STUDENT HANDBOOK: Policies and Procedures
In its commitment to student development and success, Bennington College requires all students enrolled in classes full time to live on campus in College housing. Part-time and not currently enrolled students are ineligible to live in campus housing.
Exception to the residency requirement
The College recognizes that a few students may need an exception to the residency requirement. The College will grant exceptions for an enrolled student who is:
23 years old or older
Living at one’s parents’ home, within a 25-mile radius of the College
Married or in a civil-union recognized by the state of Vermont
A parent or legal guardian of a child. (Bennington does not provide family housing for students.)
Exempted from the residency requirement as an accommodation for a disability. For more information see the Accommodations and Support section.
Right to assign
The College reserves the right to assign any vacancy in College housing and/or to reassign any student’s College housing placement at any time. This includes consolidation of students living alone in multi-occupancy rooms. Efforts will be made to keep students within the same house during consolidation when possible.
Enrolled students are allowed to occupy their assigned rooms and to use the common space in their houses and all other College facilities when the College is in session. Students cannot access College facilities between terms except in specific situations. These situations require advance permission from the College.
Information about dates and times that College residences open and close are published in the Academic Calendar, and various communications sent out from the Office of Student Life to all students during the term. Students are expected to arrive and depart campus in accordance with the set deadlines. Early arrivals and late departures are not permitted unless approved in advance by the Office of Student Life. Unapproved early arrivals and/or late checkouts may incur disciplinary action and monetary penalty.
Residing on Campus when the College is not in session (Summer or Field Work Term) is limited and requires an application process that certifies employment or specialized study at the College. Information on how to apply is made available at the end of each term. Please note that students who are on academic warning or probation are not eligible for non-term residency.
Each spring, upperclass students enrolled and continuing at the College choose housing for the next year by participating in the in-house room selection process or the housing lottery that is run by the Office of Student Life. Housing reservation information is distributed in the latter part of the spring term.
First-year and transfer students are assigned to housing based on their preference form and space availability. Late applicants or students returning from leave are housed on a space-available basis.
Because only currently enrolled students are eligible for housing, any student who withdraws or becomes a part-time student during the term must vacate their housing assignment in the timeline outlined by the College.
The Office of Student Life will notify the student body about the room/house change process and any housing assignment changes at the beginning of each term. Students are encouraged to mediate any conflicts with roommates/housemates prior to seeking a room or house change. House Chairs are available to assist students who need help navigating this process. All room changes require prior approval from the Office of Student Life and students must meet with Student Life staff to begin the room change process. Failure to obtain permission may result in disciplinary action.
Returning from leave of absence/abroad programs
Returning students who were on leave, or are re-entering after being considered withdrawn by the Office of the Provost and Dean of the College will be assigned based on availability and the housing preference questionnaire. Students returning from study-abroad programs will receive an email from housing prior to their return. Students should complete a Student Housing Preference form by March 15 for the upcoming academic year and November 1 for the spring term.
Students in this category are placed according to their class status (determined by the Office of the Provost and Dean). Visiting students should contact the Office of Student Life as soon as possible to discuss housing options and availability. Visiting students who apply after August 1 or February 1 are offered space on campus based on availability.
Welling Town House, Longmeadow House, and Shingle House
Students who wish to live in these houses must complete an application from the Office of Student Life. Notification about the application process is sent from Student Life during the spring term. Students will be selected and notified prior to the regular housing assignment process. Welling Town House, although located off campus, is subject to all policies applicable to on-campus housing.
Paran Creek apartments
Students residing in Paran Creek apartments are subject to the same Community Standards and residential expectations, policies and process as those students living in other College-owned and managed housing including, but not limited to, room changes, occupancy, smoking, safety, room damage, and access. Residents are responsible for the cleaning of individual rooms, as well as the common areas, kitchens and bathrooms in the individual apartments. Buildings and Grounds staff will maintain the general common areas, hallways and laundry rooms on each floor. Each apartment will be issued a 4 digit key code to access their outer apartment door. This code should not be distributed to any resident who is not officially assigned to the apartment. New key codes will be issued after room changes and between academic years. Students who have forgotten their key codes should contact Campus Safety for immediate entry and then contact Buildings & Grounds to report a forgotten code. Fees may be assessed if a key code is reset multiple times due to lost codes.
Residents of Paran Creek apartments are not permitted to host events in the general common areas. Due to the location of the apartments, residents of Paran Creek apartments have an expectation of no loud noises after 10:00 pm daily.
Selection of Paran Creek apartments as a housing option will be available in the spring housing selection process.
Postbaccalaureate students who wish to be considered for on-campus housing should contact Admissions. Post Baccalaureate students are subject to the same Community Standards and Policies as undergraduate students.
The College assumes no responsibility for the theft, loss, or damage to a student’s personal property. Students are encouraged to take appropriate steps to safeguard their property and to maintain their own personal property insurance. Any loss or theft of property should be reported to Campus Safety so that an official record is available if needed.
The College does not offer storage for personal property. The College will offer short-term storage of a limited amount of items for those students assigned to houses that are used during Winter Break and Field Work Term. Students who study away or withdraw from the College are not permitted to store items on campus during their time away. Students who withdraw during the term are required to remove all belongings from campus housing. If personal items are left, the Office of Student Life will consider the items abandoned and donate them to local organizations or dispose of them. The Office of Student Life provides information to students about local storage options each year.
Students are responsible for all activities taking place in their assigned space, whether they are present or not. Each occupant will be held responsible for any prohibited activity(s) or illegal item(s) found in their assigned space.
Students are responsible for maintaining their rooms in a healthy, safe, and livable condition that does not have a negative effect on any co-resident of the room or the house. Students may contact Building and Grounds with concerns about their room or housing condition, as well as place a work order, by sending an email. Students may also contact Student Life with their room concerns.
Students are not allowed to alter any feature of their rooms or furnishings. Students are responsible for any costs associated with restoring their assigned rooms to the condition in which they were found at the start of each term. Disciplinary action may be taken for unauthorized room alterations. College staff members inspect and document the condition of each assigned student room and the College furniture in that room before the start and just after the end of each academic year. This information is recorded on Room Condition Reports. Restoration charges may include, but are not limited to: the repair or replacement cost(s) for damage to the room, College furniture, or equipment provided; repair, labor, replacement, or costs of any extra work necessary to restore the room to its original condition including extra cleaning, moving, or rebuilding of furniture. Students are not allowed to repair any damage to their rooms or to common areas of the houses.
Room Condition Reports
An email will be sent to each student at the beginning of the term with a link to the Room Condition Report which should be used to document the condition of the student’s room and the condition of College issued furniture in that room. Students are expected to fill out the Room Condition report, and submit the form prior before September 15. If the student fails to hand in their Room Condition Report, the student will have no basis for an appeal on the state of the room at the end of the year.
Common areas are for the use and enjoyment of all members of the Bennington community. House common areas include, but are not limited to, living rooms, kitchens, hallways, bathrooms, and laundry rooms. House residents are both individually and collectively responsible for the condition of their common areas and the College furniture provided. House common areas are expected to be kept in a clean, healthy, safe, and livable condition. Personal items may not be stored in common areas. Common area furniture should not be removed from the common areas without prior written permission from the Office of Student Life.
Common area inspection
The Office of Student Life reserves the right to inspect all common areas without notice throughout the term. The House Chairs and/or Student Life staff members, inspect all house common areas before the start and at the end of each academic year to assess the condition of those areas and the status of College property, in addition to regular checks during the term. House residents are accountable for any damage (beyond normal wear and tear), repair or replacement costs, or extra work necessary to restore the house to its original condition.
Damage and Restoration Charges
During the term, when common area damage occurs in a house, House Chairs will be consulted. The House Chairs will have a subsequent discussion with the members of their house at their next Coffee Hour.
The house will have an opportunity to identify the responsible individual(s). If no individual is identified, the charge will be divided equally among the residents of the particular house and billed equally to each student account.
If residents of a house believe they know who is responsible, they should notify their House Chair, a member of the Student Life staff, or the Director of Campus Safety as soon as possible.
Students are responsible for all restoration charges to cover the costs of repair or replacement of any damaged (beyond normal wear and tear) or missing items of their particular rooms. If damage is discovered upon first occupation of a room it must be reported immediately. In the case of restoration charges for common areas, the resident(s) responsible will be held accountable whenever possible. If no one is identified as personally responsible for common area damage, the charges will be prorated to all residents of that particular house. When College furniture is moved from its designated location the house residents will be held accountable for costs to return each item. If the furniture is damaged in any way, the house residents will be responsible for the cost to repair or replace the items, in addition to the moving fine. If a student removes any common area furniture into their own room, they may be charged a fine for the misappropriation of College-owned property and a moving charge if the College has to move it back. A list of estimated damage fees is available through Buildings & Grounds.
Confirmed damage charges will be added to a student’s bill at the end of the year or after a student graduates/departs from the College. Students who accrue a collective damage charge of less than $50 will not be billed. Houses that accrue a collective damage charge of less than $500 will not be billed.
Damage Charge Appeals
After the end of each academic term, damage billing, which includes the cost of each individual’s room damage as well as the prorated cost of all common area damage, will be added to student’s Populi account. Should a student find a discrepancy in the damage charges, it is the student’s responsibility to write to the Office of Student Life and Buildings and Grounds to request an appeal. Appeals should explain in specific detail the reasons for contesting the charge(s). Appeals will be accepted and by the Office of Student Life and Buildings and Grounds within 2 weeks from the date of the charge and will be reviewed within 2 weeks of receiving the appeal. Students will be notified in writing of the decision. The decision of Student Life and Buildings and Grounds is final, unless the student appealing can provide new or additional information that may change the decision. Charges being appealed will appear on the student’s bill and will be credited or upheld based on the decision.
End of Term House Closing
At the end of the fall term, students in selected houses need to remove all of their personal belongings (limited storage for these students is available). Over the summer break, rooms in every house must be completely emptied. Residents will receive information about what is expected at checkout and off-campus storage options in the End-of-Term announcements distributed prior to the end of each term. House Chairs will discuss this information with residents at Coffee Hour.
At the start of each term and throughout the room change period, keys are distributed from the Office of Student Life.
Each student is expected to sign out a room key before taking occupancy of the student’s space. Leaving rooms unlocked is a safety concern. If the room is found unlocked, Campus Safety should be notified. The College urges students to lock their rooms when away and to carry their room key and ID card at all times.
Students who need to vacate their rooms for use during FWT will return their keys at the end of the fall term and reissued at the start of the spring term. All other students will keep their room keys for the duration of the academic year and are responsible for the use of their individual keys. All houses not in use by outside groups during FWT will be locked. Students found accessing their individual rooms or other areas of the College that they do not have permission to enter during FWT will be subject to disciplinary follow-up at the discretion of the College.
Keys must be returned prior to departure at the end of each academic year and an electronic receipt will be provided. Unreturned keys will result in a lock change fee of $100.
Expectations for House Events
Houses may sponsor events in the common area(s). These events must be registered with the Office of Student Life. House members are expected to effectively manage their event and guests to abide by all campus policies and guidelines. All students must cooperate with Campus Safety if a problem or concern is brought to their attention. If violations occur and/or the house does not cooperate with Campus Safety, Campus Safety may shut down the event. Gatherings or events may not exceed the fire code capacity for the common areas and all events must end by 2am. There are no house parties permitted during the final two weeks of each term. Solicitation of funds to support house events is prohibited.
Individual residents who wish to host events or gatherings using their houses common area must have consent of all house members before the event takes place. These individuals are responsible for promoting a violation-free environment and controlling attendance, noise, and cleanup. Students must register these events with the Office of Student Life. The sponsor of the gathering will be held accountable for any violations and damages that may occur during the event. These events must end by 11pm Sunday-Thursday and by 12am on Friday and Saturdays and not exceed fire code capacity of the space.
Due to COVID-19 procedures, there are restrictions on House Events, please contact Student Life for more details.
Right to Enter
Bennington College reserves the right of College personnel to enter any College building or space within that building, including student rooms, at any time, to respond to an emergency; monitor health and safety standards and/or compliance with College rules and policies; make repairs; perform cleaning, maintenance, or inventory; conduct any inspection or search; enforce College rules and regulations; secure buildings; and for any reasonable purpose as determined by the College. The resident’s absence will not prevent such entry, nor is consent required.
Suspension, Dismissal, or Withdrawal
Once the Office of Student Life has received notification of expulsion, suspension, dismissal, or withdrawal, housing assignments of the student are cancelled. The student must vacate the assigned room and return the room key and student ID to the Office of Student Life within the time prescribed by the Provost and Dean of the College or contained in the disciplinary letter.
Property remaining in an assigned space or left on campus after the deadline is considered abandoned and will be donated to local charities or discarded at the discretion of the Office of Student Life.
Door Access System
Exterior entrances of all student residence houses are locked 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. All major residential houses are equipped with exterior door access control.
Cards lost or stolen during normal business hours (9:00 am-5:00 pm, Monday through Friday) should be reported immediately to the Help Desk at help email@example.com or in person in the SCOPE forum on the third floor of Commons.
After normal business hours, students should immediately report missing cards to Campus Safety.
During weekends and in the evenings, a temporary courtesy card will be provided by Campus Safety. This temporary card will expire at the end of the first business day. Lost cards will be deactivated and students will be required to purchase a new card, at the cost of $15, by emailing the Help Desk at firstname.lastname@example.org and picking up the new ID card in the SCOPE forum on the third floor of Commons.
Courtesy cards must be returned to the Campus Safety on the next business day. If the courtesy card is not returned, an additional charge of $15 will be incurred.
Note: Personal guests of students, faculty, or staff members are not eligible for temporary access cards.
Replacement Card Costs
Replacement cards cost $15. This replacement card will be issued to the student only after the original card has been rendered inoperable from the system. No person may possess two operable cards. A new 16-digit ISO number will be issued on the new card and the old ISO number retired from future use.
Tampering with any component of the Enhanced Card Access System may result in a fine or disciplinary action. Propping a door open is a breach of the residential security system. This breach will activate both a local alarm (at the door) and an alarm at the monitoring station. Propping a door is considered tampering with the system and the above penalties may be imposed.