Community Standards

A Guide for Commuters

Being a Good Neighbor

Living off-campus is a maturing experience, which carries certain responsibilities. Students living in the community are representatives of Western New England University and serve as ambassadors of the University.

Off-campus students must understand and appreciate that residents of a particular community have made a long-term commitment to their neighborhood; students are brief members of the community and usually remain only for the duration of their academic tenure. The quality of life and the overall character of a neighborhood can be greatly influenced by the behavior exercised by Western New England students. Displaying a respectful and courteous attitude may make the neighborhood a more pleasant place to live. In fact, some students may find participating in community service activities establishes strong relationships with their neighbors. Families living in the neighborhoods around campus have the right to enjoy a reasonable level of peace and quiet.

Students’ academic and personal schedules often conflict with the more routine schedules of families. Students are expected to exercise good judgment and be sensitive to the needs of their neighbors. Disruptive, public intoxication, disorderly conduct, and people partying outside with loud music or other noise late at night are inconsistent with the University’s behavioral expectations. Western New England’s Office of Community Standards and Education and Public Safety will respond to complaints from neighbors. Springfield Police may be called upon and request some assistance from Public Safety when behavior exceeds what is expected from individuals. Students will be subject to the University's Conduct Review Process and resulting sanctions when a violation of the Student Handbook occurs. The University may find student tenants at an off-campus residence responsible for a violation of the Good Neighbor Policy that occurs at their address, regardless of their presence at the time of the incident. 

The following are some examples of the behavioral expectations of the University with regard to off-campus living.

Your Rights and Responsibilities

As a tenant, you have rights in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. There is a term called Habitability Rights which means “You are entitled to a safe and a habitable living environment throughout your entire tenancy. The State Sanitary Code protects the health, safety, and well being of tenants and the general public. Your local Board of Health in the city or town where you are renting enforces the Code.” The minimum standards for fitness for human habitation can be found here.

Your landlord has rights as well. They may only enter your apartment for inspections, repairs, showing the apartment/house to prospective buyers, renters, etc., a court order, to inspect for damage after lease. Your landlord should make reasonable attempts to find a mutually convenient time to enter the living space.  

If you are looking for specific information regarding your rights and responsibilities, you can obtain the following document: The Attorney General’s Guide to Landlord/Tenant Rights.

Student at Western New England University
The Student Handbook applies to any matriculating undergraduate and graduate students residing on or off-campus. Should the University become aware of significant behavioral concerns prior to or during a student’s tenure (during class time or otherwise), the University may address the conduct. All students are responsible for the conduct of their guests while they are on campus.

The Student Handbook and conduct process is administered under the general direction of the Vice President for Student Affairs and day to day responsibilities are managed by the Director of Community Standards and Education.

All students should read the Student Handbook as it has detailed information pertaining to your rights as a student. There are many nuances that are similar to residing on campus. Therefore, you may be held accountable through your local town/city government and law enforcement, as well as the University conduct process.

Living Off-campus

Being proactive is important and vital in all aspects of living off-campus. Knowing your neighbors, your landlord, and your rights are vital. Another important factor is the responsibility you have as a tenant regarding damages and repairs. Ensure that you are communicating in a timely manner regarding repairs and/or damages. Upon moving into your residence, complete a full inspection and write down any and all damage, not just to the inside, but the outside of the house. It is important to keep written, detailed descriptions of your observations. If there is a hole, how big is the hole? Where specifically is trim missing in the kitchen? Does the oven work? The more information you have compiled at the beginning, the more you will reclaim on your damage deposit.

Resources on Campus

Simply because you reside in a location not on the Western New England University grounds, you are still afforded the same resources on campus. Here are a few that you might find helpful:

  • University Advising: 413-796-2027
  • Campus Mail Services: 413-782-1509
  • Caprio Alumni Healthful Living Center: 413-782-1518
  • D’Amour Library: 413-782-1635
  • Diversity Programs and Services: 413-796-2369
  • Center for Health and Well-Being: 413-782-1211
  • Kevin S. and Sandra E. Delbridge Career Center: 413-782-1217
  • Math Center: 413-782-1399
  • Public Safety: 413-782-1207
  • Student Involvement: 413-782-1203
  • Tutoring: 413-782-1312
  • Writing Center: 413-782-1263
  • Vice President of Student Affairs: 413-782-1282

Stay involved and connected on campus. All clubs and organizations are open to all students. As a commuter student, you will be afforded the same opportunities to participate in and attend events.

Living with Roommates

You may be living by yourself, but in most instances, you will have one, two, or three roommates. Discuss with your roommates what living in the apartment/house/townhouse will look like. Some topics to consider:

  • What items will be shared/split? Cable? Electricity? Food? 
  • What is the date that bills are to be paid?
  • How will roommate(s) be paid (Venmo, PayPal, cash)?
  • Will guests be able to visit?
  • Will the door be locked at all times or some of the time?
  • How will you handle alcohol/drug use in the house?
  • What things are you NOT comfortable with taking place in your living space?
  • What if a guest/visitor damages property?
  • All of these topics (and many more) should be discussed prior to moving in and reviewed several times throughout the rental period with all persons residing in the apartment/townhouse/house.

Tips to Stay Connected

  • Join the Commuter Council, a programming and advocacy board just for commuters
  • Obtain a commuter parking sticker
  • Get a meal plan or buy Bear Bucks
  • Get a locker
  • Obtain Renter’s Insurance to cover personal belongings

Massachusetts and City Laws