Residence Life Policies

General Information

All policies outlined below apply to every individual living within RISD residence halls, unless otherwise stated. These policies also extend to visitors and guests within the residence halls. 

Policies that pertain to specific housing areas (e.g. 15 West, First Year Area, etc.) are denoted as such. If not specifically delineated, the content of these regulations apply to all residential facilities. 

The terms “residence hall,” “housing,” and “residential facility” apply to all types of housing. In addition to the following policies, residential students must abide by the contents of the Housing & Dining Contract. These policies may be amended as necessary.

For a full list of RISD’s Policies and the Student Code of Conduct, please visit the RISD Student policy site here.

Table of Contents

  1. COVID-19 Policies
  2. Overview
  3. Rights and Privileges
  4. Residential Requirements for First and Second Year Students
  5. Controlled Substances
  6. Room Condition
  7. Damage and Vandalism
  8. Facilities
  9. Guest Policies
  10. Health and Safety
  11. Community
  12. Room Entry, Inspection, and Search
  13. Residential Network Acceptable Use Policy (Internet)
  14. Failure to Comply
  15. Housing
  16. Check In and Out
  17. Parking
  18. Fees and Refunds for Housing

2023-2024 COVID-19 Policies

Residence Life Policies


Students living on campus are part of the RISD residential community. The outlined policies below exist to ensure a safe, healthy, and vibrant community for all RISD students living on campus. We ask that all students consider what it means to live in a community and how their decisions may impact those living around them.

It is essential that each student respect the privileges of all other community members. Any behavior that interferes with the educational process, or disrupts/infringes upon others’ ability to exercise the privileges to which they are entitled, will not be tolerated. Students who behave in a consistently inconsiderate or immature manner can be as disruptive as those who commit major violations of school policy. Failure to comply with the reasonable request of any RISD official is a serious offense and will be treated as such.

In short, we expect all students to conduct themselves in a manner supportive of community living and within the limits set by institutional policies. In light of the number of resident students and staffing limitations, please understand that students bear the responsibility to comply with these and other guidelines, rules and regulations. While rules and regulations seek to guide behavior and establish safe and harmonious environments, the primary responsibility for safe behavior rests with individual students.

back to top

Rights and Privileges

Within the residence hall community, guidelines for social conduct are based on mutual respect. It is important to know the difference be­tween your rights and the privilege associated with living in RISD housing. For example:

  • It is your right to ask a roommate or neighbor to moderate their noise if they are being too loud.
  • It is a privilege to have guests in the building/room. 

If any right or privilege is violated, you may be subject to consequences.

Responsibility for proper conduct is put upon you, the student, not the college. You are expected to be honest at all times throughout a student conduct hearing and to share all the information you know. If you withhold information or lie when be­ing questioned, additional consequences may occur. The student conduct process is designed to redirect the behavior of stu­dents into acceptable patterns, to protect the rights and privileges of all students, and to encourage educational development. Students have the right to pursue their studies and to socialize in a safe and pleasant environment. Students are also responsible for knowing and abiding by the guidelines of the RISD community. Click here to learn more about the Student Conduct Office.

back to top

Residential Requirements for First and Second Year Students

RISD requires all first and second year students to live on campus.

Students who are married, will turn 21 years of age before September 1st, or plan to live at home locally with their parent or legal guardian, may request a waiver of this requirement by contacting the Residence Life Office at We define “home” as the parent’s/legal guardian’s place of legal domicile.

back to top

Controlled Substances


The use, possession or distribution of any controlled substance or prescription drug not accompanied by a proper prescription is forbidden within the residence halls. Additionally, we do not permit any paraphernalia (bong, pipe etc) that could reasonably be expected to be used in relation to non-prescribed drug use. Violations of this regulation will result in confiscation and disciplinary action, and if appropriate, civil/criminal action. All items confiscated are destroyed. RISD offers no safe environment for, nor protection of, any individual subject to criminal investigation, and cooperates fully with local authorities.

Click here to read RISD’s medicinal cannabis policy.

  1. State Law: Rhode Island state law and college policy forbid the possession or consumption of alcohol by individuals under the age of 21. It also prohibits individuals of legal age from supplying alcohol to minors. For students who are 21 years of age or older, alcohol consumption in the residence halls is permitted within certain guidelines and stipulations as outlined below.
  2. Empty Containers: The spirit of the alcohol policy strives to permit acceptable, responsible use of alcohol by students of legal age who choose to do so. Students are reminded that consistent or excessive use of alcohol, even without contributing to other behavioral problems, is not acceptable. In support of this position, collections or displays of empty alcohol containers are not allowed. In areas not authorized for consumption, empty alcohol containers are considered possession and will be subject to the student conduct process. Therefore, empty containers are only allowed in the possession of those residents 21 years or older.
  3. First Year Area (and South Hall): No alcohol is permitted in any of the buildings located in the Quad (North, South, East, Homer, and Nickerson), even if a resident is of the legal drinking age. “First year area” is defined as any residence hall primarily housing first year students. Containers that could reasonably be expected to contain alcohol, such as kegs, common sources of alcohol or alcohol bottles or cans, are not permitted, even if empty.
  4. Paraphernalia + Art: In the event that a resident wishes to use any form of prohibited paraphernalia, including empty alcohol containers, as any part of art making this must be discussed in advance with a Residence Life professional staff member for that facility. Approval must be given in writing before it is appropriate to collect these materials, and the resident must be able to demonstrate that this is a legitimate artistic response to a defined classroom or studio assignment. It is likely that the Residence Life professional staff member will help the resident determine an alternative space outside of their room to secure and hold these items for the duration of the assignment.
  5. Guidelines for Alcohol Use in Upper-Class Housing (Not including South Hall)
    1. Students of legal drinking age may possess and consume alcohol subject to other guidelines contained herein. Alcohol may only be consumed within the private room, apartment, suite or loft of the student who is of legal drinking age. All students residing together must be over the age of 21 in order for alcohol to be stored in common areas of the room/apartment/suite. If one or more of the students residing in the room/apartment/suite is under the legal drinking age, alcohol can only be stored and consumed exclusively in the private living space of the student over 21. Additionally, alcohol may not be consumed in any lounges, hallways, or other areas accessible to all residents of the building.
    2. No alcohol may be sold in a residence hall at any time.
    3. No brewing, fermenting, or distillation to produce any type of alcohol is permissible.
    4. No student may possess more than two liters of wine, or 1.75 (a “handle”) liters of spirits, or a dozen 12 oz. bottles or cans of beer, cider, or similar alcoholic beverage. No kegs, beer balls, or similar common sources of alcohol are allowed.
    5. Parties for “of age” students where alcohol is served may be permitted with prior approval from Residence Life professional staff. If students younger than 21 will be present, no alcohol is allowed under any circumstances. A party is defined as any gathering with 10 or more people.
  6. Violations of Alcohol Policy: In instances when misconduct occurs, being under the influence of controlled substances is not a mitigating factor or excuse when judging responsibility and determining consequences. Consequences for residents who violate RISD’s controlled substance policies include parental notification when deemed appropriate. Serious or repeated violations may also result in relocation within, or removal from, RISD housing or suspension or dismissal from the college.
  7. Good Samaritan Policy: As provided in RISD’s “Good Samaritan” policy, students who voluntarily and proactively seek help for their own use of such substances or for that of others ordinarily will not be charged for such use under the controlled substances provision of the Code of Student Conduct.  
  1. General: Smoking is not permitted in any RISD building, in any place that allows smoke to migrate back into any building, or anywhere that impedes the smoke-free entrance and exit from buildings. Smoking should take place at least 10 feet away from the building. Smoking is not permitted on balconies.
  2. First Year Area (and South Hall): The First Year Quad and South Hall complex is smoke free and smoking should not take place in any of the courtyards, stairwells, entrance gates, amphitheater, or patio. 
  3. E-Cigarettes: E-cigarettes are not permitted to be used within any residence hall. 
  4. Violations of Tobacco Policy: Violators may receive fines, other sanctions and/or be reassigned or removed from housing.
  5. Damage: If smoking occurs in a student residence, the occupant(s) assigned to the particular room, suite or apartment are financially responsible for any and all repairs, replacements or cleaning necessary, as determined at the sole discretion of RISD staff members, required to remove all traces of smoking from the living quarters and its contents.

back to top

Room Condition

Residence Life staff complete room condition reports prior to students moving into a room, which outlines the condition of the room. These reports are provided to students upon moving into their room. 

Upon move in, all rooms are expected to be in “reasonable condition”. Reasonable condition is defined as a state of functionality which allows a room or space to be used in its intended manner.   A room/shared space occupied by students is expected to have:

  • Locks which function properly
  • All provided furniture in the room and in workable condition
  • Walls which are free from major damages or holes, and with paint in good condition
  • Flooring/carpeting free of major stains or damage.
  • Intact windows and screens with functioning locks
  • Drapes/shades which work
  • Fire alarms/suppression systems in proper working order
  • Mattresses which are free from tears or large stains.
  • Working lighting

As many of our rooms, even within the same complex, are very different, it is important to understand that reasonable condition does not consider:

  • Age of items
  • Cosmetic appearance of items
  • Average temperature of a room (provided the HVAC systems provided work properly)
  • Comfort of furniture
  • Lighting levels
  • View from windows
  • Location on campus
  • Sound levels
  • Neighbors

Many of these items are inherent to different room types/locations and as such we encourage all students to study our housing inventory before selecting a space on campus.  It is also important to remember that while Residence Life staff will make every attempt to relocate students who are in less than ideal spaces, there is no guarantee or expectation of guarantee that this will be possible.

Exceptions to Reasonable Condition

Any exceptions to reasonable condition should be documented in advance of the semester by the RA staff.  RAs will notify you of any known exceptions to reasonable condition by leaving a copy of the room condition report in your room.  If you find items that you believe do not meet the reasonable condition standards listed above, you should report these to your RA right away.  All students have three (3) days from the start of classes to add any additional exceptions to their room record that may have been missed. This is coordinated by your RA. The same timeframe applies to mid-semester changes except that in these cases RAs do not re-inspect the room unless requested. If you move into a room where you believe the condition of the room is no longer in reasonable condition you must contact your RA within three (3) days.

Expectations of Condition During the Year

Certain aspects of reasonable condition are expected to remain throughout the academic in addition to move-in and move-out.   In addition, occupied rooms are also expected to be free of the following:

  • Excessive trash
  • Evidence of smoking
  • Items hanging from the ceiling
  • Obstructed exit paths
  • All illegal/unapproved items
Violations of Reasonable Condition

RLO conducts periodic inspections of rooms, suites, lofts, apartments, and other shared spaces.  Areas which are found not in reasonable condition during these inspections are subject to the following:

When a violation of reasonable condition is found, residents are expected to correct the violation within 7 days. The RA may request facilities staff respond if repairs are necessary.  Illegal/prohibited items found will be confiscated immediately and fines may be issued where applicable.

A follow-up inspection will be conducted approximately 1 week later. If the problems are not corrected, residents may be referred to the Coordinator of Student Conduct.  Residents who are unable to correct all problems despite a good faith effort may be given additional time or support in correcting the issues.

Residents who demonstrate a pattern of inability to maintain reasonable condition may be relocated to another area, or removed from Housing without financial recompense.

Billing Calculations

At the end of the year, after ALL residents in a room/shared space have departed, Residence Life staff will verify that the room/shared space is still in reasonable condition, or can be made reasonable with minimal cleaning or repairs.  Minimal cleaning or repairs means that your room will be in reasonable condition after routine maintenance is performed – vacuuming, dusting, cleaning windows, etc.  It DOES NOT mean that Facilities staff needs to throw items away, pickup items off the floor that are too large for a vacuum, reconstruct furniture that you took apart, reinstall closet doors, window shades, etc. For example, if you leave your room, and are unable to vacuum up the dust, you should not expect a cleaning charge unless you leave items on the floor which can’t be picked up by a vacuum (trash, etc).  Likewise, if you rearrange your beds within a room, you will not be charged a fee, but if you disassemble a bed and store it against the wall, you will likely be. Walls should be cleared of all hanging items. Tape, stickers or holes larger than a thumbtack will result in repair costs.  Rooms are inspected only after all residents move out, and therefore it is important that roommates and suitemates work together to ensure that the housing unit has been properly prepared before the last resident departs.

back to top

Damage and Vandalism

Please note that a great deal of extra time and expense is required to repair unnecessary damage, so there is a minimum charge of $50 for each damage-related incident. In addition, damage, vandalism, or misuse of any life safety, security or emergency egress equipment carries a minimum fine of $250.

General Student Responsibilities for Rooms and Common Areas
  • Agree not to damage rooms/apartments, lounges, and workrooms and their contents.
  • Maintain cleanliness standards: empty garbage, do dishes, dust, sweep floors.
  • Maintain room/apartment safety: no excess storage, no excess furniture, no overloading of circuits, report fire safety equipment functioning.
  • Report maintenance repairs in a timely manner to
Private Rooms

Each student is responsible for the condition of their room and furnishings, including the inside and outside of the room door. Upon move in, all rooms are expected to be in reasonable condition. Reasonable condition is defined as a state of functionality which allows the room or space to be used in its intended manner. Any exceptions to reasonable condition should be documented in advance of the semester by the RA. If exceptions are found that were overlooked, residents should report those to their RA right away. Students are financially responsible for any damage and may also face disciplinary action for damages caused.

Apartment and Suite Common Areas

In multiple occupancy apartments or suites, the cost for repairs or replacements, or cleaning of living rooms, kitchens, bathrooms or other commonly shared areas is divided among all students assigned to the suite or apartment. Please note that cleaning of these areas is the responsibility of the residents. Failure to maintain acceptable cleanliness levels may result in mandated cleaning by the college. Periodic Health and Safety inspections are conducted to ensure compliance.

Public Areas

We expect some “wear and tear” to buildings where a large number of students live and work. However, repairs necessitated by damage or theft will result in associated charges being prorated among the students in the adjacent housing area. When and how repair or replacement is subsequently made is the prerogative of the college, regardless of damage billing procedure and practice.

Painting or Alterations to a Room

Students may not paint their rooms or any of its contents. Any construction projects or alterations within student rooms that are attached to the room or its contents are expressly forbidden. Small projects, constructed independent of the room’s structure, may be allowed. Contact Residence Life with any questions.

Examples of Damage Charges

The following are examples and is not an exhaustive list.

  • Lost Key (apartments): $50.00+
  • Trash (Large items that cannot be picked up by a vacuum): $50.00+
  • Large stains or carpets or walls: $100.00+
  • Broken Furniture or appliances: $100.00+

RISD does not assume responsibility nor carry insurance for loss of, or damage to, personal/rented property of residents due to theft, fire, wind, flood or any other reason. Therefore, the college advises students to maintain their own insurance for coverage of personal/rented possessions.

back to top


Common Kitchens 
  • Stu­dents who use communal kitchens must leave it in a neat, clean, and orderly fashion after every use. 
  • Using the kitchen for purposes other than food preparation is prohibited (e.g. baking sculpey, melting wax etc). 
  • Custodial staff will throw away any food items or dirty dishes left on the counter. 
  • If residents do not leave the kitchen in reasonably clean condition after use, it may be locked off for a time. Any damages or cleaning charges will be billed back to the entire building. 
  • It is an expectation that if you use the provided refrigerators you clearly label your items and dispose of food when expired. The College as well as the Residence Life office is not responsible for loss or theft of food or kitchen
Common Lounges
  • Common Lounges with sofas, tables, and chairs are available in every residence hall for residents to study, socialize, and meet. Game tables, televisions, pianos, and vending machines are located throughout the lounges on campus. 
  • Lounges may not be used for art projects, nor may they be used as sleeping quarters.
Custodial Services

Custodial staff is responsible for the daily cleaning of public areas, common bathrooms, removal of trash from designated areas, and routine minor repairs to maintain the residence hall. They are not responsible for cleaning ex­traordinary messes, resident rooms, or bathrooms and hallways with­in student apartments or alcove suites. Students may be assessed a service charge when excessive maintenance or cleaning is required.  Custodians work hard, so please respect the work that they do and make the effort to get to know them.

Students living in apartments or rooms with private bathrooms are responsible for cleaning and providing supplies for their bathrooms (e.g. toilet paper, soap, etc.).

Keys, Locks, and RISD ID Card Policies
  • College-issued keys, access cards, and RISD IDs must not be loaned to anyone; doing so may result in loss of privilege and or referral to the student conduct process. Duplication of college keys is prohibited.
  • Doors that open to the outside or into building corridors remain locked at all times and should never be blocked open. Do not allow nonresidents into a building. If a nonresident gains entry to your building without your permission, report this to Public Safety immediately. 
  • Students are responsible for keeping their room doors locked at all times, even when leaving the room for brief periods of time. 
  • All students accessing 15 West must present their ID card to the building monitor every time they enter the building.
  • If a student loses a key or access card, they must report it to Public Safety as soon as possible, so that they may obtain a temporary replacement.
  • It is an expectation that you carry your keys and access cards with you at all times. If you are accidentally locked out of your room, you can borrow a temporary lockout key/card at the Quad Public Safety Office or at 15 West Public Safety for residents of that building. These key/cards must be returned within 24 hours.
  • Note: Residents who need lockout assistance will be assessed a $10 service charge for each occurrence. These charges are billed through the student portal. In addition, residents with multiple lockouts will be required to meet with Residence Life professional staff.
Laundry Rooms

There are card operated or coin-operated laundry machines in each of the halls for student use. The cost is $1.50/washer and $1.50/dryer. All other machines on campus only accept RISD Bucks loaded onto your ID card.

Please notify the Card Services Office at (401) 454-6664 if the machines are not working properly.

Maintenance Requests
  • Routine Maintenance Requests: All requests for routine maintenance to your room should be directed to the Facilities Department at
  • Emergency Maintenance Requests: Emergency maintenance needs (flooding, overflowing toilet, broken windows, broken door locks, burst pipes, no heat, etc.) should be reported immediately to Public Safety at 401-454-6666.
Posting in the Residence Halls
  • All flyers to be posted in residence halls must be taken to the Residence Life Office at 30 Waterman for approval and posting. Flier distribution will be the responsibility of the Residence Life staff only. All postings will need to be stamped by Residence Life, and the staff will place the postings in the approved bulletin board areas. Any postings that’s outside of the Residence Life approved bulletin boards will be removed immediately.
  • Students, staff, and organizations should allow 7 business days, prior to the event, for posting. Event flyers that are within 7 business days will not be distributed since there is no guarantee that they will be posted in time for the event. Posters received and approved before Wednesday at 12pm each week, will be posted in the Residence Halls by 10pm on Wednesday nights. Posters received after 12pm on Wednesday  will be posted by the following Wednesday by 10pm.
  • Non-RISD fliers or announcements may only be posted in the residence halls with the permission of the Residence Life Office.
Room Furnishings and College Property Policies

All furnishings provided must stay in the room and/or apartment. No storage is available for furniture. Upon checkout, if all of the original furniture is not inside the room, a charge will be assessed for the full cost of each replacement item.

Furniture and accessories in common areas may not be relocated or removed. College property (including signs, furniture, etc.) found in a student’s room will be removed and the student(s) with the offending property will be referred to the student conduct process.

Solicitation Policy
  • Solicitation (sale of products or services) are not appropriate in a residential setting. Exceptions to this include sale of room apartment material (drafting equipment or supplies, small furniture, or appliances) that one would sell in a “yard sale” situation. Anything beyond the sale of personal, second-hand items requires the approval of Residential Life.
  • Subletting of your room and/or lending out your room key to another student or non-student is not allowed.
  • Students may not host guests for any type of fee or exchange of service.
Trash Disposal and Recycling

Each residence hall has designated areas for residents to dispose of trash and recyclable materials. Trash and recycling must not be left in halls, bathrooms, or other public areas. A list of items that should be recycled is available through the Office of Environmental Health & Safety.

  • Workroom use policies have been developed by the Office of Environmental Health & Safety and are posted in each work area. Projects that are messy or work involving solvents, corrosive substances, or flammable materials should be done in these areas or in academic studio areas. 
  • Custodial staff clean work rooms regularly. Anything remaining and not clearly labeled as in-progress and with the student’s name and room number is removed. Work should be removed from the workroom when not actively being worked on, with the exception of work that is drying. Work should not be let unattended for long periods of time.
  • Deliberate graffiti or other painting is not permitted in these or any other areas. Spray painting or other work resulting in noxious fumes should be conducted only in workrooms equipped with a spray booth. 
  • Spray painting and aerosol use is not permitted anywhere outside of the approved campus spray booths. 

back to top

Guest Policies

General Guest Policy
  • “Guests” are defined as someone who is not a currently enrolled RISD student living in a RISD Residence Hall or House. The intent of guest privileges is to allow for reasonable visitation by a resident’s friends – not long term or live-in visitors. In fairness to those paying the room fee, repeated visits by the same guest are strongly discouraged and may be denied. Residents may not admit or utilize contractors or other individuals whose purpose is to perform work or services for them under this guest policy.
  • “Host” is defined as the RISD enrolled student with a guest.
  • Resident students who host non-RISD individuals as guests must abide by the following:
    • Hosts must seek permission from all roommates before hosting an overnight guest.
    • Guests must check-in at Public Safety any time a guest is staying in the residential areas between the hours of Midnight and 7 AM.
    • No guests under 16 years of age are permitted.
    • Students may host guests for a maximum of 3 nights in a 7-day period.
    • Students may host guests for a maximum of 12 nights per semester (8 per Wintersession).
    • No student may host more than two guests at any one time.
    • Each guest must present a photo ID at the time of registration.
    • Guests must adhere to, and abide by, all RISD policies.
    • A guest’s behavior is the responsibility of the host student.
    • Guests must be accompanied by the Host at all times while on campus.
    • Hosts may not give or loan guests their RISD ID. 
    • The host student is subject to fines, disciplinary action and financial responsibility for any of their guest’s actions.
    • Public areas may not be used for guest accommodations.
    • Guest privileges may be revoked at any time.

back to top

Health and Safety

Fire Drills and Evacuation Procedures

In accordance with state laws, RISD conducts fire drills on a periodic basis. When the alarm sounds, everyone must evacuate the building as quickly as possible. During an alarm students should cooperate with any requests from RISD or Fire Department officials. Failure to evacuate a building during an alarm results in consequences that could include fines and/or dismissal.

It is imperative that students familiarize themselves with evacuation procedures and multiple routes prior to an emergency. In the case of a fire, seconds may mean life or death. When the alarm sounds, get out of the building as quickly as possible. Never assume that the alarm is false! Exit charts are posted on the back of each room door.

Safety Equipment and False Fire Alarms
  • For your own and others’ safety, we do not tolerate anyone who tampers with fire or fire safety equipment. 
  • Report any damage to, or malfunction of, equipment to the Office of Public Safety immediately. 
  • All of the residence halls at RISD have fire detection systems that connect directly to the Providence Fire Department. When a system alarm is triggered the fire department will respond. Any student who tampers with fire safety equipment or causes a false alarm, or a fire, either willfully or by negligence, faces a fine of at least $250 and further action that could result in dismissal from RISD. The Providence Fire Department is empowered to file criminal charges when warranted.
Health and Safety Inspections
  • Responsibility for enforcing safety regulations and health standards is shared by the departments of Public Safety, Facilities, Environmental Health & Safety, and Residence Life. 
  • Regular, periodic inspections of student rooms take place during the course of the school year. These inspections may or may not be announced in advance. 
  • Residence Life staff enter each residence hall room and apartment to ensure health and safety policies are being followed. Staff will knock loudly and announce themselves prior to entering.
  • Rooms and other areas dedicated for resident use must be maintained to a minimum level of cleanliness to protect everyone’s health. Note that residents of the Colonial Apartments, Dwight House, and 15 West maintain each living unit’s common space, including kitchen areas and bathrooms.
  • Conditions that jeopardize the general health or well-being of residents are not allowed.  Students who repeatedly fail to maintain their space will be required to contract cleaning services through the college, at the student’s expense. If more than one student is responsible for an area, cleaning costs will be shared by all residents of the area.
Health and Safety Policies

RISD strives to ensure that the residential environment is safe, but the primary responsibility for safe behavior rests with students. This becomes increasingly important in areas such as apartments, where staff supervision is minimal. The following guidelines have been developed to safeguard you and your friends. Please read them carefully and follow them closely. 

I. Fire Safety Policies:
  • Fire ignition sources (halogen lamps, hot glue guns, hair dryers, etc.) should be kept away from any combustible material. Additionally, the room’s heating unit or radiator must be kept clear of combustible material.
  • No more than 30% of your wall’s surface area should be covered (e.g. posters, wall hangings, decorations, etc.). All such decorations must be affixed flat against the walls so that flames cannot reach both sides.
  • Nothing should be placed on, covering, or impeding the efficacy of sprinkler heads, smoke detectors, or lighting fixtures. Nothing should ever be hung from a sprinkler pipe.
  • No cloth, paper, or other flammable material (including lamp shades) can be hung from the ceiling. Small “window treatments” are permitted, but curtains may only be used if they are verifiably fire retardant.
  • Candles, oil lamps, incense, fireworks and explosives, melting paraffin or wax, blow torches or any other sources of open flame are not allowed in residence halls. Candles with burnt wicks will be confiscated
  • Student rooms should be kept reasonably free of clutter. We do not allow flammable items such as twigs, newspaper, cardboard, etc. to accu­mulate. Student-supplied furniture must be in good condition. Upholstered pieces are limited to one additional seat per resident.
  • Corrosive or flammable solvents and other such materials should not be used in student rooms (see Chemical Handling for additional information).
  • Spray paint/spray fixative or any other material that may give off harmful fumes or particles should only be used in spray booths on campus, or outside away from windows and doors, and in areas that do not interfere with the free flow of foot traffic.
II. Electrical Appliances Safety Policies:
  • Cooking is permitted only in designated kitchen areas. When cooking, never leave food unattended. Avoid broiling and beware of smoke and vapors caused while frying as either may trigger the living unit’s smoke detectors.
  • Cooking appliances are not allowed in student sleeping rooms with the excep­tion of one coffee maker or one small, enclosed water heater per room (if the appliance is U.L.-listed). Microwaves are allowed in kitchen areas. Microwaves in the Hill Houses or the Quad are only allowed as part of the combination refrigerator/microwave units available for rent through the school.
  • Any electrical appliances or extension cords used in a residence hall must be Underwriter Laboratories (U.L.)-listed and in good working order.
  • Neon lights, halogen lamps, and sun lamps are not allowed under any circumstance.
  • Residents may not not add heating, air-conditioning, or refrigerators to their living area. In the event that special equipment is required for medical reasons, that equipment must be approved in advance by the medical accommodations committee and installed by Facilities, potentially at the student’s expense.
  • Any appliance or combination of appliances that overloads circuits is not allowed. Multi-outlet plugs and overloaded extension cords should not be used. No extension cords should ever be run under a rug or over a door or window. You may not plug one extension cord into another extension cord. We require the use of extension cords with built-in circuit breakers (power strips).
  • Tampering with or altering circuit breakers, smoke detectors, or any part of the electrical system in a residence hall is strictly forbidden, and will automatically incur the minimum life safety fine of $250. 
III. Solvents and Chemical Handling Policies:
  • Corrosive or flammable materials should be used only in designated work areas or studios.
  • Gamsol is the only solvent approved for use in the residence halls. Disposal of corrosive, flammable or other chemicals (in containers or on cloth, brushes, etc.) must follow the guidelines posted in each work area and incorporated herein by reference.
  • Leftover or used combustible or flammable liquid waste should be poured into the liquid waste containers in each work area or studio. Under no circumstances should any of these substances be poured down drains or mixed in with regular trash.
  • Should you have any questions about proper disposal methods, contact the Office of Environmental Health & Safety at 401 454-6780.
IV. Weapons Policy:

Weapons are not allowed in residence halls. The RISD Code of Conduct lists the following as an example of unacceptable behavior: “Using, displaying, or possessing objects or substances whose primary purpose is to cause or threaten harm, such as firearms, pellet guns, ammunition, slingshots, switchblade knives, explosives, or any realistic toy or model such items, even if otherwise permitted by law; or using any other objects or substances to cause or threaten harm.”

V. Additional Safety Policies:
  • Residence hall lounges and hallways may not be used as work areas. Designated workrooms should be used for such purpose.
  • Communal Spaces: Nothing may be stored in the hallways, stairwells or entrances of any of the buildings. At no time should posters, paper or other flammable materials be hung from the ceilings of the hallways or workrooms. Projects or other student work left in a hallway or stairway will be removed and discarded. 
  • Art Installation: If you wish to create an installation in a public area, you must obtain prior permission by completing an Installation Site Request.
  • Bikes: Bicycles should be stored in designated areas or your room, not public areas of the residence halls. Never lock your bike to stair railings or anywhere that blocks a means of egress during emergencies. All bicycles should be registered with the Department of Public Safety.
  • Roof + Fire Escapes: No one should be on any roof or fire escape of any building, at any time, except in an emergency.
  • Nothing should be dumped, poured, thrown or otherwise disposed of from the windows of any residence hall. To comply with Providence ordinances, residents may not display signs or other objects in windows of residences.
  • Water pistols or any similar device that sprays water should not be used in a residence hall.
  • The hallways and interior public areas of the residence halls, as well as the courtyards in the Quad, are not to be used for skateboarding, scooters, other wheeled devices, or playing sports.
  • Please contact the Residence Life Office before hosting an organized activity in the upper or lower Quads or the Amphitheater.

back to top


Pet Policy
  • Pets are not permitted other than fish (not lizards, turtles, etc.) in aquariums of 10 gallons or less. This includes visiting pets like a friend or family pet, stray cats, etc.
  • Pets found in student apartments or rooms: In most cases, the Residence Life Staff will work with the student to make sure that the animal is removed and in the custody of someone off campus or an off campus agency.  If a student fails to remove the animal within the time limit given, the animal will be removed by the Residence Life Staff or the appropriate city agency. Students will be billed for cleaning and will be subject to the student conduct process.
Emotional Support and Service Animals

Students needing an Emotional Support Animal (ESA) or a service animal are required to complete a medical accommodation request prior to bringing an animal onto campus. Click here to learn more.

Click here for RISD’s Emotional Support Animal Policy

Click here for RISD’s Service Animal Policy

Quiet Hours and Noise
  • Quiet Hours:
    • Sunday-Thursday: 11:00pm – 9:00am
    • Friday + Saturday: Midnight – 10:00am
  • Noise, including music, should be confined to an individual’s room. We expect students who are bothered by noise to ask the individual(s) causing it to be quieter. We also expect all residents to honor such requests. When a personal request is not successful, residents may ask Residence Life staff or Public Safety for assistance.

back to top

Room Entry

As stated in your housing contract, the college, at its discretion, may enter and search any room and its contents at any time without an appointment, including personal possessions, to:

  • Verify occupancy,
  • Perform housekeeping and maintenance functions,
  • Investigate and/or seize evidence of potential illegal activity or violations of college regulations,
  • Conduct health and fire safety inspections,
  • Or, for any other reason and in any other situation in which the college, in its discretion, deems it necessary to do so in order to protect the interests of the college or the general welfare of one or more of its students.
Administrative Entry and Search

College staff members may also be authorized to enter and/or conduct an administrative search of a student’s room and its contents. Administrative entries and searches are authorized based upon a reasonable suspicion that evidence of a violation of college policy or law or a threat to health or safety may be present. For example, credible information that there may be weapons, stolen property, illicit drugs/paraphernalia or other items posing a threat of harm to a student (including the individual him/herself) or the campus community would warrant an administrative entry and search.

Authorization for an administrative entry and/or search is normally given by the Director of Residence Life, or his/her designee, to the staff member requesting the search. Public Safety officers who determine that there may be a danger to an individual’s well-being, such as a medical emergency, may enter a student’s room and/or conduct administrative searches without prior approval, but must notify supervisors and appropriate Residence Life staff as soon as is reasonably possible.

An administrative search will seek materials related to the justification for the administrative search, though other items discovered during the conduct of the search that also violate college policy or law or present a threat to health or safety may be noted and/or seized and may result in additional consequences as outlined in the RISD Code of Student Conduct.

Administrative searches will not be conducted under the direction of police or on their behalf. This in no way limits the jurisdiction or authority of police acting within their legally defined powers. RISD Public Safety officers may accompany law enforcement agents but do not hold police powers. However, they will often participate in administrative searches as defined above.

Room Inspection and Plain Sight Searches 

When an authorized staff member enters a student room for any of the reasons noted above, the staff member may conduct a visual inspection of the room. If evidence in plain sight suggests a violation of college policy or law or a threat to health or safety, full-time professional Residence Life staff may conduct or authorize more extensive searches. “Plain sight” is meant to include evidence that is readily apparent through sight, sound, smell, touch or similar means. Items discovered during such a search that violate college policies or law or present a threat to health or safety, such as controlled substances without an appropriate medical prescription, weapons, open flame sources, etc., may be disposed of or confiscated.

back to top

Residential Network Acceptable Use Policy (Internet)

Student Responsibilities

As a member of the RISD community you are responsible for using good judgment regarding your computer and fellow network users. Any student using a Residential Network Ethernet/Wireless connection is required to read, understand, and abide by the terms of the Residential Network Acceptable Use Policy. Failure to comply with this policy may result in termination of in-room network services, disciplinary action, and/or criminal prosecution.

  1. Abuse of network resources will not be tolerated. This includes any activities that are considered detrimental to the network or cause excessive network traffic.
  2. You are responsible for any activities conducted through the use of your Residential Network connection. This includes actions taken by guests or others having access to your computer. It is recommended that you take suitable precautions such as restricting access to your computer by installing a password.
  3. No Residential Network user will be allowed to setup remote access to their Residential Network connection. This includes, but not limited to Web Servers, FTP servers, and/or any system that allows a user to access your Residential Network connection outside of your residence hall room.
  4. No user or group should disrupt or interfere with the legitimate access to the network of another user. Also the network should not be used to harass others. This includes, but is not limited to the use of anonymous and/or forged electronic mail and/or messages including mass mailings via e-mail.
  5. No illegal activity should be pursued, nor should a user enter any computer system or access any files stored on a computer system without the expressed permission of the owner of the files and/or the computer system.
  6. The only software OIT will support is the software it provides for use on the network.
  7. With the exception of network connectivity that is supported by Student Computing Support, all other hardware installations/problems are solely your responsibility.
  8. OIT may terminate, restrict, or suspend the provision of Residential Network Service to students found to be in violation of any of the above guidelines.
  9. RISD reserves the right to refuse or terminate service to students if that service is deemed to have a negative impact on the operation of the service.
  10. Residential Network connections are intended to provide services through one computer for each resident. Student agrees that the Residential Network connection will be used solely for the purposes of the student and will not be re-sold and/or used to connect other individuals to the Residential Network.

back to top

Failure to Comply

Students who fail to comply with the above outlined policies will be documented and recommended to the student conduct process. 

Residence Life Processes


Gender Inclusive Housing

We do not restrict roommate pairings based on sex, gender identity or gender expression. This means that any student can choose to live with any other student, regardless of sex, gender identity or gender expression in a shared room. However, the Residence Life office will only honor a request made mutually by all parties. Roommates of different genders are never randomly assigned. If you are interested in gender-inclusive housing options we can provide you with a personal and confidential assessment of the available options. Please email us at

Room Changes

Sometimes changes of room assignment are necessary. Generally, room changes are not allowed during the first two weeks of any semester. If you wish to initiate a room change, contact your RA or your Community Coordinator for information on the procedures. All students who are part of any proposed move must freely agree to do so. Students who change rooms without approval are required to return to their original assignments. RISD reserves the right to change a student’s room assignment at any time, for any reason. Students in shared rooms who find themselves without a roommate are contractually obligated to accept a new roommate at any time. Behavior on the part of the original occupant that discriminates against a newly assigned occupant of the room may result in the reassignment or removal of the original occupant.

back to top

Check In and Check Out

Checking Out of Your Room

When you move out of your room, either during the year if changing rooms or taking a leave of absense, or at the end of the academic year, you must complete an online check-out form, available on the Residence Life Page and sent via email to students. If you were issued a metal key to your room (not your ID card), you must return it to your RA or the Public Safety office at the time of your check-out. Failure to complete an express checkout envelope will waive your right to appeal any damage charges recorded in your room, and may result in improper checkout fees.

Opening and Closing Dates
  • The dates which residence halls open and close are outlined in the Housing Contract. We recognize that circumstances sometimes arise that make arriving at RISD on a particular day difficult, and so we do offer additional move-in/move-out flexibility as a fee-based convenience option. Students who would prefer to arrive in advance of a scheduled opening, or remain after a scheduled closing may pay an additional fee to request a “contract extension”. The extension length and fee varies semester by semester, but is typically reduced for students who request their extension in advance.
  • Any student who arrives early at RISD without advanced approval will be charged a late request fee based on the date of the request in addition to the daily rate and may be unable to get access to their room depending on conditions. Students who need accommodations beyond the established extension period are encouraged to seek housing in a hotel or private residence.
  • All housing closes during the December recess. Residents who require housing during the winter recess can stay in their residence halls for an additional fee as outlined in their housing contract.

back to top


RISD and Residence Life does not provide parking for students on campus. Parking in any RISD lot between the hours of 6am and 5pm Monday through Friday by students is strictly prohibited. Students who park in RISD lots or spaces designated for faculty and staff with official RISD hang tags run the risk of having their vehicle’s towed at their expense by RISD Public Safety.

RISD parking is maintained by Public Safety – please contact them if you have any on campus parking questions.

For general guidance on parking in Providence, please click here.

back to top

Fees and Refunds for Housing

In order to reserve a room, upper level students are required to sign the housing and dining license. Once the license is signed, students are bound to on campus housing for the term the contract was signed for. If approved, students asking to be released from their housing and dining contract will be charged a cancellation fee as outlined in the housing and dining license. Students that are participating in a RISD approved study abroad program or going on leave prior to the start of term will be waived the cancellation fee, with confirmation from the respective approving offices. Leaves and withdrawals after the start of a semester are charged a portion of their room and board.

back to top