House Policies

Beginning the Residential Year

Though most juniors and seniors are familiar with the challenges of settling in the House, sophomores generally are not. A review of what to expect and what to do should be beneficial for all members of the Eliot House Community.

House Administrator extraordinaire Sue Weltman is responsible for student housing. Rising seniors and juniors in the House participate in a lottery in the spring to select their suites for the following fall. Rising sophomores are assigned to suites during the summer. Letters are sent to them in late August informing them of their suite and mailbox number. Unless you are a Freshman reading this Facebook for kicks, you probably already experienced this. A Housing Committee, composed of a group of students, tutors, and the House Administrator is responsible for running the housing lottery every spring. Students who have questions for the committee or who are concerned about housing should contact Sue at (49)6-5615.

Keys and Check-In

All House residents will be issued a suite key and a mailbox combination for which they will sign a receipt form. The following materials will be in your room when you arrive. If you did not get any of the following materials, please contact the Building Manager, Francisco Medeiros.

  • Cue Guide (per suite)
  • Condition of Suite Card (per suite)
  • Unofficial Guide to Life at Harvard (one per suite)

When moving into their suite all students should expect to find a clean suite with walls that have been painted within the last few years. Each student is allocated one bed (including mattress), one desk, one dresser, one chair, and a bookcase. You may also expect to discover, to your delight, that the framed windows are augmented with storm windows, screens and shades, and that light fixtures for general room lighting are functioning and provide a gentle flourescent illumination. Reading lamps are not provided, though with enough poster gum it may be possible to affix your torchier floor lamp to the ceiling. However, this would probably be in violation of fire codes, and would undoubtedly make your room look ridiculous.

Insurance for Belongings

Harvard does not carry insurance covering damage to or theft of property. It is advised that you or your family obtain such coverage. Information about insurance, offered by a private company, will be available after registration.

Services available through the Building Manager

The Building Manager, Francisco Medeiros, should be looked upon as a resource for you as the manager of the physical resources of the House. Questions about the items in this section of the booklet and all subjects covered may and should be addressed to him.


All maintenance requests should be made to the Building Manager. When reporting a problem, please be as specific as possible in identifying its nature and location.

Do-it-yourself Maintenance

The College must insist that all maintenance be handled through the Building Manager office. Even well-meaning do-it-yourself maintenance can cause serious damage and liabilities. For example, using over the counter caustic drain cleaners to open clogged drains can damage pipes and be a threat to the safety of maintenance personnel. Even the seemingly simple task of changing a fluorescent light bulb has resulted in shocks, injuries and damage to the fixtures.

Reporting a Building-Related Emergency

Building-related emergencies (floods, black-outs, etc.) should be reported to the Building Manager’s office, (49)5-2266. If the Building Manager’s office is unattended, call the University Control Center directly at (49)5-5560.

Screens, Storm Windows, Shades, and Doors

Do not remove any screens or storm windows, shades or doors, as they are easily lost or broken. Report any problem to the Building Manager. A charge for repair or replacement will be placed on your term bill where damage can be attributed to neglect or student damage.

Pest Problems

If you find cockroaches, ants, other insects, or mice in your suite, the first thing to do is find the source that is attracting them. Make sure that absolutely all perishables are in sealed containers, that there are no spills or crumbs on the floor or empty unwashed beverage bottles. In other words, stop being gross. If the problem persists, report it to the Building Manager.


Toilet paper, trashcan liners and cleaning supplies are available at the Building Manager’s office. Equipment such as vacuum cleaners, brooms, dustpans, mops and buckets may be borrowed from the Building Manager’s office. No equipment will be lent unless your identification card is left in its place, except for toilet paper, which we encourage you to flush and not return.

Bed Boards and Guard Rails

Students who wish to borrow bed boards or bunk bed guard rails may do so through the Building Manager. There is a $50 charge for bed boards and/or guard rails not returned to the Building Manager’s office at the end of the academic year.

Lock Outs

If you get locked out of your suite, loaner keys may be checked out in the Building Manager’s office from 8:00 a.m. - 12:45 a.m., Monday through Friday, and 1:00 p.m. - 12:45 a.m. Saturdays and Sundays.

The Police will respond to lock outs from 1:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. seven days per week. THERE IS NO ONE AVAILABLE TO UNLOCK YOUR DOOR 8:00 a.m. TO 1:00 p.m. SATURDAY AND SUNDAY OR ON ANY OFFICIAL HOLIDAY.


Mail is delivered daily, Monday through Saturday. The official Eliot House mailing address is::

Student Name

<Box Number> Eliot Mail Center

Cambridge, MA 02138-7524


In Eliot House, you will be notified via email of any package, special delivery, flowers, etc. that are delivered to the Building Manager’s office. Please stop by the Building Manager’s office to pick up your packages.

Due to the overwhelming number of packages received at the beginning of the school year and the lack of space to safely store packages, the Building Manager insists that all packages sent to students arrive after Labor Day.

Students are reminded that all personal property sent to or brought on to University premises, including any mail or parcels, are at the sole risk of the owner. The University assumes no responsibility and shall not be liable for articles that are lost, stolen, or left behind.

Bathroom Cleaning

Common bathrooms are cleaned Monday through Friday between 10:00 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Private bathrooms are normally cleaned once every other week by Dorm Crew. If your bathroom is not cleaned at this interval or to your satisfaction, please call Dorm Crew at (49)5-5569. Persistent problems should be reported to the Building Manager.

Telephone Hook-ups and Bills

PaeTec Communications provides student phone service and handles all questions, orders and billing issues. More information can be found via the web. The address is

New wiring and jacks (two outlets, 1 voice and 1 data) have been installed in each room. Telephone service can be shared in the common room, or ordered for an individual’s bedroom. Jack numbers are needed on your order to ensure the correct service location. Students must provide their own telephones, either by bringing one from home or purchasing one locally. Touch-tone is necessary to access the system’s features.

Recycling Program

Eliot House’s recycling program depends entirely upon your cooperation. Please do not put trash in recycling receptacles. Remember: have respect for those who process your recyclables.

Harvard has recently switched to single-stream recycling, which means that you can recycle all paper, cardboard, metal cans & foils, bottles, jars, cups & containers mixed together in the same bins, bags and barrels.

No paper plates, cups, napkins or tissues, please. Also, do not include cereal or pizza boxes, as we cannot recycle paperboard and pizza boxes that are contaminated with food grease. Corrugated Cardboard MUST be flattened in order to be recycled, due to the inconsistent sizes and shapes of boxes.

A Few Policy Reminders

Students should familiarize themselves with that section of the Handbook for Students concerning “Living in the Houses and Dormitories.” Regulations concerning the lawn, pets, and noise reflect the need for maintaining an environment that is decent and comfortable for all members of the House.

Entry and Suite Doors

Entry doors are not to be propped open at any time. Doing so constitutes a breach of security. We may be under attack. Moreover, the majority of thefts each year occur in suites where the door to the entry has been left unsecured.


Do not prop open or leave your suite door unlocked. If you live on the first floor, lock your windows (and, if applicable, close storm windows) when you leave.

Do not copy or lend your keys to anyone.

Do not allow anyone access to the House unless you know him/her or he/she can show a Harvard identification card. A centrex phone is located at the main entrance of Eliot House.

Report all faulty locks and burned out lights to the Building Manager’s Office. Report any suspicious looking or acting persons immediately to the University Police at (49)5-1212.

Do not leave your keys unattended (particularly when accompanied by an identification card) as this creates a safety threat to you and your roommates.


No duplicate keys are to be made; it is a violation of College regulations to allow unauthorized access to your room.

Students must request keys from the Building Manager. Keys lost during the term cost $15. You will be billed via term bill after 30 days. No credit will be given for keys returned after that date.

Lock Changes

If your keys have been lost or stolen and you have reason to believe that your security is threatened, you and your suite mates may request to have your suite door lock changed. There is a charge of $50 for replacing the lock and keys.

Emergency Exit Doors

The small red boxes found on the doors separating one suite fromnother are “fire egress locks,” to be broken only in an emergency. Anyone breaking these for any other reason will be charged for the repair, which is $30, as well as facing disciplinary action.

Keep all egress doors, corridors, and passageways clear of furniture, baggage, bicycles and other obstructions. State law requires that these passages be kept clear.

Illness and Accident

Illness, accident, or emergency should be reported at once. The first step in an emergency is to contact Harvard Police, Fire Department, or maintenance. The second step is to contact the Senior Tutor or Building Manager.

Fire Safety

Please read all fire safety information that is given to you during the orientation conducted in your entryway. Familiarize yourself with the locations of emergency exits and fire extinguishers. Evacuation procedures are posted on the inside of each suite door.

Tampering with fire extinguishers (including breaking the seal on the handle) is viewed by the College as a disregard for the safety of fellow occupants. Individuals deemed responsible for tampering with or altering emergency equipment will be charged for service and repairs and will face disciplinary action.


All suites in Eliot House have in-wall fireplaces. However, new University regulationsstrictly forbid the use of fireplaces as well as all open-flame devices, including candles, in student suites.

Cooking Appliances

City of Cambridge ordinances and Harvard College regulations forbid cooking in any room or apartment not equipped with permanent cooking facilities. Cooking equipment (such as toaster ovens, hot plates, microwaves, electric coffee makers, tea kettles, etc.) is prohibited in such places. Please don’t bring them; we can’t let you keep them.

Condition of Suite

Inquiries or complaints concerning furniture and the maintenance of rooms should be addressed to Francisco Medeiros, the Eliot Building Manager. Members of Eliot are warned not to disfigure the walls of their rooms by nail, tacks, etc., or to engage in private enterprise remodeling or redecoration, as they will be held financially responsible for any damage or physical changes in rooms which require subsequent efforts by Facilities Maintenance. Inspections of rooms are made during the year to assure compliance with state and local safety regulations, and any damage to the rooms determined during these inspections will be reflected in charges on the occupants’ term bills.

Suite Inspections

Suites will be inspected periodically during the year and at the end of the academic year. The purpose for inspections is to make sure all rooms comply with safety regulations, to check for needed repairs, and to ensure that the guidelines noted in this booklet are being followed. Inspections during the academic year will be conducted with proper notice.

Decorating your Suite

Please make yourself familiar with the following guidelines: No nails, tacks, picture hooks, or other objects that create holes in a surface may be used on walls, doors, moldings, ceilings, or floors. No masking tape, scotch tape, two-sided tape, glue-backed corkboards, or other adhesives may be used. Only College-provided poster gum, molding hooks, and picture wire may be used in these rooms. These supplies are available in the Building Manager’s office.

Any damage to the rooms determined during inspections will be reflected in charges on the occupants’ term bills.

Painting of Suite

Residents will not be permitted to paint their rooms or suites. If there is a section of a suite that is in particularly bad condition the Building Manager may arrange to have it painted at his discretion. Please note that any change to the fabric of a suite or apartment will be considered damage subject to charge.

Partitions and Lofts

Partitions and lofts are not allowed unless permission has been obtained from both the Building Manager and the Harvard University Building Inspector. There are strict guidelines for putting up partitions, as they could otherwise be a fire hazard or cause permanent damage to the structure of the room. The installation of any temporary room partition which is not in accordance with regulations and which has not been specifically authorized by the Building Manager is strictly prohibited.

All partitions and lofts must be removed before the suite is vacated and materials properly disposed of.

Air Conditioners, Space Heaters

The use of space heaters is strongly discouraged because they are fire hazards and are an inefficient use of energy. Ideally, they should not be necessary; if your room is overheated or cold, bring it to the attention of the Building Manager so that the necessary alterations can be made.

The Building Manager allows air conditioners only with the written recommendation of a physician and approval.


Students may keep a refrigerator in their room for personal use if the unit meets the following specifications:

Size: not to exceed 36” high x 24” wide x 24” deep.

Weight: 85 pounds or less.

Defrosting: if there is a freezer, try to obtain an automatic defrosting mechanism.

Refrigerators must be thoroughly cleaned before storing for the summer.


By vote of the Committee on Houses and Undergraduate Life and as reaffirmed by the Eliot House Committee, it is not permissible for students to keep pets in their rooms.


Students shall at all times show proper regard for others in the use of radios and musical instruments. Radios, television sets, stereos and other audible equipment should be adjusted so as not to disturb others. No boisterous music or playing drums or other harsh instruments shall be allowed at any time.


Arrangements for private parties – of any size greater than two plus twice the assigned occupancy of the suite – must be made with the Allston Burr Senior Tutor, whose approval, and guidelines concerning security, numbers, noise, and hours, must be received and adhered to. The forms, signed by entryway tutor and the Senior Tutor, are due back in the Senior Tutor’s Office by noon on the Thursday preceding the party. As a rule, Harvard does not permit parties the night before standardized exams such as the GRE, MCAT, and LSAT.


Hand darts and dartboards are not allowed. If found, they will be removed. Students will be charged for the actual cost to repair and paint walls and doors damaged from darts.

Term-Time Storage

Eliot house offers term-time storage for trunks and computer boxes only. You must keep everything else you bring in your suite. Items (including bicycles) left in hallways, stairways, and basements will be removed at the student’s expense.

Bicycle Racks

The bicycle racks at the foot of C and F/G entries are numbered and assigned to students on a first-come, first-assigned basis. Students reserving one of these spaces must provide the Building Manager with a duplicate key.

There are also bike racks outside that can be used without reservation. They are ordinarily for intermittent use, so a student planning to use these racks regularly or for an extended period of time should register with the Building Manager for an assigned space and, as in the case of the interior racks, supply a duplicate key.

If you plan to leave a bike for a long period of time, make sure you place a sign with your name on your bike. You are urged to register your bike with the University Police Department at 29 Garden Street. The registration sticker on your bicycle will ward off many thieves; it will also greatly improve the chances of locating and identifying your bicycle should it be stolen. Additionally, it is a keen conversation starter.


Poster and distribution materials meeting the criteria outlined in the Handbook for Students may be posted on House bulletin boards. Postering on corridor walls, stairwells, suite doors, entry doors and windows is prohibited.


The lawn is for use, during the proper season, for outdoor study, relaxation (including sleep) and such decorous sports as bowls and croquet, equipment for which may be signed out from the Building Manager. More active sports which destroy the grass may not be played in the courtyard.


Any Harvard University publication may be placed in the Distribution Center located in the area next to the grill/television room in the basement. Paid subscriptions to daily newspapers may be distributed to the baskets on students’ doors. Harvard publications with written approval by the Dean of Student’s office and the Building Manager may also be distributed in the baskets on students’ doors. Organizations may obtain the distribution permission form from the Dean of Student’s office in University Hall 4.

Moving Out

The “move out” deadline is announced in late April in the House Newsletter. Students are typically asked to vacate their suites twenty-four hours after the College’s last scheduled spring term final examination. Seniors and those students who belong to undergraduate organizations given permission from the Dean of Students are allowed to extend their stay through Commencement.

Summer Storage

The college will store students’ belongings on campus for the summer under the following conditions:

  • Students who live within 150 miles of the College will not be permitted to store.
  • Students who take a leave of absence, withdraw from the College, or graduate, may not store any belongings at the College.
  • All articles are stored at the Student’s risk. The University assumes no responsibility for loss or damage. Students are strongly urged not to store items of significant value, or to insure them if they must leave them.
  • Each student is limited to store up to six boxes of the approximate size: width = 1’, length = 1’, height = 2’ or equivalent to 12 cubic feet. Oversized articles (such as sofas, lamps, etc.) may be accepted for storage in addition to boxed items.
  • No access is permitted to stored belongings until the House opens in the fall.

Articles will be held until seven days after registration in the term following the one during which the articles were placed in storage. If articles are not picked up within the week following registration, they will be treated as abandoned property. As such, they may be discarded, destroyed, used by the College for its own purposes, or sold for the College’s account without any obligation to the student for its disposition or the proceeds thereof.

A small number of store rooms, used as classrooms by the Registrar, must be cleaned of student belongings by the first day of classes. The Superintendents will clearly notify the affected students of this requirement in the spring before articles are stored.

Move Out Guidelines

Following the guidelines below should make moving out a relatively painless experience:

  • Send items home as early as possible. Complete information about shipping will be available beginning in April from the Building Manager’s office.
  • Arrange to have your phone service disconnected.
  • If you are returning for the fall term, arrange for phone service before you leave for the summer. Additional applications are available at Office for Information Technology, 10 Ware Street or you can contact them via the web at
  • All rooms must be swept clean before vacating the suite.
  • Lock your suite door and turn in your keys in the envelope provided.

Change of Address and Mail Forwarding

Prior to moving out for the summer please change your address with all correspondents; credit card companies, magazines, friends and family. If your mail is not to be forwarded to your term bill address, fill out a mail forwarding card. These cards will be placed in your mailbox in May. DO NOT fill out the U.S. Post Office form #3575 to forward mail. This will only make many people, including you, very unhappy and confused in the long run.

Returning Keys

After vacating your suite, be sure to return your coded keys to the Eliot House Building Manager’s office. An addressed envelope will be provided for you to return your keys. If you do not return all the keys assigned to you, a charge of $25 per key and/or access card will be added to your term bill.