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Policies and Procedures

Policies related to residence halls and residential living are included in the Student Handbook.

Student Conduct Overview

Each student is responsible for their conduct. Conduct which is harmful to or infringes on the rights of others, which disturbs the orderly functioning of the college, undermines the standards of the college, or which is in violation of college policies and regulations is not acceptable. Students should be aware of state and local laws. Students who violate state and local laws may be subject to college disciplinary actions.

Also, the college reserves the right to discipline students for behavior occurring off campus if the
behavior violates college policies, interferes with the relationship of the college to others or harms the reputation of the college.

Students should be aware that, as students, their presence on or off the college campus does not excuse them from the responsibility to abide by the laws or campus policies. These policies not only apply oncampus and off‐campus but also online, including venues such as email, blogs, wikis, and social networking sites such as Facebook™.


Students wishing to apply for an exemption should please read the appropriate information below prior to submitting a request.

meal plan | housing contract

Once a request is written, please submit it to Residential Life at [email protected], and you will be contacted regarding next steps.

Meal Plan Exemption

A full meal plan is obligatory for each student who lives in college housing unless the space is designated otherwise. Only exemption requests for medically prescribed diets that cannot be accommodated in Café Mac will be considered. Academic class or employment schedules, finances or vegetarian/vegan/organic diets are not viable reasons for exemption to the meal plan. Food service personnel are amenable to discussing special provisions or substitutions to meet dietary requirements, scheduling conflicts or other individual needs. Therefore, before pursuing an exemption, it is expected that you will have identified why this is an issue, and discussed the possibility of special provisions with Café Mac personnel, before completing the form below.

Should you still wish to pursue a meal plan exemption, you can fill out the Meal Plan Exemption Request Form. The Housing and Dining Exemption Committee (made up of staff from various departments on campus) will review requests based on the timeline below:

Requests for Spring semester

November 1 – Spring Meal Plan Request can be submitted

December 1 – Spring Meal Plan Request Exemptions due

December 2 – 10 Committee will review exemption requests

December 15 – Students know of approval/deny

Requests for Fall semester

April 1 – Fall and Full Year Meal Plan Request Form can be submitted

June 1 – Meal Plan Request Exemptions due

June 2-30 – Committee will review exemption requests

July 1 – Students known of Approval/deny

***Requests that are received after the deadline will be reviewed on a case by case basis for unexpected/extenuating circumstances.

The Housing and Dining Exemption Committee will review the petition to determine if your meal plan requirement with the college will be waived due to exceptional need, hardship, or extenuating circumstances. If your request is approved, Card Services will end your meal plan access, and your student account will be charged the per day rate for each day you were on the meal plan during the semester you requested to cancel your meal plan plus an additional week. You will be notified in writing of the outcome.

Housing Contract Exemption

Campus living is an integral part of the total educational experience at Macalester. Residential living provides students with a safe, convenient place to live and learn with a nutritious, reasonably priced meal program. By living on campus, students develop interpersonal skills and intercultural understanding in an atmosphere of mutual support for academic, cultural, and intellectual pursuits. Because of the educational importance of the residence life experience, Macalester College requires all first and second-year students to live on campus. A previous boarding school experience, such as the United World College, will not be considered an exception to the two-year (four consecutive semesters) residency requirement.

  • The two-year housing requirement will be waived for students who are: married and living with their spouse, a custodial parent, or at least 22 years old when accepted to Macalester. Students in these circumstances should apply for release from the housing requirement stating which exception applies to them.
  • Upperclass students who select housing and sign room and board contracts for the following academic year will not be released from housing unless they take a leave of absence or study abroad for the fall semester. Contracts will terminate at the end of the fall semester for students accepted to spring study abroad programs.
  • A student cannot transfer a housing contract to another student. At times when Residential Life has a housing waitlist for upperclass students, consideration of the petition will include whether or not a student from the housing waitlist can fill the space. If you are released from your housing contract, your vacancy will be filled by Residential Life, therefore, you should notify your roommates(s) of your intentions.
  • Release from housing contract does not mean a release from the meal plan. Exemption from the meal plan is a separate process.

    Should you still wish to pursue a meal plan exemption, you can fill out the Meal Plan Exemption Request Form. The Housing and Dining Exemption Committee (made up of staff from various departments on campus) will review requests as they are received.

    Guidelines and Procedures for Petition

    Is your request related to a disability? Whether you have a physical, psychological, or cognitive disability, you must provide documentation that verifies your disability to Disability Services who are responsible for coordinating services for students with disabilities. Guidelines for this documentation can be found on the Disability Services website.

    In general, documentation must be current and written by someone who has the credentials, expertise, and experience with the specific disability. Following evaluation of the documentation you will be notified by Disability Services about the status of your accommodation request.

    Is your request non-disability and not medical or psychologically related? If you wish to petition to be released from your housing contract or from the two-year residency requirement for reasons other than medical or psychological, you must submit a typewritten email request to [email protected]. Please include the following in your written request: your name, your current housing assignment, phone, and email address.  Include the following three components in your petition. Only a complete petition will be reviewed.

    1. Your specific needs that cannot nor have not been met in a residence hall and/or how residential living poses a hardship for you. Keep in mind that living on campus presents lifestyle and financial obstacles for everyone (and their families) who attends Macalester College. It is your responsibility to prove the uniqueness of your situation and the difference between your current circumstances and those of the past that enabled you to live on campus.
    2. How you have tried to meet your needs and/or resolve your hardship within the residence life system and/or the Macalester community.  Have you considered other room options within the residence halls?
    3. Your alternative plans for residency and how these plans will meet your needs and/or alleviate hardship.

    The Residential Life staff will review the petition to determine if your contractual obligation with the college will be waived due to exceptional need, hardship, or extenuating circumstances. If your request is approved, Residential Life will assign the space to another student; therefore you should notify your roommate(s) of your request to cancel your contract.  If a housing exemption is approved, your student account will remain the same.

    Residential Life will no longer be prorating refunds as of September 28th, 2023, to students’ housing and dining contract if they are approved for a exemption. What does this mean? The bill that a student receives for the semester will stay the same for housing and dining if they decide to petition to live off-campus. The Office of Residential Life reserves the right to uphold or waive all housing contracts. You will be notified in writing of the outcome.

    Please email Residential Life at [email protected] if you’d like to petition for a Housing Contract Exemption. Once we receive your outreach, we will be sure to communicate with you regarding your request.

    Residential Access

    Access to any residential hall is limited to the residents of that building and the staff who oversee its operation. Students, student organizations, staff, or faculty cannot utilize the halls for programming or other activities. Instead, these groups should use the Campus Center as the hub for student programming rather than the residence halls.

    The Sounds of Blackness lounge is available for AFRIKA and BLAC upon request.