Residence Life Policies

Residence Life
Community is the heart and life-blood of Abilene Christian University. Here, community exists in many forms: a diverse community of faith, an extraordinary academic community, and a vibrant residential community. ACU is committed to a residential, co-curricular environment that enhances and deepens the academic and faith communities and overall student experience. In short, residential living is an integral part of the ACU undergraduate experience. 
 

The guiding philosophy of the Department of Residence Life Education and Housing asks each member of the residential community to be treated with respect, dignity, integrity, and compassion. It is our mission that students leave their residential community confident in their relationship with God; as autonomous, independent, community minded individuals who understand their leadership call to the world; and who are able to mediate and develop partnerships in a complex and diverse global community.


Residency Requirement
All first and second year students are required to live in traditional gender-specific on-campus residence halls. Third-year, fourth-year and graduate students have the opportunity to live in on-campus apartments or off-campus.  

The campus residency requirement is determined by the years out of high school, not the number of college credit hours earned. First-year students who have recently graduated from high school will live in residence halls designated as first-year halls. Students completing their second year of post-secondary education will live in residence halls designated as second-year halls. Exceptions to the requirement to live on-campus will not be based on financial need. The exceptions to the residency requirement are as follows:

  1. A student’s parents are Abilene residents and he or she will live with his or her parents in the family’s primary residence. Students whose parents own property or a home in Abilene are not exempt from the residency requirement.
  2. A student is 21 years of age prior to the beginning of the fall semester.
  3. A student has graduated from high school more than two years prior to the beginning of the fall semester. (Home schooled students and high school students enrolled in college classes earning dual credit are not exempt from the residency requirement.)
  4. A student is married and submits a marriage license to Residence Life.
  5. A student is enrolled in less than 12 hours at ACU.
  6. A student has a documented medical/ADA concern submitted and verified through Alpha Academic Services. 
     

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Residence Life Staff
 
 

Director of Residence Life
The Director of Residence Life  is the chief housing and residence life officer. He/She provides overall direction and leadership for the Department of Residence Life Education and Housing. 

Assistant Director of Residence Life
The Assistant Director of Residence Life provides administrative support for the Director of Residence Life. Basic responsibilities include oversight of building maintenance, resident safety, special projects, Residence Life reports and sustaining relationships with our campus partners.

Residential Services Coordinator
The Residential Services Coordinator manages the Residence Life office, including coordinating room assignments, customer service, student and staff mentoring, and other critical departmental functions. 

Area Coordinators / Resident Directors
Area Coordinators (AC) and Resident Directors (RD) are qualified, full-time, professional, live-in staff members. They mentor and lead the residence hall staff, oversee 1-2 residence halls, work closely with the residents, and provide overall leadership for a particular residential community. Additionally, ACs and RDs are involved in student mentoring, hall crisis response, hall leadership and community development, student success, student retention, and conflict resolution.  

Resident Assistants and Residence Hall Assistant Directors
The residence hall staff fills an integral role in the residential community. Resident Assistants (RA) and Assistant Directors (AD) are student staff members and key ACU student leaders. Their primary responsibility is to assist, mentor, and serve their residents in promoting a Christ-centered residential atmosphere of academic inquiry, personal development, community involvement, student engagement, and overall student success. They report to the Area Coordinator and/or the Resident Director of  their assigned residence hall.

Student Desk Managers
All halls are supported by student desk managers who serve in customer service roles. The desks are staffed in the evening and night hours. While desk managers do not function in a student safety capacity, they are available to assist students with a variety of customer service and support needs. 


Residence Life Policies and Procedures 

Administrative Entry, Search and Seizure  
While the university respects each student’s privacy, it reserves the right to enter residence hall rooms/apartments to check general conditions, to perform custodial service, to make repairs, to handle emergencies, or if there is reason to believe a health or fire hazard exists. 

Entry under the above conditions will not be used as an excuse to search a room for prohibited items. However, where there is legitimate reason, including suspected student conduct violations, designated university officials including Student Life and Residence Life/Housing staff with authorization from the Dean of Students or designee, may enter and search a student’s room with or without the consent of the occupying student. When possible, it is desirable for the student to be present when a search is made.

In rare cases, students who leave the residence hall and who do not respond to institutional communication may have their locks changed on their hall door in order to encourage them to meet with the appropriate staff. Changing the locks is generally a last-resort administrative action by the part of the university. Students will be notified via email before locks are changed. ACU is not responsible for items left beyond 30 days (see STORAGE section below). Students may be charged a re-key fee in the event their locks are changed.

Accommodations
Students seeking specific and documented medical or disability accommodations must turn in specific and appropriate documentation to ACU’s (325- 674-2667). Alpha Services will make a recommendation of “reasonable accommodation” to the Director of Residence Life Education and except in extraordinary situations, the recommendations of Alpha services will be fully followed.

Advertising, Solicitation, and Posting
Solicitation in the halls is restricted. Door-to-door soliciting is prohibited. ACU organizations wishing to post notices or sell items must have prior, written permission from the AC or Residence Life Office.

Appliances
The following appliances are approved for residence hall use:

  • Small, mini-fridge no more than 4.3 cubic feet (one per room)
  • Microwave (one per room)
  • Television / Game devices (may not be mounted)
  • Stereos and stereo equipment (may not be mounted)
  • Lamps / alternative lighting (no halogen lamps, please!)
  • Coffee maker
  • Blender
  • Toaster (no toaster ovens)
  • Fan
  • Hair dryers / curling irons / straighteners
  • Automatic shut-off iron
  • UL approved extension cords ~ used with caution ~ with one appliance plugged into the cord at a time.
  • Surge protectors
  • Vacuum cleaner


Babysitting
Babysitting is not permitted in the residence halls (this includes Treadaway Kids, Wildcat Kids, and Big Brothers and Big Sisters). No one under the age of 16 is permitted in the residence halls without the consent of the Director for Residence Life or designee, except during summer Leadership Camps, during pre-approved family open house times, or in limited, case-by-case basis situations.

Bed Bugs/Pests
Across the United States, bed bugs and other pests have surfacing at Colleges and Universities and other areas of high occupancy (i.e. hotels, movie theatres, apartment buildings, and so forth). ACU conducts random tests for bed bugs prior to the beginning of fall semester. In the event an ACU student suspects he or she may have come into contact with bed bugs, ACU has an established response that involves a close partnership between the Departments of Residence Life Education Housing and Facilities Management, the ACU Medical Clinic, and WFF Custodial Services. Students who believe they have come into contact with bed bugs or other pests should immediately contact their RA, RD or AC. All students are expected to comply with the pest response plan, including laundering all bedding and clothes, pest control specialists, and possible relocation in serious cases. On behalf of the student and hall community, ACU works very hard to keep suspected pest issues confidential.

Bicycles
Bicycles should be stored in individual rooms or locked in the bicycle racks near the residence halls, and not in hallways, common spaces, lobbies, or storage rooms. To prevent damage or theft, students are encouraged to take bicycles with them or store them in their room during extended student breaks. Students must provide their own bicycle lock. Bicycles left on or near a residential facility will be discarded soon after the spring semester. ACU is not responsible for discarded bicycles. Additionally, bicycles are permitted only to be stored at or on designated bike racks. Bicycles chained to outdoor furniture, walkway railings, and the like may be removed by ACU.

Bunk Beds/Loft Kits
Several residence halls provide self-lofting beds. In other residence halls, loft kits are available at no charge. All beds can be bunked. For safety purposes, no alterations to beds or homemade lift kits (bed raisers, cinderblocks, etc.) are permitted.

Campus Emergency Response
ACU has implemented ACU Alert, a text-messaging notification system that notifies students in the event of a campus emergency. All students are strongly encouraged to sign up for the ACU Alert service. To register for ACU Alert and obtain more information, see ACU Police Department webpage.

Check-In
Students are required to check-in at designated areas within their assigned residence hall at the beginning of the student’s first semester each school year. Students will be required to complete  several forms (including the Room Condition Inventory and Student Emergency Form), all of which must be completed before they will receive their keys.

Check-Out
In the event of a room change or withdrawal from ACU, as well as move out at the end of the year, it is extremely important that each resident check-out with the appropriate residence life staff member. Students should schedule a time to inventory the condition of the room, sign the checkout form, return the keys, and move-out of the room. Students who do not properly follow the check-out procedure will be fined. Additionally, students will be held responsible for any room damages or custodial requirements not reported on the Room Condition Inventory during check-in. Proper check-out procedure is for the benefit of the student!

Computer Services
All halls are equipped with wireless capabilities. Some halls also feature spaces with computers for students’ use; academic uses will always take priority over personal use. Students are asked to be responsible in their computer use and to respect the Christian community of which they are a part. Students with computer or technology issues should contact Team 55 (ext. 5555). All halls have centralized printers for student use. Students may print from their rooms to the hall printers. More information is provided in the Town Hall meeting at the beginning of the year.

Computers are available for student use in academic buildings, the Learning Commons, and the Campus Center.

Curfew
ACU takes a developmental approach to residential curfew. As members of the residential community, all first-year residents will have curfew on Sunday through Thursdays. Specific times and dates will be posted in each residence hall. Students who violate residential curfew may be subject to fines. Second-year residents do not have curfew.

Per the residency requirement, it is expected that second-year residents who have been assigned a residence hall will spend at least 5 nights per week (or 80% of the time) in the residence hall. If an AC/RD is notified that a resident has been absent several nights in a row, the AC/RD will contact the resident and may prohibit them from spending the night out of the hall; this is at the discretion of the AC/RD.

Damages and Repairs
Students are expected to respect their rooms and hall common spaces as their home. For purposes of sanitation and safety, students are encouraged to regularly clean their rooms, linens, and private bathrooms. Students are encouraged to bring their own vacuums, as ACU does not provide them for the halls.

Damage and repair charges to residence halls or ACU property will be charged to individual students, including labor, repair, and/or replacement charges. In the event that large-scale damage occurs, groups of students or the entire residential community may be fined. Additionally, depending on the type and/or extent of the damage, punitive fines may also be applied above and beyond the actual cost of the damage.

Students should not use nails, screws, carpet tape, or any other decorating tool that damages walls or other surfaces. “Plasti-tack” is recommended for light-weight decorations. The use of paint, wallpaper, or fabric to cover walls is not permitted.

Entry, Search and Seizure, Administrative Action
Refer to the ‘Administrative Entry, Search and Seizure--- SECTION DOES NOT EXIST ON LEGACY OR COMMUNITIES --- section of the General University Policies of this Handbook.

In rare cases, students who leave the residence hall and who do not respond to institutional communication may have their locks changed on their hall door in order to encourage them to meet with the appropriate staff. Changing the locks is generally a last-resort administrative action by the part of the university. Students will be notified via email before locks are changed. ACU is not responsible for items left beyond 30 days (see STORAGE section below). Students may be charged a re-key fee in the event their locks are changed.

Fire
Any individual who sets a fire (commits arson) on or near a university building will be subject to immediate disciplinary sanctions, including, but not limited to suspension, and a minimum $250 fine. Individuals may be charged for repairing any damage caused by the fire, and additionally may be subject to prosecution in criminal court.

Fire Evacuation Procedures
Emergency evacuation procedures are posted in every residence hall and will be discussed in all-hall meetings.

In conjunction with Facilities Management and The Office of Risk Management, residence halls may conduct fire drills each semester. All fire alarms /drills should be treated as an actual fire and the building must be evacuated immediately. Students who fail to evacuate during a fire alarm sounding or who tamper with fire control measures (such as false alarms, smoke alarms, pull stations, warning lights and horns, fire extinguishers, sprinkler systems) will be subject to disciplinary sanctions, possible fines  and referral to civil authorities. After an evacuation, students are not to return to the building until the AC/RD or designee has deemed it safe to do so.

Furniture and Equipment
University furnishings in the resident’s room should not be dismantled or removed. All university provided furnishings must remain in the resident’s rooms at all times, including loft kits. Common space furniture must remain in its area of designated use. Removal or relocation of any of these items can be considered theft and may be handled by a fine and/or replacement charges. Each year, repairing and replacing residence hall furniture and equipment is done at considerable cost to the department of Residence Life and the university. In an effort to keep housing costs as minimal as possible, it is expected that students be good stewards of all furniture and hall equipment.

Grievance Policy
Students with concerns regarding their residence hall living/learning experience should first contact their RA or AD for a solution or remedy to their concerns. If the RA or AD is unable to assist them, students should contact their hall AC/RD. If the AC/RD is unable to assist with their concerns, students are encouraged to contact the Director of Residence Life or the Residential Services Coordinator for help and assistance.

Guests and Visitors
For emergency and safety reasons, overnight guests must be registered with the AC/RD. In accordance with the campus visitation policies, guests must be the same gender of the resident. Guests may stay a maximum of three nights, except in situations approved by the Director of Residence Life  or designee. Guests are expected to abide by all campus policies and the host student assumes responsibility for the actions of their guests. Visitors are required to register their vehicles with ACU Police Department.

Hall-to-Hall Changes
As hall communities are intentionally developed and space is very limited, hall-to-hall changes are very, very rarely processed during the academic year. In extraordinary situations (i.e. medical/ADA accommodations, injury, etc.), students may appeal this policy and submit a written request of appeal to their AC/RD or the Director of Residence Life.

Abilene Christian University reserves the right to relocate students to a different room or hall assignment as needed. Room and/or hall relocation changes may be made by the AC/RD, Residence Life administration, the Dean of Students, or the Vice President for Student Life.

Hall Safety and Security -- STOPPED HERE
All residence halls are locked, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Students must have their student ID in order to gain entrance to their hall. Residence hall guests need to arrange with their host to meet them at the hall entrance. All halls are supported by student desk managers who serve in a customer service role. While desk managers do not function in a student safety capacity, they are available to assist students with a variety of customer service needs. In the event a desk manager is not on duty, students are to call the number(s) posted at the desk manager station or contact their RA for assistance. ACUPD officers are responsible for the student safety needs of the campus. They regularly patrol campus facilities and are available 24 hours a day. All students are strongly encouraged to sign up for the ACU Alert service.

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Keys
Residents should carry their room keys and ACU ID cards for their halls when they leave their rooms. ACU ID cards are required for hall access. Residents should not open hall doors for nonresidents wishing to enter the hall. Keys are the responsibility of the resident and rooms should be locked each time a student leaves their room. A resident who is locked out of their room should immediately contact their RA, the Residence Life office, or the desk manager on duty. A lost key should be immediately reported to the AC/RD. To aid in the security of the hall, a lost key will result in a non-refundable $65 charge to re-key the lock. Any student found to have duplicate keys or unauthorized keys will be fined to re-key the lock, and subject to disciplinary action up to, and including, suspension.

Laundry
Commercial washers and dryers are available to hall residents free of charge. All problems with laundry equipment or facilities should be reported in accordance with the established maintenance request policy. The washers are energy-efficient; please follow posted signs for use so as to avoid damage to clothes and equipment. Students are prohibited from doing laundry for their off-campus friends or non-residents. Students who do so may be subject to a fine.

Leases
A signed lease will not be considered in the off-campus petition process. It is strongly recommended that students not commit to an outside housing or apartment lease – including University Park apartments - before being approved to live in off-campus housing by the Office of Residence Life.

Open House
Visitation to resident rooms by members of the opposite gender is limited to times of recognized hall open house. Open house policies will be discussed at Town Hall meetings. All visitors must be registered at the front desk and be escorted by a resident. For privacy and safety concerns, it is important that all members of the residential community acknowledge and support these policies.

Pets
Pets are not allowed in the residence halls. This includes reptiles, fish, birds, dogs, cats, rodents, insects, or any animal. Bringing pets into a residential facility at any time may result in a $100 fine for the first offense, plus any additional cleaning fees incurred. Repeat incidents will lead to larger fines, student removal from halls, and other possible disciplinary responses.

For more information about service animals, please contact the Alpha Scholars program.

Prohibited Items/Actions
The following items/actions are prohibited in ACU residence halls, rooms, and common spaces:

  • Alcoholic beverages, containers, and promotional items (including posters or decorative shot glasses)
  • Antennas or satelitte dishes attached to windows or outside of buildings
  • Athletic activities (outside of official Residence Life programs) including, but not limited to: running, throwing, bouncing, or kicking of objects; and the use of golf clubs, lacrosse sticks, footballs, etc
  • Babysitting or childcare
  • Blocking and/or propping open entrance, exit, or fire doors, including stairwells.
  • Ceiling or wall alterations such as ceiling fans, mounting light fixtures, decorations, lamps, flat screen TVs, shelving, removal of ceiling tiles, etc
  • Cooking appliances designed for frying or with open heating elements
  • Attached construction of any kind
  • Controlled and/or illegal substances, designer/club drugs, prescription drugs written for another individual
  • Fabric or flammable material attached to the ceiling
  • Fighting of any kind
  • Fire-arms, ammunition and other weapons, including BB guns, pellet pistols, air rifles, darts, numb-chucks, throwing stars, power-bows and arrows, sling shots, blow guns, paint ball guns, knives, and other similar items
  • Fireworks, including smoke bombs and firecrackers
  • George Foreman grills, griddles, or other open element cooking utensils.
  • Jumping / climbing out of windows
  • Mopeds, motorcycles, flammable fuel, gas engines
  • Multi-plugs or power-strips, except for computers
  • Open flames such as candles, incense, matches, lighters, etc.
  • Other items at AC/RD discretion
  • Pets
  • Sexually explicit or inappropriate material or behavior, including but not limited to movies, posters, print materials, music, art, displays of profanity, or other potentially offensive, insulting, or provoking materials that are not consistent with the general spirit and Christian message of ACU
  • Sleeper sofas or hide-a-beds
  • Smoking
  • Space heaters
  • Throwing anything out of a roof or window
  • Toaster Ovens


Repairs and Maintenance
Facilities Management will repair electrical and plumbing problems, broken windows, air conditioners, screens, locks, etc. The AC/RD will explain the maintenance request policy at the Town Hall meeting at the beginning of the school year. It is the student’s responsibility to report all maintenance requests as soon as possible. If a room or building emergency occurs, students should contact the residence hall staff immediately.  Facilities Managment staff may enter a student’s room at any time to address issues of building maintenance or repair. Students may be responsible for damages, unclogging drains and major repairs due to student negligence or accident. It is important to note that only Facilities Management is permitted to make repairs in the residence halls. Students, their parents, or others are not allowed to make hall repairs.

Room Assignments
Residence Life seeks to accommodate requests for housing, but reserves the right to determine and change room and roommate assignments. We work hard to accommodate hall and roommate requests and in matching “potluck” students. Our ability to accommodate housing requests is often contingent on class size and residence hall space. Depending on incoming class sizes, residence halls may house students based on need not tradition, students may be asked to live in three person suites, in common spaces, and so forth. Consistency and fairness is paramount in the room assignment process. Students are not granted hall-to-hall changes except in rare and extenuating circumstances. The Director of Residence Life or designee must approve hall-to-hall changes.

Students seeking specific and documented medical or disability accommodations must turn in specific and appropriate documentation to ACU’s Alpha Services department (325- 674-2667). Alpha Services will make a recommendation of “reasonable accommodation” to the Director for Residence Life Education or designee. Except in extraordinary situations, the recommendations of Alpha services will be fully followed.

Room and Roommate Changes
It is a primary mission of Residence Life to equip residents with the tools and experiences necessary to live, study, and worship in close community with others. The majority of the residence halls are double or triple occupancy and, as can be expected, roommate conflicts and disagreements do arise on occasion. The Department of Residence Life has very purposeful and developmental procedures for addressing these concerns. Communication is key. It is the responsibility of the student to notify the appropriate staff of concerns. Initially students who feel that they are not able to work out roommate disagreements should notify their RA for assistance. If the RA is unable to mediate the conflict, the roommates will meet with the AC/RD for conflict resolution. Except in situations as approved by the AC/RD or the Director of Residence Life, students will not be permitted to change roommates until the semester break. Students initiating changes on their own will be subject to fines and relocation at the discretion of the AC/RD or Residence Life staff. Additionally, the student initiating the change will likely be required to relocate.

ACU students come from a variety of backgrounds; racial, ethnic, cultural, and national origins, religious heritages, and other diverse life circumstances. Room changes or roommate reassignment requests based upon any of these factors will not be approved.

Storage
Residence Life allows residents to keep their belongings in the residence hall rooms over long breaks (i.e. Fall Break, Thanksgiving, Christmas Break, Spring Break) but does not offer storage over summer breaks. Items left over the summer break may be given away, donated to local charities, or sold in residence hall garage sales. The university will in no way be held responsible for any property left on the premises by residents who have moved out of the hall.

Students not returning to ACU after the Fall or Spring term will have 30 days after the last day of the semester to move out their belongings. ACU will not pack and mail a student’s belongings; students are responsible for their own items. Items left longer than 30 days may be given away or donated to local charities. ACU is not liable for items left in the residence halls.

Team 55
Team 55 serves the ACU community by assisting with technological issues, including telephone, voicemail, personal computers, printers and mobile devices. They also provide computer and tablet loans to students. Team 55 is located in the Learning Commons and may be reached at ext. 5555.

Theft
Theft is one of the most destructive and divisive occurrences among members of a residential community. Communities are based on trust, respect, and mutual responsibility. A thief undermines community living at its very core. Theft of student property is not tolerated in any shape or form and may result in removal from campus housing on a first occurrence, as well as additional disciplinary sanctions.

In order to minimize the possibility of theft, residents should take the following precautions:

  • Room doors should be locked any time a resident is not in the room, including those times he/she is to be gone for only a brief time.
  • Residents should keep their keys with them at all times. Even if a resident expects his/her roommate to remain in the room, he/she should take their key.
  • Resident doors should be locked when residents are asleep.
  • Valuables should be locked up and kept out of sight.
  • Residents should know their neighbors and report any suspicious activities or people to an RA or their AC/RD.


Quiet Hours
The chief objective of Residence Life is to support and further ACU’s academic mission. As such, quiet hours will be strictly enforced. Common spaces are available in each residence hall for students to study, watch TV, or hang out. Quiet hours are discussed in Town Hall meetings and will be posted in residence halls.

Tornado and other Weather Emergencies
During severe weather alerts (watches and warnings), residents should monitor television and radio reports, watch for the ACU Alert, and take reasonable precautions. Each resident should have a flashlight. Residence hall staff members are educated for response in certain weather related emergencies but each student is responsible for being aware of the emergency procedures for their living environment. In the event a weather related emergency arises, students are to respond immediately to hall staff safety instructions for their particular hall. If hall staff is not around, students are to refer to their emergency procedures. These instructions are discussed at all Town Hall meetings and in various drills throughout the semester. Residence Life staff are also available for further clarification or discussion.

Town Hall and Floor Meetings
Safety, security, hall announcements, and other important topics are discussed at Town Hall and periodic floor meetings. Residents are required to attend all scheduled meetings and are responsible for the information disseminated. A resident who has a schedule conflict with a floor/hall meeting should inform his/her RA as soon as possible and arrange a time to meet individually with the AC/RD to receive the important information. Important information such as fire and weather safety, hall policies, and so forth are discussed here. ACU will not be liable for information not received by a student who does not attend these meetings.


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