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Housing Policies

Housing Policies Section

Living in campus housing presents both opportunities and challenges. Community responsibilities, such as cooperation and respect, accompany group living situations. Your actions affect others, especially when space is limited. The Residence Life Team members help foster a sense of community; however, each resident is ultimately responsible for the creation and maintenance of this community. To help create and maintain our community students need to be mindful of our campus polices. All Residence Hall & Family Housing students are expected to abide by the Student Conduct Code. In addition to the Student Conduct Code, Residence Life has outlined the following housing policies for students living in and visiting Family Housing and the Residence Halls.

Residence Hall Contract

Students who contract to live in the residence halls accept financial responsibility for the room & meal plan for the entire semester. No refunds will be given for students choosing to move off campus during the semester, unless the student officially withdraws from all courses through the Registrar’s Office before the final published date. Fall cancellations received in writing by July 15th will receive a 100% refund. Fall cancellations received in writing by August 15th will receive a 50% refund. Spring cancellations received in writing by the first day of class will receive a 100% refund. Spring cancellations received after the semester starts will not receive a refund. For a complete review of the Housing Contract Conditions please click on the following link:

Housing Contract Conditions

Freshman Residency Requirement

The State of Montana Board of Regents of Higher Education has a residency policy that requires all students with less than 30 earned college credits reside in the residence halls unless this requirement has been waived by the specific university. At the University of Montana Western, exceptions to this policy are determined on a case by case basis by the Director of Residence Life. Proper verification must be presented to support residency requirements release. Please note that high school AP/Dual credits do not count towards the 30 earned college credit requirement.

Housing Hold

All incoming freshmen automatically have a housing hold placed on their University account until one of the following requirements are completed:

  • A housing application is submitted for the Residence Halls.
  • A release from the Freshman Residency Requirement has been submitted and approved.

To avoid any delays, freshmen should complete one of the above steps as soon as possible.

Release Process

Release from the Freshman Residency Requirement is not guaranteed for any reason and all releases are at the discretion of the Director of Residence Life. Please review the Release Request Form in its entirety for release guidelines, policy, and procedure.  Requests will not be reviewed unless all necessary documentation is attached.

Alcohol & Drugs


The University of Montana Western follows all state and federal statutes. In accordance with state law, students under the age of 21 cannot consume or possess alcohol. When both residents of the room are under the age of 21, neither they nor their guests/visitors may possess or consume alcohol. This includes shot glasses, alcohol decorations (trophy bottles), empty alcohol containers, etc.

For rooms in which one roommate is 21 or older while the other roommate is not of legal drinking age, the resident who is of legal drinking age may not consume alcohol in his/her room. Rooms where both or all roommates are of legal drinking age may consume alcohol inside their room and must keep their behavior from being disruptive. No guests under the age of 21 may be present in the room while the of-age roommate/guests are consuming alcoholic beverages.

Alcohol is not allowed in any public areas of the building or in rooms occupied by underage residents. Most alcohol situations are brought to our attention because of disruptive behavior. This behavior is addressed through student conduct and may require attendance to behavioral Health Options. The cost of the Options program is the responsibility of the student. Alcohol violations carry with them the prospect of a Minor In Possession (MIP) and other criminal charges, and more severe consequences are dependent on the behavior displayed at the time of documentation.


Drugs are prohibited in University housing at all times. The Residence Life staff is instructed to call the Dillon Police Department and let law enforcement take over a situation if drugs are suspected to be present. The University has strict policies regarding the illegal use and abuse of substances.

Medical Marijuana

Although Montana state law permits the use of medical marijuana, i.e., use by persons possessing lawfully issued medical marijuana cards, federal laws prohibit marijuana use, possession and/or cultivation at educational institutions and on the premises of other recipients of federal funds. The use, possession or cultivation of marijuana for medical purposes is therefore not allowed in any University of Montana Western housing or any other University of Montana Western property; nor is it allowed at any University-sponsored event or activity off campus.

Facility Usage


Bicycle racks are available outside family housing and the residence halls. Students are responsible for proper lockup and security of their bikes. All bikes must be removed from residence hall racks at the end of spring semester or they will be confiscated by Montana Western.

Bed Bug Information

Residence Life Staff Protocol for Bed Bugs
Bed Bugs Brochure
Information on Bedbugs

Community Damages

If excessive damage is incurred in a common area due to a group of individuals, community damages may be assessed to the group responsible.

Damage Deposit

The resident is responsible for damage to the room/apartment, furnishings, windows, screens, locks, doors, ect. Appropriate charges for excessive cleaning or damage to and/or loss of University property for which the student is responsible will be deducted from the damage deposit. The student is responsible for any cost exceeding the damage deposit and will be billed for any overage. The deposit may be forfeited if the housing contract terms are not fulfilled.

Decorating Rooms

Because this will be your new home, we encourage you to make it your own. Decorate the interior with plants, posters, and rugs that you and your roommate agree upon. You are free to display posters and other things in your room including either side of your door and the inside of your window except for content unprotected by the First Amendment such as pornographic, obscene, defamatory, or fraudulent messages. You are not allowed to display posters or messages in public areas of your Residence Hall, including outside balconies, without prior consent from the Director of Residence Life. We do ask that you consider removing materials visible to other residents in response to any resident complaint in the interest of maintaining a collegial and civil Residence Hall environment. Decorations must not cause damage to walls or furniture, nor should they cover or hang from fire sprinklers. Many adhesive substances damage surfaces.  Poster putty and command strips can be purchased at the campus bookstore, and are recommended for use in the residence halls. Damage resulting from adhesive residue is deducted from the damage deposit. A list of costs for damage is available by clicking this link.

Furniture & Furnishings

Residents are not permitted to remove or alter any furniture or fixtures in their rooms or public areas. Due to limited space, residence hall room furnishings cannot be stored elsewhere in the halls. Additionally, public area furniture is intended for the use of all students and may not be used in private rooms. Due to significant fire hazard, halogen lamps are not allowed in the residence halls.

Keys & Locks

Each student in the residence halls receives a key that opens the residence hall room, the fire doors on each end of the hallway, the outside door of that residence hall, and their mailbox. Family housing residents have issued two keys to their apartments.

Building outside doors are locked at 10:00 p.m. every night and unlocked at 7:00 a.m. weekdays and 10:00 a.m. weekends. Residents must have their keys with them to gain entrance to the residence halls during those times.

A student who is locked out of their room/apartment/mailbox or temporarily misplaces a key may obtain a temporary replacement at the Residence Life office for $1. For security purposes, residents must present their Bulldog Card. The key may be kept five days. If the original key is not located by then, the lock will be changed, a new key issued, and the resident will be billed a $60 lock change fee for a room key. If the mailbox key has to be replaced as well, there is a $10 lock change fee.

Painting Rooms

Residents are not allowed to paint rooms/apartments. Residents who paint their rooms/apartments will have the cost of repainting deducted from their damage deposit.

Prohibited Items

The following items are not allowed in residence hall rooms or family housing apartments. Christmas trees, pets, firearms & ammunition, television antennas, waterbeds, and motorized equipment.

Repairs & Maintenance

To report a maintenance problem fill out the work order form, stop by the Residence Life office, find an RA, or call 406-683-5765 during normal business hours. During the academic year, we will attempt to respond to all requests within one hour. After hours, please leave a message. We will respond to all requests the next business day. In case of emergency, call 406-925-9828. Emergencies consist of the following:

  • Flooding
  • Electrical problems
  • Potentially hazardous (life threatening) situations

Room Cleanliness

The upkeep of your room is your responsibility. The Montana Western requires residents to maintain their room in a safe and healthy condition at all times. The Residence Life office has vacuums to check out for student use, and there are trash chutes on each floor for emptying wastebaskets. Some cleaning equipment is also available on each floor. Students can receive replacement light bulbs by contacting the Residence Life Office.

Room Entry/Inspection

The university may enter the student’s room, suite or family housing apartment during normal working hours for cleaning, maintenance, and/or reason allowed by law, including to make repairs, alterations, or facility improvements, to ensure compliance with health and safety regulations, or in the event of an emergency, building evacuation, or abandonment of the room or suite by either the student or the student’s roommate(s). Prior notice will be given of such entry to the student or student’s assigned roommate(s) except for emergency, abandonment, or where impractical. Doors will be locked after every entry. Montana Western conducts safety and security inspections once a semester in all residence life facilities.


General sales or solicitation are not allowed in the residence halls or Family Housing apartments, with the exception of newspaper delivery. Residents approached by unauthorized salespeople should notify a Residence Life staff member or the RLO.

Windows & Window Screens

Do not unlatch screens, remove windows, or throw items from the windows for any reason. Room occupants will be charged for the total cost of reinstalling, repairing, or replacing damaged or destroyed screens, blinds and window glass. Additionally, do not enter or exit the building through the windows, which is also subject to disciplinary action.

Vehicle Plug-Ins

In cold weather, residents may rent an outlet that is provided next to Clark Hall to plug in their vehicle. Cords may not be run from residence hall or family housing rooms for this purpose.

Fire Safety

General Safety

In case of a fire, call 911. Fires are a potentially serious problem in all shared living space communities due to the high concentration of individuals living in each building. Please use caution and common sense to avoid a disaster.

Prevention can save your life and the lives of others. Explore your community and familiarize yourself with all exits. Keep exits and access areas clear of all debris and storage. Residence Hall staff will conduct fire drills twice annually in order for all residents to evaluate proper evacuation routes in case of a fire emergency.

Please note that halogen lamps, candles with wicks, and incense are not allowed to reduce the risk of fires within the Residence Halls.

Candles, Incense & other fire hazards

Because of the threat of fire to residents and their property candles with wicks, incense, beanbag chairs, wall hangings that can obstruct fire sprinklers and halogen lamps are prohibited.  Possession of any of the above items will result in community service hours.  Items will be confiscated by Residence Hall Staff and held until semester ends.

Chemicals & Explosives

Chemicals and explosives (including firecrackers, explosive devices, combustion engines, flammable and explosive liquids, ammunition, and fireworks) are not allowed in the residence halls or Family Housing. This includes materials and devices which by themselves, or when combined, could be explosive, flammable, toxic, or dangerous (such as camping fuel).

Cooking in Rooms

Because of health concerns, only minimal cooking is allowed in residence hall rooms.  Popcorn poppers are allowed if there is no exposed heating element.  Coffee pots are allowed only if equipped with an automatic shutoff, but care should be taken to maintain these appliances.  Small microwave ovens are allowed if under 750 watts.  Refrigerators under 4 cubic feet are allowed.  Toaster ovens, toasters and George Forman-type grills are not allowed.  Items will be confiscated by Residence Hall Staff and held until semester ends.

Fire Drills & Fire Equipment

Misuse of any fire equipment, starting fires, setting off false alarms, or failing to evacuate and/or hindering in the evacuation of others will result in disciplinary action and possible criminal action.

Participation in fire drills is mandatory.

Fire drills are conducted at least once each semester in each hall to inform residents of the proper evacuation procedures. The RA on each floor will explain the evacuation procedures at the first floor meeting and an evacuation plan is posted behind each residence hall room door. Be sure you are familiar with these procedures. Your life may depend on it.

Evacuation Guidelines:

  1. Open curtains, pull up blinds or shades.
  2. Close window.
  3. Put on shoes and a coat, in case you must remain outside for an extended period.
  4. Turn off all lights.
  5. Close door and take your room key as staff will enter your room to conduct a visual check and will lock your room door.
  6. Leave building by the nearest exit, unless that path is obstructed by fire, in which case, find an alternate exit.
  7. Use stairs, not elevators during evacuation, as you could become trapped.
  8. If you smell smoke while in your room, first feel your door and doorknob to determine if heat is present. If it is not, place a towel over your mouth and open your door. If you see smoke, crawl to the nearest exit (heat and smoke rise, and you are safer closer to the floor).
  9. When you feel your door, if heat is present, do not open your door. Put a towel over your mouth and under your door, open your window, hang a piece of white cloth out the window, and then close the window. The cloth will let firefighters know where to find you. Unless you live on the first floor, do not jump out of your window. Never break your window, as this will draw smoke into your room. Notify the Hall Director (406-925-9828) that you are still in your room.
  10. Remain outside until a signal is given to re-enter the building.

Fire Hazards

Residents are responsible for taking all possible precautions to prevent fires.  The use of multi-socket extension cords or the installation of non-approved wiring by residents is prohibited by fire regulations.

The use, possession, or storage of Hoverboards, Swagways, IO Hawks, Skywalkers, and similar devices, is prohibited on campus until safety standards for them can be developed and implemented, and the prohibition is lifted. Recent information has revealed that the batteries in the devices are dangerous and prone to explosion, creating a safety and fire risk. Until a time that the safety standards for these devices are improved, Residence Life has prohibited them from being in any of our residence halls or apartments.

Fire Safety

Do not risk your life in the case of fire. Call the fire department immediately at 911, evacuate your residence hall room or family housing apartment. In the interest of fire safety, keep all stairways, landings, and breezeways clean and free of obstructions such as barbecues, children’s toys, bikes, boxes, furniture, tires, large planters and the like. If barbecuing on the premises it is the responsibility of tenants to operate equipment using proper safety measures. Keeping barbeque grills at least 10′ away from all buildings or porches. Barbeque grills (propane or briquette) are not permitted on the second or third floor balconies due to fire hazard. We reserve the right to remove any obstructions that create unsafe or unsightly conditions. Garbage cannot be stored for any amount of time outside your apartment. Your garbage needs to be taken immediately to the dumpster in the back. If garbage is left outside your apartment, you will be billed for removal.

Smoke Detector & Sprinkler Heads

All residence halls are equipped with sprinklers and are checked on a monthly basis.

General Behavior

Disruptive Behavior

Inappropriate behaviors that necessitate an additional response from campus or city personnel, or any behavior that can be construed as disruptive to the housing community are considered violations of policy.

Guest & Visitation

Residents are allowed to have guests during the school year. A guest is limited to a maximum stay of six nights per month. Guest stay overs must be approved by a roommate. In all residence halls, members of the opposite sex must be escorted into the building and out of the building by a resident of that living area during quiet hours (Sunday through Thursday 10 p.m. to 10 a.m.; Friday and Saturday midnight to 10 a.m.). Guests without an escort may be removed from the building by a staff member. Residents are responsible for their actions and the actions of their guests at all times. Visitors and residents are reminded that they are not to use the bathroom facilities of the opposite sex at any time!

Loss, Theft & Insurance

Residents should report any missing personal property immediately to their RA or the Residence Life office with a description of the property, its value, and any other pertinent information. For insurance purposes on valuable items, or in the case of loss or theft, a report should be filed with the Dillon Police Department.

Montana Western assumes no responsibility for any accident, loss, theft, or damage to personal belongings on the Montana Western campus, including residence halls, family housing, parking areas, common areas, classrooms, etc. Residents are encouraged to consider purchasing renter’s insurance to cover loss or damage of personal property or an extension of their parents’ homeowner’s insurance for this purpose

Residents are encouraged to take the following precautions for their own and others’ safety and security.

  1. Lock room/apartment whenever leaving it, even for just a few minutes to the bathroom, vending room, lounge, or to a friend’s room. Always keep your door locked when sleeping.
  2. Always take your key with you.
  3. Do not allow others to be in the room while the resident is not there. The resident of the room is responsible for all behavior occurring in that room, even when the resident is absent.
  4. Room windows readily accessible from the ground should always be secured when the room is unoccupied. Most rooms in JDC are equipped with a security stick.
  5. Keep a record of serial numbers and manufacturer names for personal property.
  6. Avoid keeping large amounts of cash in your room. Do not tell anyone, even a roommate or best friend, where money and valuables are hidden.
  7. Keep security doors closed and locked. Do not prop locked doors open for any reason.
  8. Be alert to strangers in the living areas and report suspicious activities to the RA, Hall Director, or the Residence Life office.
  9. Never leave clothes unattended in the laundry rooms or bathrooms.
  10. Carry personal property insurance. Some homeowner policies will cover possessions away from home, so check with parents and/or insurance agent.
  11. Utilize the Campus Security escort service, 406-683-7141 or 406-925-9828, if crossing campus after dark.


Fish in 10-gallon tanks or less are the only pet allowed in the Residence Halls & Family Housing. All other animals, except for certified Service Animals, of any kind are strictly prohibited in the Residence Halls and Family Housing apartments. This includes pets belonging to guests. Pets will not be permitted to “visit” or be on the premises for any reason.

Exceptions will be made for individuals requiring a service or companion animal. This request must go through Disability Services for Students Office located in the Dean of Students Center. This request must be submitted and approved by the Residence Life Office prior to the animal being in the Residence Halls or Family Housing apartments.

Tobacco Free

The use of tobacco (including cigarettes, cigars, e-cigarettes, pipes, bidi, hookah, snus, orbs, vape, vapor, vaporizer pens, all forms of smokeless tobacco) by students, faculty, staff, guests, visitors, and contractors is prohibited on all properties owned or leased by The University of Montana Western.

Quiet Hours & Noise

Students are expected to respond to each other’s requests for quiet whenever their behavior or the behavior of their guests is such that it creates a disturbance. Residents are expected to maintain a level of quiet conducive to community living and respond courteously to other residents’ and staff requests for quiet. Quiet hours are in effect Sunday through Thursday nights from 10:00 p.m. to 10:00 a.m., and Friday and Saturday nights from midnight to 10:00 a.m. Noise during quiet hours must not be audible outside the room with the door closed.



All weapons must be checked into the Residence Life gun safe. Under no circumstances are guns, bows, or ammunition to be carried onto residence hall floors or stored in family housing apartments. Knives which are intended for legitimate hunting purposes and simple pocketknives are allowed in the residence halls and family housing apartments (must be approved by Director of Residence Life).  However, severe disciplinary action will be taken against students displaying these knives in a threatening or challenging manner.  Any other sharp and/or pointed objects are not allowed-this includes decorative knives or swords. Handguns, pellet/B.B. guns, paint ball guns, wrist rockets, sling shots, blow guns and any other self-propelling apparatus are not allowed in the residence halls or family housing apartments; possession will result in immediate confiscation and possible removal from the residence halls and/or Montana Western. Ammunition is not to be stored in the Residence Life gun safe or Residence Hall/Family Housing rooms.