Residence Hall Handbook

Your rights and responsibilities as part of the residence hall community.

The Residence Hall Handbook is your guide to the rules and regulations in the residence halls.

Read each section to become familiar with the issues around community, facilities, and safety measures.

Always contact your Residence Hall Director first. They can answer your questions most efficiently.

Office of Residence Life

Monday - Friday, 8:30 AM to 5:00 PM

2205 4th Street NW, Washington, D.C. 20059



Each academic year, Residence Hall Staff sponsor a variety of “out-of-class” programs for residents. These include seminars, community service projects, discussion groups, and many more activities. All residents are encouraged to share their ideas and talents in developing hall programs. Do not be shy, get involved!

  • Residence Life Green Team
  • Haunted Hilltop
  • Homecoming Decoration
  • Project Give-Back
  • Ladies of the Quad (L.O.Q.)
  • Gentlemen of Drew (G.O.D.)


Residents should make it a priority to know their Residence Hall Staff.

The Front Desk- The front desk is the central location for addressing resident questions concerning mail, processing maintenance requests, and other general interests. All Residence Hall front desks operate 24 hours per day.

The Lobby Monitor- In addition to front desk staff, a cadre of student lobby monitors is scheduled to check resident’s identification cards. Additionally, lobby monitors check-in University and non-University guests at all times.

The Resident Assistant (R.A.) is an upper-class student who lives in the Residence Hall and supervises residents on an assigned floor. The R.A. plan programs and activities, hold floor meetings, and address roommate situations on their unit and the hall in general. Your assigned R.A. should be one of the first people you contact if you have any problems or concerns.

The Graduate Assistant (G.R.A.) assists the Residence Hall Manager with the management of the Residence Hall. Graduate Residence Assistants act on behalf of the Residence Hall Manager in their absence. The G.R.A. co-equally serves as the direct supervisor of the Resident Assistant’s (R.A.’s) and other student staff and student leaders within the Residence Hall.

The Residence Hall Manager is responsible for the management and direction of the Residence Hall. The Residence Hall Manager is responsible for enforcing Residence Life and University policies. Moreover, the Residence Hall Manager help students by making appropriate referrals to support offices on campus, as needed. Every effort is put forth by Residence Hall Manager to promote academic excellence and personal and social development.

Mandatory Meetings

Residents are required to attend all mandatory meetings. Failure to comply with these meetings may result in loss of visitation as deemed appropriate by the Residence Hall Manager. Residents will receive notice of mandatory meetings.


Due to COVID-19 social distancing, visitation is not allowed.

Residence Hall Council

Residents are expected to follow University and Residence Hall guidelines and to govern themselves accordingly. Each Residence Hall elects a Residence Hall Council at the start of the academic year. The Hall Council serves in an advisory role as an integral part of the Residence Hall operation. Council members must give leadership to fostering a healthy living environment and setting the image and spirit of the Residence Hall. The group supports programming efforts, gives input into rule changes and expresses the sentiments of hall residents. The Council leadership includes the office of President, Vice President, Treasurer, Secretary, and Floor Representatives.


Judiciary Board

Similarly to the Residence Hall Council, a Student Judiciary Board consisting of hall residents is established to hear non-serious infractions committed by their peers. Judiciary Board members hear the cases brought to them by the Residence Hall Manager.

The structure of the in-hall Judiciary Board consists of a prosecutor and defense team. The accused has the right to hear all charges and to present counter evidence to enlighten the hearing committee. The Residence Hall Judiciary Board can recommend to the Residence Hall Manager and the Dean, sanctions such as revoking visitation privileges, community service projects, etc. or they can recommend that the matter be handled by the University Judiciary for graver penalties. The Judiciary Board Leadership Council consists of Chairperson, Vice-Chairperson, Prosecutor, Public Defender, and Recording Secretary.

Roommate Contract

Students are required to complete the Roommate Contract to avoid conflicts and misunderstandings resulting from differences of opinion. Usually a change of room is not the first option. Students are encouraged to try to adjust to the new living situation by making a concerted effort to work towards a decent and fair living arrangement.


Program Space

Each Residence Hall is equipped with seminar rooms and/or recreation space. Generally, special program initiatives are sponsored in these locations. If staff/students wish to reserve use of the seminar room or lounge spaces, special reservation forms must be completed and approved by the Residence Hall Manager. You may inquire at the front desk about room reservations. A nominal fee may be required.


Howard University's mail is managed by the Office of Auxiliary Enterprises.


Each resident must purchase a laundry card in order to operate laundry equipment. These cards may be purchased in the Residence Halls, University Bookstore, and Armor J. Blackburn Center. Remember, students are responsible for personal items at all times.

Washers and dryers are located in the laundry room areas in each building. If a machine is not working properly, please report the problem by calling the laundry repair 800-number posted on the wall first. Next, report the broken equipment to the front desk.

Ironing of clothing should be contained in the laundry room area or other approved designations. See Residence Hall Managers for questions concerning approved ironing locations.

Vending Machine Service

Each resident hall has a vending machine area. The machines are stocked with an assortment of food and drinks and are re-stocked weekly. The vending area is available to residents 24 hours per day. Regular U.S. currency is required.

Common Areas

There are television rooms and lounges located in each hall. Some halls have a separate television and lounge area. These areas are utilized for various functions and therefore have hours of operation and blackout times per the discretion of the Residence Hall Manager, based on special needs of the residents and guests. Removal of furniture is strictly prohibited.

Several of the halls have kitchenettes for residents use only. When utilizing the kitchenettes, it is the responsibility of residents to clean up after each use. Failure to keep the kitchenette area neat and clean could jeopardize its continued availability.


There are very few parking spaces available for residents who live in the Residence Hall. Although space is limited, students can apply for parking through the Office of Parking Enforcement located in the Mordecai Wyatt Johnson Administration building (the “A-building”). The University Parking Office can be reached at (202) 806-2000.

Should you secure a parking space on or near the campus, always be mindful of your surroundings at all times. Do not leave valuables in your car in plain view. Should your Residence Hall be surrounded by on-street parking, you may wish to apply for a residential parking zone permit by contacting the District of Columbia Department of Transportation.

Trash Removal

Place all garbage in plastic bags in the trash cans/chutes located on each floor. Keep the trash in the trash can/chute to prevent bug, insect, and rodent infestation. If the trash can/chute is full, take your trash to the nearest trash receptacle or trash chute. Remember, rodents are only a few feet away from where they are being fed.


Personal Property

One’s belongings must be the “number one priority” of each individual resident.

Remember the following guidelines:

  • The University is NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR LOSS of personal property in any building or on any part of the campus, whether the loss occurs by theft, fire or otherwise.
  • Lock room/suite door each time you leave your room- even for a few minutes and also while you sleep at night.
  • Secure insurance on your personal belongings. Check with your parents to ascertain that your belongings are covered under your family’s insurance policy. If not, insurance applications for supplemental insurance are available in the Central Office of Residence Life.
  • Do not bring valuables, such as expensive jewelry, furs, stereos, televisions, photographic equipment etc., to the Residence Hall. Please remember that, should you insist upon bringing such items, you will be doing so AT YOUR OWN RISK. Costly items must be kept out of plain view at all times. Guests including guests of roommates/suite mates should not be privy to the location of expensive items.
  • Protecting your personal belongings is your responsibility. The front desk is prohibited from holding or storing personal property.
  • Follow visitation guidelines and encourage roommates/suite mates to do the same.

Safety Inspection and Meetings

The Office of Residence Life requires regularly scheduled safety inspections and meetings in each Residence Hall. The inspections are designed to examine the general condition of student rooms and public areas to insure that safety guidelines are met. The safety inspection team will specifically look for hot plates, electrical fryers, large sized refrigerators, small ovens, and other cooking appliances that are strictly prohibited in student rooms.


Drugs and Weapons

The Office of Residence Life has a zero tolerance policy concerning students found to be in the possession of, or using, weapons and/or illegal drugs. The presence of drugs of any sort, or weapons, in a student’s room constitutes possession for these purposes. Students found to be in possession of or using, weapons or illegal drugs will be required to vacate University housing immediately without the possibility for housing privileges in University housing ever again. Additionally, such students will face other sanctions including disciplinary actions and possible police action. In such cases, no adjustments or refunds will be allowed against room charges.

Fire Drills

Fire drills are held routinely in the Residence Halls. Howard University must comply with the fire and safety code of the District of Columbia. Therefore, it is very important that all students comply with scheduled fire drills so that in the event of an emergency the response will be effective and appropriate. Participation in all fire drills in your Residence Hall is MANDATORY. Students failing to participate in a fire drill will be dismissed from the Residence Hall and possibly fined per the ordinance or regulation of the District of Columbia.

Emergency Equipment

Emergency Equipment is used for safety purposes only. Any tampering with emergency apparatuses such as fire extinguishers, fire alarms and systems, and disconnecting smoke detectors is a crime, punishable by law and grounds for immediate eviction from all Residence Halls and/or Howard University. 

Emergency Shelter-In-Place Protocol

What it Means to "Shelter in Place"

If an incident occurs and the buildings or areas around where you are become unstable, or if the air outdoors becomes dangerous due to toxic or irritating substances in the air, it is usually safer to stay indoors, because leaving the area may expose you to that danger. Thus, to "shelter in place" means to make a shelter of the building that you are in, and with a few adjustments this location can be made even safer and more comfortable until it is safe to go outside.

Basic "Shelter in Place" Guidance

If an incident occurs and the building you are in is "not" damaged, stay inside-seeking an interior room-until you are told it is safe to come out. If your building is damaged, take your personal belongings (purse, wallet, HU Capstone Card, etc.) and follow the evacuation procedures for your building (close your door, proceed to the nearest exit use the stairs instead of the elevators). Once you have evacuated, seek shelter at the nearest University building quickly. If the police or fire department personnel are on the scene, follow their directions.

How to Prepare to "Shelter in Place"

Although it is unlikely that you will ever need to shelter in place, it is helpful to know what to do just in case. The longest you should expect to stay inside is about 12 hours, usually less. A few simple items can make it easier and more comfortable should you ever need to shelter in place on campus. First, keep a supply of required medications with you.

The following additional items would be good to keep in the place where you spend the most time-your residence hall room or office-to support your personal comfort:

(Discussion and Explanation of the Office of Residence Life Survival Kit)

Additional preparation information:

  • Extra prescription medicine (if you need to take it during the period of shelter in place or in case local pharmacies don’t open immediately following the incident).
  • First aid supplies
  • Non-perishable food and bottled water (Most bottled water is good for about six months. If the bottle does not have an expiration date on, mark the date of purchase.)
  • Flashlight
  • Battery-operated radio
  • Extra batteries
  • A telephone (Remember during a crisis, telephone services may not be available.)

How You Will Know to "Shelter in Place"

Assume you should. But a shelter in place notification can come from several sources, including the Howard University Campus Police, the Office of Residence Life, residence hall staff, or other University employees, the federal or D.C. government, and the Metropolitan Police Department.

Notification of a need to shelter in place also may come over the radio and television. In addition, the University can announce the need to shelter in place on campus through building public address systems, other campus safety vehicles, as well as in person. In any emergency, conditions permitting, you can call the Front Desk in your residence halls or the Office of Residence Life at (202) 806-6131 and access immediate university community instructions via the Web at

How to "Shelter in Place"

No matter where you are, the basic steps of shelter in place will generally remain the same. Should the need ever arise follow these steps, unless instructed otherwise by local emergency personnel:

  1. If you are inside, stay where you are. Collect any emergency shelter in place supplies and a telephone to be used in case of emergency. If you are outdoors, proceed into the closest building quickly or follow instructions from emergency personnel are on the scene.
  2. Locate a room to shelter inside. It should be:
    • An interior room;
    • Above ground level; and
    • Without windows or with the least number of windows. If there is a large group of people inside a particular building, several rooms maybe necessary.
  3. Shut and lock all windows (tighter seal) and close exterior doors.
  4. Turn off air conditioners, heaters, and fans.
  5. Close vents to ventilation systems as you are able. (University staff will turn off ventilation as quickly as possible.)
  6. Make a list of the people with you and ask someone (Residence Life staff, faculty, or other staff) to call the list in to Campus Police so they know where you are sheltering. If only students are present, one of the students should call in the list.
  7. Turn on a radio or TV and listen for further instructions.
  8. Make yourself comfortable.
  9. Look after each other. You will get word as soon as it’s safe to come out.

Hurricane / Disaster Preparedness

Know the Difference Between a Watch and a Warning 

  • Watch: Conditions are a threat within 48 hours
  • Warning: Conditions are expected within 36 hours 


How to Prepare?

  • Listen to WHUR 96.3 FM and WTOP 103.5 FM
  • Monitor & HU Communications
  • Signup for Alert HU at
  • Close windows and doors
  • Turn refrigerator/freezer to coldest setting
  • Learn the evacuation plan for your building/residence hall
  • Make sure disaster supplies are stocked


Hurricane Checklist

  • First-aid kits and other medications
  • Bottled water
  • Non-perishable food/ can opener
  • Flashlights, batteries and battery-operated radio
  • Personal hygiene items (moist towelettes and hand sanitizer)
  • Secure personal documents (driver’s license, passport, social security card)
  • Cell phones and chargers
  • Printed contact information for family
  • Cash


What to do During?

  • Listen to local news for updates
  • Stay away from windows and glass doors - keep them closed.
  • If necessary, evacuate according to the instructions of campus officials and/or local authorities.
  • If your building structure is threatened, lie on the floor under a table or another sturdy object.
  • Move to the lowest level of your building.
  • Remain inside until an official “all clear” is given.