2020-2021 Student Handbook

Residence Life

9 Mellen Street
617.349.8558 Fax

Nancy M. Galvin

Associate Dean and Director of Residence Life

General Philosophy of Residence Life
The residence hall environment is one of a learning community. We value the learning that takes place both inside and outside the classroom. As a result, the Community Advisors work with the residents to sponsor programs and workshops within the residence halls. The Residence Life program is designed to support, extend and complement academic life by encouraging students to learn from one another and to cultivate an environment that is intellectually stimulating and fun.

When living together in the residence halls, all residents and staff members must work together to create a feeling of community. Members of the community share in defining expectations for all members of the group and assume responsibility for meeting these expectations. The residential community is strengthened by its diversity of people and ideas, and by the open exchange of diverse views. We encourage each person who is a member of the University community to continue developing skills and attitudes necessary to be positive and productive members of society. Developing these skills and attitudes involves the commitment to appreciate, value, and celebrate human diversity.

Residence Life policies were developed to establish an environment in which a large number of residents may live together with maximum freedom while recognizing the rights of fellow residents. All residents accept the responsibility involved with living in a community situation and should make an effort to be aware of how their actions affect their neighbors and roommates. The residence halls provide an opportunity to continue developing valuable life skills.

Residence Halls
Students live in traditional style residence halls, Victorian houses, and suite-style living on the Doble and Brattle campuses. Most residence halls feature common lounge and meeting areas, kitchenettes, televisions, and laundry facilities. Some of the buildings have elevators and are accessible for the physically challenged.

Residence Staff
The residence halls are managed by a professional staff. The Area Coordinators/Resident Directors and Assistant Director of Residence Life live on campus and serve as resources for students and student staff. These professional staff members supervise student Community Advisors (CAs). Community Advisors oversee a designated residence hall(s) and live among the residents. They strive to establish a true sense of community in the halls and are the catalyst for many of the activities that are planned in the residence halls. In addition, each Community Advisor serves resident students as a peer counselor, mediator, peer advisor, and a general resource.

Lesley University is required to submit resident student occupancy data to the United States and City of Cambridge Census Bureaus. The document may include: students’ names, residence hall addresses, students’ date of birth and student directory information. If a student has any questions about this, they should contact the Associate Dean in the Residence Life Office.

Community Councils
Students work with their Community Advisor to establish some expectations by which the community agrees to live. In addition, the Community Council may collaborate with the Community Advisors to sponsor social programs within the residence halls. They strive to promote a sense of community in their halls where people respect each other and have fun.

Damage (Please see Conduct Policies, Procedures, and Sanctions)
Students are financially responsible for loss of or damage to University property caused by them or their guest(s). Rooms are inspected at check-in and check-out periods. If any damage is found, the student will be billed for replacement or repair costs.

When damages are found in common areas in the residence halls, all students in the hall are charged on a shared-cost basis if the individual responsible cannot be identified. Students are also responsible for cleaning their own rooms before moving out. If extra cleaning is needed, they will be charged accordingly. Use of tape, tacks or nails on the walls is discouraged. Door decorations (nonflammable) should be removable without damage to the door surface.

Electrical Appliances, Candles, and Incense
Students may use computers, hairdryers, stereos, and curling irons in residence hall rooms. Televisions, radios, and stereos are allowed as long as they do not disturb other residents. Students are always encouraged to use headphones.

Appliances with an open flame or exposed heating coils are not permitted. Therefore, toasters, ovens, hot plates, electric cookware, immersion coils, Bunsen burners, candles, incense, firecrackers, space heaters, sunlamps, etc. are not allowed in residence halls. Students may have a small refrigerator (2' x 2') provided it does not overload electrical circuits. No more than two appliances may be plugged into a duplex wall plug at one time. The University discourages the use of microwave ovens in individual rooms.

Due to the safety risk resulting from the intense heat produced by the bulbs, halogen lamps are not allowed in the residence halls. However, we do encourage you to bring floor lamps and/or desk lamps that use standard light bulbs.

Any electrical equipment that students bring into a residence hall must bear the Underwriters Laboratories (UL) seal of approval. Lesley University reserves the right to remove such equipment as measures of safety and sanitation require. Lesley University reserves the right to require students to remove from their room appliances that are determined to overload electrical circuits.

Resident staff members live in the residence halls and will respond to certain emergency situations. The resident staff conducts hall meetings at the beginning of each semester to highlight emergency procedures. Students with disabilities should work with Disability and Access Services to develop an emergency plan.

Fire Drills
Fire drills are held periodically in all residence halls. Students are required to evacuate to designated safety areas each time the fire alarm sounds. Designated areas and evaluation procedures will be reviewed in individual living groups by the Community Advisors.

Fire Safety
In the event of fire, sound the nearest fire alarm and contact the hall CA, Public Safety, and/or the Area Coordinator. Intentional misuse of any University fire-safety equipment is prohibited. All students must promptly vacate any residence hall when a fire alarm is sounded. Intentionally delaying, obstructing, or resisting any University personnel or firefighter in the performance of his or her duty is prohibited. Tapestries, flags, and other materials may not be hung in the residence halls.  No materials of any kind can be hung from the ceilings or sprinkler pipes. Smoke detectors may not be covered, tampered with or removed from any residence hall. Candles and other paraphernalia are not permitted in University housing.

Furnishings and Storage
Each room is furnished with a single bed, mattress, desk, chair, ceiling light, dresser, window shades, and wardrobe or closet space. For safety reasons, beds may not be elevated beyond their functional capacity. Students may not move provided furniture outside of their room nor substitute their own furniture without permission from the Associate Dean.

Residents may not store personal belongings in common areas. However, the Office of Residence Life can provide a list of storage facilities in the area upon request. The University does not provide storage space for student belongings during the summer months.


Lounge furniture is available for student use in the lounges and common areas only. Students may not remove furniture from these areas, as it would not be available for the majority of students.


Students and their guests may not sleep overnight in a lounge unless the University has deemed it a temporary student room for a designated period of time.

Guest Policy
Students are responsible for the conduct of their guests in the residence halls and on campus. Students may have an overnight guest for no more than three nights in a 30 day period. A resident who shares a room with another student is expected to reach an agreement with the roommate regarding overnight visitors. Out of respect for roommates and the community, extended overnight visits are not permitted. An overnight guest is defined as anyone staying in a particular room or hall who is not assigned to that space.

Guests may not sleep in lounges or common rooms. Students must personally greet and escort their guests at all times in the residence halls.

A Lesley student who is restricted, suspended, or dismissed from a residence hall may not be present in a residence hall until that restriction ends. Students hosting guests or Lesley students who have been subject to residence hall restrictions, suspension, or dismissal are in violation of the Community Standards of Conduct and subject to sanctioning, including fines.

Holiday Decorations
The State Fire Marshal prohibits the use of any live Christmas trees on University property. If artificial trees are to be used, certification must be available indicating that they are fire retardant or flame proof, and lights must bear an Underwriters Laboratories (UL) label. Burning of Hanukkah or any other candles for any religious holiday or holy day is prohibited in residence halls. A separate facility will be arranged for this purpose.

Housing Policy
The Lesley University Housing Policy can be found on the Residence Life Policy section of the Residence Life web page at: https://lesley.edu/students/housing/information-for-first-year-students.  

Drugs and Alcohol Policy (Please see Conduct Policies, Procedures, and Sanctions)
Illegal drugs are prohibited. For more information regarding the University Illegal Drugs Use Policy, refer to the Conduct Policies, Procedures and Sanctions section of this handbook.

Despite changes to Massachusetts law, the manufacture, distribution, dispensing, possession, or use of marijuana – including medical marijuana – remain prohibited under federal law and, thus, are prohibited everywhere on campus including in student residential facilities (dorms), parking lots, University vehicles, University buildings, and any other property owned, operated, or leased by the University. 

Violation of any law governing the manufacture, distribution, dispensing, possession, or use of alcohol or other, controlled substances, including marijuana, will not be tolerated by Lesley University.  The University will cooperate with law enforcement authorities with regard to the manufacture, distribution, dispensing, possession, or use of alcohol or other controlled substances anywhere on Lesley University property or at University functions.  

Incident Reports
Students are expected to abide by the policies and procedures of the University and to respect the rights of others in their community living situations. The residence staff, students, or any University employee may write reports to document the circumstances surrounding a specific situation or incident that may violate the Community Standards of Conduct or other University policies. All reports are filed with the Dean of Student Life and Academic Development.

Keys/Access Cards
Residence hall keys/access cards may not be duplicated or loaned to any other person, resident or nonresident. Students are required to pay a refundable deposit when they receive a residence hall key. If a student loses their key, or access card, they must pay a replacement fee when the new one is issued or during the time of billing.

Laundry Facilities
For your convenience, credit card operated washing machines and clothes dryers are located in most residence halls and houses.

Students are urged to lock their room door at all times and carry their keys/ID access cards with them. Students may never lend their keys/access ID cards to any other person, resident or nonresident. If a student forgets to carry the key/access ID card and must be let into their room, they may be subject to a fine. Contact the Community Advisor, the residence staff member on duty or the Public Safety Office for assistance. All lost cards and keys should be reported immediately, or no later than 24 hours after the discovery, to the Public Safety and Residence Life Office staff.

Openings and Closings
The Office of Residence Life sends notices to all resident students about the opening and closing of the residence halls. When the halls close, Residence Hall staff checks the rooms after students leave for vacation to ensure that proper safety and Public Safety measures have been taken. Lesley vacations occur during Thanksgiving, December-January, March, and summer. For specific dates, refer to the academic calendar on line (https://lesley.edu/students/academic-resources/academic-calendars). Students found in the halls during unauthorized times will be in violation of the Community Standards of Conduct and will be subject to a fine and/or additional sanctions.

If a resident’s request for an early arrival or late departure date from the residence halls can be accommodated, they will be assessed an additional fee. All requests must be approved prior to the resident’s arrival or departure.

Pets are not permitted in the residence halls at any time.

Residence Hall Contract
All resident students are required to sign a contract that is binding for the entire academic year, or that portion of the academic year remaining at the time of occupancy. The contract remains in effect if a student withdraws or takes a leave of absence and re-enrolls/reinstates within the same academic year. The residence halls are governed by a set of standards that respect students’ individual freedom, privacy, and responsibility for making personal choices. A copy of the contract is available in the Office of Residence Life.

Residence Hall Environment
Students are responsible for cleaning their own room and supplying their own cleaning tools and materials. A limited number of vacuums are available from Residence Staff members. Students are responsible for maintaining a clean, healthy environment throughout the building.

Residence Life Advisory Board
The Advisory Board members from each hall meet with the Associate Dean to discuss quality of life issues for resident students. They advise the Associate Dean and make recommendations for changes and improvements to residence life, in order to maintain a quality experience for students.

Residential Alcohol Policy (Please see Conduct Policies, Procedures and Sanctions)
Students of legal age may consume alcohol in resident rooms in the residence halls provided the host of the room is of legal drinking age. Students who choose to consume alcohol are expected to do so in a responsible manner, respecting the rights of other Lesley University students and community members. Host students are responsible for the conduct of their guests, who must also comply with University rules and regulations. Kegs, beer balls, etc. are not permitted in any University Housing. Empty or decorative alcohol containers are also not permitted in University housing.

A strong smell of alcohol in the residence hall room of an underage student will constitute a violation of the University’s alcohol policy. If there is significant suspicion that the Alcohol Policy has been violated in a resident’s room, the student may be requested to open their refrigerator or cooler for the Residence Life and Public Safety staff. If a student refuses to open their refrigerator or cooler, the Residence Life and Public Safety staff will be authorized to open them.

Responsibility for Personal Property
Each student is encouraged to purchase individual homeowner’s insurance to insure coverage of personal property due to loss or damage of personal property due to fire, smoke or water damage of any kind, mildew, or theft. The University is not responsible for any student’s personal property. Students may not install wall shelves, or move or overload any existing shelves. Electrical outlets may not be overloaded with three-prong adapters.

Right of Entry and Search
The Residence Life staff will respect the privacy of student rooms. However, the University staff, including Community Advisors, reserve the right to enter a student’s room to provide for the health, safety and general well-being of the University community and its property.

Examples of occasions when the University might enter a student’s room include:

  • To ensure maintenance and general repair within the room.
  • To address an emergency or health risk.
  • To ensure the room is vacant during fire drills.
  • To provide for the health and safety of all residents.

Students may not place additional locks on their doors.

Room Changes
All requests for room changes must be approved by the Residence Hall staff person(s) involved and the Assistant Director of Residence Life prior to residents moving. Any student moving without approval will be subject to a fine and other sanctions as determined at a Conduct hearing.

Room Lottery & Room Assignments
Returning students, who meet the requirements for living on campus, and who desire to live on campus during the following academic year, participate in a lottery to select a room. For guaranteed housing information, please refer to the Housing Policy on the Residence Life web page at: https://lesley.edu/students/housing/housing-lottery. More details about the Room Selection process and deadlines will be available at the beginning of the spring semester.

Students may discover that residence hall life is quite different from home life. In our residence halls, students live with people from many backgrounds and with varied personalities. In most situations with roommates, communication is the critical ingredient needed to make the relationship with your roommate work. The Residence Life staff recognizes that some roommate situations will not work out. If a student experiences difficulties with their roommate, a staff member will assist them. Students should talk with their Community Advisor, who will help mediate the situation and may look into possible alternatives. Students should remember that it is important to include their roommates in discussing any issue that may become a problem.

Room Painting
If a student’s room needs painting, the Community Advisor can submit a request to the Associate Dean. Paint and labor are provided by the University. Resident students may not paint their rooms.

Smoking Policy (Please see Conduct Policies, Procedures, and Sanctions)
In compliance with state law, and in keeping with recognized public health concerns, all indoor campus space at Lesley University is designated as non-smoking. This means that smoking is not permitted in any residence building, classroom, lounge, meeting room, seminar room, library, office, dining area, or the auditorium. Smoking is not permitted on residence hall porches and balconies.

If there is a scent of cigarettes or marijuana strong enough to suggest that someone has been smoking in any University room or building, this would constitute a violation of the University’s smoking policy and/or the Alcohol and Illegal Drugs Use policy.

No solicitation is permitted within the residence halls without proper written permission from the Office of Residence Life.

Special Interest Housing
The designated Special Interest Halls provide opportunities for students who share common interests to live and learn together, sponsor programs and commit to sharing their interests with the community. Refer to our web page for more information.

Students may request to live with others sharing a special interest, within the limits of the University’s policy of class representation in most residence halls. Proposals for special interest living for the following fall need to be submitted to the Associate Dean or designee by the beginning of February. The proposals are evaluated on the basis of the contributions that the group might offer to the campus community.

Statement of Priority Housing
Lesley University encourages students to live on campus. In the event that the request for housing exceeds our capacity, we will award housing based on the receipt of a housing deposit and the following criteria: full-time incoming first year students, full-time reinstated students, change of status students (commuter to resident student). Accessibility to public transportation will also be considered in determining priority housing. The University reserves the right to waive criteria in individual cases as determined by the Associate Dean.

We are aware that most students have cell phones, however, telephone jacks are provided in each room for those who wish to install a landline telephone. Students are solely responsible for installation of the telephone and payment of any charges they may incur.

The University reserves the right to terminate the residence hall contract for breach of the agreement by the student, or for violation of the University’s policies and Community Standards of Conduct, or if the student is deemed a threat to themselves or the Lesley community, or if the student is determined to be disruptive. In such instances, the student will not be eligible for a refund. Students are encouraged to carefully read all University publications that outline these policies and procedures.

Vacation Periods
Lesley residence halls are closed when the University is closed during the Thanksgiving and December-January holiday periods. Residents will not have access to halls during these vacation periods. International students who are in need of housing during Thanksgiving recess should contact the Office of Residence Life.

Lesley residence halls will remain open during the March vacation period although no meals are provided as the meal plan is not in effect at that time.

Resident students who register for the January mini-semester may be eligible to live on campus for a fee. January residents may not host overnight guests, including other Lesley students who have not registered and received approval from the Residence Life Office. Information about the January term housing options will be distributed to residents during the first semester.

Prohibition of Weapons Policy (Please see Conduct Policies, Procedures, and Sanctions)
No weapons (guns, knives, and/or explosive material, etc.) of any kind are allowed in the residence halls. Please refer to the Conduct Policies, Procedures and Sanctions section of this handbook for the complete policy.