Student Handbook

House System

House Governance and Rules

Each student has both the right and the responsibility to participate in the governance of both their house and the college as set out in the house constitution and the constitution of the Student Government Association. House constitutions are made available in each house by the house president. For further information on the SGA constitution and bylaws, see the Student Government Association section of this handbook.

Each resident is responsible for appropriate use of the living rooms, study areas and recreational rooms in the house. Viewing of, or participation in the production of, pornographic materials, or in hosting a stripper, in public areas of the house is strictly forbidden. Common area spaces may not be used for personal storage or overnight guest lodging. Twenty-four-hour courtesy hours are always in effect in all houses. Courtesy hours are defined as noise being heard no further than two doors away from a student's room whose door is closed. Each house will have a minimum of 8 quiet hours a night. Quiet Hours cannot start later than 11pm on weekdays and 1am on weekends (Friday and Saturday). Quiet Hours are defined as noise that can be heard outside of a student's room when the door is closed. Quiet hours in each house will be voted upon by the house at the beginning of each semester. Violators will be subject to disciplinary action.

Posters, notes, signs, table tents and other flyers posted in houses are to be signed by the individual person or organizational group posting them. These items will be removed if unsigned. House meetings are mandatory for all students.

Members of a house must abide by college regulations and house regulations established in accordance with the house constitution and college policy. The house council is responsible for leading by example and adhering to these regulations. The College Conduct Board is charged with adjudicating cases of noncompliance with nonacademic regulations.

In any group living situation, there may be times when individuals infringe on the rights of others. (Excessive noise and inappropriate guests are examples of this.) It is expected that each resident will assume the initial responsibility for communicating any concerns directly to the other individuals involved. They should try to communicate in a constructive and reasonable way, indicating a willingness to compromise if appropriate.

Physical altercations or assaults by Smith students or guests will not be tolerated in houses. Violators of this policy will be subject to disciplinary action.

Theft of personal or college property is illegal. Persons in violation of this policy will be subject to campus disciplinary action and/or Massachusetts state law.

Sometimes a student may be uneasy about how to approach a particular person or deal with a specific situation. House coordinators, house community advisers, and apartment managers are trained to help students explore possible ways to deal with such situations. In addition, residence life professional staff, counseling services and other college resources may assist in the resolution of such situations.

If a student's initial attempt does not resolve the problem, or if any individual or group is repeatedly disrespectful of the rights of others or fails to abide by the college's expectations or the regulations established by the house, the following may be used to deal with the situation:

  1. The house coordinator, house community adviser, or apartment manager may speak to the individual or group involved.
  2. An in-house mediator (most likely the head resident, house coordinator or house community adviser) can help the individuals resolve the conflict.
  3. If the situation cannot be resolved in-house, the residence life professional staff would be the next appropriate staff person to get involved.
  4. If the conflict continues, the residence life professional staff and/or the student may consult with the assistant director of residence life, associate director of residence life or the director of residence life for additional assistance or intervention.
  5. The residence life professional staff may speak to the individual or group involved.
  6. The student may take their complaint to the College Conduct Board. (Please refer to the College Conduct Board section of the Student Government Association bylaws for the board's complete procedures.)

Residents should make themselves knowledgeable about their rights and responsibilities within the residence house system. If a student feels that the house community is not functioning effectively or responsive to their concerns, they should consult with a member of the house leadership (e.g. the house president) or the residence life staff for assistance.