Residence Life Policies & Community Standards

Standards & Policies Quick Links

Administrative Searches

The College reserves the right for officials to enter and search individual rooms, suites, halls, buildings or
any area when there is reasonable suspicion that a policy violation or illegal activity is taking place, or that
a student is suspected of concealing substances, property, contraband items or participating in behaviors that are in violation of policies.

The Departments of Residence Life, Campus Housing, and Public Safety have the authority
to search or check bags, boxes, containers, etc. for unauthorized/illegal items or substances upon
Violations discovered as a result of any search (routine maintenance, mid-semester check, fire alarm
check, etc.) are subject to Residence Life and Student Affairs conduct procedures. Public Safety reserves the right to obtain a search warrant and/or criminally prosecute violations. (back to top)


Please refer to the College of Charleston Code of Conduct for full reference on Alcohol and complete
Residents of legal age (21 years old or older) are allowed a 6 pack of beer or 1 liter of wine. Residents are
responsible for their own trash removal; if alcohol containers (full and empty) are present in excess of the alcohol limit, residents of the suite may be held accountable for an alcohol violation. Liquor and caffeinated alcoholic beverages are prohibited.

Residents of legal drinking age may consume alcohol only in the presence of others of legal drinking age, including assigned roommates.

Alcohol consumption is not permitted in the common areas of residential facilities outside of the assigned suite/apartment, including areas such as lounges, lobbies, and porches/piazzas/balconies. 

Residents under the legal age of 21 are not permitted to possess, consume, be in the presence of alcohol, or possess alcohol beverage containers in the residence halls/houses. (back to top)

  • Alcohol Storage: Residents 21 or older must store alcohol and alcohol containers outside of plain view and in their assigned portion of the room. Residents under 21 may not have empty alcohol containers for decorative purposes.
  • Alcohol Common Source Containers and Paraphernalia: The use or possession of common source containers (e.g., a keg) or devices to promote rapid alcohol consumption (e.g., a beer bong) is prohibited in residence halls/houses. Drinking games are not permitted in residence halls/houses.
  • Intoxication/ Drunkenness: This is a violation of the College of Charleston policy as well as South Carolina state law. Residents perceived to be intoxicated are subject to undergo evaluation by CofC First Responders and/or Charleston County EMS. This evaluation will determine whether a resident is admitted to the building or transported to a local emergency room. If transported, a medical professional will evaluate the resident. Parents/guardians will be notified according to our parental notification policy. Students should note that alcohol violations are handled in coordination with Student Affairs. 
    Please Note: Alcohol violations are cumulative throughout a student’s enrollment at The College of Charleston. An additional alcohol violation, even a year or more after a first alcohol violation, will be considered a second offense and forwarded to the appropriate campus authorities. (back to top)

Balconies and Porches

Porches, balconies, rails, doors, and windows of the residence halls and houses must be kept clear of items including hanging articles and furniture, including hammocks. No items may be thrown or poured over the balconies, or porches. Students caught throwing things may be subject to removal from the residential facility with no refund of fees and full payment of contract required and be subject to conduct procedures. (back to top)


For fire and life safety reasons, bicycles are not allowed inside the residence halls/houses at any time
except in the designated bicycle storage areas inside Kelly House and McAlister Hall. Bicycles may not be
chained to porches or rails of historic houses. (back to top)

Candles/ Open Flame

Open flames of any kind are strictly prohibited in Residence Halls (for example: candles, votives, and incense). Any open flame items found in halls will be confiscated and not returned to the owner. (back to top)

Children In Halls 

  • Babysitting in the residence halls/houses is not allowed 
  • Children may not be left unattended 
  • Actions of a minor guest are the responsibility of the host (back to top)

Commercial Activities 

Students may not use Residence Life or Campus Housing property or equipment for personal businesses. This includes running businesses from residence hall/house rooms as well as using Residence Life or Campus Housing facilities to solicit or maintain businesses. (back to top)

Common Spaces

Areas such as lobbies, lounges, laundry rooms, hallways, kitchens, and porches/balconies are considered “common spaces” and are intended for the use of all residents of that residence hall.

Residents are expected to consider the impact their actions have on other residents when traveling through and utilizing these spaces.

Some examples of common space etiquette and standards are as follows:

  • Excessive noise should not disrupt sleep, study, and living environment.
  • Personal trash should not be left in common areas.
  • When using a common kitchen, it is the responsibility of the resident to clean the space after use, including any dishes or other cooking implements. Dirty dishes and/or food should not be left in the sinks or on the counters.
  • When using laundry facilities, residents should make every effort to remove their clothing items promptly when the wash/dry cycle is complete so that the machine is available to other residents.
  • For residents over 21 years of age, alcohol consumption is not permitted in the common areas of residential facilities outside of the assigned suite/apartment.(back to top)

Confiscated Property

Unauthorized items will be confiscated and may not be returned. (back to top)

Cooking/Heating Appliances

Certain cooking and heating appliances are prohibited in the residence halls due to the fire hazard threat they pose. These include coffee makers without an automatic shut-off switch, any open-coil heating appliance (such as a toaster), electric griddles, Foreman-type grills, and waffle makers. Space heaters and space lamps of any kind are prohibited. 

Residents in housing with a full kitchen* may have a toaster, oven/ grill, or air fryer provided
the item remains in the kitchen and has an automatic shut-off. Please see a Residence Life staff member if you have questions regarding whether a certain appliance is authorized. *Warren, Kelly, George, Rutledge, 99 St Philips, and Historic Houses are the only locations with full kitchens. (back to top)

Desk Services

Most residence halls have an information desk. If your RA or DA is not available and you need assistance,
you may contact any residence hall information desk and they will help you contact a staff member on-call.
Residents in historic houses should utilize the residence hall associated with that area.
Please note that Residence Life does not accept deliveries or personal items for residents of a specific building at any information desk. For delivery information, please contact Mail Services at 953-5534. (back to top)

Doors and Locks

Residents are prohibited from damaging, tampering, taping, removal of locks, or propping doors open. We recommend you keep your doors locked at all times. You will be assigned a key(s) that will allow you access to your building and individual room.

Rooms should be locked and you should carry your keys and College ID with you at all times. You may not loan, sell or transfer any housing key or College ID to any person for the purpose of allowing that person to enter college housing unescorted or use the residence hall or facilities. (back to top)

Drugs/Drug Paraphernalia

Please refer to the College of Charleston Code of Conduct for full reference on Drug and Drug Paraphernalia. Any paraphernalia found will be confiscated and not returned. Hookahs are considered paraphernalia and are not allowed in residence halls or houses.
If there is suspicion of the presence of illegal drugs, particularly due to a smell indicative of marijuana, Residence Life staff members will be authorized to enter the suite to further assess the situation.
Residents are responsible for the actions of their guests. If a guest violates the drug/drug paraphernalia policy, the resident may be subject to the conduct process and sanctions. 
If perceived to be under the influence of any substance that may put one at risk of harm to self or others, residents will be evaluated by medical professionals to determine whether transport to a local emergency room is necessary. Parents/guardians will be notified according to our parental notification policy. (back to top)

Extension Cords

The use of extension cords in residential spaces is strictly prohibited. Power strips are recommended for 
use instead. Multi-outlet assemblies (power strips) should be:

  • Properly secured to a permanent surface
  • Equipped with fuse or circuit breaker
  • Energized from a permanent outlet
  • Grounded 3-wire type
  • UL approved (back to top)

Fire and Life Safety 

Fire safety equipment, including smoke alarms, are provided in each room and are maintained regularly
by Fire & EMS. If special accommodations need to be made to comply with ADA regulations, please
contact Campus Housing.

If you hear an intermittent beep from the smoke detector, report this through an online work order in your MyCharleston account. Fire & EMS can be reached at 953-5499 between 8:30 am and 5:00 pm Monday through Friday, as well as, the Public Safety dispatch at 953-5609 after hours and on weekends. DO NOT REMOVE BATTERIES OR ATTEMPT TO CHANGE BATTERIES!

Additionally, no items shall be hung from or placed over smoke detectors, sprinkler heads, or overbuilding lighting (in rooms, common rooms, bathrooms, hallways, etc.).

Each time a fire alarm sounds, it is MANDATORY FOR ALL STUDENTS AND GUESTS to IMMEDIATELY
evacuate the building. Residents who remain in the building during a fire alarm shall be subject to
disciplinary action. Once evacuated, residents must remain outside until the College of Charleston Fire &
EMS and/or the Charleston Fire Department have cleared the building. (back to top)

Assembly Sites: These locations are provided for your safety and to allow the Fire Department personnel
adequate access to the building. When an alarm sounds, students must assemble in the following areas:

  • Berry: Across St. Philip Street in the WA parking lot adjacent the Bell Building.
  • Buist/Rutledge Rivers: Robert Scott Small building side exit: Intersection of College Promenade and
    Greenway. Coming Street side exit: In the grassy area of the horseshoe parking lot near Coming Street.
    Hawkins Lounge side exit: Intersection of College Promenade and Greenway.
  • College Lodge: Parking lot adjacent to Market 159 – towards King St. 
  • Craig: Exit the hall and walk down the sidewalk to the front of the education center
  • George Street: Across George Street to the parking lot.
  • Historic Houses: Across the street from the house
  • Kelly House: Across St. Philip Street in the Charleston Water Systems parking lot.
  • Liberty Street: Across Liberty Street, down St. Philip St. toward the Education Building.
  • McAlister: Across St. Philip Street in front of the parking garage.
  • McConnell: “P” Parking Lot behind Fraternity Row. 
  • 1 Warren Place: Across the street in front of 10 Warren Place. 
  • 10 and 20 Warren Place: At the far side of the parking lot.

Students are prohibited from tampering with any barrier (including but not limited to all locks, gates,
doors, barricades, chains, enclosures, signs, tags, or seals) installed by or under the direction of fire officials.
Students found in violation of this policy will be subject to disciplinary action. (back to top)


Furniture placed in the lounges and other public areas is for the use of all residents. Do not remove furniture from these areas. Unauthorized removal of college-owned furniture could result in monetary restitution. Furniture in your room is not to be removed at any time. You are responsible for having all College furniture in place and in good condition. Additional furniture may be brought in providing all residents of the room/suite agree and the item does not block egress or otherwise violate fire and life safety codes. For questions about authorized furniture, contact Fire & EMS at 953-5499 (back to top)

Health and Safety Audits

For health and safety reasons, the Residence Life staff will conduct room audits at announced times during the semester. Courtesy notices will be emailed in each hall/house in advance of room audits. On the designated day, Residence Hall staff members will check the room for cleanliness, maintenance needs, and item(s) that are prohibited. Residents who wish to be present during the audit should contact their Residence Hall Director in writing prior to the scheduled week of inspections. (back to top)

ID Cards

College of Charleston residential students are expected to carry their CofC ID card with them at all times. Students living in residence halls with an electronic card reader are required to scan their ID and present it to the staff member working the desk before they enter the building.

In order to help maintain the integrity of the systems and building, do not use your card or FOB to allow any other individuals except your escorted guests to enter your building's common areas or your living area. Avoid allowing others to "tailgate" you into the building to prevent individuals from bypassing the card readers or FOB access.  Lost IDs can be replaced at Cougar Card Services during business hours or at Public Safety after business hours.

It is important to recognize that no system is absolutely flawless. Always close the door to your room when you leave. Do NOT tamper with the automatic locking mechanism on your door; instead make it a habit to carry your key and student ID card with you, even if you are just going down the hall for a minute. (back to top)

Mandatory Meetings

Residence Life reserves the right to call mandatory meetings as deemed necessary by appropriate staff. If
you are unable to attend a mandatory meeting due to a class conflict, you must contact your RHD or the
staff member you are to meet with at least 24 hours prior to the meeting. (back to top)


Noise can be disruptive in community living and can interfere with residents’ sleep, study, and personal well-being. Residential students at the College of Charleston have the right to reasonable protection against the uninvited intrusion of noise within the privacy of their own rooms.

  • Noise levels within the hall must not interfere with the rights mentioned above
  • Instruments or amplification devices producing excessive volume are not permitted in the residence halls or buildings
  • Noise, especially sustained, must not be audible from within the private living quarters of other students

Between 10:00 p.m. and 10:00 a.m., “quiet hours” are enforced in all residence halls and houses. During these hours, keep noise to a minimum to allow residents to study and sleep. “Courtesy hours” are in effect 24 hours a day. During these times, reasonable quiet should be maintained, disturbances to the community are not allowed. During exams “Quiet Hours” will be in effect 24 hours a day until the halls officially close.  (back to top)


For health reasons, sanitary concerns and space constraints, pets (except fish) are not permitted in the residence halls/houses. Residential students are allowed 1 fish aquarium which must not exceed 10 gallons and must be cleaned on a regular basis to prevent odor. Students will be financially responsible for cleaning/damage repair costs should the tank leak, break, or cause any damage to the College property. Violators of this policy may be subject to removal from the residential facility with no refund of fees and full payment of contract required and be subject to conduct procedures. (back to top)


All publicity must be approved online by Residence Life here.   (back to top)


No resident is permitted on the roof of any residential house or building at any time. (back to top)

Room Changes 

  • Students are allowed to request a room change (2) weeks after fall semester move-in until November 15 for fall and (2) weeks after spring semester move-in until April 15.  
  • To request a room change, you must complete the Room Change Request form in the Housing Portal.  
  • Campus Housing will notify you when your request has been received and will instruct you on further procedures.  
  • Do not move until you have been contacted by Campus Housing and have permission to change rooms. (back to top)  

Roommate/Suitemate Agreements

Roommate/Suitemate Agreements are resources designed to help residents map out “ground rules” for community living in their room and/or suite. An RA will meet with all residents of a room/suite to help complete the Roommate/Suitemate Agreement during the first six weeks of the fall semester, and will review the agreement with all residents during the year. When roommate conflicts occur, the Roommate/Suitemate Agreement is used to facilitate a conversation to resolve the conflict.

Roommates agree to discuss unresolved roommate problems with an RA or RHD. All roommates agree to make a good-faith effort to discuss/obtain a resolution prior to taking any action. If you and your
roommate/suitemates need assistance regarding any issues in your room/suite, please contact a
Residence Life staff member. Repeated disregard for agreed-upon standards in the Roommate Agreement may result in a mandatory room change. (back to top)

Severe Weather

It is a priority of the College of Charleston and Residence Life to keep our students and residents safe. Should severe weather threaten the Charleston area, refer to the College emergency website for the most up-to-date severe weather information. We encourage students to act responsibly, remain informed and have an evacuation plan in place. You must keep your cougar alert information in MyCharleston current. (back to top)


Tobacco Free Campus Policy 6.1.5

The College of Charleston is a Tabacco Free campus and prohibits but is not limited to the following: cigarettes, cigars, pipes, chewing tobacco, snuff, electronic cigarettes (i.e. vape pens), water pipes, hookahs, bides, kreteks, and all other technologies or devices allowing for the ingestion, composition, inhalation, or other use of tobacco.  (back to top)

Space Heaters

Space heaters of any kind are prohibited within the residential system. (back to top)

Sports-like Activities

Sports-like activities are not allowed inside the residence halls/houses or on balconies or porches as they
are a safety hazard to all and may cause damage to the facilities. (back to top)

Trash & Recycling

Residents are responsible for disposing of their personal trash in the designated location for their assigned residence hall room/suite, typically a trash room or dumpster located near the building. Residents must ensure that trash is bagged and removed promptly from the residence hall room/suite, in order to prevent health and safety concerns such as pests.

Residents are encouraged to recycle when appropriate, using the designated receptacles.

Trash bags are provided in each residence hall and are available by request.

It is never acceptable to leave personal trash in common spaces, including hallways, elevators, lounges, and lobbies.

Residents found to have not disposed of their trash properly will be subject to conduct sanctions, including but not limited to monetary fines.  If the responsible party is not identified, Collective Accountability (monetary charges) will be assessed, and all members of the suite/floor/hall will be sanctioned.

Residents of Historic Houses are responsible for ensuring that their trash and recycling bins are placed out for collection according to the designated schedule. (back to top)

Unauthorized Entry

Entering or attempting to gain access to a residence hall by any manner other than the established visitation procedures (including but not limited to: climbing walls or fences, entering through windows, using another resident’s ID card, entering a building after being banned from that hall, entering without signing in, etc). (back to top)

Unauthorized Guests 

Any person not signed in following established protocols or staying in excess of the prescribed visitation limits (see Visitation below) (back to top)


Deliberate destruction of property, including bulletin boards, will not be tolerated. Students will be held
responsible individually or as a group. If the responsible party is identified, the student will be sanctioned
according to the nature of the vandalism. If the responsible party is not identified, Collective
Accountability will be assessed and all members of the suite/floor/hall will be sanctioned. (back to top)


The 24/7 Guest visitation is a privilege and can be revoked if you do not follow the rules.  Please continue to talk to your roommate/suitemate before inviting guests over as everyone has a different comfort level with people entering their space. Use the COVID Conversation guide for tips on communicating with your roommate/suitemate here.

24/7 Guest Visitation

  • With 24/7 Visitation, residents can host guests at any time in their residential facility
  • All guests must sign in at the front desk and sign out when exiting
  • All guests must be at least 16 years old with a valid photo ID
    • Under the age of 16 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian
  • The parameters for the hosting of guests in a student apartment/suite/room are subject to the provisions set forth by the Roommate/Suitemate Agreement developed by the particular residents
  • Each resident host of an apartment/suite/room is allowed to have up to three (3) guests checked in per visit
  • No guests are permitted to stay in any residential spaces as a guest for more than 15 days per month
  • The resident host must be with their guests at all times
  • The resident host will assume all responsibility for their guest’s actions
    • Guests will be expected to adhere to the same policies as residential students
    • Failure to do so may result in disciplinary action against either/or both the host and the guest
    • In any event, until a determination has been made as to the status and outcome of an alleged violation, a host’s and or guest’s visitation privileges may be suspended

Sign In Procedures

  • All residential facilities with Information Desks staffed 24 hours a day are subject to the following procedures:
    • All guests must be registered at the front desk
    • Guests must show a picture ID:
      • CofC ID, military ID, passport, or state-issued license or ID are the only IDs accepted
      • Forms of identification from other Colleges and Universities must have a picture of the student in order to be accepted
    • The Desk Assistant will record the necessary information
    • Only residents of the building are allowed to check guests in
    • The host must escort guests at all times
    • Guests must be signed in/out of the residence hall each time he/she enters or leaves

While residents in facilities without 24-hour front desks are not subject to signing in, residents and their guests in those facilities must adhere to all other visitation policies and the roommate/suitemate agreement. (back to top)


Weapons of any kind are prohibited within the residential system. (back to top)


Residents are prohibited from removing or tampering with window screens – all screens provided by the college must remain intact and in the window. Damaged or missing screens should be reported through an online work order in your MyCharleston account.

Windows are not to be used by residents or guests as an entrance or an exit to units, except in an emergency situation.

No items or postings may be displayed from windows.

For safety purposes, items are not to block or impede access or exit to/from the unit. 

No items may be thrown or poured out of windows. Students caught throwing things may be subject to removal from the residential facility with no refund of fees and full payment of contract required and be subject to conduct procedures.

Residents may hang curtains with the use of a tension rod. Additional window coverings of any type (except those issued by the College) are prohibited. Nothing is permitted between the window and the blinds.

If there is an air conditioning unit directly underneath your window, residents are asked not to put anything directly on or in front of the unit as it can affect air quality and damage the unit. (back to top)