Terms and Conditions of Occupancy
- Term of Contract
- Nature of Occupancy
- Conduct of Residents
- Termination by the University
- Room Reservation Fee
- Room License Fees
- Cancellation of Contract Procedure and Fee
- Damages and Cleaning Charges
- Fire Safety Regulations and Emergency Procedures
- Harvard University Police and Emergencies
- Emergency Notification
- Obscene or Harassing Telephone Calls
- Notices and Email Notification
- Poster and Sign Posting
- Energy Conservation
- Wiring and Appliances
- Student-Owned Air Conditioners
- Entry and Fire Inspection
- Prohibited or Restricted Articles
- Smoking Policy
- Non-Resident Medical and Dental Student Access
- Additional Building Policy Guidelines
- Residence in the Hall is primarily for matriculated predoctoral students registered full-time in a degree program at the Harvard Medical School, the School of Dental Medicine, or the Division of Medical Sciences. Non-matriculated visiting scholars of the Medical School and full-time students who are registered in degree programs at other Harvard Schools are also eligible if space is available.
- Priority in residence in Vanderbilt Hall is given to incoming students in the degree programs identified above.
- Residence in the Hall for students after their first year of residence is subject to availability, and students may be asked to seek other accommodations after their first year of residence, or after any subsequent year of residence, to allow space for incoming students. Students asked to relocate will be notified by April 30 and will be expected to vacate on or before June 30. As a general rule, students who have been in residence longest will be the first asked to relocate.
The student contract term is based on the Harvard University academic year. Students whose academic year will terminate prior to the conclusion of the contract term may shorten the Spring term of their contract by providing written notice to the Vanderbilt Hall Business Office, delivered no later than March 1. A pro rata reduction will be made to such students’ room license fees.
The Business Office also reserves the right to amend graduating student's contracts to terminate two days after graduation, with a pro rata reduction of the room license fees. Should this occur, graduating students will be notified of the change by March 1.
Amended contracts are binding and may not be changed again by the student. Separate contracts may be arranged for all or part of the summer, depending on the student's housing needs and the availability of rooms.
The University's contract with the resident is not a lease. It is a Room License Contract permitting the resident to occupy a room in Vanderbilt Hall under the terms and conditions set forth herein. Residents shall have no interest or estate in realty arising from this contract. The University reserves the right to assign the resident to occupancy in another room for any cause deemed appropriate by the University.
If a returning student opts to renew a contract, the student will be informed of any scheduled maintenance or repairs to be done to the assigned room prior to signing the contract. If a student signs a Room License Contract for a room known to be scheduled for maintenance or repairs within the term of the contract, and is thereafter temporarily required to relocate to another room for purposes of said maintenance or repairs, the student will be responsible for any charges that are associated with the temporary move, including but not limited to: the removal and installation of student-owned air conditioners, and any telephone installation or service charges.
All residents of Vanderbilt Hall shall conduct themselves in a manner that respects the rights of others living and working in the Hall. Conduct that infringes on the rights of others to peacefully live and work within the Hall, in the University's judgment, may result in the termination of the Room License Contract, which will require the offending individual to vacate Vanderbilt Hall. Residents shall respect the person and property of others as well as their rights to privacy; to freedom from unreasonable noise, interference, and disruption in their daily activities; and to freedom from fear of physical or emotional harm. The harassment of others residing or working within Vanderbilt Hall for any reason, including harassment based on race, sex, sexual orientation, religion, age, national or ethnic origin, political beliefs, veteran status, or disability, shall be grounds for termination of the Room License Contract.
The University reserves the right to terminate the license for any cause it deems reasonable (including without limitation when licensee’s conduct jeopardizes his or her welfare or the welfare of the community), making an appropriate adjustment of the fee. The University may also reassign licensee to other quarters at any time. Without limiting the foregoing, a licensee may be required to leave Vanderbilt if:
- The resident fails to pay the room license fee or other charges when due;
- The resident ceases to be a full-time student enrolled in a degree program or takes a leave of absence;
- The University concludes that the resident has given false information in connection with his or her application for occupancy in the Residence Hall; or
- The resident fails to adhere to the terms and conditions of occupancy or any rules and regulations of the Residence Hall.
No resident has the right to sublet or assign his or her space in the Residence Hall or to share the space with another person.
At the end of the term (or sooner if the room contract is canceled by the resident or the University) each resident must:
- Remove all belongings from the resident's bedroom, student storage, the student kitchens, bathrooms, the courtyard, and any other common area at the time of vacating. Items left behind in the bedroom or the corridors will be considered abandoned and discarded or donated to charity.
- Lock the room and return all keys immediately to the Business Office or to the Vanderbilt Hall Security Officer.
- Vacate the premises on the agreed date and time to vacate.
- Notify the University of a desire to have mail forwarded by logging on to the Harvard Student Mail Forwarding Web site at: http://www.hums.harvard.edu/mail-delivery/student-mail-forwarding to update the resident's address. Questions regarding mail forwarding should be directed to the Student Mail Forwarding Office at 617-496-4290. Visiting scholars who wish to have their mail forwarded but do not have a Harvard Student ID must contact the Vanderbilt Hall Business Office at 617-432-1629. Harvard Medical and Dental students must also provide their new addresses to their registrars.
The University is not liable for any loss of or damage to any personal property located in the Residence Hall. The University strongly advises all residents to obtain appropriate insurance for their personal property. CSI is the preferred vendor for Harvard students to secure insurance coverage for their personal belongings.
Incoming students must submit a room reservation fee when applying for a room. This fee will be applied as a credit to the student's term bill upon vacancy of the room. IF A STUDENT CANCELS A CONTRACT AT ANY TIME, THE RESERVATION FEE WILL BE RETAINED. (See the "cancellation of contract" section of this document.)
Room license fees are charged twice annually (in August for the Fall term and in December for the Spring term) on Harvard student term bills for matriculated students.
Residents may cancel contracts ONLY by adherence to ALL the conditions listed below:
- Provision of 60-day prior written notice to the Business Office. Please note that students will be responsible for their room license fee until the conclusion of such 60-day period.
- Forfeiture of the $250 room reservation fee. Please note that this penalty applies even if a student withdraws or is asked to leave the Residence Hall or the School.
- Payment of an additional $250 fee if a contract is canceled between April 1 and September 30.
- Payment of an additional $250 fee if a contract is canceled with an effective move-out date (the date the student will vacate the room) between July 1 and September 30.
Residents are financially responsible for the condition of their rooms and for loss or damage arising from their actions or neglect. Residents will not be assessed a separate deposit for damages but rather will be billed separately on their term bill or by invoice for the assessed value of damage to furniture, carpets, doors, finishes, or common spaces of the Residence Hall, beyond normal wear and tear, as identified by inspection. When decorating rooms, residents should not attach anything to the walls or to other surfaces in a way that may cause damage or leave marks. Residents should use molding hooks, wall mounting tabs (e.g., 3M), or an adhesive gum (e.g., Hold-it). Residents are advised that the use of any other method (tape, tacks, nails, hooks, etc.) may result in a damage charge on the term bill. Existing damage to a bedroom must be reported in writing to the Business Office within two weeks of taking occupancy of a room. Any unreported damages will be deemed the responsibility of the resident of the room, who will be term-billed for the cost of any repairs. Charges will also be assessed if any of the following conditions apply upon inspection:
- University property has been removed from the room;
- The resident's belongings have not been removed from the room and Student Storage by the end of the contract period;
- The room has not been cleaned properly;
- The room key has not been officially turned in to the Business Office or to the Vanderbilt Hall Security Officer;
- If there is damage from appliances (air conditioners, ceiling lights/fans, and the like) that were installed by anyone other than authorized maintenance personnel.
Fire Safety Regulations
- All rooms are equipped with smoke detectors and sprinklers. Any abuse of or tampering with sprinkler heads, fire alarms or the extinguisher system is strictly forbidden. PLEASE NOTE THE FOLLOWING STATUTE: Massachusetts General Laws, Chapter 269, Section 13: "False alarms of fire. Whoever, without reasonable cause, by outcry or the ringing of bells, or otherwise, makes or circulates or causes to be made or circulated a false alarm of fire shall be punished by a fine of not less than $100 nor more than $500, or by imprisonment in a jail or house of correction for not more than one year."
- All extinguishers must remain on the walls in designated spaces.
- RESIDENTS MUST COMPLETELY EVACUATE THE BUILDING ANYTIME THE FIRE ALARM SOUNDS. RESIDENTS SHALL BE REQUIRED TO INDEMNIFY THE UNIVERSITY FOR FINANCIAL PENALTIES IMPOSED AS A RESULT OF THEIR VIOLATIONS OF THIS REGULATION.
- Corridor and stairwell fire doors, as well as all emergency exit doors may not be blocked on either side by furniture or obstructions of any kind.
- Fire escapes are intended only for use in a fire; any other uses are prohibited.
- Hydraulic door closers in student bedrooms may not be disconnected or removed by order of the Boston Fire Department.
- Massachusetts State Building Code prohibits propping open smoke barrier doors unless they are self-closing or automatically triggered by smoke detection. The Vanderbilt Hall student kitchen doors do not have automatic smoke detection closers and may not be propped open at any time.
- Residents should familiarize themselves with the emergency evacuation routes posted throughout the building.
If You Find a Fire:
- Pull the emergency alarm lever to sound the alarm.
- If there is time, knock on your neighbors' doors to alert them.
- Proceed to the nearest stairway and exit the building immediately.
- Do not try to extinguish the fire. Use common sense. Your safety is more important than property.
If the Fire Alarm Sounds While You Are in Your Room:
Feel the door:
- If it is hot, do not open it. Stay in your room. Put a towel or blanket (preferably wet) under the door to keep the smoke out. If your telephone works, call the Harvard Police at 617-432-1212 to let them know where you are. Attract attention to yourself. Open the window, if possible, and hang a sheet or something bright out the window.
- If the door is not hot, open it slowly as smoke and gases are deadly.
a) If smoke and heat have filled the hallway, close the door, stay in your room, and wait for help.
b) If you can safely leave your room, close the windows and the door.
c) Take your key and leave by the nearest clear exit stairway. Never use the elevator during an emergency evacuation as it may deliver you to the floor where the fire is actually located, fill with smoke and asphyxiate you, or stall in the event of a power failure.
d) FAILURE TO LEAVE THE BUILDING WHEN AN ALARM SOUNDS, UNLESS THERE ARE SAFETY REASONS FOR NOT DOING SO, IS A PUNISHABLE OFFENSE.
e) If you encounter smoke on your way out, stay low and crawl if necessary. Breathable air is close to the floor. Cover your nose and mouth with a wet towel or handkerchief if possible.
f) Exit the building through the nearest exit. The building exit locations are: entry A, the archway gate on Longwood Avenue, the Deanery lobby at entry I, and the basement receiving door accessed by the entry F stairwell. Local living space exit locations are posted on the back of each bedroom door. There are also five clearly marked emergency exits located in the athletic facility. Assemble at the Designated Meeting Site, which is located in the New Research Building (NRB) plaza. Check in with your Safety Monitor so that you can be accounted for. Do not attempt to reenter the building until the Fire Department gives permission to do so.
The Harvard University police are available 24 hours a day and can be reached by calling 617-432-1212. The Police must be contacted for all emergencies involving life-threatening situations, bodily harm, crimes in progress, disturbances, unwanted guests, and suspicious persons.
If an emergency telephone call is received for you at the Business Office during office hours, every effort will be made to contact you immediately. Please notify the Business Office of any changes to your permanent phone home address and/or telephone number for emergency contact purposes.
The placement of an obscene or harassing telephone call is a criminal offense, punishable to the full extent of the law in the courts. It is treated as a serious disciplinary issue within the University. Students should call Harvard University Police at 617-432-1212 immediately if they receive such a call.
Building-related notices and announcements will be made by e-mail. Vanderbilt residents are expected to check their University e-mail accounts regularly for important Vanderbilt Hall-related announcements and notifications. Non-Medical and Dental students are required to provide the Vanderbilt Business Office with their e-mail addresses.
The resident agrees to comply with state law, city ordinances, and University policy with regard to the possession or use of fermented malt beverages (3.2 beer), intoxicating liquors, and illegal drugs and agrees that his or her room shall not be used for any purpose contrary to such laws, ordinances, or University policy.
Bulletin boards are provided throughout the building. DO NOT POST ON PAINTED SURFACES OR GLASS. Please check with the Business Office before hanging signs, posters, banners, or setting up displays or easels in the Vanderbilt lobby.
Each room is furnished by the University with one single bed (36" x 80"), one bureau, one desk, one bookcase, and one desk chair. The rooms do not contain a desk lamp or a mirror. Students are required to provide their own bed sheets, pillowcases, pillows, blankets, towels, and other personal toiletries. Residents must maintain their personal furnishings in a decent state of repair and remove them from the premises at the time of vacating. Any furnishings that might cause a fire hazard or injury to the cleaning staff must be removed upon request. Waterbeds are prohibited.
All furniture is to remain in specific areas of Vanderbilt Hall. Bedroom furniture may not be removed from its assigned bedroom or to the storage room. Vanderbilt Hall does not have adequate storage space for any item other than in the specific room to which it is assigned. University furnishings for common areas of the Residence Hall may not be moved or removed for a resident's personal use. The Business Office will remove such furnishings from a resident's room when found and will assess the resident the cost of removing the articles. All furniture inquiries should be directed to the Business Office at 617-432-1629.
All residents in Vanderbilt Hall are urged to be especially mindful of energy consumption, as energy costs are a significant portion of annual room fees. Windows should be closed during cold weather and lights turned off when a room is unoccupied. When a room is to be vacant for 24 hours or more, the switch on the fan coil unit should be turned off or set to the low position. Bedrooms that are unusually hot or cold should be brought to the immediate attention of the Business Office at 617-432-1629 so that necessary repairs may be made.
Residents may NOT paint their own rooms.
Pets are not permitted in the Residence Hall.
Fireplaces may not be used. All fireplaces in the building are inoperable and are covered over at the chimney.
Residents may only store bicycles in their rooms or in the bicycle storage cage located closest to Vanderbilt Hall, between Vanderbilt Hall and the New Research Building.
Students may register for bicycle cage access at the HMS Commuter Services and Parking Office. The Commuter Services and Parking Office, located at 180 Longwood Avenue (B entrance), is open from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday. For information, call 617-432-1111 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. We encourage bicycle owners to always lock bicycles securely when left unattended, even when using the bicycle cages.
All bicycles stored on campus must be registered with the Harvard University Police (free of charge) and have a Harvard University registration sticker attached to the bicycle. The sticker should be placed on the top side of the main frame of the bicycle. Unregistered bicycles and bicycles that do not have a visible registration sticker will be removed. Students who have registered for bicycle cage access with the HMS Commuter Services and Parking Office will automatically have their bicycles registered with the Harvard University Police. Bicycles may not be chained to pipes, handrails, fencing, shrubbery, or trees. Bicycles may not be left in paths of emergency exits, corridors, outside entrances, or in any other common area. Any bicycles stored in prohibited locations will be removed and donated to charity. The University is not responsible for any or all loss or damage, including theft to bicycles.
Electrical wiring must comply with the standards of the National Electrical Code, Underwriters Laboratories, and Massachusetts laws and regulations. Only standard extension cords meeting these requirements may be used in Residence Hall rooms.
- Only three-wire extension cords may be used for three-prong wired appliances, and such appliances must only be plugged into the three-prong outlet located in each room.
- Extension cords must be mechanically and electrically sound and cannot exceed 10 feet in length. Appliances with high amperage (e.g., refrigerators, hair dryers, irons) generate excessive heat that constitutes a safety hazard when connected to an extension cord; extension cords must not be used for such appliances.
- Cords or wires of any type cannot be permanently fastened to any part of the Residence Hall building; run through partitions, doorways, or under rugs; or placed on the outside of the building.
- Extension cords cannot be plugged into another extension cord, and extension cords and outlets cannot be overloaded. Only power strips with built-in 15 amp circuit breakers are permitted.
- No spliced cords are permitted.
- Each room can have a maximum of 12 amps plugged in at any time throughout the entire room—see below for typical amperage:
Refrigerator (max. 4 cubic feet, no microwave)
Hair dryer (1,500 watts)
Hair dryer (400 watts)
Residents should not have any electrical device that exceeds 1,000 watts. Microfridges (personal refrigerators with microwaves attached to them), rice cookers, slow cookers, steamers, pressure cookers, toaster ovens, toasters, and hot plates cannot be used in individual rooms. Minifridges (not microfridges), which are 4 cubic feet or smaller, are permitted in student bedrooms. Refrigerators may not be installed in closets or bathrooms or covered with blankets or tablecloths. There is a removal fee charged for refrigerators left in the Hall.
All electrical appliances used in the Residence Hall must comply with the standards of the National Electrical Code, Underwriters Laboratories, and Massachusetts laws and regulations. High-wattage appliances or excessive use of electrical devices may seriously overload the wiring, so residents must exercise caution when using items such as lamps, refrigerators, and hair dryers. Please note the following:
- Halogen torchiere floor lamps are fire hazards and are not permitted.
- Space heaters are prohibited. Inadequately heated bedrooms should be reported to the Business Office immediately.
- TV antennas and satellite dishes are not permitted.
- Pressure cookers and deep fryers are strictly prohibited from being used anywhere on the premises.
Compliance and Inspections
The Business Office reserves the right to enter any room at any time for any reason and may request inspection by an authorized electrician of any electrical appliance brought to the Residence Hall. Should the authorized electrician declare the appliance unsafe for any reason, it must be removed immediately from the Residence Hall by the student. Should a prohibited appliance be discovered in a resident’s room, it will be removed and held until the conclusion of the academic year, at which time the resident can retrieve the item.
The air-conditioning system at Vanderbilt Hall shares chilled water with local hospitals and research buildings in the area. During periods of extreme heat and/or high humidity, the system may be temporarily shut down in order to provide cooling to these essential hospital and laboratory research areas. Students may provide their own air conditioners only with the written recommendation of a physician and the approval of the Student Disabilities Services Coordinator. Installation of a student-owned air conditioner must be arranged through the Vanderbilt Business Office. There is a one-time $135 charge for the installation and removal of a resident's personal air conditioner. For safety reasons, all air conditioners must be installed by authorized maintenance personnel. Air conditioners may be installed any time after May 1. Residents are responsible for making arrangements for the removal of their air conditioners prior to vacating their rooms. Residents will be charged an additional fee for the removal of air conditioners that have not been removed from a vacated room.
A resident in Vanderbilt Hall may house one guest for a maximum of three days. Residents shall not abuse the guest policy, and a guest request may be denied at the sole discretion of the Business Office. Guest passes for up to three consecutive days are available from the front security desk and must be carried at all times by the guest. Guest passes may be renewed at the discretion of the Business Office and will require the signature of the host resident in the presence of the Business Office staff or security officer. No room keys will be issued to the guests. The hosting student is responsible for providing the guest access to the building and bedroom. Security will not unlock any bedroom doors for guests. THE HOSTING RESIDENT IS COMPLETELY RESPONSIBLE FOR HIS OR HER GUEST'S BEHAVIOR AND GUESTS ARE SUBJECT TO ALL RULES AND REGULATIONS OF THE RESIDENCE HALL.
All keys must be signed for when the resident moves in. There is a $50 charge for any replacement key issued and for the failure to return the key upon vacating the room. Only residents who have signed a room license contract will be issued a key and given access to their room. Written permission is required if a resident wishes to permit access to their bedroom to others.
The University reserves the right to enter a resident's room at any time to inspect the premises, to confirm adherence to the terms and conditions of the Room License Contract, and to perform repairs and maintenance. The University may require a resident to remove any material which the University determines is unsanitary, flammable, combustible, creates a fire hazard, or which, in case of fire, might obstruct fire doors or other hall exits. The cost of removing such material will be borne by the resident.
The University gives residents as much freedom in the Residence Hall as possible, but for the sake of safety or common interest, the following items must be prohibited:
- Firearms, ammunition, or air rifles;
- Vehicles in entryways or corridors;
- Flammable liquids;
- Radioactive materials;
- Halogen torchiere floor lamps (see Wiring and Appliances section);
- Space heaters;
- The use of candles and other sources of open flame;
- Cooking in student bedrooms;
- Smoking, including e-cigarettes (Vanderbilt Hall is 100% smoke-free and tobacco-free facility); and
- All fireplace usage (fireplace chimneys are blocked and inoperable).
All residents must abide by procedures set forth for the safety and security of inhabitants, property, and the physical plant.
- Room keys are issued by the Business Office at the security desk. Residents are responsible for returning keys to security at the time of vacating. Only one key will be issued per bedroom. Keys may not be duplicated. Residents must notify the Business Office immediately upon loss of a room key. There is a $50 charge for a replacement key.
- All residents and their guests must leave and enter the building through the front door at the security desk. Access and egress are not permitted through the receiving door, the deanery patio, or the archway gate on Longwood Avenue except in the case of an emergency.
- Residents must tap the card reader with their Harvard Student ID card through the card reader to gain access to the building. Non-resident Harvard students using the athletic facility must have their ID card swiped through card reader at the security desk so that athletic facility usage statistics may be compiled. Visiting scholars will be issued a temporary ID card to enter the building. Temporary ID cards are not transferable and must be returned to security upon checkout.
- Guests of Vanderbilt residents must have a valid Visitor Pass. These are issued for a maximum of three days at security.
- Residents found guilty of participating in illegal entry by visitors may have their room licenses terminated. Unauthorized visitors may be charged with trespassing.
- For the protection of residents, their belongings, and University property, entry doors to the living space must be locked at all times.
- Whenever a bedroom is left unoccupied, the door must be locked.
- Residents should report suspicious activity to the Harvard University Police at 617-432-1212.
Vanderbilt Hall is 100% smoke-free and tobacco-free facility. Smoking (including e-cigarettes) is not permitted anywhere on the premises, including the interior courtyard area and the Deanery patio.
Non-resident Harvard Medical and Dental students are always welcome in the common areas of Vanderbilt Hall. Non-resident Harvard Medical and Dental students must have their I.D. card swiped at security to gain access to common areas. If a non-resident Medical or Dental student visits as a guest of a Vanderbilt resident, it is the responsibility of the hosting student to provide the non-resident student access to the living space and to complete a visitor pass at the security desk.
Non-resident students may host guests in the Athletic Facility. To do so, they must purchase Crimson Cash on their Student ID card in advance (see Athletic Facility section in the Guide to Life at Vanderbilt Hall).
Non-resident Medical and Dental students may also check out keys at the security desk to use the pianos and the various student activity rooms but may not sign in guests to enter the building (except the Athletic Facility) without written permission from the Business Office.
- Rollerblading is not permitted in any common areas of the building or grounds.
- Animals, except for service animals, are not permitted on the premises.
- Every resident is responsible for the maintenance of good order and reasonable quiet in his or her room. Residents shall at all times show proper regard for others. Radios, televisions, stereos, musical instruments, and other audio equipment shall be adjusted so as not to disturb the community. The interval between 11:00 p.m. and 7:00 a.m. is designated as quiet time, when students should take extra care to keep noise levels low. This includes sliding chairs or furniture across the floor.
- Placing items outside on bedroom window ledges or hanging banners or objects from balconies or windows is not permitted.
- No chemicals, solvents, grease, fuel, paint, or toxic or hazardous substances may be disposed of in the sink, toilet, or shower drains. Residents must contact the Business Office regarding proper disposal of such items.
- Residents are not permitted on the roof, balconies, or fire escapes, except in the case of an emergency.
- Failure to comply with the Terms and Conditions of Occupancy may affect the student's status at the University
- All rules and regulations set forth in the Vanderbilt Hall Guide to Life, the Harvard Medical School Student Handbook, and other established rules and regulations of Harvard Medical School and Harvard University are hereby incorporated into the Room License Contract, and the resident agrees to be bound by and to comply with said regulations, rules, and conditions.
THESE TERMS AND CONDITIONS OF OCCUPANCY MAY BE MODIFIED AT ANY TIME BY THE UNIVERSITY AT ITS DISCRETION. ALL RESIDENTS WILL BE NOTIFIED IMMEDIATELY UPON SUCH MODIFICATION