Residential FAQs for Parents

Is my freshman required to live in a residence hall? 
Yes, freshmen are required to live on campus at Western Carolina University, and the majority of them participate in Western Carolina PEAKS, our transitional living learning community. This is advantageous because it means your son or daughter will live in the heart of all the activity on campus and everything will be easily accessible. The freshman residency requirement may be waived if the student is married or lives with parents or legal guardians in Jackson County or any county contiguous to Jackson County provided he/she completes a “Freshman Authorization to Commute Form” and submits it to the Department of Residential Living. More information on this requirement can be found in Policy #96.

How will my student be assigned to a residence hall room? 
The room assignments coordinator makes every attempt to meet the requests of all residents. Assignment priority is determined by the date on which the non-refundable housing deposit is received by OneStop. If your son/daughter requests to live with a particular person, we will make every effort to honor this request provided we have also received a request by the preferred roommate. Both students must request each other on their Residence Hall Agreements if they are freshmen. If they are continuing students, they will self-select via our online system.

Can my son/daughter change rooms or residence halls? 
A resident who is unhappy with his or her assignment should initially check in to the assigned room. He/she should then speak with the Resident Director or Graduate Community Coordinator concerning the request for a room change. The designated room change period begins around the second week of the semester. 

Can my son/daughter break his/her Residence Hall Agreement? 
This Agreement is a legally binding contract for the full academic year, consisting of both fall and spring semesters, or for the remainder of the year if initiated after the academic year has begun. Any occupant cancelling his/her contract without approval through the Department of Residential Living will be assessed an $800 cancellation fee.

Are private rooms available to my son/daughter? 
Private room assignments are made on a space available basis. For an additional fee, students may request a private room from their Resident Director or through the Room Assignments Coordinator. Private room occupancy is for an academic year or the remaining portion thereof. Residents who have been assigned a private room could possibly have a temporary roommate at the beginning of the semester if occupancy numbers are high.

Who will be responsible for my son/daughter during residence at WCU? 
In short, your son/daughter will be responsible! All students are considered adults and will be treated accordingly by all staff, both in the halls and throughout campus departments. We strive to provide not only comfortable housing, but opportunities for responsible living and intellectual, personal, and social development.

Who is in charge of the residence hall where my son/daughter will live? 
The Resident Director (RD) has responsibility for the operation of his/her area of buildings. Each RD is a full-time professional staff person with a master’s degree in counseling, human services, or related area, and previous experience in Residence Life.  The RD lives in one of the buildings for which he/she has responsibility. His or her responsibilities include counseling/advising residents, supervising staff, administering the disciplinary process for in-hall behavior problems, coordinating residence hall programs and activities, promoting community and leadership development, and administering paperwork and reports.

Who supervises the floor where my son/daughter will live?
Each floor has a Resident Assistant (RA). RAs are upperclass residents who have been through a thorough selection process and an intensive training program. The RA is responsible for developing a community environment among the residents on the floor; providing opportunities for interaction among the residents through programs and activities; being a peer counselor/advisor; and monitoring and reporting behavior problems to the Resident Director. The primary responsibility of the RA is to assist the residents.

What is the visitation policy for members of the opposite gender? 

Visitation in the residence halls by members of the opposite gender is a privilege afforded by the university. Visitation rules are enforced by the residence hall staff. Members of the opposite gender are allowed to visit each other Sunday-Thursday from 12:00 noon until 12:00 midnight. On Friday and Saturday, the visitation hours are from 12:00 noon until 2:00 a.m. Guests of the opposite gender must be escorted by their host/hostess at all times. Guests must use restroom facilities designated for their gender. Public restroom facilities are located in the main lobby of each residence hall. Violation of this policy will result in loss of visitation privileges.

Are the residence halls open during holidays and breaks? 
The residence halls are officially closed to all residents during the December holiday break (between fall and spring semesters). During this time, all residents must vacate the halls, and are encouraged to take valuables home, but other items may remain in their rooms. During other holidays and breaks, the residence halls will be locked, but residents who need to remain in their residence hall may get approval to do so through their Resident Director. The residents will have access to their rooms with their CatCard. During these short holidays or breaks, very few staff will be in the buildings. Each resident who remains must assume responsibility for the security of the building, and for reporting any problems to Residential Living staff.

What amenities are available to my son/daughter in the residence hall? 
The Residence Life Program at WCU offers many opportunities for personal growth and development to residents through various recreational, social, educational, cultural, developmental, and community service activities. In addition, your son/daughter may take advantage of many other services offered in the residence hall. Each residence hall room is set up with two Ethernet ports and high speed Internet connection. Digital cable TV also is provided. Upon arrival, your student may choose to sign up for premium channels through College Cable Services. Located in each residence hall are laundry facilities which operate using CatCard or cash; snack and drink vending machines; study lounges; and public area lounges, equipped with wireless Internet. 

Are students allowed to decorate and personalize their rooms? 
We encourage students to personalize their rooms. Students may bring small end tables, shelves, stereo, television, refrigerator (of no more than 4.6 cubic feet or 5 amps), microwave oven, plants, pillows, rugs/carpet and wastepaper baskets. Students are not permitted to paint their rooms. With the exception of Walker Hall, all beds are loftable. If your son/daughter lives in Walker, he/she may choose to build a loft or bunk the beds. This is permitted only if the student does this with our specific guidelines. Some of the basic guidelines for lofts are: 

• must be agreed upon by the roommate;
• the structure must be a free standing structure, not bolted or hooked into the walls, ceilings, or desks;
• must be at least 36 inches from the ceiling;
• must be strong and sturdy;
• must be treated with a fire retardant stain or paint. 
• Loft construction must take place within the resident’s room and be completed prior to quiet hours, which begin at 9:00 p.m. each evening.

What safety measures are taken in the residence halls? 
Since residence halls are public buildings that serve as private residences for a large number of students, security is an important concern. All exterior doors remain locked at all times. Electronic access is provided for residents of each building. Residents are encouraged to always carry their CatCard and room key with them, and to always lock their doors when they leave their rooms. Residents are also instructed to take responsibility for safety and security of their community by assisting with keeping doors locked at all times.

Smoke detectors are located in public areas and fire alarm pull stations on every wing of each residence hall floor. Fire drills are conducted the first of each semester. All residence hall staff have been trained to assist residents with evacuation procedures. AS A SAFETY PRECAUTION, BURNING CANDLES AND INCENSE (or any open flame), OR ANY OPEN-COILED COOKING APPLIANCES ARE NOT PERMITTED IN THE RESIDENCE HALLS. As an added safety measure, all residence halls have sprinkler systems.

Residence hall staff conduct various safety programs in the residence halls related to theft prevention, self-defense, rape awareness, fire safety, and others. Emergency call boxes are located at the main entrance of each residence hall. University Police Officers patrol the campus and are only a phone call away. They are available to assist students if and when the need arises.

What items are not permitted in the residence halls? 
Because of legal statutes and health/safety reasons, the following are not permitted in the residence halls: 

• animals/pets
• any open-coiled cooking appliance (such as toasters, toaster ovens, coffee makers and hot plates)
• lighted candles or incense
• fireworks
• firearms
• gas/air pistols/rifles
• ammunition and explosives
• darts and archery equipment
• sun lamps, halogen lamps, and other electrical equipment
• electrical/kerosene heaters
• air conditioners
• water beds
• kegs and party balls
• excessive body building equipment
• amplifiers
• aquariums larger than 10 gallons
• refrigerators larger than 4.6 cubic feet or more than 5 amps

Will the university pay for my student’s belongings if damage or loss occurs while in the residence halls? 
The university does not assume any legal obligation to pay for the loss of or damage to residents’ personal property; nor does it provide insurance for residents’ personal belongings. Students are encouraged to keep valuable items off the floor in order to minimize any possible water damage. We recommend that residents who desire insurance coverage check with their insurance companies to determine coverage through homeowner’s policies, or seek renter’s insurance.

Who Are The Professional Staff In Housing?  Please visit our staff page.

 

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