Housing & Residence Life

Residence Life Policies

Through residential policies and procedures, Duke University seeks to foster a climate of responsibility, initiative, and creativity on the part of individuals and living groups. A successful residential community is one in which students take pride in their physical surroundings and assume active responsibility for the maintenance of acceptable standards of behavior in their living areas. Both individuals and living groups may be held accountable for the actions of individual members and their guests. Residents are also responsible for damages caused by their neglect or intentional actions.

While students are entitled to a general expectation of privacy within the confines of their own individual rooms (although extraordinary and compelling circumstances may occasionally require that this expectation be institutionally suspended), the university will not regard either students’ immediate living quarters or their commons areas as privileged sanctuaries where students may act with impunity or without regard to standards of honesty, trustworthiness, fairness, and respect for other members of the university community. Moreover, occupancy of an individual room or of a residence hall does not confer any proprietary interest or right of ownership on the part of an individual student or living group. The student and the living group are both properly viewed not as owners but as custodians of the living space that has been assigned to them. Inherent in this custodial relationship is the right of the university to promulgate criteria governing the circumstances under which this relationship may be entered into, may be maintained in good standing, or may be terminated.

Only HRL air conditioners are allowed in student rooms. Students may not install personally owned air-conditioning units in their room.

Residents are not allowed to make alterations or additions to or within the premises. This includes painting the room or apartment. Students will be charged for repairs needed to return rooms to an HRL-approved color and condition after move-out.

Resident assignments are made according to procedures published by HRL. While every effort is made to assign residents in accordance with their preferences, an assignment based on preferences is not guaranteed.

Residents may exchange or transfer apartment/rooms using the following procedure: (1) advance approval of the change by HRL, (2) inspection of vacated apartment/room and newly assigned apartment/room by HRL, and (3) return of old keys and signing for new keys in the appropriate HRL Campus Office(s). The residents seeking the assignment change are responsible for making required appointments and moving arrangements. An unofficial apartment/room change may lead to the revocation of this License and will not relieve the residents involved of the obligation to pay housing charges, damages, and other costs for the officially assigned room.

The number of residents to be assigned to each room or apartment is established by HRL.

For family housing, the number of children and adults that can live in each apartment is established by HRL. The enrolled resident is the License holder and responsible party for the apartment. The resident spouse or partner and any children are also bound under the same terms as the residence License holder. The resident License holder is responsible for all members of that family unit following the terms set forth in this License.

HRL retains the authority to make all space assignments. Vacancies existing in rooms and apartments may be filled by HRL without notice.

When an expanded occupancy room is returned to its standard occupancy, such as an expanded double returning to single or an expanded triple returning to double, the residents are financially responsible for the standard occupancy rate for the remainder of the License term.

HRL does not assign specific beds or bedrooms within each room or apartment. This responsibility is left to the residents assigned to the room or apartment.

HRL reserves the right to change a resident’s assignment if such a change is determined to be necessary. Such changes include relocating a resident from his or her room or apartment where there is a vacancy, to another room or apartment where there is a vacancy, in order to make an entire room or apartment available for a pair of roommates.

All residence hall bathrooms are secured with key-access to residents. Bathrooms may be unlocked based on a voting process, which is administered by HRL. If a community votes to have its bathroom unlocked, it may be billed for any damages that occur in the bathroom area.

The specific design, including sketches noting dimensions, must be submitted in writing to the residence coordinator of that quad or house at least two (2) weeks prior to the desired construction date. Approval for a bench must be received from the residence coordinator prior to construction.

The maximum dimensions of the bench include: 8’ in length, 5’ in height from the ground, and 6’ in depth. A pre-approved bench plan is available upon request. Note: Due to potential health hazards and adverse impact to the environment associated with burning pressure treated or chemically treated wood, benches must be constructed using untreated wood. Untreated wood that is properly sealed and painted will last for quite some time if it is not buried in the ground and is exposed only to the weather.

Only residential houses (SLG and non-SLG) may place benches on University property, unless an exception is granted by HRL and the University architect. Benches will be permitted only in areas designated by HRL. Students should contact the appropriate RC to learn where their house bench can be placed.

House benches may have to be moved temporarily (e.g., for special events or summer programming). Every effort will be made to retain the integrity of the bench if it is necessary to move it; however, the University will not be responsible for repairing benches as a result of a move. Otherwise, removal of benches from their designated locations is not permitted. Such action only serves to lessen their structural integrity and places the health and safety of those moving these heavy objects in serious jeopardy. Additionally, benches placed in unauthorized areas disrupt the normal use of public areas and unreasonably divert University employees from their assigned duties for the retrieval or removal of these structures.

House benches are intended to serve as locations for relaxed social interaction. House residents are expected to maintain them in good order, routinely making certain that damaged wood is replaced and fresh paint is applied as needed, including to cover acts of vandalism.

Individual residents, and potentially their living groups as well, may be subject to disciplinary action if they are identified as being responsible for moving benches. Each group has an obligation to deter its members and residents from tampering with the property of other groups, for a living group can be held accountable for the action of its individual members. Disciplinary measures taken against students identified as participating in the relocation/damaging of house benches may include, but are not limited to, having their housing Licenses placed in imminent jeopardy of revocation, being placed on disciplinary probation, and being assessed repair/replacement costs should a bench be damaged. A living group found responsible as a cohesive unit may have its bench dismantled, and denial of the privilege to build a new bench may extend for a period of time not to exceed one calendar year. Should a living group be found responsible for the damage or destruction of another living group’s property, the offending groups should anticipate loss of its bench and responsibility for the requisite replacement of the property it damaged or destroyed, and possible loss of selective living group status. Benches must meet requirements for dimensions, be built with untreated wood, and placed in a location designated by the residence coordinator.

  • Bicycles may be stored in the owner’s room or apartment, but may not be stored in commons, baths, entrances, stairways, or on sidewalks. Bicycles must not be left in locations where they may pose a tripping hazard or cause harm to persons or grounds keeping equipment.
  • All self-balancing scooters, also referred to as battery-operated scooters or hands-free segways and more popularly known as hoverboards or hover boards, will be banned from use and/or storage within the residence halls and apartments.
  • Motor vehicles must be in compliance with the University’s Parking Policies and parked in legal parking spaces.
  • Motor vehicles may not be stored or maintained at any time in any residence hall, apartment, arcade, porch, balcony, or breezeway.
  • Motor vehicles and bicycles in unauthorized areas will be removed. Residents will be required to pay removal fees in order to recover such vehicles. The University assumes no responsibility for damage to such vehicles or devices used to secure them.
  • Motorcycles must be parked in parking lots. Delivery trucks, automobiles, motorcycles, scooters, and mini-bikes are not permitted on lawns, walkways, patios, or in stairwells.
  • Using University water to wash cars is prohibited.

It is a violation of University policy to light any material on fire on campus. Candles, other open flame devices, grills, incense, and any other flame/heat producing items are strictly forbidden for use inside University facilities except during official religious ceremonies, such as the observance of Chanukah. Permission for use of any open flame devices (including those used for religious ceremonies) must be obtained from OESO Fire & Life Safety Division prior to use. A copy of the signed approval letter must be maintained at the location approved for an open flame device.

Whenever possible, substitute open flame candles with battery operated or electrical powered candles.

Swift Avenue: The pool is available to use only during posted hours of operation. All persons use the pool at their own risk. All users of the Swift Avenue pool must observe swimming pool regulations posted by HRL.

Central Campus: Duke University Recreation and Physical Education manages the pool on Central Campus, located behind the Devil’s Bistro and the Central Campus recreation fields. Information about this pool can be found at the Duke Campus Recreation and Physical Education website.

Prior to occupancy, HRL cleans each empty room and apartment and corrects any known deficiencies. After moving in, residents are responsible for cleaning the room or apartment including bathroom, as applicable. Apartments and residence hall bedrooms must be kept in good order and in a sanitary condition. Residents are also responsible for leaving the room or apartment in a clean condition upon vacating. If a room or an apartment requires extraordinary cleaning after it has been vacated, the cost will be passed along to the residents.

Housekeeping services are provided in common areas of the residence halls and apartments only on weekdays, with limited service on the weekend. The cost of extraordinary cleaning in bathrooms, corridors, common rooms and similar areas may be charged to residents.
Dusting or shaking of mops, brooms, or other cleaning material from windows, doors, and balconies is prohibited.

Residents of Central Campus Apartments are responsible for maintaining the areas adjacent to their apartments in a neat and orderly condition. No refuse, loose paper, cans, bottles, etc. are permitted to accumulate around the dwelling units. Residents who are moving must remove any packing cases, barrels, or boxes used. Bulk refuse containers and recycling bins are located throughout the complex.

Each house has common areas for use by residents. These areas include commons rooms, hallways, stairwells, bathrooms, study rooms, and laundry rooms. It is the responsibility of each community to see that these areas are kept in good condition and that the furnishings are not damaged or removed. Items not belonging in common areas may be removed by HRL without warning for safety reasons.

Commons furniture owned by HRL may not be removed from its intended location. Anyone doing so may be subject to disciplinary action. Commons furniture found in bedrooms may be removed by University personnel at the expense of the occupant(s).

Common areas are intended primarily for use by the residents in the assigned area for studying and social activities. Sleeping overnight in the common rooms is prohibited.

Students and staff with a valid DukeCard may access labs with an outside entrance. Only those with a valid DukeCard for a building may access a lab in that building.

HRL inspects each empty room and apartment prior to occupancy. Residents will be charged for any damages or modifications found in the room or apartment after occupancy unless previously noted on a Room Condition Report (RCR). The assigned residents are responsible for reporting to HDRL defects or damages found in a room within two working days after occupancy.

Advice on non-damaging ways of hanging artwork and other items is available from HRL Campus Offices. Residents may not use nails, screws, tacks, hooks, decals, or adhesives that damage walls, furniture, or fixtures.

Residents are financially responsible for all broken windows and door glass, the failure of plumbing or equipment caused by misuse and other damage to buildings, building equipment, and furniture beyond normal wear and tear. In such cases, residents will be billed the cost of repairs, replacements, or re-assembly in accordance with HRL procedures.

All of Duke University residences are smoke free environments. Students found to have been smoking in residence, will be charged an extra cleaning fee to bring the environment back to a “smoke free” state. Costs will vary due to the extent of cleaning required but could range from $300-$500 for a single room to an entire apartment and is dependent on the level of damage from smoke.

Each bedroom and apartment is furnished by HRL. Residents will be charged for any furniture missing from their assigned room or apartment. Personal furniture may be added provided all residents of the room or apartment agree and residents remove the furniture at the end of occupancy.

Non-HRL furniture and property left in rooms and apartments after the License period ends will be disposed of at the expense of the residents and at the discretion of HRL.

Residents are collectively responsible for care of public areas including furnishings and equipment. Furniture and equipment owned by HRL may not be removed from its intended location. Anyone doing so may be charged with theft under the University judicial code. University personnel may remove common room furniture found in resident rooms at the expense of the residents.

Residents will be assessed damage charges based on current labor rates plus materials, supplies, or contractor charges or actual replacement. Minimum labor rate is one hour and subsequent time is billed in one-half hour increment. HRL reserves the right to repair damage at its discretion.  

HRL may use one of two methods to assess damage charges:
Actual repair/replacement costs, or
Estimated costs of time and materials

Current Labor Rates:

Trade Hourly Rate
Carpentry $77.00
Electrical $93.00
General Maintenance $90.00
Glass $77.00
Housekeeping $33.00
Heating/Air Conditioning $96.00
Key/Lock $93.00
Paint $77.00
Plumbing $92.00

his policy applies to all Duke University facilities to include Campus, Medical Center, Hospital and Health System. All students, visitors, and employees must adhere to this policy when planning a theme party, event, meeting, or decorating any work area. Notify OESO-Fire and Life Safety as soon as possible but no less than 72 hours prior to the placement of decorations.

General Restrictions

  • The use of pyrotechnics by individuals or performers is prohibited on campus.
  • All decorations (to include artificial greenery such as wreaths and holly) must be non-combustible, inherently flame resistant or treated with an approved fire retardant in accordance with the manufacturer’s specifications that will pass NFPA 701 test.
  • Decorative materials shall not exceed 10% of the aggregate of wall and ceilings.
  • Straw, hay, corn fodder, dried flowers, bamboo, and other similar decorations are prohibited as decoration inside facilities without written authorization from the OESO Fire & Life Safety Division.
  • Combustible decorations shall be prohibited in all healthcare occupancies (Hospital, Duke Clinic, PDC, etc.) unless they are flame retardant. (Exception: combustible decorations, such as photographs and paintings, in such limited quantities that a hazard of fire development or spread is not present).
  • Fog and smoke machines may not be used inside facilities without written authorization of the OESO Fire & Life Safety Division.
  • Animal(s), regardless of size or species, are strictly prohibited to attend or participate in any event, party, or meeting.
  • Water, waterfalls, pools, spraying water, running water, or utilizing water in any way is strictly prohibited.
  • All doors (i.e., exit, smoke, fire, interior, exterior), hallways or any other means of egress may not be covered or blocked in any manner by decorations.
  • Trash must not be allowed to accumulate, but collected in appropriate containers during the event and removed at the close of the event.

Electrical Safety and Holiday Lighting

  • Electrical lights (110 volts) and fiber optic lights (110 volts) may be used on artificial Christmas trees, wreaths and greenery, but may not be used on any live Christmas trees or greenery.
  • All electrical lights, electrical equipment, animated or electrical decorations must be UL listed.
  • Manufacturer’s instructions and precautions shall be followed.
  • Each living group or office should have an appointed representative to ensure that the electrical decorations are de-energized at the end of the day.
  • Any light string with worn, frayed, broken cords, loose bulb connections, and empty sockets shall not be used.
  • Use of holiday lights and light strings shall be limited to reduce overheating.
  • Lights shall not have more than three strings of light connected to each other.
  • The use of lights and wiring on metal Christmas trees (aluminum trees from the 1950s and 1960s as defined by the NC Department of Insurance) is prohibited. Fiber optic and pre-wired artificial trees are acceptable as long as they are UL listed.
  • Only indoor lights will be used inside facilities.
  • Light strings or electrical decorations shall be de-energized before replacing bulbs or fuses.
  • Light strings must be mounted in a manner that will not damage the cord’s insulation.
  • Light strings should be plugged directly into an outlet or an electrical power strip with built-in circuit breaker.

All combustible party decorations shall be removed from the area immediately following the event.

During the holiday season decorations shall be removed no later than December 30th. Residence halls shall have all decorations removed no later than the closing of the residence halls by Housing, Dining, and Residence Life.

Live Greenery and Christmas Trees
Live greenery, such as Christmas trees, pine wreaths and holly, are prohibited inside of Hospital and Medical Center buildings. In addition, live greenery is prohibited in assembly areas, education facilities, schools, day cares, stores, businesses, residence halls, and hotels unless the building is protected throughout with an approved automatic sprinkler system.

If a live Christmas tree is allowed in a facility, the following rules apply:

  • Only one tree will be purchased for each department, group or living group and the tree will be located in a public area such as a commons area, reception area or lounge.
  • All trees will be prepared by sawing off the trunk of the tree at an angle at least one-half inch or more above the original cut and spraying the tree with an approved fire retardant in accordance with the manufacturer’s specifications as required by NC State Building Code.
  • The tree will be placed within a tree holder/stand capable of containing water to prevent drying. The stand will be checked daily to assure the water level is adequate.

Remember: A tree will absorb large quantities of water while it is indoors.

  • The tree will be placed in a location away from all heat sources.
  • Smoking or open flames shall be prohibited near live greenery.
  • The tree shall be removed from the facility whenever the needles or leaves fall off readily when a tree branch is shaken or if the needles are brittle and break when bent between the thumb and the index finger, or by December 30, whichever occurs first.

Artificial greenery may be utilized if it meets the general and electrical requirements as listed above.

Violations reported to the Office of Student Conduct or HRL will be considered serious offenses and living group and cohesive unit officers will be held accountable.

If you have any questions as to whether your party decorations fall within the limits allowed by University safety policies, please contact OESO-Fire Safety at 919-684-5609 at least 72 hours prior to the date of the actual event or party.

All undergraduate residents in University housing are required to select a Duke Dining Plan for the academic year. Failure to select a Duke Dining Plan will result in Duke Dining Services assigning a default plan.

Throwing or in any other way propelling objects or liquids from windows is prohibited. Screens must remain in place and secured at all times.

Spaces in University housing are available for assignment to eligible, full-time Duke University undergraduate students who are working towards a degree. Residents who withdraw from school, graduate, take a leave of absence, have the License revoked for reasons of conduct, or move off campus must vacate the room or apartment within forty-eight (48) hours from the date of such withdrawal, leave, removal for disciplinary reason, move, or the official move-out date at the end of the semester, whichever comes first. Undergraduate students are eligible to reside in University housing for a maximum of eight (8) fall and spring semesters.

Campus Fire Safety Right to Know Act Annual Report

All individuals, living groups, and cohesive units must adhere to university fire safety policies. Report all fires and smoke to Duke University Police Department by dialing 911 from any campus phone or 919-684-2444 from a cell phone. Fires that have been extinguished should also be reported to Duke Police so that an investigation may be conducted. All fires should subsequently also be reported to your Hall Staff.

False alarms, damage, theft, or misuse of fire detection, alarm or extinguishing equipment are punishable under the criminal law provision  of the North Carolina Statute 14-286 and will likely result in the cancellation of a student's housing contract in addition to possible adjudication of the matter through the Office of Student Conduct.  Residents will be charged for fire damage resulting from neglect or intentional actions. 

Report all fires and smoke to Duke University Police Department by dialing 911 from any campus phone or 919-684-2444 from a cell phone. Fires that have been extinguished should also be reported to Duke Police so that an investigation may be conducted. All fires should subsequently also be reported to your Hall Staff.

Egress Obstruction 

North Carolina fire safety codes prohibit the obstruction of hallways and stairwells. The Durham Fire Marshall mandates the immediate removal of all items obstructing hallways and stairwells. HDRL will remove without warning or reimbursement furniture, bicycles, lumber and all other items found obstructing hallways or stairwells. University furniture will be removed from hallways and stairwells and you will be charged for any missing furniture when you vacate your room. In addition, access to windows as a secondary means of egress is required.

Fire Alarms/Drills 

To further assure life safety, fire alarm systems are located in each residence hall to alert the occupants in case of fire and drills are conducted several times each year. Residents must comply with all fire alarms/drills. Failure to evacuate may result in disciplinary action. Activating/reporting false alarms or tampering with the alarm system is strictly prohibited and will result in the cancellation of a student's housing contract.

Fire Fighting Equipment

Fire extinguishers are located in all residence halls. The presence of this equipment can help quickly control fires, thereby avoiding injury or loss of life. Relocating, removing, tampering with, or destroying fire-fighting equipment is strictly prohibited and will likely result in revocation of the housing license for students found responsible for violating this policy.  Damage and/or theft of fire equipment are punishable under North Carolina state law.

Magnetic Lock Doors 

Many residence halls are equipped with electromagnetic locks on some of the exterior and/or interior doors. These door locks are designed to open only in the event of an emergency or power failure. Activation of the building fire alarm system via a manual pull station or an automatic corridor smoke detector will automatically release the magnets and unlock all the electromagnetically locked doors in the building. Once the magnet releases, you may then push the panic bar to open the door.

Smoke/Heat Detectors 

Keohane, Kilgo, Few, Bell Tower, Blackwell, and Randolph are equipped with direct wired AC-powered smoke detectors. All other residence halls are equipped with battery powered smoke detectors in student bedrooms- these are not hardwired into the building system.  If a bedroom smoke detector alarms due to smoke from a fire, immediately go to the fire alarm pull station in the corridor and activate the building fire alarmIn order to ensure that the smoke detector and/or battery are functional, push the button on the detector for 30 to 60 seconds to test it.  The smoke detector will begin to beep at one minute intervals to warn of battery weakness.  Contact your HDRL Campus Office immediately to request the installation of a new battery, but DO NOT remove the detector from its bracket.  The smoke detector's alarm may falsely sound when there is a high concentration of cigarette smoke, cooking smoke, dust or other particles in the air. Should this happen, open the windows and fan the detector until the it stops sounding its alarm and notify your Residence Assistant and neighbors that you do not have a fire.

Sprinkler Systems 

Jarvis, East Hall, Epworth, Blackwell, Randolph, Keohane, Few, Bell Tower, and Kilgo have sprinkler systems located in corridors and bedrooms. The sprinkler systems are charged with water which will be released at tremendous force in the event of activation. In buildings with sprinkler systems, it is recommended that items places on the floor are contained within plastic bins. Hanging things from the sprinkler head or touching the sprinkler head will likely trigger the flow.  In the event that a sprinkler flow is triggered, it is likely that the student responsible will be held financially responsible for the resulting damages.  Please note that Duke will not reimburse for damages to individual student property--it is strongly recommended that students consider purchasing renters insurance or ensure coverage on his/her family's homeowner policy.

When the Fire Alarm Sounds 

In the event of a fire, the most important thing is for you to evacuate the building safely.  Make sure you familiarize yourself with the closest exits to your room.

  • Close all windows and leave the overhead light on
  • Before opening any door, feel the door. If it is HOT, do not open it. If it is not hot, brace yourself against the door, open it slightly, and if heat or heavy smoke are present, close the door and stay in your room.
  • If you cannot leave the room, open the window, hang a sheet or other light colored object out the window to attract the attention of emergency personnel and then close the window. Call Duke University Police Department by dialing 911 from any campus phone or 919-684-2444 from a cell phone and report that you are trapped. Remain calm and give your room number and building location.  Stuff towels, sheets, or similar materials under all doors leading into corridors. Stay close to the floor if smoke enters the room.
  • If conditions allow you to leave the room, close, but do not lock, the door exit through the nearest stairwell or door
  • If you are away from your room when the alarm sounds, do not return to your room.  Leave the building via the nearest exit.
  • DO NOT use elevators. If hallways and/or exit stairwells are not accessible because of heavy smoke, return to your room, close the door and follow the instructions given above.
  • If you have exited the facility, stand clear of the building and report to your designated check-in area. Emergency apparatus may be maneuvering around the building.
  • Follow the directions of fire and police personnel
  • NEVER re-enter the building until permission is given.

Each residential space is equipped with furniture by HRL. The resident(s) of a room/ apartment will be charged for any damaged furniture and/or furniture missing from their space. University-owned furniture must remain in the student’s room. Personally owned furniture may be added to student rooms/apartments provided all residents of that room/ apartment consent and the residents remove the furniture at the end of occupancy. Costs for removing any remaining personal furniture will be charged to the residents. Waterbeds are prohibited. Personally owned refrigerators are allowed but may not exceed six (6) cubic feet.

Residents may borrow barbecue grills on a short-term basis from the East, West, or Central Campus HRL offices. North Carolina law prohibits the use of portable charcoal, gas or electric grills within 10 feet of all residence halls. In areas where pine straw or bark mulch has been applied to grounds, grills must be 10 feet away from the perimeter of these materials. Storage of charcoal lighter fluid or other flammables, including gas grills, in the residence halls is strictly prohibited. Failure to obey these regulations may result in a fine by the Durham Fire Marshal and or be subject to Duke disciplinary action.

Occupancy of space in University housing is limited to the assigned residents only. Residents may not sublet or share their assigned space. Guests are permitted for short periods not to exceed 72 hours, provided all residents of that room or apartment agree in advance. However, continued use of a residence hall room or Central Campus Apartment by a person or persons other than those to whom the room or apartment is assigned is prohibited. Overnight guests may not be entertained during final examination periods.

Assigned residents are responsible for the conduct of their guests. Violation of University rules and regulations by a guest constitutes a violation of the same by residents. Residents not present during violations by their guests will be held accountable for the violation.

Halogen lamps use bulbs that emit a significant amount of heat and are considered fire hazards. These are prohibited in all residential spaces.

Each house on West and Central may have one exterior house sign. The appropriate campus HRL office must approve the design of the house sign. Dimensions of house signs are 4’ by 3’ or 3’ by 4’.

Any resident of University housing who contracts an infectious or contagious disease is expected to immediately report her or his condition to HRL.

Each resident is required to obtain a DukeCard and appropriate keys (a room key and a bathroom key if in the residence halls; or, an apartment key and mailbox key if in an apartment) when moving in. All keys must be returned to the appropriate HDRL Campus Office immediately upon vacating the assigned space. Failure to promptly return keys will result in a lock change charge ($125.00) to the resident's Bursar account.

Lost/stolen DukeCards must be reported immediately to the DukeCard Office and a replacement obtained. Lost/stolen/broken keys must be reported immediately to the appropriate HRL Campus Office and replacement keys obtained. A lost/stolen key will result in a lock change charge ($125.00) to the resident's Bursar account. If keys that were reported as lost or stolen are found before lock changes are initiated, residents must present the found keys to their HRL Campus Office to avoid locks being changed and associated charges being posted to the resident’s Bursar account.

Unauthorized use of or possession of residence hall or apartment keys, including possession of master keys or keys other than those assigned to the resident, is prohibited.

Keys are not transferable; switching keys with other residents is not permitted. Duplication of Duke University keys is prohibited.

Locks may not be tampered with or changed by residents. Additional locks may not be installed.

Residents are responsible for removal of perishable items from the refrigerator and for cleaning utensils, pots and pans. Kitchens that are abused or not kept in good order may be locked. HRL staff will dispose of items abandoned in the kitchen.

Residents on East and West Campuses can only use loft-able University owned furniture. Unapproved lofts (personally constructed and/or purchased) and wooden structures are not allowed in residence halls. Lofts are not permitted in Central Campus Apartments. Unapproved lofts (personally constructed and/or purchased) and wooden structures will be removed and disposed of at the resident’s expense.

Beds on East and West Campuses and 300 Swift are built so that the height of the bed can be adjusted. The bed ends have rungs on them so that the height of the mattress can be lowered. The bed is designed in such a way that the chest of drawers and bookshelf fit neatly underneath. This allows students to modify the layout of their room. The standard bed raises the mattress to 31" off the floor.

Additionally, most bedposts on East Campus can be swapped out for a set of bed ends that are taller and allow the bed to be raised to a height of either 4' or 5' from the floor. This is referred to as "lofting your bed." See the chart below for specifics.

Bed information by building
Building Bed type Loftable?
Alspaugh Standard XL twin Yes
Bassett Standard XL twin Yes
Bell Tower Standard XL twin Yes
Blackwell Standard XL twin Yes
Brown Standard XL twin Yes
East House Standard XL twin Yes
Epworth Closed  X
Gilbert-Addoms Standard XL twin Yes
Giles Standard XL twin Yes
Jarvis Standard XL twin Yes
Pegram Standard XL twin Yes
Randolph Standard XL twin Yes
Southgate Closed X
Trinity House Standard full No
Wilson House Standard XL twin Yes
Craven Closed X
Crowell Standard XL twin No
Edens Standard full No
Few High loft  *
Keohane Standard XL twin Yes
Kilgo Standard XL twin Yes
Wannamaker Standard full No
300 Swift Standard full No

*Because Few beds are lofted, if you would like your bed lowered, contact the West Campus office (919.684.5486 or rlhs-west@studentaffairs.duke.edu).

Students may use only Housing and Residence Life (HRL) provided loft furniture on East and West Campuses. Unapproved lofts (personally constructed and/or purchased) and wooden structures are not be allowed in the residence halls.

Housing & Residence Life will provide and install the taller bed ends at no cost to the resident. A safety rail is included and is installed on the side of the mattress to help prevent students from rolling off the loft. Lofts do not have a separate ladder. The ladder is incorporated into rungs on the bed end. When lofted, the desk and chair can fit underneath.

HRL is committed to providing students with a safe and comfortable living environment, and lofts do pose safety issues and concerns. Using a lofted bed means that students may be sleeping as much as five feet off the floor. Because of these safety concerns, our enthusiasm for lofts is limited.

Students may use bedrisers in all buildings. Bed risers raise individual beds several inches to provide for additional under bed storage. These are available at various retail stores.

Advantages to lofting the bed:

  • Creates more floor space in the room.
  • Allows more flexibility with arranging furniture in the room.

Disadvantages to lofting the bed:

  • Some people find that they are not comfortable sleeping so high off the floor.
  • The bed is not really usable as a place to sit in the room.
  • Some people find the process of climbing into the bed to be more challenging than expected.
  • The lofted bed can sometimes be harder to place within some buildings: dormers, slanted ceilings, and the layout of the room can prevent use of a loft.
  • Warm air rises! It is difficult to position fans and air conditioning to directly move air onto the lofted sleeping area.

Other things to consider:

  • All single size beds (39 inches wide) can be lofted at no charge to the student by HDRL.
  • Students can request their beds be lofted to 5-feet high via the Loft Request Form.
  • Students living in Few have high loft furniture in their room at move-in.  To have the height of your bed adjusted, please email HRL West.
  • Please understand there are potential dangers and hazards in the use of a bed loft. The student assumes all related risks and responsibilities.
  • For safety reasons, lofts should never be placed directly in front a window or within close proximity of a smoke detector or sprinkler head or placed in such a way that bedding comes in contact with a radiator unit
  • Lofted beds should never be closer than 36-inches to the ceiling.
  • Some rooms may not accommodate a loft because of the architecture. It is best to physically inspect your room prior to requesting a loft from HRL to make sure it will fit and accommodate your (and your roommate’s) needs.
  • The University assumes no responsibility for any injuries, damage or loss that may occur from using a loft.

We recommend that students wait, try out the furniture in your room first, and then decide if you really want a loft. If you have a roommate, you should also have a conversation about the location of the loft and be sure that both you and your roommate agree to house the loft in your room.

If you are interested in having your bed lofted, please read these instructions carefully and then complete the loft request form.

1. You may elect to loft your own bed only.  Your roommate needs to submit their own request.  
2. Your loft will be installed prior to your arrival on campus.  If you change your mind after you arrive, please be aware that it may take up to two weeks before we will be able to remove the loft and replace it with standard bed legs. 

Requests will be accepted through 5 pm on Tuesday, August 1.


Maintenance to buildings, fixtures, utilities, equipment, furniture, and furnishings is performed on a routine basis. Corrective emergency, preventive repairs and maintenance will be performed as necessary.

University personnel may enter a resident’s room or apartment without the resident being present to complete maintenance tasks, to conduct health and safety checks, to conduct inspections regarding availability of space, and to take care of an emergency or any equipment failure which is causing damage or poses a hazard to persons or property. Entry into a room or apartment for non-emergency reasons will be made during reasonable hours with notice to the assigned residents when possible.

Residents are responsible for complying with the University noise policy.

North Carolina fire safety codes prohibit the obstruction of hallways and stairwells. The Durham Fire Marshal mandates the immediate removal of all items obstructing hallways and stairwells. HRL will remove without warning or reimbursement furniture, bicycles, lumber, and all other items found obstructing hallways or stairwells. University furniture will be removed from hallways and stairwells and residents may be charged for missing furniture when they vacate the room. In addition, access to room windows as a secondary means of egress is required.

Sidewalks, stairways, and entryways must not be used for purposes other than ingress or egress. Bicycles may not be left in these areas or other locations where they may cause harm to persons or grounds keeping equipment. All vehicles, including motorcycles, must be parked in parking lots. Delivery trucks, automobiles, motorcycles, scooters, and minibikes are not permitted on lawns and walkways, patios, or stairwells. These vehicles must be parked in legal parking spaces.

Payments for housing are made to the Office of the Bursar, in accordance with terms established by that office. Payments are made on a semester basis.

  • Residents are responsible for damage caused by electrical appliances that are not owned by Duke University.
  • Residents may not leave personal property on sidewalks, lawns, or in residence hall hallways, stairwells, or common areas. Any personal property found in these locations will be disposed of at the discretion of HRL.
  • Platforms, partitions, or similar structures may not be constructed or placed in public areas without the advance written approval by HRL.
  • Pianos, washing machines, dryers, dishwashers, radio transmitters, ceiling fans, external radio or television antennas, satellite dishes, or waterbeds are not permitted in rooms and apartments.
  • Affixing items, including but not limited to satellite dishes and antennae, to a building exterior, balcony, porch, stairwell, or privacy fence is prohibited.
  • Use of personally owned air-conditioning and heating equipment is not permitted in the residence halls or apartments.
  • Residents may not erect fences.
  • Outside clotheslines are prohibited.
  • Use of laundry rooms for storage of personal property, bicycles, or the like is prohibited. The University is not responsible for clothing lost or stolen from laundry rooms.
  • Residents may not use HVAC (heating and air-conditioning) closets in apartments as storage space.

Duke University is not liable for damage, theft, or loss of a resident’s personal belongings and does not carry insurance to cover such loss or damage. Personal property insurance is a wise investment for all residents. You may be covered under a policy carried by your parent(s) or guardian—have them contact their insurance agent to be sure.

Residents may not have animals, including, but not limited to dogs, cats, birds, and reptiles, in or around University residence halls or apartments, even for short periods. If an animal enters a residence hall or apartment, the area will be exterminated at the expense of the resident.

Students found to have pets in residence, will be charged an extra cleaning fee. Costs will vary due to the extent of cleaning required but could range from $300-$500 for a single room to an entire apartment and is dependent on the level of damage from the pet.

Legal species of fish are allowed, provided they are kept in a single aquarium no larger than 25 gallons and the container is cleaned regularly.

Service and therapy animals performing their duties, such as a guide dog, are permitted. Residents requiring a reasonable accommodation allowing the use of a service or therapy animal in University housing must have the accommodation registered with and approved by the Student Disability Access Office prior to moving in.

Use of portable storage units, such as PODS and Pack-Rat, is permitted during official move-in and move-out periods. Portable storage units should be placed in parking lots. Placing units on grass, sidewalks, fire-lanes, and handicapped parking spaces is prohibited. Placing units in such a way as to block use of or access to trash and recycling collection points is prohibited. Portable storage units may be placed on campus beginning with the resident’s official move-in day and must be removed within seven days. Portable storage units may be placed on campus seven days before the resident’s official move-out day and must be removed by the resident’s official move-out day.

Residents are entitled to privacy in their assigned rooms and apartments within parameters established by HRL and the University. Government officials and/or HRL staff may conduct sanitary or safety inspections without notice in accordance with the General Statutes of North Carolina and city and county of Durham ordinances. Inspections will be made by University officials to ensure that no fire, safety, or security hazards exist. Hazardous items will either be removed or the residents will be required to remove the items.

Open Propping open residence hall entrance and/or bathroom doors or in any way tampering with the security system of the residence hall violates hall security and is prohibited.

Restrooms in residence halls are gender-specific, unless otherwise specified. Residents and guests are prohibited from using restroom facilities designated for the opposite gender. Designations may be changed only with the permission of HRL.

Access to roofs, ledges, attics, mechanical/electrical rooms, and similar areas is prohibited.

Room condition reports are provided to each resident during the check-in process. Updates to room condition reports must be submitted to your RA within two days of your occupancy. This document will protect you from charges for conditions which existed when you moved into your room. Carefully review the room condition report and amend it as necessary. If there are maintenance needs that need immediate attention please call your HRL campus office as well as noting them on your room condition report. Immediately report a faulty or missing smoke detector to your HRL campus office.

When you move out, your room will be inspected. Any repairs or cleaning required by conditions beyond normal wear and tear which you did not list on your room condition report will be considered damages and charged to you. We strongly recommend you be present when your room is inspected at checkout. Please make an appointment with your hall RA team per established checkout procedures and instructions. An inspection cannot be done until you vacate the room and all personal belongings are removed and all keys are returned. Keep in mind there are peak periods when the hall RA team may not be able to schedule appointments, so sign-up as soon as you know your plans.

In situations where roommates are unable to resolve a conflict, HRL reserves the right to refer parties for mediation, convene an arbitration board, or make reassignments as necessary to resolve the problem. The decision of the mediator, board, or HRL is final.

  • Propping open outside residence hall doors or in any way tampering with the security system of a residence hall is prohibited.
  • Tampering with, disabling, or removing fire-fighting equipment, alarms, and smoke detectors is prohibited. Use of this equipment for any other purpose than fighting fires is prohibited. Residents must comply with all fire drills, fire alarms, and fire safety regulations. Fires must be reported to Duke Police and HRL staff immediately.
  • In accordance with North Carolina General Statute 14-269.2, no firearms, incendiary devices, explosives, fireworks, highly flammable materials or substances, or any articles that may be used as weapons may be on the campus. This includes knives, slingshots, clubs, pellet guns, rifles, BB guns, paintball guns, projectile weapons, mace, all firearms, and items of like kind.
  • Candles, incense, or other open flames are strictly forbidden for use inside University facilities except during religious ceremonies such as the observance of the Holiday of Chanukah. Those individuals wishing to utilize candles in observance of a religious holiday are requested to contact OESO-Campus Fire Safety Division in advance to obtain information concerning fire prevention.
  • Use of halogen lamps is prohibited.
  • In accordance with the North Carolina State Fire Prevention Code, use or storage of portable charcoal, gas, and electric grills within 15 feet of a residence hall or Central Campus Apartment is prohibited.
  • Storing combustible materials in residential areas is prohibited.
  • Empty boxes, trash, and other combustibles are prohibited from accumulating or being stored around apartments. Placement of combustibles, including but not limited to wooden, overstuffed, or upholstered furniture on balconies that serve as egress is strictly prohibited. HRL may remove these items without notice at the residents’ expense.

Selling products or services and other forms of solicitation is prohibited in and around University housing. This prohibition applies equally to residents, students, guests, visitors, and others, whether or not they are affiliated with the University.

Smoking is prohibited in University residence halls.

Residents will be released from the License without penalty when participating in a research or study abroad/away program, taking a leave of absence, or withdrawing from the University. All residents requesting release from the License must notify HRL in writing. Residents may not cancel the License in order to move off campus.

Residents released from the License after the period of occupancy has begun for reasons noted above, are entitled to a prorated refund of their housing charges. The amount of refund is determined by the date of written notification to HRL or the date of vacating the residence hall or apartment, whichever is later.

Undergraduate residents with “senior” housing status (six or more fall and spring semesters in University housing) may cancel their License for the spring semester no later than November 1, 2016 in order to move off campus. Senior housing status generally applies to residents matriculating at Duke for the Fall 2016 or Spring 2017 semesters. No penalty is assessed for eligible residents submitting written notice to cancel by November 1, 2016. Beginning November 2, 2016, no residents may request cancellation of the License and move off campus for the spring semester.

Residents, who choose to move off campus without being released from the License, remain financially responsible for an assignment in University housing.

Residents who have their License revoked for reasons of their conduct and remain enrolled at the University will be financially responsible for all housing charges and other charges for the full term of the License.

Students are required to dispose of trash in designated containers. Trash may not be placed in bathrooms, kitchens, laundry rooms, commons rooms, courtyards, or in any other place.

HRL will provide internet-based TV content to each house common room along with a TV for the enjoyment of the house community. Connecting televisions in bedrooms to the common rooms TV network or otherwise tampering with TV equipment is prohibited.

Duke University’s Office of Information Technology (OIT) provides wireless network services for campus.  All wireless access points that connect to the University's network or provide services in locations supported by OIT must be formally approved by OIT prior to deployment.  The University does not allow the students, faculty, or staff to connect unauthorized access points or routers (things like Netgear, Cisco, Linksys wireless routers) to the campus network without prior authorization.  OIT continuously monitors the campus wireless network for performance, utilization, and the presence of rogue access points. OIT reserves the right to turn off, without notice, any access point or rogue device connected to the network that could impact performance of the Duke wireless network, or puts university systems, data, and users at risk.  Turning off rogue access points may be accomplished through (a) notifying the individual who deployed the access point to ask for it to be turned off, (b) disabling the wired port into which the access point is connected or (c) by physically removing the access point.

Possession of keys or other property for which one does not have appropriate authorization or ownership is a violation of University policy.