FAQs

Below is information and questions that have been asked by families.

My student is going through a personal issue or is experiencing academic challenges, and is thinking about taking a semester off. How does this process work?

Begin by speaking with the Dean of Students Office where a professional staff member can listen to the student's concerns and make referrals to other campus resources if appropriate. If the student decides to leave, they can print a Leave of Absence form from the Registrar's website, obtain the appropriate signatures, and turn in the form. For students who are in uniquely challenging situations, the Dean of Students Office can assist with completing this form; however, the student is responsible for following-up with the offices listed on the form and completing whatever requirements these departments may have of the individual.

What services do you have for students who have been sexually assaulted?

The College is making steps to foster a culture that rejects sexual violence and educates communitty members about how best to prevent and respond to sexual assault on campus. We encourage all members of our community to participate in the process of creating a safe, welcoming and respectful environment on campus. To learn more about the services the College provides visit out visit the Sexual Assault Resources and Support page.

My student is considering withdrawing for the semester. Will my student be able to get a refund on tuition?

Please visit the current academic calendar. This site provides you with the dates and the corresponding percentage of tuition reimbursement you will receive should your student withdraw for the semester. Please note, refunds range from 50%-90% of the tuition. Should the student withdraw after the 50% deadline, the student will be unable to receive a refund if they did not purchase tuition insurance.

Your student may want to consider purchasing insurance for their tuition. For more information, please contact the Business Office at (323) 259-2554.

My student withdrew or took a leave of absence for health or personal reasons and is ready to return. What steps are involved in this process?

Students who take a leave of absence or withdraw from the institution and would like to return must complete certain tasks. Begin by visiting the Registrar website where the students will print, fill out, and submit a Returning Student Application form. Upon receipt of this form, the Registrar notifies specific offices across campus of the students’ intent to return. These offices may need the students to fulfill requirements before they are able to come back to Oxy.

My student has been placed on academic probation. What does this mean?

A 2.0 grade point average (GPA) is required to maintain "good academic standing". First-year students (not transfer students) who earn below a 1.85 GPA at the end of their first semester will be placed on academic probation. All other students who earn below the required GPA of 2.0 in a semester or cumulative GPA will be placed on academic probation. Students who earn below a 2.0 for two consecutive semesters are subject to academic suspension. Students who in any semester receive a GPA of 0.75 of less, regardless of the cumulative record, will be suspended for the following semester. For more information, please review the College Catalog.]

There are several resources for students in need of academic support. Students on academic probation are required to meet with a Dean of Students staff member who will discuss the student's academic challenges and review strategies for improvement. Another resource is the Writing Center where students can receive assistance with their papers. Faculty members also encourage students to seek academic support during their office hours, which are listed on the course syllabus or announced in class.

What is the difference between dropping a class and withdrawing from a class?

Dropping a class means that the class will not appear on the student's transcript. If a student withdraws from a class, the course will remain on the student's transcript and receive a "W" instead of a letter grade. The "W" does not get calculated into the student's grade point average. In general, a minimal amount of "W's" on a transcript will not impact a student's future goals. One way to avoid a "W" is to check the academic calendar each semester and note the drop and withdrawal deadlines. If students miss the deadline to withdraw, they will receive the grade that they earn in that class. For instructions on how to drop or withdraw from a class, please contact the Registrar at (323) 259-2686.

My student does not get along with their roommate(s). What should I do?

Encourage the roommates to talk with each other when an issue first presents itself. Many disagreements between roommates can be worked out with an open mind and a willingness to talk with each other. If the conflicts persist, have them speak to their RA. The RA has received training on how to mediate roommate conflicts and help them learn how to have dialogue around disagreements. The RA is also the person who will inform them of how to work through the room change process that happens during the 3rd and 4th weeks of school. This information will also be published on the REHS Facebook Fan Page. Should students still need assistance, they can schedule a meeting with the professional staff member overseeing the building, the Graduate Hall Coordinator, who will be able to assist with the situation.

What are roommate agreements?

Roommate agreements are given to all first-year students as a tool for them to create a common understanding of how the room will be used so that each roommate can get the best experience out of living on campus. Students receive a self-assessment form when they move in and then receive a similar form to complete with their roommate(s) at their first hall meeting (aka Hall Spread). The RA sits down with the roommates and helps to negotiate behavior acceptable to all parties. In the situation where one roommate does not follow the agreement, they may given alternate housing or face educational sanctions through the student conduct process.

What is the policy regarding guests visiting students in the halls?

As noted in the Code of Student Conduct, residents are responsible for the actions of their guests. Residents 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. Residents 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. Residential Education and Housing Services staff is to be apprised of any overnight guests staying in the building for safety reasons or in case of an emergency. 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. Violations will result in judicial action and/or eviction.

If my student’s roommate leaves the College, will my student get a new roommate?

This may happen depending on the need to use the space.

Who are the resources for students in the residence halls?

A Resident Advisor lives on each floor. These upper division students are attending Oxy and have faced many of the same issues as your students will be facing. Each living area has a Graduate Hall Coordinator (GHC) who lives in the hall. These professional staff members are not only working with students here at Oxy, but are getting higher degrees in their chosen fields. The GHCs are supervised by an Assistant Direcotr, which is a full-time professional staff member with an advanced degree who is responsible for the safety, community development, and supervision of multiple buildings. The central office for Residential Education and Housing Services (REHS) department is located in Berkus Hall. Office hours are from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. and the office phone number is (323) 259-2531. In the event of an emergency, there is always an REHS professional staff member on-call that collaborates with Campus Safety officers to ensure student safety.

How are the RAs trained and in what topics?

RAs undergo an intensive 2 week training prior to the start of the Fall term on topics like conflict mediation, sexual misconduct response, first aid and CPR as well as many other topics. RAs also participate in monthly in-service training, a winter break refresher training and end of the year leadership training.

My student is recently injured and is in need of accommodations. Who can help with this need?

The Dean of Students Office staff members are available to meet with students who have temporary or permanent disabilities. The staff members will review the student's needs and arrange for appropriate accommodations for the individual. Those students who have learning, physical, or psychological disabilities can meet with the Dean of Students Office staff members, and are encouraged to visit the Disability Services website more information.

My student is significantly sick and will be absent from class. How do students inform the professors?

The College recognizes that unexpected circumstances arise throughout a students' academic career. The College encourages students to practice self-advocacy by communicating with their professors when they are absent due to a personal emergency or illness. As stated in the Class Absence Due to Personal Emergency or Illness policy, the Dean of Students Office may assist students with such advocacy in the event of a hospitalization or other personal crisis. The Office will ask students for documentation in these instances. Please note that professors have the final say on whether or not to excuse a class absence due to an illness or personal emergency.

What can students do in the event that they are made aware of a crisis of some kind with another student - say, for instance, a roommate or friend who is depressed, agitated or acting strangely or dangerously?

No student should feel that they need to keep a secret, or carry this kind of information alone. Within the ‘culture of care’, which is a philosophy aimed at shared responsibility for caring for all students at the College, students can communicate their concerns through multiple avenues – an Emmons employee, an RA, the Dean of Students Office, the Office of Religious and Spiritual Life, a coach, professor, or other appropriate College employees. This reported information is quickly distributed to a limited group of trained professionals who create and implement a plan of support for the student. This group of professionals is called the Student Success Team.

My student is dealing with grief over the death of a member of the family and/or a close friend. What type of support is available for my student on campus?

The Office for Religious Life and the Dean of Students Office support a student grief group. Students meet weekly to share stories and to help one another through the grieving process. For more information, contact Rev. Susan E. Young young@oxy.edu

If there is a tragedy on campus, what kind of support can I expect my student will receive from the College?

We understand the potentially traumatizing impact of on-campus tragedies or community disasters. We will provide numerous groups and ‘safe spaces’ for students to collect and process their experiences with the assistance of trained professionals. Students may visit with a professional ministry staff member of the Office of Religious and Spiritual life by contacting the Rev. Susan E. Young, Director, at young@oxy.edu, calling (323) 259-2621 or stopping by the office in Lower Herrick.

I am concerned that my student will not seek out help. What does the college do to connect students to resources?

At times, students may feel uncomfortable seeking support. As noted above, the culture of care philosophy implemented at Occidental College instructs employees to report students who are struggling to the Student Success Team. When this group becomes aware that a student may be struggling in some fashion, these administrators discuss ways to approach the student and link them to resources. Families may also wish to contact the Dean of Students Office if they are seriously concerned about their student. However, we highly recommend that families empower their students to seek the help they need in effort to develop a level of independence. The phone number for the Dean of Students Office is (323) 259-2969 and (323) 259-2661.

How safe is the campus? Where can I get campus safety reporting information?

The College enjoys a park-like setting; however, we are ever mindful of our location in a major metropolitan area. We realize we are not isolated from crime and are proactive in our efforts at crime prevention. Crime prevention programs are offered by various campus organizations throughout the year. A common theme of all awareness and crime prevention programs is to encourage students and employees to be aware of their responsibility for their own safety and the security of their belongings.

The Campus Safety Department prepares an annual publication – A Guide to Campus Safety – to comply with the Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Crime Statistics Act.

What advice should we give to students for staying safe in the areas surrounding the college? Are there any areas they shouldn't go?

Students are encouraged to explore the neighborhood during the day and to travel in groups of 3 or more. They should always remain aware of their surroundings - no iPod ear buds that limit the sounds you can hear around you. We encourage students to make use of the Bengal Bus shuttles when running errands in Eagle Rock. Instruct your student to enter Campus Safety’s phone number into their cell phone if they have one. The number is 323-259-2599. Students who are off-campus are encouraged to call 911 first in case of an emergency followed by Campus Safety.

Is it recommended that students get items (like computers) engraved for security? Where can they get this done? Is there a cost?

There is no cost involved to engrave personal items. Campus safety has an engraver that we will loan to students and/or Officers will assist the student. To help prevent theft in the residence halls, students are highly encouraged to lock their doors when they leave their room and to never let others into the building. Students living on the first floor (or gorund level floor) are encouraged to close and lock their windows. Students should not leave personal belongings unattended on- or off-campus. Please remind your student of this advice during finals week when students tend to leave laptops unattended at the library.

How would students arrange for a security escort? Can a student call Campus Safety if they are off campus to get a ride if they feel unsafe?

We encourage all students to program the Campus Safety Service Line into their personal cell phones 323-259-2599. Safety escorts are available dusk to dawn on campus as well as within a block radius of the campus. Students who are off-campus within this radius can get a ride from Campus Safety back to campus.

How does the "no student allowed to be alone in a lab" policy work?

After 10pm at night there must be at least two students in a lab at a time for safety reasons.

Some of the parking areas are pretty dark. Are there security precautions in place?

All parking areas on campus meet the minimum code requirements of the City of Los Angeles. Campus Safety Officers immediately report lights that are not working to Facilities Management who prioritize the repairs as ‘emergency.’ In addition, Officers are always on patrol to maintain a high visibility deterrence to crime. Blue light emergency phones are also located throughout the campus. If a person is uncomfortable walking anywhere on campus after dark, Campus Safety provides safety escorts upon request.

What can a student do to prevent theft of personal property?

Most thefts can be easily prevented by students keeping their residence hall room doors locked when they are out and not leaving their personal belongings unattended when they are in the Quad, a dining facility, or the Library. It’s also important to lock bicycles with a good lock when not in use. Vehicles should always be locked and valuables stowed out of sight wherever you park. Thefts are usually a crime of opportunity.

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 and their families are encouraged to check coverage under their family’s home owner insurance policy or purchase renters insurance while in student housing.

How am I alerted to major campus emergencies such as a shooter on campus or earthquake?

In the event that a situation arises, either on or off campus, that, in the judgment of the Chief of Campus Safety or designee, constitutes an ongoing or continuing threat, a campus wide “timely warning" will be issued. Depending on the severity of the situation, the warning may trigger activation of all or part of the OxyAlert system; a multi-layered approach using siren, voicemail, email, text messaging and website notifications. Students enroll in OxyAlert during clearance at the start of each semester; faculty, staff and administrators enroll at the MyOxy section of the College website.

Are students made aware of signs of alcohol poisoning and encouraged to intervene?

There are multiple ways the College educates students about alcohol and other substances. A presentation during Orientation, Alcohol Awareness Week, and various RA programs are all examples of where students receive this information. All Occidental College students are required to complete an educational program called, Think About It. This program addresses the interconnection between substance abuse, hookup culture, and sexual violence, and encourages students to reflect critically on the personal beliefs, social norms, and cultural pressures that enable high-risk behaviors. Its goal is to help students make healthy decisions and promote a positive campus culture. The College also offers a program called, "Making Choices," where students who have been found responsible for violating the College Alcohol and Other Drug policy examine their use of these substances and have a discussion with a professional staff member on how these decisions impact their health and overall well-being. The College encourages students to seek help for their peers in need of medical attention through use of the Medical Amnesty policy. In these situations, students will participate in educational activities as opposed to going through the conduct process.

How is it decided which students get into a class and which do not, in case the class is oversubscribed?

Students are encouraged to sign up on the waitlist for each class; however, not all professors use this list. The reason some may choose not to use this method is because they want to humanize the process to better assist students who have a significant reason for wanting to attend the class.

For students with learning disabilities (504 plan), where and when do they take placement tests? Who do they talk to about it?

Some accommodated testing has already occurred for those students who have formally requested help through the Dean of Students office. The departments should have already contacted students and scheduled times to take the appropriate test. However, if someone still needs assistance they should contact the Dean of Students Office.

Is there a shuttle/ bus service to old Pasadena?

The shuttle to Old Pasadena is operated by the Bengal Bus program, a division of the student government. For information about the schedule for the week, students can call the Student Activities Center at 323-259-2605. This free shuttle also takes students to locations such as Target and Trader Joes throughout the week. On the weekends, the Bengal Bus occasionally sponsors events such as a beach trip, Dodgers game, and other LA locations. Depending on the event, students may have to pay a small fee, but the transportation is free.

Is there a Metro near school to get to Kaiser Pasadena?

The closest Metro station is in Highland Park, about 2-1/2 miles from the campus. Taxi vouchers are also available. Students will be billed for the cost of the taxi service.

If you do not have a car is there public transportation available?

The closest bus stop is at the corner of Westdale and Eagle Rock Blvd, blocks from the campus. Students can also sign-up to participate in the Zip Car program.

How do taxi vouchers work?

Campus Safety, Emmons Student Wellness Center and ResEd professional staff maintain a supply of taxi vouchers. Students are issued the vouchers and are billed for the direct cost.

Do students reside in the same residence hall year after year?

Students do not live in the same hall year after year. Depending on their room draw number, they will have a choice of what spaces are available on campus. Room Draw typically happens near the end of Spring semester in early April.

Can students stay through Thanksgiving break?

Yes.

If a student is in a triple, will they be guaranteed not to be in a triple in future years?

No. Room assignments are managed via random lottery numbers.

Are there plans to install AC in all the residence halls?

There are plans to renovate the residence halls. When possible and not cost prohibitive, AC is strongly considered for all renovations.

Who cleans the bathrooms? Are students expected to clean their own rooms?

Cleaning Services staff cleans the common areas in the halls. Students are expected to take out their own trash and clean their own rooms. 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 themselves.

Does Oxy provide toilet paper in the residence halls?

Yes.

Are students allowed to go off campus on weekends?

Yes. Students are free to come and go on campus as they please. We encourage them to be in communication with their roommates, friends and RAs so people know where they are in the case of emergencies but there is no requirement for checking in at any given time.

Is storage available for international students during breaks?

Yes. All students are able to keep their stuff in their rooms from fall to spring semester (Students residing in Newcomb hall will need to lock their belongings in the closet as this hall is used for winter break housing). During the summer months, REHS works with an outside vendor to provide multiple storage and shipping options to students.

How do students set up their laundry accounts?

Visit the following link to complete the Debit Account Deposit Request Form

Use this form to request deposits to debit accounts that may be used for Residence Hall Laundry, Bookstore Bengal Bucks and Campus Dining FLEX, all accessed with your ID Card. Charges are posted to your student account with the business office monthly and will appear on the next e-bill.

Leftover balances remain in the account for the next semester or year. Any balance remaining when moving out of housing (laundry only), or upon graduation, leave of absence or withdrawal, may be requested to be transferred back to your student account through Occidental College Business Services.

Once you have filled out all the required fields, submit your form. Your account will be set up or replenished, usually within one business day, but no later than three business days. Problems with equipment, ID cards or funds should be directed to the Card Office.

If a student needs to order prescription medication, can it be obtained through Emmons?

No. The student should order their prescription medication through a pharmacy. Emmons Student Wellness Center keeps a limited supply of antibiotics and vaccines at the health center.

Will students get an announcement when flu shots are available?

Yes. Emmons Student Wellness Center will send out announcements to students when flu shots become available.

What will you discuss with families without a FERPA release?

Occidental views families as partners in our students’ success. To this end, Occidental will share what it can with families without violating FERPA. This being said, Occidental will strongly encourage students to seek the advice and support of families when possible. Additionally, Occidental has a policy of contacting families in the case of hospital transports due to alcohol or drugs.