Residence Life Policies & Procedures

Luther College is a residential college and strongly believes that life in the residence halls is an integral part of a total liberal arts education. The Residence Life Office is committed—through the combined efforts of professional and student staff—to help shape a residential environment that supports and stimulates students’ academic, personal, and interpersonal learning and development. We are committed to helping students integrate their learning inside the classroom with their rich experiences in the residence halls. We strive to support the development of true communities in our residence halls, communities of faith and learning that are respectful, supportive, purposeful, and intentionally structured.

The following Residence Life Policies and Procedures help to define the expectations for community living at Luther. It is the responsibility of each student to become familiar with the policies and procedures outlined in this document, as well as those outlined in other documents, including but not limited to: Luther Code of Conduct, Housing and Dining Contract, Alcohol and Other Drugs Policies and Procedures, College Catalog, and other publications outlining student expectations, rights, and responsibilities.


Residency Requirement

Luther College is a residential college. All full-time students are required to live in college-owned housing unless married, 23 years of age by the first day of classes, or commuting from their legal guardians’ homes within 30 miles of campus. Off-campus living is limited and is permitted for students only when there is a shortage of rooms in college residence halls. Students must receive written permission to live off campus.

Housing and Dining Contract
Every resident is required to sign a housing and dining contract each year. It is the student’s responsibility to read and understand the contract. The signed document is a contract between the student and Luther College; students who violate provisions of the contract are subject to disciplinary action through the Residence Life or Student Life Offices. Violation of policy is defined in the contract and in the Luther College Student Handbook.


Room Draw Process
The room draw process occurs late in the spring semester and provides students the opportunity to select a room and roommates for the upcoming year. The room draw process assigns priority for housing based on class standing; the process is designed to give next year’s senior class first priority, the junior class second priority, and sophomore class third priority. Class standing is determined by the Registrar based on credit hours earned. In order to participate in room draw, students must be registered for the following fall semester.

It is the responsibility of each returning student to find his/her own roommate(s). To select a room at room draw, students must have the capacity number of people to fill the room.

Choice is Binding
A student is entitled to one housing choice each academic year. Room and roommate(s) choice is binding unless the student officially withdraws from Luther College. Any changes would incur a $100 penalty.

If at any time after room draw the occupancy of the room drops below capacity, the remaining resident(s) can expect that the vacated space(s) will be filled. Effort will be made to allow the remaining resident(s) a choice in filling the vacancy. The Residence Life Office has the right to assign a student to a room without prior consent of the person(s) currently living in the room.

Room Changes
Room changes are permitted for students if and when roommates are having adjustment problems and for other special circumstances. Prior to a room change being approved, students are expected to have made a good faith effort toward resolving the roommate situation. This includes discussing the situation with the Resident Assistant or professional staff member, and completing a roommate conference if requested. Four basic criteria must be met for a change to occur: 1) student(s) involved have attempted to resolve roommate situation, 2) vacant space is available, 3) students affected have consented to the change, and 4) the Residence Life Office has approved the change.

Break Housing
The residence halls are closed during the two official college breaks (Christmas Break and Spring Break). Several designated residence halls will remain open to provide housing. Students who have been approved by the Residence Life Office to remain on campus during the break periods will be asked to secure housing in another student’s room in one of the designated break housing buildings.


Room Keys
At check-in, each resident will receive one room key. Throughout the year this key will be the responsibility of the student. Lost or stolen keys should be reported immediately to the hall director or the Residence Life Office to ensure the safety of the student and his/her belongings. The student will complete a Key/Core Replacement Form to initiate the process. A $30 charge for a lost or stolen key will be assessed to change the lock and cut a new key. A charge of $30 also will be charged for failure to return the key at the time of checkout.

Access Keys/Cards
All residence halls except for the college owned houses, Baker Village, and College Apartments are secured by a card access system. Upon check-in, a student’s Luther College identification card is activated to provide 24/7 access to their residence hall. In addition to one's own residence hall, each student has 8:00 a.m.–10:00 p.m. access to the other halls on campus.  Students in college owned houses, Baker Village, and College Apartments will be issued an access key that will permit access to their housing unit.  A charge of $30 will be issued for failure to return an access key at the time of checkout.  A $25 replacement charge will also be issued for Luther College identification cards.


Entering Student Rooms
Entry by unauthorized student or college personnel into student rooms, unless by prior consent of occupant(s), is forbidden. Hall Directors and Resident Assistants are authorized to enter student rooms for purposes of enforcing stated college regulations. Entry of this nature does not require an authorization to search.

Inspection of Student Rooms
Residence hall rooms/apartments and college-owned houses may be inspected in the interest of maintaining or protecting college property at any time by those in charge of the hall/house or by administrative staff and maintenance employees of the institution. Any college property provided for use in lounges or other public places found in rooms may be removed without recourse of search procedures; any room may be inspected at any time for the purpose of locating misplaced property of the college. Disciplinary action may be initiated subsequent to the recovery of the property.

Search of Student Rooms and Personal Possessions of Students
Except under emergency circumstances in which the safety or life of a person(s) is in danger, students’ rooms and possessions of students shall not be searched unless appropriate authorization has been obtained. The Vice President and Dean for Student Life or his/her designee shall provide the searcher written authorization before the search is conducted specifying the reasons and the objects or information sought. The student should be present, if possible, during the search. Students may also be subject to search by local authorities under warrants issued in a court of law.


Personal Property
Luther College does not carry insurance on personal property of students and is not responsible for loss of or damage to such property, including property stored in lockers, storerooms, student rooms, or any storage spaces. Students use these spaces at their own risk. The college will not be held responsible for any property of students left in or delivered to the residence halls. It is strongly encouraged that students check their family insurance for coverage and, if necessary, purchase private personal property insurance from a reliable company.

The safekeeping of student property is the responsibility of each individual. Rooms should be locked at all times and personal property secured. Any theft or vandalism should be reported to the Hall Director and to Campus Security Office immediately.


Fire Safety Information
Fire safety policies and procedures are outlined in a number of documents, including but not limited to: the Luther Code of Conduct, Housing and Dining Contract, portions of the Safety and Security website, and related city, state, and/or federal laws. In order to ensure a safe environment, the Residence Life staff will conduct official room inspections during each fall, winter, and spring break. Room inspections may take place during other times as well. During inspections, prohibited items will be confiscated and fire safety fines will be assessed for policy violations.

Any violations to policy will be taken seriously. Sanctions, therefore, may include any or all of the following:

  • $25 minimum fine per prohibited item or for failure to evacuate during an alarm.
  • $250 individual fine for false fire alarm, tampering with fire safety equipment, or setting a fire.
  • $500 community fine (if individuals cannot be found and held accountable for false fire alarm or tampering with fire safety equipment).
  • Administrative conduct hearing with Director of Residence Life.
  • Social probation for the remainder of the current academic year.
  • Possible legal ramifications including prosecution by college officials or outside agencies.

The following activities, some of which can activate fire alarm systems, are prohibited in the residence halls:

  • Throwing balls, Frisbees, and other objects.
  • Shooting water or other objects.
  • Spraying paint, liquids, or other objects.
  • Using power saws and other electrical tools.
  • Tampering with any fire safety equipment.
  • Obstructing door exits or propping open fire safety doors.
  • Hanging items from the ceiling.
  • Placing items within 18 inches of sprinkler heads.
  • Covering more than 50 percent of room walls or 10 percent of room doors with decorative items.
  • Failure to immediately evacuate upon alarm.

Smoke Free Campus
In accordance to the Iowa Smoke Free Air Act, Luther College is a smoke free campus. This act prohibits smoking, including the use of e-cigarettes, inside all buildings, outside all buildings, and on all college property including, but not limited to, sidewalks, parking lots and roads (and inside vehicles located on such grounds), athletic fields, and on any other college property. The possession of pipes, hookahs, and other smoking devices is also prohibited, as is the sale and distribution of tobacco products (see Alcohol and Other Drugs Policies and Procedures).

Prohibited Possessions
For various health and safety reasons, many items are prohibited in the residence halls and college-owned houses. Prohibited items include, but are not limited to:

  • Extension cords, multiple plug adapters, and surge protectors with more than 6 outlets. You are permitted, however, to have one UL-approved surge protector with 6 or less outlets per resident for computer and auxiliary equipment.  Any appliance with a heavy electrical draw, such as a hair dryer, refrigerator, decorative lights, or coffee maker, must be plugged directly into a wall outlet and not a power strip.
  • Wireless Routers.
  • Candles, candle warmers, incense, oil lamps, halogen torchiere lamps, spider lamps, and open flames.
  • Smoking and illegal drug paraphernalia.
  • Flammable substances such as gasoline, cleaning fluids, lighter fluid and mineral spirits.
  • Motorized vehicles such as motorcycles and mopeds.
  • Hoverboards and similar devices, including Swagways, IO Hawks and Skywalkers.
  • Live Christmas trees, other live holiday greenery, and large decorative bulbs.
  • Fireworks and other explosives.
  • Firearms, ammunition, swords, switchblades and other dangerous knives, bows and arrows, slingshots, pellet guns, paintball guns and all other weapons. Students living in college-owned housing who wish to have a weapon for hunting purposes must store their weapons and ammunition with the Decorah Police Department (phone 382-3667).
  • Electrical appliances.

Electrical Appliances
Some electrical appliances create fire or health hazards; other appliances do not, and are permitted in the residence halls (such as air popcorn poppers, coffee makers with automatic shut-off, hot pots, fans, irons with automatic shut-off, refrigerators less than 3.2 cubic feet, and non-halogen lamps). Prohibited appliances include, but are not limited to:

  • Toasters, toaster ovens, hot plates, broilers, pizza ovens, sandwich grills, electric frying pans, electric grills (George Foreman-type grills), NuWave Ovens, and deep fryers.
  • Microwaves.
  • Space heaters.
  • Air conditioners.
  • Desktop burners and other appliances with an open heat coil or induction burner.
  • Heated blankets/bedding.

Residents are allowed to have one refrigerator under 3.2 cubic feet in size in each room.

Pet Policy
Animals present a definite health concern to residence hall living because of disease and allergies and potential damage to the buildings in the form of stains and odor. Pets, with the exception of fish (no piranhas), are not permitted in college housing. In accordance with the Fair Housing Act, emotional support animals are allowed if deemed necessary after completion of the Emotional Support Animal application through Disability Services.


Students in all residence halls may be on floors assigned to the opposite sex between 8:00 a.m. and 2:00 a.m. on weekdays (Sunday-Thursday). On weekends (Friday and Saturday), the visitation hours (8:00 a.m.-2:00 a.m.) will remain in effect for students living in designated first-year areas. For individuals living in areas not designated for first-year students, open visitation will exist on Friday and Saturday nights.

Although the college has established visitation hours, a student’s right to study, sleep, and exercise control over his/her personal space takes precedence over the right to host guests. The Residence Life Office/Student Life Office will actively intervene if conflicts arise between roommates with respect to the intervisitation policy.

In all residence halls, an escort policy will be in effect on weekends, from midnight to 2:00 a.m. in first-year residence spaces and until 8:00 a.m. in other residences. Each host is responsible for escorting a guest on and off the residence hall floors during those times.

Cohabitation (living together) with persons other than designated roommates is not permitted.

Hosting Guests
Students are required to register guests of the same sex (if staying for 48 hours or longer) with the Resident Assistant/Hall Director. Registration helps to ensure a safe environment in the residence halls and is useful in the event of a hall emergency. Guests under the age of 18, who do not attend Luther, must present proof of parental consent and be registered with the Resident Assistant.

Courtesy and Quiet Hours
Courtesy hours are enforced 24-hours each day. During courtesy hours, residents are expected to act in a manner that demonstrates respect for the rights of others to study and sleep in their rooms. Residents shall not make or allow any improper or disturbing noises in the building, sing or play musical instruments, watch television, or use their radio or stereo in a way or at a time which might be objectionable to other residents.

Quiet hours are from 11 p.m. to 11 a.m. each day. During quiet hours, noise should not be audible outside of a resident’s room with the room door closed. In addition, creation of noise disturbances in the corridors and bathrooms is unacceptable. These times ensure a quiet atmosphere conducive to studying and sleeping. The hours may be expanded in either direction, but not shortened.