESA must be under your control at all times, whether in your room in the residence or outside. When transporting the ESA outside, you must use a leash or carrier.
  • If the ESA leaves the residential facility and is not in a crate, kennel, or any other device in which the animal is kept, the ESA must wear a collar, which must include your contact information, at all times.
  • The ESA must not pose a threat or disruption of any kind to roommates or others in the residence or the Penn community. If the ESA poses a threat, injury or disruption of any kind, (1) the ESA may be removed from the building (either permanently or temporarily) and/or boarded elsewhere at the ESA’s owner’s expense and/or (2) the Office of Student Disability Services may revoke the accommodation and you may be required to remove the ESA from the residence.
  • Your ESA must be house trained, which includes litter box training and/or trained to relieve itself outside. Any accidents must be cleaned immediately using appropriate cleaning products. Litter boxes, crates, kennels, and any other device in which the animal is kept must be cleaned daily. Waste must be bagged in plastic bags and securely tied. Waste must be disposed of in outdoor trash receptacles or trash chutes when available in the residence (or as directed by a building administrator). Litter of any type may not be disposed of anywhere in your residence, such as in a trash can, or in toilets or drains.
  • You may not leave your animal in the residence if you leave the residence for 24 hours or more. For example, the ESA may not remain in residence if you leave your room for an extended period, such as: (1) for longer than a day of classes, (2) a trip which will last overnight or longer, and (3) during break periods. The ESA has been approved to live in the residence with you. As a result, ESA sitting is not permitted. You cannot leave your ESA with other students in the residence or have anyone else come to your room with the intent to take care of the ESA. If you are not able to bring the ESA with you, you are expected to find an off-campus location to provide care for the ESA while you are away.
  • If an ESA is found unattended in a residence (except during your time in classes, etc.) or it is learned that you have left the animal unattended in violation of the above paragraph, the ESA will be removed from the building and boarded elsewhere at the ESA owner’s expense.
  • You are responsible for all damages or injuries to either property or person(s) resulting from your ESA. Damages in your room or residence hall resulting from an ESA may result in charges to your account.
  • If you decide you no longer will have the ESA in residence you must notify the Housing Assignments Office who will also notify the Office of Student Disability Services.
  • If you wish to replace the ESA with a different animal, (such as replacing a cat with a dog) you must reapply through the Office of Student Disability Services for a new accommodation.

Individuals other than the owner should never touch or handle an animal unless invited to do so. Individuals other than the owner should not feed the animal, startle the animal, attempt to separate the animal from the owner, or inquire for details about the owner’s disability or reason for having a Service or Emotional Support Animal.

 

College Houses & Academic Services and Residential Services reserve the right to exclude or remove any animal that poses a direct threat to the health or safety of others or creates an unreasonable and unmanageable disturbance to the community.

Pets are not permitted in residences, except for fish of a size that can be appropriately kept in an aquarium not larger than 20 gallons. All roommates must agree upon the presence of an aquarium. Other pets are not permitted for several reasons: they pose potential health problems; they can cause destruction of University property; and they can be disruptive to other residents. “Visiting” pets are not permitted. Violations of the policy will carry the following potential sanctions:

 

  • Residents will have 48 hours from first being contacted by a University official to permanently relocate the animal to an off-campus location.
  • Residents will incur a $50 per day fine each day beyond the first 48 hours.
  • Repeat offenses will result in the immediate and permanent loss of housing privileges and the forfeiture of any potential rent refund due under the normal rent refund policy.