Residential Life

See the individual policy entries for further information. Except for the stated exceptions and restrictions in the policy entries, the items on this list are strictly prohibited from the residence halls. All electronic appliances must have a UL or CE listing.

Air Conditioners

The residence halls at Brown are not air conditioned. Students are allowed to bring fans. Individual air conditioners (window or floor units) are not allowed in the residence halls as they can overload electrical circuits, pose a safety hazard for individuals outside the building, and damage window frames and sills. Students with a documented disability-related need for an air conditioner must register with and be approved by Student Accessibility Services (SAS) for housing accommodations.

If approved for use of an air conditioning unit by SAS, the student may only bring in a floor unit. No window units will be allowed. Approved air conditioning units are not to exceed 12,000 BTU. All approved floor units must be installed by Facilities Management.

Students found to be in possession of and using an unapproved air conditioning unit will have the air conditioning unit confiscated and securely stored by the Office of Residential Life. The confiscated unit will be available for pickup upon check-out.



Individual antennas and satellite dishes may not be attached to or hung from the exterior of any residence halls.


Appliances and Cooking Devices

Community kitchens in the residence halls  include appliances and are for the use of building residents only. Items such as rice cookers and table top grills (e.g., George Foreman) may be used in the community kitchen as long as they are never left unattended while cooking or while hot. 

Cooking in general is not allowed in student rooms. Thus, in compliance with fire safety regulations, the following may not be used in student rooms:

  • Electric and gas stoves
  • Toasters, toaster ovens, hot plates, burners, crock pots, timed cookers, electric coils, immersion heaters, and air fryers
  • Fryers and grills of all kinds (e.g., George Foreman)
  • Any other appliance or instrument with an open flame, exposed heating element or hot surface that poses a fire hazard

Coffee Makers & Electric Kettles

Residential-style coffee makers are allowed in student rooms. Not allowed are restaurant-style or commercial coffee makers, or those that keep water perpetually hot and ready for instant use. An "automatic shut off" function is a required safety option, so that the coffee maker or electric kettle turns itself off if you forget to do so.

Large Appliances

Large appliances such as dishwasher/portable dishwashers, dryers and washing machines are not allowed in residence halls.  The drain system cannot support a dishwasher or washers and dryers in places outside their designated area. 

Barbeque grills

Barbeque grills may not be used inside the residence halls because of the open flame and carbon monoxide produced. The storage of grills, charcoal, lighter fluid or propane tanks (full or empty) inside a residence hall is also prohibited. Barbeque grills may be used on the patios outside residence halls provided they are attended and closely monitored, and provided all fire and/or smoldering charcoal is extinguished completely at the end of use.

Refrigerators and Microwaves

The University will provide access to a refrigerator and microwave in the residence halls. Each non-suite/apartment room will have one refrigerator and microwave. Each suite which does not contain a full-sized refrigerator as part of the standard furnishings of the unit will have one refrigerator and microwave per suite. Suites and apartments which contain a full-sized refrigerator will not have any additional university-provided refrigerators. Due to these appliances being provided by the University, student-owned refrigerators and microwaves are prohibited in the residence halls.


Candles and Incense

Candles of all kinds (including birthday cake candles) and incense are a fire hazard and are prohibited in residence halls by Rhode Island fire safety regulations. Candles will be confiscated when found and subjected to a fine of $100 per candle.



Ceiling canopies and tapestries are not allowed. Large combustible wall coverings over 1600 square inches and unframed are prohibited in any residence hall room or sleeping quarters because of their potential ignition and rapid burning. Likewise, do not cover or hide your ceiling light with fabric. Under no condition is any tapestry or cloth covering to be within 12 inches of an electrical outlet.

It is important to remember not to disturb walls or ceiling material with hooks, nails or other materials, nor scrape or sand any painted surfaces in your living space.



Possession, use and/or distribution of fireworks, explosives, or other types of incendiary devices are prohibited.

Prohibited items include the following:

  • Ammunition
  • Fireworks of all kinds
  • Incendiary devices
  • Explosives
  • Flare guns


Extension Cords

Home-style extension cords are not allowed in residence halls. By fire safety regulation, grounded 15-ampere rated surge protectors are the only type of extension cord allowed in residence halls. This is a very important fire safety rule - overloaded extension cords can cause fires! We will confiscate "octopus plugs" and extension cords that do not fit the approved ratings. Surge protector-type power strips are available from local office supply stores and the Brown Bookstore. Appliances (e.g., refrigerators) should be plugged directly into existing electrical outlets, not into a surge protector.



For fire safety and insect control reasons, firewood may not be stored anywhere inside or immediately adjacent to a residence hall.


Halogen Torchières

By fire safety regulation, halogen torchière floor lamps and halogen desk lamps are prohibited in residence halls. The biggest safety concern is the open top design and the intense heat generated by the halogen bulb. These lamps have been the cause of a number of fires largely by coming into contact with cloth of some sort and igniting it.

Halogen torchière floor lamps found in residence halls will be removed immediately.


Hazardous Materials

Because of the fire risk involved, possession or storage of flammable chemicals, spray paints/solvents or any similar hazardous materials in residence hall rooms or storage areas is absolutely prohibited. Consult Residential Life staff with any questions or concerns.


Holiday Decorations

Holiday decorations can make the residence halls more festive in addition to providing for the expression of religious practice. If you choose to decorate for any holidays, the following guidelines must be followed:

  • No open flames, no candles, no Sterno (food warming-pan fuel cans).
  • No real trees or wreaths. Artificial trees and wreaths are acceptable as long as they are non-combustible.
  • Any lights must be UL-approved and in good condition. Lights must be kept clear of other combustibles. LED lighting is preferred.
  • No lights may be used on building exteriors.
  • Do not hang lights (nor anything else) near or on any fire safety equipment (sprinklers, alarms, et cetera)


Lofts, Platform Beds

Lofted bed frames are not permitted. See below for instructions on safely adjusting the height of your bed.

Bed frames in residence halls can be self-adjusted by residents themselves. Generally, beds are left at the height preferred by the last resident. The highest position often allows for dressers and/or bookcases to be positioned under the bed, to allow for maximum floor space.

If a resident wishes to change the position of the bed, the recommended approach is for two people to adjust as follows:

  1. Remove the mattress.
  2. Push up on the frame from the bottom, to loosen the hooks from the bed ends (some residents have found it easier to turn the bed upside down, in order to push the bed frame down and loosen the frame from the ends).
  3. Position the hooks on one end into the new slots for the preferred height, then repeat at the other end, taking care to be at the same height on both ends.


Motor Vehicles (motorcycles, mopeds, etc.)

Motor vehicles, including motorcycles and mopeds, are not allowed inside residence halls because of the potential fire and health hazards posed by the fuel and the combustion engines. All motor vehicles are subject to the rules concerning parking.



Pets are absolutely not allowed in the residence halls. The one exception is aquarium fish; tanks and aquariums may be no larger than 10 gallons. This restriction on pets is strictly enforced for public health and safety reasons. Violation of this regulation will result in a fine and/or other disciplinary action.


Platforms, partitions, and walls

Residence hall rooms are configured in compliance with local building and fire codes - this includes having appropriate ventilation, electrical fixtures, fire alarm devices and egress (i.e. a way out).

Platforms, partitions, or walls restrict egress, add to the fire load in the building, and restrict both ventilation and access to fire alarm systems; thus these items are strictly prohibited. In addition, Brown-approved contractors are the only ones authorized to perform construction or renovation work of any kind in University buildings.



The Rhode Island Fire Safety Code requires strict enforcement of postering regulations in the residence halls.

Posters, signs, and notices may be placed only in bulletin boards that have safety glass. Any posters, signs, or paper on corridor walls, doors, stairwells or other public areas are subject to removal without notice. Remember: paper is fire fuel.

Students may place posters, decoration, and artwork inside their residence hall rooms (please note restrictions on wall coverings).

Residents are accountable for damages due to taping or stapling on interior or exterior doors, walls and ceilings.



Smoking is prohibited in all University buildings. Students are permitted to smoke outside, at a distance of at least 35 feet from the entrance to any University building, provided that there will be no migration of smoke into a University building. E-Cigarettes are included in this definition.

Evidence of smoking within the residence hall will result in a $100 fine and tampering with any fire equipment within a residence hall will result in a $300 fine. 


Space Heaters

Because of the fire and life safety hazard they pose, portable space heaters are strictly prohibited from use in residence halls. Remember, fire safety regulations that govern a building of college student rooms are much more restrictive than those for family living situations.


Wall Coverings

Wall coverings can pose a fire and safety hazard to you and to the other students living in your building, and have the potential to cause damages to the residence halls. In addition to the restrictions on canopies, tapestries, and posters (see respective policies for specific details), peel and stick wallpaper, as well as all other student-provided wallpaper, is prohibited. It is important to remember not to disturb walls or ceiling material with hooks, nails or other materials, nor scrape or sand any painted surfaces in your living space.



Waterbeds are prohibited.



Possession, use and/or distribution of firearms, ammunition, explosives, or other weapons are prohibited.

Prohibited items include the following:

  • Firearms (defined as any projectile-firing device)
  • Guns (all types)
  • Ammunition
  • Incendiary devices
  • Explosives
  • Flare guns
  • Air rifles (including paint ball rifles)
  • Guns using BBs or pellets or darts
  • Any slingshot device
  • All knives (including martial arts devices and ceremonial swords), except those that are designed and used for food preparation