Below are some common questions that have been asked by students and families.
The Role of REHS
What does Residential Education & Housing Services (REHS) oversee?
REHS is responsible for student housing assignments, the student and professional housing staff in the halls, and the co-curricular experience in the hall. REHS staff are on call for emergencies and general student support. REHS also oversees a main office in Berkus Hall. The Office of Student Conduct is connected to REHS and residence life staff serve as Conduct Officers. REHS is a liaison with many other campus departments, but does not oversee those departments. For example, the cleaning, maintenance, and renovation schedule of the residence halls is managed completely by Facilities Services. The locks on the hall doors are overseen by Card Services, and the internet and computer labs are managed by Information Technology Services. Our departments work together very closely and REHS staff can help students connect with these other departments to help resolve issues.
Does REHS oversee off-campus housing?
No. REHS oversees the on-campus residence halls as well as five student houses: Berkus House, Baldwin House, Food Justice House, Theta House, and SAE House. There are nearby houses with traditions of housing Oxy students, but they are managed by private owners.
How are the Resident Advisors trained and in what topics?
Resident Advisors undergo an intensive two-week training prior to the start of the fall term on conflict mediation, sexual misconduct response, and campus resources as well as many other topics. RAs also participate in weekly staff meetings, a monthly in-service training, and a week-long training in January.
Housing & Roommates
Are students required to live on-campus?
Occidental students are required to live on campus for their first three years at the College. About 50% of seniors also choose to live on campus. Juniors have the option to apply for an exception to live off campus. Most juniors who live off campus are living in off-campus Greek houses or houses with traditions of housing student athletes. Those off-campus properties are not managed by Occidental College.
Are there on-campus apartments for students?
Occidental-owned apartments are only available to student military veterans at the off-campus Toland Way housing complex.
Can I live in a single room?
Single rooms are not common at Occidental. Most students live in double and triple rooms.
If a student is in a triple, will they be guaranteed not to be in a triple in future years?
No. A student’s current room is not a factor when choosing a room for the next year.
When do first year students know their housing assignments and roommates?
Housing assignments and roommate contact information are sent to students during the first week of August. REHS recommends that students reach out to their new roommates to discuss when they are arriving on campus, what they plan to bring and how they will select their beds. Selecting beds is particularly important in a triple where there will be bunk beds.
What are roommate agreements and why are they helpful?
Roommate agreements are given to all residential students via eRezLife as a tool to create a common understanding of how the room will be used and how roommates will communicate. Students first receive an individual form to complete on their own. Then roommate groups receive a form to complete together. The Resident Advisor can meet with roommate groups to assist in making agreements.
My roommate(s) and I do not get along. How do I request a roommate mediation?
Resident Advisors and Resident Directors can help students when miscommunication and conflicts occur between roommates. These staff members will work to understand the issue and collaborate with students to find solutions. Many disagreements between roommates can be worked out with an open mind and a willingness to talk with each other. Staff will work with roommates to revisit agreements made in the roommate agreement form at the beginning of the year. It’s common for students to want to change rooms when conflict arises. REHS helps students to try to work on communication and compromises before changing rooms. For persistent or severe issues, professional REHS staff are available to discuss the possibility of moving.
Will I get a new roommate if my roommate moves out?
Likely yes. Students are required to keep any open space in their room available at all times for a new roommate to move in. Efforts will be made to give students 24 hours notice of a new roommate moving into their room.
Who cleans the halls? Are students expected to clean their own rooms?
Cleaning Services staff cleans the common areas and common bathrooms in the halls. They take care of cleaning such as vacuuming, dusting, and taking out common room trash. Students are expected to clean their own rooms and take out their own trash. If a student is living in a room with a private bathroom such as in Berkus Hall, the student is responsible for cleaning the bathroom and providing those cleaning supplies themselves. Excessive messiness, such as trash strewn around a common space, is above and beyond what cleaning services staff are expected to clean. Students may be charged extra for the cost of overtime for cleaning staff in these instances.
How do students do laundry in the residence halls?
Laundry rooms are available in the halls, and directions for how to use the machines are posted. In Fall 2021, REHS has heard from our students surrounding the challenges experienced with our laundry services, specifically that costs can be prohibitive. Based upon this feedback, REHS announced that laundry services are now included in the cost of your room, so extra money is needed to use the washers or dryers. Students will also be able to utilize an app to monitor their own laundry as well as locate available machines in their assigned residence hall.
What is the policy regarding guests visiting students in the halls?
Students may have an overnight guest for up to six (6) days in a thirty (30) day period with not more than three (3) consecutive nights if the presence of the guest does not constitute an inconvenience for roommates or otherwise interfere with the housing community life. A resident must obtain consent of roommate(s) prior to the visit. In no instance shall a guest become a long-term resident in a College-owned facility. The number of guests in a college residence at one time should not exceed two guests per assigned space. As noted in the Code of Student Conduct, students are responsible for the actions of their guests. Students must be present for the duration of their guest's visit. At all times, any person who is not a registered Occidental College student, staff, or faculty member—or does not live in the hall they are visiting—must be escorted by a resident host. Violations will result in judicial action.
Are there plans to install A/C in all the residence halls?
Some halls currently have air conditioning. Facilities Services regularly renovates the residence halls. When possible and not cost prohibitive, A/C is seriously considered for all renovations.
Do students reside in the same residence hall year after year?
Not always. Students will participate in room draw in the spring semester to choose their room for the following year. Some halls house students from all classes. Others are specific to first years, upper division students, or a themed living community.
Can students stay through Thanksgiving break, spring break, and College holidays?
Yes. Staff are present and on-call during all college breaks during the academic year. Students can stay in their room at no additional charge. Winter break is unique, and students who need to stay on campus during winter break will move to Newcomb Hall with other students and RAs staying for the break. Students in all other halls must leave campus for winter break, but can keep their belongings in their room.
I forgot something in my room over winter break. How can I retrieve it?
Generally, retrieving items from your room over winter break is not possible. Staff are on-call over the break for emergencies, but may not be on campus and will likely not be available to retrieve forgotten items. Students are reminded to take everything that they will need for the duration of the break with them such as passports, laptops, car keys, medication, and cell phones.
Can I leave my car on campus over the winter break?
Yes. Campus Safety will send a sign-up for students who would like to keep their car on campus over the winter break. Occidental does not assume any responsibility for the safety of students’ cars. If a car is parked in the gated garage under Berkus Hall, they will not have access to it during the winter break.
Does the College cover the costs of damages to personal property?
The College assumes no responsibility for loss of or damage to personal property for any reason and has no insurance coverage protecting students’ property. Students are encouraged to check coverage under their family’s home owner insurance policy or purchase renters insurance while living in student housing.
If I live in Newcomb Hall, do I have to move out for winter break?
Yes, Newcomb Hall is an upper division hall that is used for winter break housing. Students who live in Newcomb Hall during the academic year will move all of their belongings out of their room or store all of their belongings in the locked closet in the room.
What will you discuss with families without a FERPA release?
Occidental views families as partners in our students’ success. To this end, students’ right to privacy is protected by FERPA and Occidental will speak with families without violating FERPA. Occidental will strongly encourage students to seek the advice and support of families when appropriate. Additionally, Occidental has a policy of contacting students’ emergency contacts in the case of hospital transports due to alcohol, drugs, or other emergencies.