General Housing Policies & Procedures

Read below regarding some of our policies, procedures, & general info.

  • First Year Assignments:

    Incoming first year students will receive a housing assignment for their first year living experience at Williams College. There are two main residential areas on campus where first years can reside including Frosh Quad and Mission Park. These assignments are made by the Office of Campus Life and communicated to students prior to their arrival to campus in the fall.

    Upper Class Lotteries:

    Co-Op – Williams offers Co-Ops (six small houses and one apartment complex) for seniors who are looking for a slightly more independent living situation while still residing in campus-owned housing.

    Off-Campus – Williams, as a residential college, strongly believes that students living on campus together is an important aspect of community-building during their time at Williams – and thus, the College requires its students to live on-campus. At the same time, due to fluctuations in enrollment numbers and changing on-campus bed-count numbers, the College releases a certain number of students from the on-campus living requirement for their senior year (the cap for 2021-2022 is 125). These students typically live in houses or apartments in close proximity to campus that are owned and managed by entities other than Williams (landlords, real estate agencies, property management companies, etc.).

    Please Note: simply signing a rental agreement with a landlord does not guarantee that a student will be released from College housing for their senior year. 

    General Lottery – The General Lottery is the room selection process for any returning student at Williams College who has not secured housing through the Co-Op or Off-Campus lottery processes.

    Students with Advanced Life Experiences (SwALEs) & Transfer Students: Generally, new transfer students will be expected to live in traditional student housing on campus. However, a new transfer student may qualify as a SwALE – read below for more information.

    A SwALE or new transfer student who believes they have a significant diagnosis, condition, or situation that cannot be addressed via the regular housing processes or programs or within College policies, may request a Housing Accommodation.

    Vacancies & Vacancy Preparation:

    Vacancy Preparation – When a vacancy or empty bed exists in your room, it is expected that space remains free of your personal belongings and ready to receive a new assigned resident at all times. This includes removing any personal items so the space can be cleaned before occupancy by a new resident. In spaces with individually assigned bedroom spaces, personal items should only be in your assigned space and never in another space, even when empty or unoccupied.

    The Office of Campus Life reserves the right to place another student of the same sex into the vacant space in the room at any point.

    The Office of Campus Life reserves the right to adjust the occupancy limit for a room/space, subject to health and safety guidlines, at any point.

  • Various offices on campus may place a hold on any student’s eligibility to participate in a housing lottery/room draw and/or on their eligibility to receive the key/code to their room when they move in. Student Health Services, the Office of Student Accounts, Financial Aid, the Dean’s Office, Facilities, Environmental Safety & Compliance, Campus Safety, and OCL all have authority to place a lottery and/or key hold on your PeopleSoft account. Typical reasons include but are not limited to: incomplete paperwork, late payments, unpaid parking tickets, disciplinary issues, etc.

    Students with a Lottery Hold on their account are ineligible to participate in housing lottery/draw processes until the Lottery Hold has been released. Students with a Key Hold may have their room key/code held upon moving into their room until the Key Hold has been released.

    To find out if you have a Lottery and/or Key Hold on your account, look in PeopleSoft Self-Service. It’ll also note the office(s) which placed the hold on your account.

    To get a Lottery or Key Hold released, contact the office(s) which placed the Hold on your account. Once they confirm with OCL that the situation is taken care of, the hold will be released.

  • Reasonable activity in student residences will of course result in some reasonable noise. However, the creation of persistent & excessive noise is a violation of good conduct. Since student rooms are appropriate places to study as well as sleep, noise should be kept to a minimum at all times.

    The option of designated Quiet Housing is available for upperclass students as well.

  • Other than fish, no student-owned pets are permitted in College housing. Students who are advised to remove a pet and continue to house a pet will be fined $100 per day for each day the pet remains after notification.

    For information on Service & Emotional Support Animals, click here.

  • Incoming first-year students are invited to indicate on their housing preference form if there is anything about their gender identity and related housing preferences that they would like us to keep in mind for first-year housing assignments.

    Sophomores, juniors, and seniors may opt to live in a double with another sophomore, junior, or senior regardless of gender identity. In non-same-gender roommate situations, both roommates must agree in advance to the arrangement.

    Contact Doug Schiazza, Senior Associate Dean of Campus Life, with any questions about gender inclusivity & housing.

  • Williams residential students are afforded the privilege to host guests on the Williams College campus and are therefore expected to abide by the following regulations:

    A guest is defined as a registered Williams College student who lives in another room or off campus; a current student on leave; or any non-student, including family members, alums, etc.

    Williams students are expected to seek approval from their room/suitemates in advance of inviting a guest to their room and are permitted to host overnight guests for a maximum of three (3) consecutive nights with their room/suitemates approval. A guest must be accompanied by their host at all times. It is the responsibility of the host student to inform their guest(s) of house community standards and college policy.

    Guests’ presence may not infringe upon the rights of other Williams students. Any roommate, suitemate, or other Williams student who feels inconvenienced by a guest should first discuss the matter with the host student. If that brings no result, the student should contact their JA, HC, or the Office of Campus Life. Hosts are responsible for the behaviors and actions of their guests and therefore may face disciplinary action and/or loss of guest privileges if their guest violates college or residential policies.

    The right of a student to live in reasonable privacy and safety, and use of their room for academic purposes, takes precedence over visitation rights. It is the responsibility of all house residents to help maintain the security of their residence hall by not propping doors open or otherwise allowing unauthorized persons to access their residence hall. Unless formally assigned by the college, residential spaces are not available to accommodate spouses, partners, family members, children or other dependents of College resident students. In addition, guests are not permitted to sleep in common rooms, hallways, laundry rooms, or other public spaces in residence halls. Any resident who provides ongoing guest status to a non-student or an off-campus student is in violation of college regulations and may be subject to disciplinary action.

    Williams students can obtain visitor IDs and/or temporary parking permits for their guests by visiting Campus Safety & Security in the lower level of Hopkins Hall.

    Questions or concerns about the guest policy should be directed to the Assistant Directors of Residential Life and Housing in the Office of Campus Life.

  • Ongoing construction & maintenance work is an important part of maintaining & improving Williams. OCL, the Dean’s Office, and Facilities staff work hard to minimize the impact on students and to reasonably accommodate those who are subject to the greatest disruptions. Understand, however, that students aren’t eligible for refunds or other compensation on the basis of such work.

    Typically speaking…

    • Construction and/or maintenance activities outside or in close proximity to occupied college-owned student residences will not begin prior to 8am. Outside services (such as trash pick-up) and some emergency situations may start earlier than 8am in the morning and are beyond the college’s control.
    • Construction and/or maintenance activities inside occupied college-owned student residences (aside from normal custodial services) will not begin prior to 9am.
    • Construction and/or maintenance activities will end no later than 6pm daily.
    • Construction and/or maintenance activities on weekends will take place between 9am – 5pm.
    • Please note that Facilities is often called in on evenings & weekends for emergency repairs that may or may not fall within the timeframes noted above.

    Construction Activity Notices (CANs)

    • The correlated Project Manager in Facilities (PM) is responsible to publish the CAN in Daily Messages and on the “What’s Happening” page on the Facilities website, and to send the CAN to a campus departmental distribution list, at least 3 business days in advance of correlated work taking place.

    CANs for Last-Minute and/or Emergency/Urgent Work

    • The PM is responsible to publish the CAN in Daily Messages and on the “What’s Happening” page on the Facilities website, and to send the CAN to a campus departmental distribution list, ASAP.
    • The correlated PM is responsible to email OCL ASAP with a copy of the CAN, highlighting that this is a last-minute/emergency/urgent CAN.
    • OCL is responsible to email the CAN ASAP to the students in buildings likely to be impacted.
    • Please note that Facilities is often called in on evenings & weekends for emergency repairs that may or may not be able to be communicated in the manner outlined above.

    Major Construction Project Starts & Transitions

    • The PM is responsible to email OCL with a notice of the start or major transition at least one full month in advance.
    • OCL is responsible to email the students in buildings likely to be impacted ASAP, and to notify the students that a TBA meeting will take place to discuss any questions & concerns they may have.
    • The PM and OCL are responsible to schedule a day/time to meet in person ASAP with likely-impacted residents to answer their questions & concerns.
    • OCL is responsible to notify the students ASAP of the meeting, coordinate it & execute it with the PM and the correlated JAs and/or RDs + HCs.

    Responsibilities of Students

    • Students are responsible for reading Daily Messages (emailed to all Williams students, faculty & staff daily M-F) and visiting the “What’s Happening” page on the Facilities website to be aware of work taking place that may affect them and for following any instructions included there.
    • When emails are sent out, students are responsible for reading the emails they receive & for following any instructions included there.
    • Students are responsible for contacting the PM and/or the correlated staff member (Patty for North & West Campus, Maddy for East & Central Campus, Dave for Frosh Quad & Mission Park) with questions & concerns they have.
    • When outreach is made regarding a major project, students are responsible for taking advantage of the opportunity to come together with the correlated administrative staff to raise questions & concerns.
    • Students are responsible for notifying OCL if they notice things outside of the parameters listed above, so that follow-up can take place.
    • Students who feel that they need to move due to construction impacts on their housing, are expected to utilize one of the standard processes for housing changes available to them.
  • Care is taken to protect personal property in College buildings, but the College cannot assume responsibility for loss or damage to such property through fire, theft, or any other cause. Williams does not carry insurance on personal property. Students are therefore advised to keep their rooms locked when absent from them and to investigate personal property coverage through their parents’ Home Owners policy or other ways of obtaining such coverage. Williams is not responsible for loss or damage to your personal items.