Off-Campus Policies & Rules

RWU Good Neighbor Policy

As a student living in the community, you are a representative of Roger Williams University and your conduct will reflect directly on the University. Living off campus does not circumvent your responsibility as a member of the Roger Williams University community to abide by the Student Code of Conduct.

Families living in the neighborhoods around our campus have a right to enjoy a reasonable level of peace and quiet. Students are expected to exercise good judgment and be sensitive to the needs of their neighbors. Most neighborhood residents are not against responsible parties. What concerns them, however, is rowdiness, public drunkenness, disorderly conduct and people partying outside with loud music or other noise late into the night.

Party hosts put themselves in serious jeopardy when their guests act irresponsibly. As a social host, you assume all the risks associated with state and local laws regulating drinking age, noise and public safety when you host a party at your apartment. Recent court decisions have held the social host liable for personal injury and property damage caused to a third party because of the irresponsible service of alcoholic beverages to guests. This liability is compounded when minors are involved.

It is important to understand that the University has no interest in regulating what goes on in the privacy of your home. However, when otherwise private actions or behaviors become public and attract the attention of neighbors or others within the community that is when Roger Williams University becomes involved. Take the responsibilities of living off campus seriously. This social experience is part of your education and should be a pleasant one for you and your neighbors.

Town of Bristol Unruly Gathering Ordinance

See Full Ordinance

What does it say?

A gathering of five or more people that causes a substantial disturbance to the neighborhood may be subject to citation by the Bristol Police Department.

Examples of behavior that may constitute substantial disturbance:

Excessive noise or traffic, obstruction of public streets by crowds or vehicles, illegal parking, public drunkenness, public urination, the service of alcohol to minors, fights, disturbances of the peace, and litter.

What will happen?

The gathering will be disbanded and a warning or citation will be issued to the residents, guests, and property owner. If a second violation occurs between September 1 and May 31 of the same year, the residents, guests and property owner may each be issued a $500 fine and up to 50 hours of community service.

Any Roger Williams University student issued a warning or citation may also be contacted by the Office of Student Conduct and Conflict Resolution for an educational conversation, or issued charges for potential violations of the University’s Student Code of Conduct.

Rhode Island Social Host Law

What does state law say?

It is against the law for a host to permit an underage person to consume alcohol.

Definitions within the law:

“Permit” is defined as “to give permission for or approval of, the possession or consumption of an alcoholic beverage by any form of conduct that would cause a reasonable person to believe that permission or approval has been given.”

Settings covered:

The host’s residence or real property.

So, here’s what this all means: if you have a party and there is anyone UNDER 21 drinking at your party, and the police show up and discover the underage drinker in your place, you WILL BE CHARGED with violating the RI Social Host Law and you will be taken to the police station. It does not matter if you did not invite the underage drinker or do not know the underage drinker. If they just heard about your party from a friend and dropped in with their own beer, the police will charge YOU for violating the Social Host Law.

What happens if an adult breaks the law?

Adults who are charged with this violation face graduated sentences.  The first offense is a misdemeanor punishable by a minimum fine of $350 and a maximum fine of $1,000, and/or a prison sentence not to exceed six months. The second offense is a misdemeanor for punishable by a minimum fine of $750 and maximum fine of $1,000 and/or a prison sentence not to exceed one year. Third and subsequent offenses are a felony punishable by minimum fine of $1,000 and maximum fine of $2,500 and/or a prison sentence not to exceed 3 years. For 18 to 21 year-olds, there may be a civil penalty of not more than $500. In addition, any person convicted may be required to attend an educational program approved by the Department of Health designed to recognize the dangers of underage drinking, and may be subject to up to 30 hours of community service.

Having a House Party? Here's a Helpful Checklist.

These house party rules can help keep you and your guests safe and help you to comply with the University’s Good Neighbor Policy.

Before the party:

  • Get to know your neighbors
  • Notify them that you are having a party
  • Exchange phone numbers with them
  • Ask them to give you a call if the party is disturbing them

During the party:

  • Keep guests inside, not roaming the neighborhood
  • Do not serve or allow minors to drink alcohol
  • Have a designated “sober” person who keeps the party under control
  • Do not allow intoxicated guests to drive home
  • When the party is winding down, ask your guests to keep the noise down as they leave. Ten guests chatting and closing their car doors at 2 AM will definitely disturb your neighbors.

After the party:

  • Pick up litter
  • Note damage caused by your guests
  • Accept responsibility for the actions of your guests
  • Discuss corrective measures with your neighbors
  • Thank your neighbors for their cooperation  

Reasons why police show up: 

  • Being too noisy 
  • Too many cars
  • Partying outside
  • Previous offenses at the house
  • Cars driving too fast in a residential area
  • Fighting, losing control of the party
  • Urinating or vomiting outside 
  • Parking on lawns
  • Blocking neighbors’ driveways
  • Vandalizing neighbors’ property

When the police arrive:

  • Do not run away or lock the doors. This will make things worse.
  • Do stop music and ask everyone to put down their drinks and leave quietly (apart from those who are intoxicated – do not let them drive!)
  • Do have your designated sober person talk to the officers. Rude intoxicated hosts will aggravate the situation.
  • If you get a citation, do go to your court date.

The RWU Office of Student Affairs will contact students who are living off-campus and are violating the RWU Good Neighbor Policy if the police arrive or there are reports of a disturbance from neighbors for possible disciplinary action.

RWU Smoking Policy

Smoking and vaping are not allowed on campus, except in these designated smoking areas.

Administratively Revised August 2023.

For a full list of Roger Williams University's policies go to the Policies & Guidelines page.