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Alcohol, Fire, & Other Policies

small flyers and buttons on display table at the mental health fair

Your safety is our top priority, and our staff are trained and ready to assist if an emergency should occur. We also count on your cooperation to create a safe and positive campus experience on campus for all.

Please take a moment to review our policies, educational resources, and safety tips below. 

The legal drinking age in the State of Maryland—for beer, wine, and liquor—is 21. For students under the age of 21, it is a violation of residence halls rules to drink or possess alcoholic beverages.

For all students, regardless of age, it is a violation of residence halls rules to:

  • possess or use alcoholic beverages in any common area of the residence halls
  • possess, use, or distribute any illegal drug or drug paraphernalia.

Use of alcohol by a minor or possession of drug paraphernalia normally results in a sanction of housing probation or warning; further violation can result in dismissal from residence halls. Distribution of alcohol to a minor and/or possession, use, distribution, and/or knowingly allowing use or distribution in one's room of any illegal drug normally results in dismissal from residence halls.

Students are expected to report suspected drug activity to University Police at 301-405-3333 or by calling 911.

When a building's fire alarm sounds, each person must:

  • Immediately exit the building
  • Always assume an emergency, never assume a false alarm
  • Use stairs, not elevators
  • Not open door if knob is warm to the touch; stay in room and call University Police at 301-405-3333 or 911
  • Crawl on floor (where air is fresher) if smoke is encountered

If you smell smoke or see smoke or fire, you must:

  • Pull the nearest building alarm
  • Close room door(s)
  • Safely exit the building
  • Call 911
  • Never attempt to fight or put out a fire
  • Tell staff or fire authorities exact location of fire or smoke

Residents also are responsible for reading emergency/evacuation procedures posted in each room, knowing locations of exit stairwells and doors, planning more than one exit route, and not tampering with or disabling detection devices within their rooms or other fire safety equipment in their building.

Emergency Preparedness

In an emergency, make plans for communicating with family, friends, and roommates, to know and be prepared to respond to the University’s emergency procedures, and to keep a fresh supply of certain provisions and supplies on hand. Residence Hall staff are trained in emergency procedures for situations involving serious physical illness and injury, psychological crisis, and threats to physical safety such as fires, major power failures, and dangerous weather.

Reporting Emergencies On Campus

Fire, Police or Medical Emergency: 301-405-3333 or 911
University Police (non-emergency): 301-405-3555

Items we recommend you bring with you on move-in day or obtain once you are on campus:

  • flashlight and extra batteries
  • first aid supplies including band aids, sterile gauze pads and tape, gloves, hydrogen peroxide, antibiotic ointment, pain relievers, masks
  • extra soap, toilet paper, towelettes and tissues
  • anti-bacterial (waterless) hand sanitizer
  • cleaning supplies, including mild disinfectants
  • heavy duty gloves

Additional items to keep readily available, in the event you need to leave your room with very little warning:

  • cash, small denominations, some in quarters (credit cards, ATMs may not work if regional phone demand is too high)
  • any prescription or over-the-counter medicines
  • personal items such as a cellphone, glasses, contact lens solution, cherished photos
  • valuables such as laptop and jewelry
  • copies of financial papers, bank account numbers, other important documents
  • hat/cap, sunscreen, insect repellent
  • "go bag" with sturdy shoes, socks, changes of clothing
  • menstrual products
  • inventory of belongings left behind in room, especially any valuables

Additional items you should always keep on hand in your room:

  • up to two-week supply of bottled water
  • up to two-week supply of non-perishable foods
  • extra supplies of food and other things you like and use the most
  • campus and area maps
  • airtight containers for food
  • blanket

Students with disabilities who are living in a residence hall should:

  • Obtain fire safety instructions for residents who require evacuation assistance (ask your RA for a copy)
  • Assess their ability to respond to the emergency procedures described in this document
  • Know how they will safely exit their room and building in an emergency when evacuation is appropriate (e.g., fire alarm sounding), keeping in mind that elevators should not be used during an evacuation and that automatic door opening devices will not operate when electrical power is lost
  • Determine whether special assistance by authorities would be necessary in the event of an emergency, and, if so, submit a current and detailed written request for any such assistance with their 24-hour Service Desk, asking at that time to be named on the Evacuation Assistance List.
  • Identify another person (e.g., roommate, close friend) who would check on them in the event of an emergency
  • Know they can reach a Resident Life staff member by dialing (301) 314-7484 or (301) 314-6255 during regular business hours or by dialing your Service Desk after regular business hours, on weekends and on holidays
  • Register with the University's Office of Accessibility and Disability Services and receive assistance in planning for support of your academic and personal needs
  • Update records provided to University offices such as Accessibility and Disability Services and the University Health Center as often as warranted (including temporary conditions such as wearing a cast)
  • Ask to have their names removed from their Service Desk's Evacuation Assistance List whenever doing so is appropriate.

For additional campus information, please visit Accessibility at UMD's Emergency Preparedness for Persons with a Disability page.

All bomb threats reported to the University are taken seriously.

If a bomb threat is received:

  • Call 911 or University police at 301-405-3333 to report the emergency
  • Call your service desk   

University police will respond to your location and assess the bomb threat. Once the police have assessed the situation, then the police will initiate appropriate action. Only the University of Maryland police will decide if an evacuation needs to occur, when it will occur, and how the evacuation will be announced and residents notified to evacuate. The notification to evacuate may be accomplished by the police activating the building fire alarm system, or they may decide to choose an alternate method of evacuation notification (air horns, phone, door-to-door) based on the circumstances and after assessing the situation of the particular bomb threat incident.

The University Health Center monitors communicable disease cases that may affect the well-being of students, faculty, and staff and send out email communications with recommended actions.

If you have reason to believe you or someone you know may have contracted a communicable disease:

  • Inform your loved ones
  • Consult with a personal physician or staff at the University Health Center
  • Immediately contact the University Health Center at (301) 314-8180
  • Be prepared to identify your current state of health, any symptoms of illness or disease, all recent contacts with persons who may be exposed to a disease, etc.
  • Avoid contact with others

The campus's Early Warning System is designed to provide instant notification to students, faculty and staff of imminent dangerous conditions. In such an emergency, sirens around campus will sound continuously for at least three minutes. When danger has passed, a single 30-second siren blast will sound.

Please note that siren testing occurs at 11:55 a.m. the first Wednesday of every month.

If you hear the Early Warning siren:

  • If in your residence hall or apartment, stay inside/in your room, and seek information from the sources below.
  • If outdoors, seek shelter inside the closest building.

Instructions for responding to an emergency should be learned by checking:

  • WMUC 88.1 FM
  • (301) 405-7669 (401-405-SNOW) (recorded message)

In an emergency (such as fire, flood, storm damage, or extended power outage) residents may need to be temporarily relocated from their rooms. Resident Life staff will work with students on an individual basis to assign temporary spaces.

In an emergency that results in a closing of the campus (such as approaching hurricane or pandemic flu), residents will be expected to vacate rooms within 24-48 hours. Individuals who are unable to leave by the time the campus is closed may petition Resident Life for permission to temporarily occupy a designated temporary emergency shelter.


This is our term for the rare occasions when students are forced to relocate from their rooms because their floor or building is:

  • Scheduled for renovation or closing
  • Being converted for use by the opposite sex
  • Being converted for students in a special University program, or
  • Uninhabitable because of an emergency

Normally, announcements can be made several weeks or several months in advance. Under normal circumstances, no student has to leave on-campus housing, and there is an opportunity to select one’s new room using the regular room change, Room Selection, and “pull-in” procedures.

If there is a fire:

  • Sound the fire alarm by activating the nearest fire alarm pull station
  • Leave the building using the nearest exit or stairwell
  • Call University Police at 301-405-3333 to report the emergency once safely outside
  • Remain outside until informed by emergency personnel that it is safe to re-enter 

You must leave the building immediately when a fire alarm is sounding. If safe to do so, close your window, room/suite/apartment doors, and safely exit the building at once using the nearest stairs.

If you see or receive an unexpected letter or package that looks suspicious:

  • Call University Police at (301) 405-3333
  • Call your service desk
  • Do not touch the item or disturb it in any way; do not open, smell or taste it
  • If you inadvertently pick up the item and first become suspicious at that point, carefully set the item down, ideally in an isolated location
  • Stay away from the item, and keep others away from it

Signs of a potentially suspicious letter or package:

  • No return address, restrictive marking such as “Personal” or “Special Delivery”
  • Excessive postage, tape or string; possibly mailed from another country
  • Misspelled words, badly typed or written, name doesn’t match address
  • Package or letter is lopsided or uneven, wire protrudes from it
  • Package or letter has strange smell or has oily stains, discoloration or crystallization

All reports of suspicious mail and packages are taken very seriously and are investigated thoroughly.

Other Policies to Know

We encourage students to review the following policies before and after arriving on campus. For a full list of Residence Hall policies, check out your Community Living Handbook.

Each resident student has primary responsibility for their own safety and security. At a minimum, resident students will be expected to always:

  • Keep their room doors locked
  • Never walk alone after dark, either walking with friends or utilizing escort/transit services
  • Not allow strangers into their building
  • Report suspicious persons or activity to Police
  • Stay away from relatively isolated areas of the campus
  • Not place themselves in vulnerable or potentially dangerous situations

You can also download the UMD Guardian Safety App, which serves as a virtual walking escort service, automatically contacting UMPD if you do not arrive at your expected destination. You can text a tip to UMPD and have the ability to include a photo. The app is available for download through the Apple App Store and Google Play.

Remember to register your mobile phone with the UMD Alert service at to receive UMD emergency alert messages.

For fire safety and sanitation/health reasons, cooking is prohibited in all student rooms. Students are required to participate in a dining plan unless assigned to an apartment.

The only permissible appliances are popcorn poppers and hot water pots that have enclosed heating elements and bear the UL seal. These items should never be used in student rooms, only in a designated cooking area within a floor lounge.

Students may not bring or use microwaves, micro-fridges, electric skillets, crock pots, or appliances with open or exposed heating elements or coils such as hotplates, toasters, and toaster ovens.

Small refrigerators are permitted in student rooms. They must meet these safety specifications:

  • 3.6 cubic foot maximum
  • 1.5 amp maximum in high-rise halls where most freshmen will live (0.5 amp maximum in un-renovated South Campus halls)
  • 120 volts, 60 cycle AC
  • Grounding type, 3-prong electric plug and 3-wire cord
  • Listed by an approved testing laboratory such as Underwriters Laboratories (UL)

The University of Maryland is a smoke-free campus. Smoking in any form is not allowed within any residence hall room or space. Smoking is only permitted in designated outdoor locations on campus at all times. Designated locations for smoking may be found on the campus map. Smokers will be assigned with roommates who smoke or with non-smokers who do not object to a roommate who smokes. Non-smokers will continue to be assigned as roommates.

Maryland law requires that every student who resides in on-campus residence halls be vaccinated against meningococcal disease. A student may be exempt from this vaccination requirement if they (or parent/legal guardian in the case of a minor), after having been advised of the risks of the disease and the availability and effectiveness of the vaccine, signs a written waiver stating that they have received the information and have chosen not to be vaccinated against the disease. For more information call University Health Center at (301) 314-8184 or visit

Your Housing and Dining Agreement is for both the Fall and Spring semesters and cannot be broken, essentially unless you leave the University.

Releases from the Agreement may be approved after check-in (receiving room keys) for reasons such as:

  • Withdrawal from all classes/cancellation of registration
  • Co-ops, Study Abroad, student teaching
  • Graduation

Prior to check-in, releases for new-to-housing students will be approved upon Resident Life's receipt of a written cancellation request. Returning residents do not have a unilateral option to simply cancel their housing reservations with a written request. These students must petition for release by providing a written request and supporting documentation of one or more of the above-stated reasons and await an approval or denial from Resident Life.

For both new and returning residents, "release fees" of up to four weeks' housing cost are applied for approved releases that are submitted later than eight weeks before the start of each semester.

The following items are not permitted in residence halls:

  • Bed Risers with outlets
  • Extra Tall Bed Risers
  • Extension cords
  • Alcoholic beverages (if under age 21)
  • Illegal drugs (grounds for dismissal), drug paraphernalia
  • Candles (lighted), incense, fireworks, weapons
  • Electric skillets, Hot Plate, any appliance with open or exposed heating element or coil
  • Toaster, toaster oven, skillet, crock pot, etc.
  • Halogen bulbs
  • Pets
  • Private air conditioner, space heater. Masking or cellophane tape, nails, other products that damage paint/wall surfaces
  • Partitions, room dividers, and other structures
  • Microwaves (permitted only in select residence halls)
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