Prohibited Items and Behaviors


Certain items are prohibited in the residence halls. If such items are discovered by Residential Life, Housing, or other staff, residents will typically be given 48 hours to remove them from the residence hall. Illegal items or ones considered dangerous will be confiscated immediately. The following lists are not complete, and the absence of an item or behavior does not constitute approval of its use or practice. Columbia Housing maintains the right to determine allowable practices and uses; if you are uncertain, contact Columbia Housing and Residential Life.

The following items are prohibited in all Columbia owned and operated residence halls and brownstones.

  • Air conditioners (both window and portable units). Units shipped to the Columbia Student Mail Center will not be accepted and will be returned to sender at the sender's expense.
  • Banners, flags, nets, holiday lighting, cable wire, and hangers installed in such a way as to interfere with the operation of any fire safety equipment (i.e. sprinkler heads or smoke detectors). No items may be installed on/suspended from the ceilings.
  • Candles, even if the item is strictly decorative
  • "Live" holiday decorations such as wreaths or Christmas trees
  • Deep fryers
  • Drones
  • Electric scooters or bikes
  • Electronic cigarettes, vape pens, and Juuls
  • Extension cords (only UL-listed surge protectors with shut-off safety functioning are allowed)
  • Fog Machines
  • Grills
  • Halogen lamps
  • Hookahs
  • Hot plates
  • Hoverboards, self-propelled scooters, and similar devices
  • Illegal drugs and/or paraphernalia
  • Incense, even if item is strictly decorative
  • Immersion coils
  • Lofted Beds
  • Mattresses
  • Motorcycles or any gas engine vehicles
  • Non-flame-resistant decorations hung on room/suite doors or hallway bulletin boards.
  • Personal washing machines/dryers
  • Pets (only fish in a half-gallon or less tank are allowed)
  • Signs, posters, lights, or decorations on the exterior of buildings or attached to windowpanes.
  • Space heaters

The following behaviors and activities are prohibited in all Columbia-owned and operated residence halls and brownstones. 

  • Storage of flammables or explosives of any type
  • Tampering with fire extinguishers, alarms, or other safety equipment
  • Throwing of any items from windows and balconies
  • Excessive noise
  • Soliciting or commercial activities
  • Actions that are inconsistent with city, state, and federal statutes and Housing policies and procedures as outlined in the Guide to Living
  • Structural additions or modifications of any kind are not permitted to any part of a student room or residence hall
  • Drawing, painting or nailing of any kind to any surface
  • Removing or altering University-owned and provided furniture, fixtures, appliances, or locks

Residents should also review our policies on decorations and wall hangings

The possession, use, or distribution of explosives (includes, but is not limited to, fireworks and ammunition), guns (includes, but is not limited to, air, BB, paintball, facsimile weapons and pellet guns), or other weapons or dangerous objects such as arrows, axes, machetes, nunchucks, throwing stars, or knives, including the storage of any item that falls within the category of a weapon in a vehicle parked on University property is prohibited. Other items include, but are not limited to, gunpowder, mace, martial arts weapons, and swords.

To the extent permitted by law, the University reserves the right to enter rooms to confiscate weapons for reasons of safety.

The following items are only allowed in suite/apartment or corridor-style kitchens. These items may not be used or stored in bedrooms or other common areas:

  • Coffeemakers*/electric kettles
  • Countertop grills (George Foreman-style grills and/or panini makers)
  • Crockpots/instant pots or similar cooking appliances
  • Knives (bread knives, a cooking set)
  • Microwave ovens (Microfridge rentals may be stored in an individual room)
  • Rice cookers
  • Toasters/toaster ovens

Refrigerators used in individual rooms are subject to additional restrictions. Please read the Refrigerators Policy for more information. 

Please note the University assumes no responsibility for items removed from common areas and/or kitchen lounges.

*hot-pot style coffee makers are prohibited. Single-use, pod-style coffee makers are allowed.