Residential Living - Handbook

Residential Living HandbookRL Handbook

In a group living situation, it is important for you to understand your rights as a student and your responsibilities to others. The rights to study and sleep are considered primary in the residence hall environment. Your major purpose for enrollment is to pursue an education. Excessive noise and distractions inhibit this goal. Therefore, when you choose to exercise a subordinate privilege, such as playing your stereo or entertaining guests, it is your responsibility to make sure that you and your guests are not inhibiting another person’s rights to sleep or study.

When you enroll as a student here at West Texas A&M University and you sign your housing agreement, you are agreeing to abide by the rules and regulations of WTAMU as outlined in the Code of Student Life and Residential Living Handbook, which serve as an extension of your housing contract. As a student you are responsible for becoming familiar with the contents of these documents.

The purpose of this handbook is to provide our residential students with crucial information regarding on-campus living.
Click on each item below to expand the information.


Community Standards

The Residence Hall Bill of Rights
The University has some basic expectations that govern the special nature of interpersonal relationships in residence halls. These are reasonable expectations that students should have for one another while sharing space in residence halls. The Residence Hall Bill of Rights outlines these expectations:
  • The right to sleep during the night undisturbed.
  • The right to sleep in one’s room free of noise and distractions during quiet hours.
  • The right of access to one’s room and facilities at all times.
  • The right to feel secure against physical or emotional harm.
  • The right to a clean room and clean common areas.
  • The right to have one’s belongings respected.
  • The right to have guests in the room when they will not disturb your roommate’s right to sleep or study.
  • The right to privacy.
  • The right to redress grievances.
These rights apply to all students living on campus. Violating the rights of other students may result in disciplinary actions and/or reassignment to another location.
Mandatory Meetings
Each semester on the first day of class, mandatory meetings are held in each living area (typically in the evening). Attendance at these meetings is mandatory because information concerning safety and security, as well as other important information related to living in the community, is distributed. Residents are responsible for all of the information distributed at these meetings; therefore attendance is crucial.
Lobby Usage
The lobbies in each hall are for the use of residents and their guests. Appropriate public behavior and dress are expected in the lobby areas and individuals may be asked to leave the lobby should they not meet this requirement.

Residential Living staff members and the Residence Hall Association may reserve a lobby for programs. Recognized student organizations may request use of residence hall lobbies. The Office of Residential Living and/or Residence Hall Directors may grant permission for this use or may require that the hall council approve the request. The Office of Residential Living reserves the right to approve or deny any request.
Room/Hall Changes
Students may submit a room/hall change request form online once the semester begins. After the first class day, Residential Living will send out information via WTAMU email regarding the opening of and deadline for such requests. IF space is available, requests will be approved and the student notified via email; the requests will be approved by date of completed housing application and where space is available.
Required Enrolled Hours
To be eligible to live on campus, a student must be enrolled in a minimum of nine undergraduate and/or six graduate hours. Exceptions may be requested by students enrolled in an internship, student teaching, co-op or other similar situation. Prior to dropping below the required number of hours, a student should request in writing for approval, from the Director of Residential Living, to continue to live in the residence halls. To do so, send an email to housing@wtamu.edu with your name, Buff ID number, and explain your situation, including how many hours you will be enrolled in after dropping.
Roommate Conflicts
The Office of Residential Living strongly encourages roommates to work together in resolving any conflict. Roommates are encouraged to communicate and compromise with one another by establishing mutually-agreed upon rules for their living space at the beginning of the year. Discuss and resolve any potential personality and lifestyle conflicts. If needed, assistance can be given by the residence hall staff.

Generally, it is the responsibility of the student, if conflicts cannot be resolved between roommates, to contact a staff member to issue a formal complaint for additional staff follow-up and intervention to occur. In situations where roommates are unable or unwilling to resolve conflicts, it is the discretion of the Residence Hall Director to relocate one or both residents to other available residence hall spaces. This alternative is considered only after residents have tried to resolve the conflict themselves.

You Are Your Roommate's Roommate
In the event that you have a problem with your roommate or a guest during your time as a resident, please follow the procedures as outlined below to resolve your concern:
  • Step 1 – Address your concern directly with the individual(s) involved. Be specific about what you want to happen or change as a result of your concern and your expectations for the future.
  • Step 2 – If you do not get the results you want or the change that you desire, take your concern to your RA. Explain the steps you have taken to resolve your concern. Be specific about what action you want your RA to take. Please know that RAs have a variety of tools at their disposal to help you.
  • Step 3 – If you are still not satisfied, take your concern to your hall coordinator. Be specific about what action you want your Coordinator to take.

Residence Hall Staffing

Resident Assistant (RA)
A Resident Assistant (RA) is a student who lives on campus and acts as a resource for the students on their floor, wing, or unit within their residence hall. RAs are student leaders chosen to assist the residents, serving as a resource, mentor, friend, role model, and community leader.

Resident Assistants play a key role in creating an environment for students that is conducive to academic, personal, and social growth. RAs develop social, educational, and cultural activities for their residents. They also enforce and educate students on University policies and regulations within the residence halls.

On average, RAs are responsible for a living area of approximately 30-45 residents. RAs participate in job training and orientation throughout the year, developing strong leadership and interpersonal skills that last a lifetime. As compensation for their service, each RA receives a room and meal plan, as well as a monthly stipend.
Residence Hall Director / Area Coordinator
A Residence Hall Director (RHD) / Area Coordinator (AC) has overall responsibility for the management of their assigned residence hall(s). The RHD/AC works to establish a supportive and positive learning environment in the residence hall by guiding the staff and hall council. They are responsible for the supervision of all hall staff and the enforcement of University rules and regulations, as well as advising the hall council. Feel free to talk to them about any personal or school problems, as well as ideas or suggestions to improve the residence hall community.
Staff On Duty
At least one RA per hall and one RHD/AC are “on duty” every night of the week, with the exception of some holiday periods. Each residence hall has the hall's duty number posted throughout the building. Contact the RA on duty for any issues that arise outside of hall office hours. For emergencies, contact the University Police Department (UPD) at 806-651-2300 or 911.

Facilities

Card Access System
Residents are required to use their University Buff Gold ID card to enter all residence halls. Non-residents will not be given access to a residence hall. Convenience phones are located at the main entrance of each hall for guest use.
Cleaning
Residents are expected to keep their assigned room reasonably neat and clean at all times. The staff reserves the right to ask residents to clean their room for safety, health, or roommate concerns. Custodial services are not provided after a resident has moved into their room. Residents should report common area cleaning concerns to a staff member. Buff Hall residents are responsible for maintaining a reasonably neat and clean bathroom. Residents of Centennial Hall and Founders Hall are responsible for keeping their sinks reasonably clean.

Remember: food and trash attract insects. Students who discover insect problems should report the problem to residence hall staff so that their rooms may be treated.
Laundry Rooms / Vending Machines
Please report machine malfunctions to residence hall staff. Only residents of the hall are permitted to use laundry machines; machines are for resident's personal use only.
Maintenance / Repair Request
Maintenance requests or other room concerns should be reported to your Residence Hall Director or Area Coordinator in a timely manner through the Work Order form located in your myHousing Portal. For emergency repairs, contact a staff member immediately. If repairs are not completed to your satisfaction (within one week for regular repairs or within a day for emergencies), notify your Residence Hall Director immediately. It is helpful if you report maintenance problems early and with as much detail as possible.

Maintenance personnel work between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. on weekdays and may not always be able to arrive at hours most convenient to students.
Trash
Trash toters are provided either inside or outside each building for residents’ trash disposal. Personal trash left in halls or in restrooms will be considered improper trash disposal and subject to disciplinary action. Please deposit personal trash in the toters.

Health & Safety in the Residence Halls

Health and safety...
is a high priority for the Office of Residential Living and West Texas A&M University. Safety within the residential community begins with our residents. Please visit our dedicated Health & Safety page for details on health and safety checks, buff alert, emergency procedures, campus evacuation, fire and inclement weather procedures, as well as other pertinent information.