Open Flame in Residence Halls

Reason for Policy

To assure the safety of students living in on-campus residence halls. 

Affected Parties

Undergrads in Residence

Policy Statement

Note: This policy may be superseded by relevant lease agreements for non-undergraduate residential facilities.

Open flames are a leading cause of residence hall fires nationwide. The lighting and burning of candles, incense, or any other item with an open flame is not permitted in residence halls.

Candles are permitted for decorative purposes only in residential facilities. For purposes of this policy, only candles that do not have a wick or that have an unburned wick are permitted.

See exception below re: open flames for religious or spiritual observance.

Exclusions & Exceptions

Privately-owned Greek letter organizations and Society houses develop their own policies regarding banners.

The only exception to the Open Flame policy is for religious or spiritual observance. In maintaining a residential community, it is important to balance the safety of all community members with the belief system of individual members of the community. Students who wish to maintain an open flame for religious or spiritual observance must complete a request form with the Residential Education Office in the Office of Residential Life. The form must be submitted and approved prior to the lighting of any open flame. Upon approval, residents may maintain an open flame with the following parameters:

  • Must be in the presence of the flame at all times.
  • Is responsible for any damage or injury that may be caused as a result.
  • If produced smoke creates a health risk for other community members, the resident may be asked to seek out another location.
  • Be able to provide Safety and Security officials with a copy of the above-mentioned form upon request.
  • Failure to adhere to this protocol will result in immediate revocation of these privileges and will result in a $100 fine and disciplinary action.


Policy violations may result in a $100 fine, assessment of the cost of any repairs associated with damage caused by the open flame, and/or disciplinary action which may include immediate removal from the residential facility.

Effective Date

July 1, 2015

Last Revised Date

August 26, 2016

Office of Primary Responsibility