Living on campus is more than just a place for you to stay, it is an opportunity to join a vibrant community–a place where you belong. Being a member of the Shepherd University community means more than just going to classes. It also means getting involved and making a difference, both for yourself and for others. Studies have shown that students who live on campus graduate at higher rates, with higher grades, are more involved, and report enjoying their college experiences more. Whether you are an introvert or extrovert, athlete or non-athlete, a professional studies major, a liberal arts major, or you are still deciding, there’s a place for you on campus.
Residence Life Staff
The Residence Life staff team is comprised of undergraduate student employees, graduate staff, and full-time professionals who are dedicated to student life and student development. With almost 100 staff members, Residence Life is committed to promoting student success. The Resident Assistants (RAs) serve as the individuals who respond to the day-to-day concerns and needs of residents. Each RA serves a community of residents and serves on a duty in a rotation. RAs are primarily responsible for:
- Offering social activities and educational opportunities for their residents
- Providing advocacy, support, and crisis intervention for residents experiencing personal and academic difficulties.
- Upholding the values and policies of Shepherd University and the Office of Residence Life
The Residence Life student staff works collaboratively with full-time area directors and graduate hall directors to manage the daily operations of the residence halls. The associate director works as a liaison with Facilities Management and provides leadership to the desk assistant program. The housing assignment coordinator manages the housing selection, room assignments, and fiscal functions with the director of residence life. The Director of Residence Life serves as the administrative leader for the Office of Residence Life operations.
Privacy notice: As employees of Residence Life, all staff are privy to a substantial amount of information regarding residents that can be of a private or sensitive nature. We want you to feel comfortable talking about concerns or problems with the residence hall staff so be assured that what you share with us will be maintained in privacy, but absolute confidentiality cannot be promised. This means information may need to be communicated to supervisors and others who can help to resolve issues. However, information is considered to be private and will only be shared when needed.
Policies and Procedures
The residence halls are considered private property reserved as a temporary residence for the exclusive use of resident students and their invited guests. Violations of any of the requirements in this Handbook or other documents which address the operation of the University may be considered a substantial violation of the Resident Agreement. Such violations will be referred to the appropriate University personnel for student conduct action, to the appropriate law enforcement authorities, or both. The student shall also abide by local, state, and federal laws, and may face Student Conduct action on campus for failure to do so.
Respect for the learning process, as well as respect for self, others, and property is strongly emphasized. Students and staff are expected to model these values in order to be responsible members of the Shepherd University community. Because the residence halls comprise a unique community living opportunity, policies which foster the health, safety, and security of all residents are a necessity.
In order to maintain the academic atmosphere of the residence halls, students are expected to conduct themselves in a considerate manner with regard to the rights, safety, and needs of others. Accordingly, students are obligated to live in a cooperative manner with roommates and other residents. Residents are expected to treat each other and all residence life staff in a respectful manner at all times.
Students who become locked out of their rooms must contact a Residence Life staff member for assistance.
- Between 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m. on business days, residents may first attempt to find a roommate, an RA or their building supervisor for lock-out assistance; if none are present in the building, the resident must contact Residence Life at 304-876-5172.
- Between 4:30 m.-8 a.m. on weekdays, residents should contact the duty RA in their building for lock-out assistance
- On weekends and holidays when the university is closed, residents should contact the duty RA in their building for lock-out assistance
- In all cases, residence life staff will provide courtesy “lock-out” assistance one time without charge; each “lock-out” event thereafter requiring a Residence Life staff member to respond will incur a $10 charge
- Due to other demands, it may take approximately one hour for a staff member to provide lock-out assistance
Occupancy occurs upon the activation of a Rambler or Onity/electronic key card or the issuance of a key to the student for a specified room and does not require the actual physical presence by the students or their possessions.
- Upon checking in to a space, residents need to complete a Resident Information Card and a Room Condition Report, which is considered to be an accurate and complete representation of the room/space’s condition.
- Students who do not complete the Room Condition Report are subject to a $25 improper check-in charge, in addition to forfeiting the right to contest any damages ascribed to their assigned spaces
- An improper check-in charge and daily room fees may also be assessed if a student changes or occupies a space without permission
Once the students have occupied their assigned space, they must follow proper check- out procedures when withdrawing from their space.
- To check out, the resident must schedule an appointment with a member of the Residence Life staff at least 24 hours prior to departure; if the RA is not available, the resident may schedule with another staff member in the building or the building supervisor.
- During check-out procedures, the RA or the building supervisor will complete a Room Condition Report, inspect the room for damages, and collect any keys issued.
- As noted on the Room Condition Report, one final inspection may occur after the student’s departure in order to confirm whether any damage or cleaning fees are Additional costs may be assessed for replacement of missing key(s).
- Please note that each resident in a living unit is responsible for checking her-/him- self out of the assigned living All furniture must be returned to its original location upon check-out (i.e. un-bunk beds).
- Failure to properly check out of a residence hall room properly may result in a $25 improper check-out fee plus a daily housing rate, if appropriate
- Please note about mid-year check-outs: meal plan refunds, if any, will be based on the date in which a student appropriately checks out of a room, even if this date is later than the last date of occupancy. Room charges are not prorated and are non- refundable after a student occupies a space.
Pets/Animals in Residence
Any unauthorized animal found in the residence halls will be removed immediately, which may include contacting the local Humane Society or Animal Control professionals for their assistance. Any cost incurred for removal will be the responsibility of and assessed to the resident(s). The resident(s) responsible may be subject to immediate termination of the Residence Agreement and/or disciplinary action. Residence Life Office staff partners with the Disability Support Services Office in order to meet the appropriately documented needs of our residents, including when animals are part of the accommodation.
Residents may not perform their own repairs on residence hall furnishings and equipment.
All requests by residents for repairs to residence hall facilities, furnishings and equipment must be made to building supervisor. Repair requests should be submitted on Ram Pulse and will be forwarded to Facilities Management. Facilities Management has full responsibility for determining the completion dates and costs of the repairs requested.
For maintenance emergencies (e.g. health or safety of residents is immediately threatened), please contact a Residence Life staff member in your building or the main office 304-876-5172 during regular business hours; call the RA on duty in the evenings and on weekends.
Missing Student Notification
Individuals who are concerned that a student has been missing should report this information to the Shepherd University Police Department at 304-876-5202, the Dean of Students Office at 304-876-5214, or the Residence Life Office at 304-876-5172. Please be advised that if the Residence Life Office staff is notified of a missing student, this information will be referred immediately to the Shepherd University Police Department and will be considered a notification to law enforcement.
Each resident student is encouraged to identify a contact person or persons whom the institution will notify within 24 hours of the determinations that the student is missing, if the student has been determined missing by the Shepherd University Police Department or other law enforcement office. This information will be registered privately on the student’s Resident Information Card and will be accessible only to those authorized officials and that it may not be disclosed, except in the furtherance of a missing person investigation. Please be advised that if the student is under 18 years of age and not emancipated, the institution must notify a custodial parent or guardian within 24 hours of the determination that the student is missing, in addition to notifying any additional contact person designated by the student. Notifications from the university about a missing student, including a missing student who is under 18 years of age and is not an emancipated individual as described above, will typically be made by the Shepherd University Police Department as a representative of the institution. The Shepherd University Police Department will also notify other local law enforcement agencies such as Shepherdstown Police Department who share jurisdiction for Shepherd University.
• The university shall assume no responsibility, and the student or other party to this agreement shall indemnify and hold harmless Shepherd University and its agents and employees, for any and all claims (including attorney’s fees) arising from personal injury or for the loss, damage, or theft of personal property (including cash and negotiable assets) belonging to, or in the custody of the student for any cause whatsoever, whether such losses occur in student rooms, public areas, or elsewhere in or around the residence hall.
• The university shall not be responsible for any delay and/or non-delivery of utilities or other services to the residence facilities or any nonperformance and, losses, both personal and property, hereunder resulting directly or indirectly from natural causes; the enactment or issuance of any law, ordinance, regulation, ruling, or order; lack of the usual means of transportation; fires; floods; explosions; strikes; or other accidents or other events or contingencies beyond the university’s control.
Agreement Termination (Eviction) by the University
Upon reasonable notice and for good cause, the university reserves the right to terminate this agreement at any time. Students shall remain liable for all charges assessed during the term of this agreement. No refunds of room payment shall accrue by virtue of such termination; the university may provide a prorated refund for meal (board plan) and refund the damage deposit minus any applicable charges. Should this agreement be terminated, the student will be required to vacate the residence hall within 24 hours unless special permission, in writing, has been obtained from the Director of Residence Life or designee. Examples of good cause include, but are not limited to:
- Failure to make payment of required charges by announced deadlines,
- A change in student status including academic and/or disciplinary suspension,
- Non-enrollment for course credits,
- Any circumstance under which the resident poses an unreasonable health/safety risk to other residents,
- Failure to occupy the assigned room prior to the second day of classes for any given semester or session,
- Abandonment of the space by the resident, or
- Failure to comply with State or federal laws, residence hall policies, the Student Code of Conduct, or other regulations adopted by Shepherd University.
Safety and Security of Residents
Preserving the safety and security of residents is of utmost priority for the staff of Residence Life. As such, a variety of procedures have been put in place for this purpose. Because the residence halls vary in age, design, and construction, the University reserves the right to impose reasonable requirements with respect to the possession or use of appliances, equipment or other items to preserve the facilities for future use, as well as maintain student safety. Residents have a role in promoting each other’s safety and are encouraged to report any concerns – we stand up; we don’t stand by.
I. Main Desk Coverage
Many residence halls have a main desk that is staffed by a desk assistant nightly. All guests must be accompanied by a resident of these buildings and are required to stop and register at the desk during hours of operation. In addition, games, vacuum cleaners, and other equipment is available at the main desk.
II. Desk Assistant
Desk Assistants are trained student staff employed by Residence Life. Their primary job responsibilities include: registering guests, collaborating with RAs to address and document policy infractions, distributing some hall items, and following appropriate response protocols in emergency situations
III. Community Policing
Residence Life collaborates closely with officers of the Shepherd University Police Department in responding to and resolving incidents which occur in the residence halls; regular, confidential communication takes place between the two departments. In addition, officers of the Shepherd University Police Department may make unscheduled visits to residence halls and conduct regular walking tours in and around the exterior of buildings, to ensure no safety or security breaches exist. These rounds also provide officers and residents an opportunity to get to know each other better.
IV. K-9 Unit
A K-9 unit is an important aspect of the community policing team. The K-9 unit is used as a deterrent to illegal drug possession and consumption. The K-9 unit will make unannounced inspections of the residence halls.
V. Medical Emergencies
For medical or mental health emergencies, students are strongly encouraged to call 911 immediately for emergency transport services, and then notify a residence hall staff member for support. Residence Life staff are trained to follow protocols in emergency situations. Due to liability and insurance limitations, please note that providers from the campus Health Center are not able to respond to medical emergencies outside of the Health Center facility.
In cases where a student’s health or safety may be in danger, staff of Residence Life or a Shepherd University police officer may contact individuals listed on the student’s resident information card. Please note that Shepherd University is not responsible for the costs of any emergency transport services or medical care incurred by a student.
VI. Theft and Renter’s Insurance
Shepherd University is not responsible for theft, damage, or loss of personal items belonging to residents. To prevent such occurrences, keep your door locked at all times, including when going to use bathroom facilities. Residents should not keep large sums of money or expensive items in their rooms. The student is strongly encouraged to carry renter’s insurance for protection against losses.
VII. Evacuation Route
When the fire alarm sounds in your building proceed to the nearest exit or follow posted emergency exit plans. Proceed to a designated assembly area as indicated by a Residence Life staff member. Keep streets, fire lanes, hydrant areas, and walkways clear for emergency response vehicles and personnel. Residents need to keep a 36-inch walkway clear throughout their student rooms.
Residence Life addresses fire safety for its residents through regular maintenance, routine fire drills, and educational programs. Each residence hall conducts regular fire drills for all residents; these drills provide an opportunity to ensure that fire warning systems are functioning properly and that residents know the appropriate evacuation routes. In addition to these fire drills, residence hall staff conduct weekly checks of all fire extinguishers and other fire safety equipment, ensuring that these lifesaving tools are fully charged and functional.
The Shepherdstown Volunteer Fire Department has an excellent crisis response team. Fire squads, EMTs, and ambulance crews provide additional emergency services to the campus. The individuals who staff these units are well-trained responders who regard the Shepherd University campus as a top priority.
A fire emergency is defined as any situation in which a discernible smell of smoke or fire, visible signs of smoke, or a live fire in a residence hall exists. In case of fire,
- Sound the alarm. Yell “fire!” repeatedly. As you leave the building, activate the nearest fire alarm by pulling the lever.
- Evacuate the building quickly. Use the nearest safe exit or follow posted emergency exit plans, and proceed to the designated gathering place. Remember that saving lives is the most important thing; do not carry any items with you. Be sure to remain in your designated area until an accurate head count has been taken.
- If the door to your room feels hot, do not open Keep the door closed, place wet towels at the bottom of the door, if possible, to prevent smoke from entering. Call 911 for help; if the phone system is not working, yell out the window for help. Remain in your room and wait for assistance.
- If the hallway is filled with smoke, drop low to the ground, cover your nose and mouth with a damp cloth if possible, and crawl quickly to the nearest exit. If the smoke is overwhelming or fills the entire hallway, return to and remain in your room, following the procedures above
- Call 911 from a safe place for emergency response Provide your name, phone number, and exact building location.
- Call the Shepherd University Police Department at 304-876-5202. The responding officer will be responsible for directing traffic and communicating with fire and ambulance personnel.
- Under no circumstances are residents or staff to reenter the building until the responding Fire Chief or law enforcement officer has indicated that it is safe to do so.
Right of Entry
Residence hall officials or other University administrators will not consent to a search of a student’s residence hall room by police or other government authorities without a warrant authorized by law. Although the university will take every precaution to guarantee privacy for students in residence halls, residents remain subject to university and Residence Life Policies. For this reason, any staff member or person charged with enforcing university or Residence Life Policies may enter a residence hall room upon reasonable belief that a violation of university policy is occurring. The individual seeking entry will knock and identify her/himself before entering except in emergencies or in situations where delayed entry would be self-defeating.
Room inspections will be conducted on a regular basis, primarily to monitor health and safety conditions in the halls. Residents will be notified in writing (such as by e-mail or posted flyers) at least 48 hours in advance of the scheduled time for these inspections. If the resident is not present in her/his room at the time of the inspection, the Residence Life staff member will key in to enter the room. Every reasonable effort will be made to respect students’ right to privacy.
The University reserves the right to enter student rooms:
- Under the conditions established in the Shepherd University Student Handbook, as it exists at the time of this Agreements signing date or as it may be thereafter amended during the term of this agreement.
- For the following reasons: emergencies, repair, maintenance, health/ safety inspections, or to uphold university policies.
- The university reserves the right to move and/or remove personal property which violates university policy or creates a concern for safety or well-being.