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Residence Life

Residential Life

Research has shown that students who live on campus are more likely to get higher GPAs, be more involved in campus life, and to stay in school and/or graduate. The residence halls become an extension of your classroom. You will learn skills here that will benefit you throughout your life, regardless of your chosen career. You will have the opportunity to learn or improve communication skills, the art of negotiation, the importance of compromise, appreciation and/or tolerance for different lifestyles and opinions in addition to potentially forming lifelong friendships. The DWU residence halls and apartments are more than a place to sleep, they teach invaluable life lessons that can’t be measured in terms of cost. Remember, though, you will get out of this experience what you put into it. We welcome you to the DWU residence halls.

As a member of DWU’s residence hall community, you are afforded certain individual rights that your roommate(s) and those living around you should respect. However, these rights carry with them a reciprocal responsibility for you. Your responsibilities ensure that your roommate(s), suite/apartment mates, floor mates, and other residents are afforded the same rights regardless of their gender, race, creed, religion, sexual orientation, cultural background, beliefs, values or attitudes. When you meet your responsibilities, you will be helping to make the university and residence halls a great place to live and work.

You share the responsibility. You can help ensure that these rights will be honored through thoughtful discussion and open communication with roommates, suite/apartment mates, floor mates, and other residents.

The residence life staff is committed to offering you an inclusive environment that will allow you to take healthy risks, grow and participate in enriching and challenging activities. The choice is yours: you can choose to passively exist or to take full advantage of your living environment by participating in activities, standing up for yourself and others and speaking up for what you believe has value.

These rights and responsibilities are not legally binding, but they are meant to complement other university publications and to positively impact your residential experiences. You have the right to a safe and secure residence hall living environment. You have the responsibility to keep your room door, hall doors, and windows locked, and to not prop them open or allow in strangers. You also have a responsibility to uphold all security policies and procedures and to close propped exterior doors if you encounter them. Violations of these security policies and procedures put you and others at risk. You have the right to a reasonably peaceful and quiet space in which you can sleep, study, and live. You have the responsibility to observe quiet hours, to keep your stereo, television, computer and your voice at a reasonable volume in your room and on your floor, and to remind your guests and others that you expect the same of them. You have the right to privacy and to the proportionate use of your room, both in terms of space and time, and the right to be free of unwanted guests in your room. You have the responsibility to let your roommate know of your wishes and preference for hours of sleep, study, and visitation, and to work through any difference you may have in a peaceful manner. You also have a responsibility to make sure your guests do not violate your roommate's rights or interfere with his/her use of your room. You have the responsibility confront another person's behavior when it infringes on your rights and to examine your own behavior when confronted by another and to work toward resolving conflicts. You have the responsibility to notify a staff person of your problem and request assistance in a timely manner, and to cooperate with those involved as they work with everyone to solve the problem(s). The sooner you report the problem, the sooner it can be addressed to reach a solution.

To a significant extent, your success will depend on your ability to understand and balance the rights and responsibilities aspects of your college experience. The university staff does not assume the role of campus parent, and you will seldom be told what to do or what not to do with regard to your personal behavior. The obvious exception, as with society at large, is when individual behavior threatens the health and safety of others or the community or begins to disrupt the legitimate pursuits of others within the residence halls.


Many students find that they can increase the living space of their rooms if they bunk or loft their beds. Residents of Dayton Hall may choose to create bunk beds using materials provided. Metal lofts may be used in the women’s wing of Dayton Hall and are available for rent. Contact the director of residential life for more information. Wooden lofts and platforms are not permitted due to safety concerns.

During the summer, students will receive notification of their assigned room/apartment with details about moving in. In order to provide the best service possible to all residents, please plan to arrive and/or move in only during assigned dates and times. If you are with a group, such as certain athletic teams, which requires additional dates/time, your coach will coordinate those arrangements with the residence life staff and contact you regarding these arrangements. Students should contact their resident assistant or resident director for details regarding check-in, keys, mailboxes, etc. Students are responsible for inspecting their rooms, apartments, or suite before signing the check-in sheet.

Students should arrange a checkout time with a resident assistant. The RA will check the student's room, apartment, or suite using the Room Inventory & Condition Form that each student signed when he or she moved in. Residents will be assessed for damages above normal wear and tear and for common hall share charges. It is important for students to remember to return the room/area to its original condition before checkout. Each room must contain all the furniture that was originally in there upon check-in. Students should not leave lumber, construction materials, bricks, blocks or personal furnishings in rooms, lounges or hallways. Hall rooms and apartments should be clean at the time of the student's checkout. If a student's room/apartment requires extra cleaning, he or she will be assessed labor costs. Students will continue to incur room and board costs until properly checked out and will be assessed a $50 fine for failure to check out properly. Dakota Wesleyan University reserves the option to dispose of any property not removed within two weeks following separation from the university or conclusion of the current academic session without prior notification.

Students failing to check out properly risk losing/forfeiting their housing deposit. We know that you probably have plans for your deposit and are counting on getting it back. In order to increase the odds of having your deposit returned in a timely manner, you should do the following:

  1. sign up for checkout with residence life staff member
  2. remove all personal items from your room
  3. return all original room furniture to original condition
  4. clean the room (sweep, mop, empty trash)
  5. close all windows
  6. sign the check out sheet after RA's inspection
  7. lock room door
  8. turn in room key
  9. leave forwarding address with DWU Central Services

As in any community there are instances when damages or vandalism may occur. When these damages occur in the residence halls, the staff will make every effort to identify the individual or group responsible. When they are unable to identify the person or group responsible the costs of repair/replacement are divided equally among the floor/building where the damage occurred. These charges are known as common hall share charges (CHS) and will be deducted from each resident's housing deposit at the end of each semester. Charges in excess of this deposit will be billed to the student and must be paid prior to the start of the next semester. We would rather work with the student or group responsible than to bill everyone but when that isn’t possible, we have to bill everyone on the floor or in the building, depending on the location and extent of the damage. You can reduce these charges by being proactive, being aware of your surroundings and reporting those individuals that you observe damaging your living area.

Students are welcome to cook in designated kitchens in each residence hall. It is the student's responsibility to clean the area when finished. Limited cooking may be done in the rooms with appliances that are permitted by the South Dakota State Fire Marshal. Appliances with open elements are prohibited, including but not limited to “fifth” burners, toaster ovens, toasters, electric woks/skillets/grills, etc. The only appliances allowed in the rooms are popcorn poppers, coffeepots, microwaves and micro-fridges except in the campus apartments where toaster ovens, toasters, and electric grills are permitted.

Residential students pay a $50 deposit prior to being assigned a room and/or being allowed to move into residence halls and a housing deposit of $150 for students moving into the apartments. Each room, apartment and suite is inspected before occupancy to insure that it is in adequate condition and contains a full complement of furnishings. At that time, existing damages are noted so that the new occupant is not held accountable. When vacated, the room is checked a second time and all damages occurring during the intervening period are charged against the housing deposit. After all charges have been calculated, a refund of the student's housing deposit will be applied to any outstanding university balance. If there is no balance, the deposit will be returned to the student by the business office.

Students need to know that failure to check out of their living area properly may result in forfeiture of their housing deposit. Check with the residence life staff or the director of residence life for additional information.

Students should feel free to decorate their rooms, suites, and apartments according to their personal interests and needs. You may find it helpful to discuss and/or coordinate your decorating ideas with your roommate(s). Regardless of how you decide to decorate, all students are asked to use good judgment and caution. The residence halls and apartments do not have elevators and the stairs may be an important factor in deciding which items to bring and which ones to leave at home. Be especially careful not to overload existing outlets. We know that students tend to bring more electrical items now than in the past and recognize the limited number of outlets available in each living area. To accommodate your electrical needs and for the safety of all our residents, we require students to use power strips with built-in circuit breakers instead of extension cords. Again we advise students to use both caution and common sense when using the power strips. Do not plug one power strip into another as that may defeat the built-in safety features and could compromise the entire electrical system. Students are encouraged to hang posters and other items on their walls with masking tape or removable poster putty. Nails, double-stick tape, duct/packaging tape, and other adhesives will damage the walls and doors and result in charges. Decoration of public access areas (e.g. outside room doors, hallways, lounges) shall be left to the discretion of the resident director. Items considered offensive, harassing or pornographic are not permitted and will be removed.

We encourage students to express their religious/personal beliefs and to decorate accordingly. No live trees are permitted in the residence halls or apartments by order of the Fire Marshall. Residents are asked to unplug all seasonal lights when leaving the room or sleeping. Students are expected to remove all holiday decorations before leaving for semester break. While we understand that some people prefer to display holiday decorations year round these items may be damaged or fall during the break as a result of building temperature fluctuations that may occur during these times.

The following items are not permitted in the residence halls or apartments. Students possessing these items will face disciplinary action:

  • air conditioners, including both window and portable room units (electrical requirements tend to result in overloaded circuits and buildings are not equipped for these items)
  • linoleum or foam-backed carpeting (adhesive residue results in charges, foam is a potential fire hazard)
  • waterbeds (weight of beds may challenge structure of building and potential water damage to several rooms if punctured)
  • electric heaters/blankets (potential fire hazards with this many people/units in one place)
  • halogen lights (have been linked to numerous fires across the country)
  • traffic/construction signs (possession of these items may also result in criminal charges)

For the protection of our residents, the residence hall doors will remain locked 24 hours a day. Residents will need to use their key card to gain entrance to the residence halls. Emergency exits are alarmed and will remain locked 24 hours a day. Unauthorized use will activate the alarm and may result in disciplinary action.

Each room is equipped with a basic complement of furniture, which normally includes a desk, desk chair, bed frame, mattress, closet and drawers for each student. Students will be billed for items that were present at check-in but are not upon check out. To prevent damage to the furnishings and charges for missing items, no furniture, including bed frames and springs, may be removed from students' rooms/apartments. Additional furniture or furnishings placed in an assigned room/apartment by the resident is subject to the approval of the resident director for health and safety control. Built-in furniture may not be dismantled or moved. Lounge, classroom and other university furniture are not to be moved to student rooms/apartments for private use.

Students have expressed a desire to personalize the apartments according to their needs and interests and thus these units are largely unfurnished. We provide a bed frame and a mattress per resident and encourage residents to coordinate additional furnishings with their roommate(s). Residents are reminded to use common sense when choosing their furnishings and consider apartment size as well as the physical design of the building. Items that look fantastic in the store may not fit around corners or through doorways and unless you are fortunate enough to be assigned to the first floor, you will have to haul everything upstairs.

We encourage guests to visit their family and friends living in the residence halls. We ask that guests abide by the guidelines we have established in order to protect the rights and privacy of our residents. Nonresidents may visit residents in the residence halls during open visitation hours, 10 a.m. to 12 a.m. Sunday through Thursday; 10 a.m. to 2 a.m. Friday and Saturday.

All nonresidents must sign in and out at the Dayton Hall front desk from 7 p.m. to 12 a.m. Sunday through Thursday and 7 p.m. to 2 a.m. Friday and Saturday. Nonresidents are expected to leave by 12 a.m. Sunday through Thursday and by 2 a.m. on Friday and Saturday. Guests must legibly write their first and last name and that of the resident they are visiting in addition to his/her room number. Non-DWU students must be escorted at all times within the hall. Visitors may be asked to leave ID before entry. Minors must leave photo ID, get permission from residence life staff to enter and/or visit residents, and be escorted by a resident while in the building unless accompanied by a parent or guardian. Residents are responsible for any visitors signed into their room.

Students in Dayton Hall will be found to be in violation of the DWU visitation policy if they have a visitor of the opposite sex in their room or are present in a room where visitation is being violated.
Allen Hall and Apartment residents have the privilege of 24 hour visitation for guests of the same gender as the room occupants. Normal visitation hours apply for the opposite gender. Guests may not spend more than three consecutive nights in the same room. Violations and abuses of this policy can and will result in the privilege being revoked.

Guests planning to stay overnight must sign in and out. Guests who choose to stay overnight must be the same sex as the room occupants and may not stay more than two consecutive nights without permission from the director of residence life. For the safety and comfort of all residents and guests a maximum of three guests per room may stay overnight. Minors are not allowed in the residence hall overnight without permission from parents and the director of residence life. Each resident is expected to limit overnight guests to six stays per semester. Students with exceptional circumstances must contact the director of residence life. Guests are expected to use gender specific restrooms.

Students who entertain guests in their residence hall have full responsibility for themselves, as well as for their guests, and for any damages and/or violations that may occur. It is expected that in regulating your visitation hours you will recognize that everyone deserves consideration. Your nonresident guests are welcome in the residence hall provided they adhere to university policies during their visit. If a guest is disruptive and/or fails to adhere to university policies, they may be asked to leave. Rights of residents supersede those of guests within individual residence hall rooms.

Safety and security measures for the entire campus, including the residence halls and apartments are only as effective as the people who use them. Each resident is provided with a room key which will open the interior door of their room or apartment. Your ID card will provide access to locked residence hall exterior doors. Lost keys undermine the safety of all residents of a particular room or apartment and residents are encouraged to take all reasonable steps to safeguard any keys assigned to them to minimize the likelihood of loss or theft. If a key is lost or damaged beyond use, please notify your resident assistant or resident director immediately to make arrangements for a replacement. We suggest that you notify your roommate(s) about the lost key as a courtesy and to allow them to protect any items that might be at risk in the event that the lost key ends up in the wrong hands. There is a standard charge of $50 for each lost room key to cover replacement costs. Additional charges may be assessed if the lock needs to be re-cored for any reason. Since your ID card provides access to exterior doors, the cost for this replacement is $10 for a new ID card. Charges for lost keys are nonrefundable even if the key or ID is later found or returned. Residents are prohibited from giving their room key or ID to anyone under any circumstances. Note: It is unlawful to duplicate or attempt to duplicate university keys including residence keys.

Laundry rooms are located in the basements of Allen and Dayton Halls and are provided for resident students only. The cost is 50 cents per load to wash and 25 cents per load to dry. Overloading dryers will result in higher dryer time and cost. If you have never done laundry before or are unsure how to do it, you might find it helpful to get some pointers before you do your first load or you may end up with an odd assortment of colors and/or combinations.

DWU personnel make every effort to repair or replace damaged or malfunctioning equipment and furnishings as quickly and as efficiently as possible. In the event that you discover an item which requires repair or replacement, contact your resident assistant or director as soon as possible to report the problem. He/she will make arrangements to repair or replace the item as soon as practical. When a problem is reported promptly the chances are better that the staff may be able to fix it before it gets more serious and/or takes longer to repair. Request for maintenance gives consent for university personnel to enter room.

If you encounter or observe a serious maintenance situation, such as water overflowing from a sink, toilet, or broken pipe, contact the resident assistant or director immediately to minimize injuries and irreparable damage to personal items and/or the facility. If you are not sure whether or not a problem is serious, notify the residence life staff and they will determine the immediacy of the problem. Your help can prevent minor problems from becoming serious and will create a safer and more comfortable environment for everyone.

The most common complaint from residents tends to deal with noise, including amount, type, or frequency. Noise is defined as any sound that can be heard outside the confines of a room/apartment. As a general guideline, if any sound can be heard two rooms away it is too noisy and should be adjusted accordingly. Students are expected to be considerate of other residents at all times. This means respecting another's right to sleep, study or not to be disturbed. Effort should be made to keep the sound level confined to the individual's room/apartment. Each resident is expected to initially address any noise problem that is of concern to him/her and to call upon an RA if assistance is needed.

Quiet hours extend from 10 p.m. to 10 a.m. Residents are expected to turn down volume on televisions, stereos and computer games and to refrain from loud talking and other noises during these hours.

"Jam hours," periods when no regulations apply to noise, exist from 5 to 7 p.m. daily, except during finals. Courtesy hours, periods when students are asked to be considerate of others' rights to study, are enforced from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., and 7 p.m. to 10 p.m.

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Last updated: 1/11/10