First Year Required Housing and Meal Plan Policy
Students' Right to Privacy and "FERPA"
Student Growth and Development
Hall and Room Assignments
Who is in Charge in the Residence Halls?
Safety / Security in Residence Halls
Life with a Roommate
Maintain the Connection with your Student
We believe that residence hall living greatly enhances the total educational experience. Research shows that students who live in a residence hall generally have a higher grade point average, have a higher degree of satisfaction with their college careers and are more likely to graduate than students who choose other living arrangements.
Therefore, in an effort to enhance your student’s success, all first year students who graduated from high school between September - June are required to live on campus and participate in the University Meal Plan during their first two semesters at SHSU. Students wanting an exception to this policy may submit a waiver request for review at the Residence Life Office.
In 1974, the US Government enacted the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, which protects students’ privacy with regards to their academic and behavioral records with higher education facilities. This federal statute generally limits what administrators are permitted to tell parents about their children’s academic performance and social conduct. It is based on the assumption that students are considered by law to be adults and their college activities are their own business.
In light of this Act, SHSU cannot discuss your student’s housing arrangements or disciplinary records without your student’s written permission. In the Residence Life Office, we have “Consent to Disclose Information” forms to waive the student’s right to privacy with regards to housing/dining arrangements and disciplinary records. If your student is interested, they may complete the form in our office. Only individuals listed on the form may have access to student records. This form then gives staff permission to discuss information with parents should they make an inquiry. The “Consent to Disclose Information” form is valid for one year unless rescinded in writing by the student.
However, under the Warner Amendment (1998), there are two instances where we contact parents without the student’s permission. First, if a student is involved with an Alcohol Violation in the residence halls, our office will automatically send a letter home to parents. Second, if a student is found to have illegal drugs or drug paraphernalia, not only will the University send a letter home to parents, the student will be removed from the residence halls immediately and risk suspension from the University by the Dean of Students’ Office.
It is our hope that you understand FERPA and our obligations to your student’s privacy regarding their SHSU records.
Residential life provides many opportunities for student growth outside the classroom. Communication, social interaction and conflict management are specific life skills that students can develop by living in the residence halls.
One of our goals in Residence Life is to enhance your students growth by allowing them the opportunity to solve their own conflicts, rather than “fix” the problem for them. We encourage you to be a resource for your student. In essence, we want parents to “help us help your student help themselves.” When conflicts occur, please ask your student questions (who could they talk with?) instead of offering to call and fix the problem yourself. In addition, please help the student understand that by solving their own conflicts, they are in fact learning an important skill to becoming independent. It will soon make your student empowered to undertake other challenges with confidence.
In addition, Residence Life is partnering with both the American Democracy Project and the Alcohol Abuse Initiative to educate students. Both of these committees are comprised of faculty, staff, and students. The American Democracy Project focuses on civic engagement and works to encourage students to become life long voters, as well as vital members of their community. The Alcohol Abuse Initiative educates students on the facts and fiction behind alcohol abuse, and from this education, students gain the ability to make better choices.
We are excited about the upcoming academic year and being a part of your students growth and development.
The Department of Residence Life no longer assigns room spaces. Students now have the opportunity to select the specific room where they wish to reside and can make room changes until shortly before move-in. Room selection timeslots are determined by the date SHSU receives the student application and deposit, as well as verification of bacterial meningitis vaccination.
Students also have the opportunity to find roommates using the housing portal. Confirmed roommates will receive a common date of priority (average of both dates of deposit) to enter the portal to select a room.
First and foremost, your son or daughter is in charge. They are responsible for getting themselves to class, cleaning their rooms, and doing their laundry. Our department employs resident advisors (1 per approximately 40 residents) who provide activities, answer questions, mediate roommate conflicts, enforce policies, or just lend an ear. These staff members are upper-class students who have been through a thorough selection process and an intensive training program. The Residence Hall Director lives in or near the area for which they have responsibility. The Residence Hall Director’s responsibilities include counseling students, supervising staff, administration of paperwork, and advising hall council. In addition to the staff who live and work in the buildings, our office staff is also available to assist your student. The Residence Life Office is open weekdays 8 am - 5 pm.
Ultimately, college life is an introduction to adulthood and the opportunity for a little trial and error, a vital part of growth and development. We strive to provide not only safe and comfortable housing, but opportunities for democratic living and intellectual, personal, and social development.
A combination of security measures is provided in the residence halls. The University Police Department regularly patrols the entire campus including residence halls areas. They are available to assist students when necessary.
All buildings are locked 24 hours per day and equipped with card access security. The student’s ID card is their access into their residence hall. Residence hall guests must be escorted at all times. Also, all residence hall doors are equipped with a door viewer. Sam Houston Village, Jackson/Shaver Hall, Estill Hall, Lone Star Hall, King Hall, and Raven Village are equipped with non-monitored surveillance cameras.
Smoke detectors have been installed in each room and a centrally located fire alarm system is installed in every building to monitor the potential for fire. Several buildings are equipped with sprinklers in case of fire. Chemical fire extinguishers are available in every hallway in case of fire.
Emergency procedures are provided for each student on the back of room doors and this information is reviewed in a floor meeting. Residence halls and houses conduct fire drills twice a year. All Residence Life staff members are trained to assist residents with evacuation procedures. AS A PRECAUTION, CANDLES, INCENSE (or any open flame) AND COOKING APPLIANCES ARE NOT PERMITTED IN THE RESIDENCE FACILITIES.
The biggest obstacle your son or daughter might face will probably not be adjusting to their academic schedule, meeting friends, or learning how to do their own laundry. More challenging to some students is the possible complexity of living with a roommate. While many students find a life-long friend in their roommate, just as important in the first few days is someone to walk with to the cafeteria. Here are a few things to think about and discuss with your student before move-in day.
Have your student contact their roommate.
A phone call or letter can allow them to test the waters while deciding who will contribute what to the room. However, beware of pre-conceived ideas that may stem from this first contact; encourage your student to find out more information before forming an opinion. There seems to be little or no correlation between roommates’ initial contacts and their ultimate compatibility.
How do they go about learning to live together?
All students are provided a Roommate Agreement which includes ideas for getting to know each other and working out simple rules that will make living together more enjoyable and less stressful. Living in a small room with someone else (whether roommates know each other or not) poses a challenge which may draw some students out of their comfort zone. Encourage your student to be assertive, remembering that both roommates have rights which should be respected by the other. Allow them to be in charge. Chances are they will do a fine job compromising and finding a solution to any challenge. Many parents are surprised at how maturely their college student handles the situation.
What if their attempts fail?
Residence hall staff is available to listen and are prepared to mediate in times of conflict. The staff is composed of upper class students who have encountered similar problems and are thoroughly trained to offer assistance to students facing situations that seem difficult. Encourage your son or daughter to utilize this resource. Offer them support (but don’t try to fix the problem yourself), and help them make the transition into independent adults.
As you drive back home after a day of loading and unloading your student’s belongings, you may take a deep breath and think, “Now what?” The upheaval might leave you at a loss for words, wondering how you will fill the void left by the absence of your college student. Maintaining a slight distance between you and the new life they are exploring is important. Yet, there are many ways to stay connected.
Care packages are nice and college students are thrilled to receive them. Load them with their favorite snacks, pictures of the family, and small things they might need or enjoy. Send mail using your students on-campus address.
Each university student is provided with an e-mail address.
Phone calls are the connection to the life they left at home. Keep topics lively, give them your undivided attention and offer your support.
Weekend Visits at Home
At first, your college student may want to come home every weekend. When they do, family dinners and other special activities will provide a sense of continuity. Remember to allow them to spend time with their friends as well. These visits may take some getting used to, and flexibility and understanding will help ease the transition.
Visit your Student at Sam
But remember this is their turf. This is your student’s time to show you what they have learned and all they have become in the time they have been away. They need your support and your approval. Parents’ Weekend is a great time to visit, as other parents will be around and activities are planned especially for this occasion. Also, parents come for visits throughout the year. You may want to plan your visits around SHSU concerts, plays, sporting events, or activities that involve your student.
Remember that your student will have a busy schedule, so discussion about when visits will occur will help prevent conflicts and make your visit a pleasure for both of you.
Visitation in residence halls by members of the opposite sex is a privilege provided by the University. Visitation rules are enforced by the Residence Life staff. Residents are allowed to have visitors of the opposite sex from 10 a.m. until midnight. Sunday through Thursday. On Friday and Saturday, the visitation hours are from 10 a.m. to 1 a.m.
All residence halls are closed during official University holidays and between semesters. During the academic year (August - May), residents may stay for the break period in their own room provided they notify the staff and pay the break fee. Students should know that services normally offered are not available when the halls are closed.