Residential Living Policies

The Residential Living Policies apply to all students living on-campus. All are expected to be familiar with these documents and their content. Southern Virginia students are expected to embrace all standards that define Southern Virginia University as a unique living and learning community.

The Residential Living Policies are based on the following standards:

  • Respect for the rights of the individual
  • Respect for the law
  • Respect for property
  • Respect for the university
  • Respect for the community at large

Courtesy is an important attribute of leader-servants. When interacting with others, all students show courtesy and consideration, behaving in a manner that brings honor to the individual and the university.

Policies regarding , , , alarms, equipment, weapons, and are tied to the Code of Honor. An infraction against these policies constitutes a breach of the Code of Honor and is handled by the dean of students. An infraction of any other policy is handled by the head resident advisor.

Southern Virginia does not enforce a bed check or lock down curfew. Students are in their assigned rooms, apartments, or houses at an appropriate time each night. When a student occasionally chooses to be at another overnight location, the student notifies the RA or AC for safety and accountability purposes.

Students must report unsafe conditions such as broken windows, light fixtures, wall sockets, smoke alarms, and missing fire extinguishers to the RA/ or AC. Students should never have an open flame (including the burning of candles or incense) in campus housing at any time. Halogen lamps, submersible heating coils, hot plates or space heaters are not allowed in university-owned housing. Toaster ovens and personal air conditioners may be allowed in houses, but not in residence halls. Should these items be found in university-owned residential living units, they will be confiscated and not returned. Overloading electrical wiring can result in a safety hazard and excessive expense for the university.

Electrical candle warmers are not allowed in on-campus housing, per Virginia Fire Code.

Fire drills are performed every semester without any prior warning from Campus Security. When a fire alarm sounds, students must exit the building calmly and quickly using the routes illustrated on their emergency plan (posted on or near the front door of their residence). Due to the nature of student schedules, “roll call” will not be conducted during a fire drill. If a student is aware of the absence of someone they knew to be in the building they must report it to their resident advisor, AC, or to a university official immediately.

Fire extinguishers are located in all campus kitchens and residence halls. Questions or concerns about fire safety or use of fire extinguishers can be directed to Campus Security.

Students should activate alarms and fire-related equipment only for actual emergencies. The following are violations of the Code of Honor and will be referred to the dean of students for disciplinary action:

  • Failure to evacuate when a fire alarm is sounded
  • Inappropriate activation of any emergency warning equipment
  • False reporting of any emergency
  • Removal, damage, or tampering with fire safety or other emergency warning equipment

Vice President of Operations and Student Services: The Vice President of Operations and Student Services has responsibility to oversee and assist in the implementation of Southern Virginia’s housing plan for all on-campus and off-campus housing. The Vice President of Operations and Student Services also responsible to enforce and delegate authority to enforce Southern Virginia’s Residential Living Policies for on-campus housing.

Area Coordinator: An Area Coordinator (AC) is assigned to manage and administer Residential Living Policies under the direction of the dean of students. Each head resident will be given responsibility for specific university owned residential living units in a designated area and they will supervise residential advisors (RAs) living in that area. Resident advisors will reside in an assigned university owned residential living unit. They will assist in management of university-owned housing, enforce the Code of Honor and Residential Living Policies, and report all violations to the dean of students as appropriate. Specific requirements, qualifications, and compensations can be found in the head resident advisor job description.

Resident Advisor (RA): Resident advisors will reside in assigned university owned residence halls, modular units, townhouses, or houses. Resident advisors will monitor, report, and perform duties under the supervision of the appropriate Area Coordinator (AC). They will enforce and report violations of the Code of Honor and Residential Living Policies to the dean of students as appropriate. Specific requirements and qualifications and compensations can be found in the resident advisor job description.

Security Officer(s): The Southern Virginia University security officer is responsible to assist in the enforcement of “good order and discipline” on campus. He/she is responsible to provide evacuation plans and conduct regular “fire drills” and “emergency evacuation” plans with drills as appropriate in coordination with the dean of students, and the director of physical facilities. He/she works closely with local law enforcement agencies in addressing concerns involving student conduct off campus.

Housing deposits for prospective students are only refundable if the student notifies the university that they will not require on-campus housing prior to the refund deadline. The refund deadline for fall semester is May 1st; for spring semester it is December 1st. Notifying the university typically requires that the student e-mail their admissions advisor, or informs the housing department in writing via email at

Refund requests from previously enrolled students will not be accepted after July 1st.

If a student has already begun occupancy of a room but leaves before the end of a semester, his or her housing deposit will be forfeited. The student must still properly check out with his or her resident advisor.

It is the student’s responsibility to notify the housing department if they will be moving off campus prior to graduation. Refunds for returning students will only be issued if the student financial services office receives notification prior to the refund deadlines above and if all conditions of the housing agreement are met.

All students are required to provide the university with current local street address and telephone number.

Those Required to Live On Campus:

  • Single students under the age of 21 who are not living with their parents
  • Single students with less than 56 credit hours who are not living with their parents

Students Who May Live Off Campus:

  • Married
  • Age 21 years and older
  • Those with at least 56 credit hours (junior or senior status)
  • Living at home within a 75 mile radius of campus
  • Living with an aunt or uncle who is a SVU employee
  • Sophomore living in approved off-campus housing (River Crossing Apartments only)
  • Parent or legal guardian of a dependent child

Single students required to live on campus who wish to live with a relative or local family friend may petition the Housing Office or appointed representatives of Residence Life for an exception to policy.

Keys are given to students during the check-in process at the beginning of the semester. If a student loses their key at any time, they must report it to their resident advisor and pay a $25 key replacement fee. If a student fails to return their key at check-out, they will likewise be fined $25 for key replacement.

Keys should always remain in the possession of the resident to which they belong, and should never be lent out. Replication of university keys is prohibited.

With prior approval of the resident advisor, and full agreement on the part of all roommates, students may occasionally host guests of the same gender who are at least 16 years of age. The first two nights are free of charge, provided the proper paperwork has been completed with the Area Coordinator (AC) of the host student. Each additional night is $25 (to be paid in advance). Guests may stay no more than one week, and may be asked to leave by the head resident advisor if their presence in any way disrupts the campus environment.

Parents and siblings younger than 16 years of age may not stay in campus housing. Hotels are available in Buena Vista and Lexington for those needing accommodations.

Guests are the responsibility of the host student and must comply with the Code of Honor, Dress and Grooming Standards, Residential Living Policies, and other rules and regulations of the university. The host student is accountable for the guest’s actions and behavior while on-campus. Guests pay for meals eaten in the Dining Hall.

Pets of any kind are not allowed in on-campus residential living units; no exceptions. Violating this policy is a breach of the legal contract agreement and/or the Residential Living Policies. Violations result in the immediate removal of the pet, assessment of damages, and a mandatory cleaning fee of no less than $50.

The Area Coordinator, dean of students, resident advisor, Security office, and the director of physical facilities or their agents are authorized to enter university owned residential living units as deemed necessary for the following official reasons: to make needed repairs, for cleaning inspections, to show the room/apartment to a prospective tenant, to verify adherence to the Code of Honor; and in case of an emergency.

Every effort will be made to respect tenant privacy. This means that the agent will knock before entry, and that visits will be scheduled at a reasonable hour when tenants are home, whenever possible. The head resident advisor may secure and remove an individual’s personal items for the following reasons: emergency, individual is not authorized to be in Southern Virginia housing; and probable cause for violation of the Code of Honor or Residential Living Policies.

Private rooms are available to residents on a limited basis, contingent on availability, the student’s class standing, and payment of the private room fee. Returning students will be given first preference.

Students who obtain a private room through circumstance rather than choice (i.e., roommate changes rooms) will not be charged the private room fee; however, the Area Coordinators reserve the right to place a student in that space at their discretion. Unless a private room fee has been paid, the student is not guaranteed a private room.

The following items are prohibited on university property:

  • Alcohol (including beer, wine, champagne, whiskey, etc.)
  • Coffee
  • Fireworks
  • Candles (even for decorative purposes)
  • Halogen lamps
  • Hot plates
  • Illegal or recreational drugs
  • Illegal substances of any kind
  • Pets
  • Space Heaters
  • Submersible heating coils
  • Tea (herbal teas are permissible)
  • Toaster Ovens (allowed in houses and town homes)
  • Tobacco or tobacco products, including cigarettes, cigars, chewing tobacco, etc.
  • Weapons
  • Any item prohibited by the Code of Honor

When a student arrives on campus they must “check-in” to their room with their resident advisor or Area Coordinator. This involves a thorough evaluation of the condition of the room prior to the student moving in, along with an overview of general policies and safety procedures for the building in which the student will reside. Keys are also distributed at this point.

The student will then sign the check-in form, agreeing to abide by the Residential Living Policies and the university Code of Honor. They also agree to pay any cleaning/damage fees that they may incur while residing on-campus.

If a student has questions about the Residential Living Policies, it is their responsibility to contact their RA, AC, or Housing for clarification or explanation. Questions can be emailed to

Residents must check out of their room with their resident advisor or head resident advisor when the academic year ends, the student withdraws, or when the student is changing rooms.

Residents must check out prior to leaving campus. The check out procedure involves a thorough inspection of the condition of the room as compared to when the resident checked-in to the room. All personal belongings should be removed prior to check-out, and any shelving or furniture used by the resident must be dusted and wiped down. If the resident is the last to leave the room or house, the floor must be swept and mopped/vacuumed, and the sinks cleaned. If there is a bathroom, it must be deep-cleaned, including the shower/bathtub, toilet, sink, and floor. Bulletin boards should have all items removed and discarded.

All keys must be returned to the resident advisor at check-out. If a resident fails to produce their key(s), a $25 replacement fee will apply for each key not returned.

If it appears that damage has been done to the room, the resident will be charged $25 or the cost of repair. If a resident fails to check out at the end of the semester, they forfeit their housing deposit.

Items left in residential living units after check-out without prior storage arrangements become the property of Southern Virginia University to be discarded, utilized, or sold.

Students residing in on-campus facilities must check out no later than 6:00 p.m. on the day following commencement. To remain longer requires prior approval from the associate dean of students and $25 per day rent. Students remaining for summer term, study abroad, athletic events, and delayed departures will be relocated to an assigned room.

All Southern Virginia residents are entitled to:

  • An environment free of illegal or recreational drugs
  • A pornography-free environment
  • Freedom from vulgarity and immorality
  • Adequate sleep
  • Clean room
  • Safety and security
  • Respect for personal belongings
  • Freedom from theft
  • Kindness and patience
  • Tolerance and courtesy
  • Honest roommates
  • Willingness to resolve grievances
  • Freedom from intimidation or harassment
  • Freedom from ridicule or persecution for living the Code of Honor
  • Free access to one’s personal room
  • Privacy within stated policies

A violation of quiet hours occurs when noise can be heard outside of a room. Repeated disregard for quiet hours may result in a fine. Quiet hours are in effect for the following hours:

Monday – Friday: 11 p.m. – 7 a.m.
Saturdays: 11 p.m. – 7 a.m.
Sunday: 24 hours a day
Finals Week: 24 hours a day

Room changes must be pre-approved by the Area Coordinator of the area the student wishes to move to after completing a Room Change Request form with the student’s resident advisor. Room changes are subject to room availability and roommate compatibility. Requests may be denied at the discretion of the Area Coordinator and/or associate dean of students. There are no room changes the first two weeks of the semester except those deemed necessary by AC.

A $30 charge is assessed when a student chooses to change rooms. A student who changes rooms without proper approval from the head resident advisor is fined $50 and is returned to his/her assigned room. Students changing rooms go through the normal check-out procedures with the RA or HRA.

Students are to keep their rooms and homes clean and orderly, both inside and out. Keeping campus housing clean extends the usability of campus facilities and ensures the proper maintenance of residence halls and houses.

In on-campus housing, resident advisors inspect each student’s living area at least twice a month. These inspections are considered “white glove,” and involve a deep cleaning of the room or house. Students are allowed a 24hr warning if the room is not up to the standard expected for a white glove inspection. Failure after a warning results in the student having weekly room inspections for the next month. If the student passes the next monthly room inspection, they will not have to continue weekly room inspections. If a resident fails a weekly room inspection (following a bi-monthly room inspection failure) the resident will be charged a $25 fine.

Security on campus is directed through the Office and Public Safety and Security. An officer is available 24 hours a day to respond to any safety or security needs that a student may have. Resident advisors and head resident advisors are also available to assist students at any time.

Each student is responsible for securing his/her personal valuables at all times. Residence hall rooms, apartments, and houses should be locked when occupants are not there. All students need to report suspicious persons, activities, or violations of Residential Living Policies or the Code of Honor to their RA or HRA or to the appropriate campus authority (dean of students, or the Office of Public Safety and Security).

No curfew exists on the Southern Virginia University campus. However, common-use areas of residence halls and houses have visiting hours that must be strictly observed. Men and women may visit each other, remaining in common-use areas, as long as they abide by the residential hall’s visitation hours.

An individual does not enter the bedroom or sleeping area of a person of the opposite gender, without prior permission of the head resident advisor. Likewise, an individual does not permit the entry of a person of the opposite gender into his/her bedroom or sleeping area without prior permission of the head resident advisor.