Health, Safety, Accessibility


The safety of our students is a top priority at UnionWest. Experience the peace of mind that comes with having UCF staff support available 24/7.

Safety features at UnionWest include:

  • Key card access required throughout the building
  • On-site security personnel
  • Six-story, in-building parking garage with optional private parking available for residents
  • On-call staff for 24/7 emergency maintenance and lockouts
  • Separate residential elevators, providing additional security
  • Secure indoor bike storage

Housing Security

An effective residence hall security program depends on:

  1. Cooperation from all community members.
  2. An alert community.
  3. Staff supervision.
  4. University Police assistance and response.

We have taken many steps to provide you with a safe and secure place to live at UnionWest. We call upon all members of our community, including you, to help keep UnionWest safe and secure.

By following a few common sense precautions to safety, UnionWest will remain a safe place for everyone to live. If one resident chooses to prop a door or forgets to close it, they are leaving the rest of the hall exposed to dangers.

We have taken steps such as placing video cameras outside of building exits to monitor against intruders, placing smoke detectors in each room and requiring University employees and service personnel to wear IDs. However, any amount of prevention can go only so far. All the fire equipment in UnionWest will not prevent a fire that is caused by carelessness with an illegal candle or appliance. Nor can residence life staff and the UCF Police Department prevent thefts from your room if the door is left unlocked.

Please take the time to follow a few simple suggestions to make your stay with us an enjoyable and safe one.

  1. Never walk alone at night and do not let friends walk alone.
  2. Avoid dimly lit or unlit areas on campus.
  3. Never prop open outside doors of your residence hall.
  4. Report unescorted or un-familiar persons to the staff immediately.
  5. Be familiar with the blue light emergency phones on campus and use them.
  6. Call 407-823-5555 or 911 for any emergency situation.
  7. Always lock the door to your residence hall room.
  8. Inform your RA of any crisis, theft or emergency situation.
  9. Report anything out of the ordinary to your community office.

Health and Safety Inspections

Once each semester, the residence hall staff will conduct health and safety inspections. Notice will be posted at least 24 hours in advance. These inspections are designed to protect you from conditions that may be harmful to the community. If there are unsafe or unhealthy conditions in your room, you will be asked to correct these. During health and safety inspections, staff members may not open closed closets, drawers, refrigerators, or luggage. If you feel like your room has been inspected inappropriately, contact your community’s Coordinator of Residence Life and Education.

Keys and Lockouts

You will be issued a key at the beginning of the year during check-in, and you are responsible for that key the rest of the year. You should keep your key with you at all times.

Some important notes about your keys:

  1. Keep them with you at all times. Your keys should never be left in a hiding place outside your room.
  2. Lockouts. If you are locked out of your room, take your student ID card to your community office to request assistance.
  3. Lost keys. Report all lost keys immediately to your community office so that we can assure your safety, or that of your roommate and your belongings.

If you lose your key, a new lock core and new keys will be ordered for your room. Your account will be billed for the cost of a new lock core. Note: residence hall staff members will not open another resident’s room for you at any time!

Medical Accommodations

In accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the University will provide reasonable accommodations for a student residing in University housing who has a qualifying physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities and has a record of such impairment or is regarded as having such impairment.

Housing and Residence Life is committed to ensuring that, to the greatest extent possible, housing facilities, programs and services are available for all students. Reasonable accommodations may be requested to meet an individual’s accessibility needs. Examples of accommodations include, but are not limited to:

  • Room with wheelchair-accessible features, such as roll-in shower, lowered closet rods, etc.
  • Room with hearing-impaired features, such as a doorbell with light and fire alarm with strobe
  • Arrangements to have an assistance animal in your living space
  • Arrangements to have personal care attendants in your living space

Students requesting a residential accommodation due to any physical, psychological, or health disability/impairment should follow the procedure outlined below:

  • Apply for housing via the housing application located in myUCF (Student Self Service > Housing > Housing Portal).
  • On the “Important Information” page of the housing application, select “Yes” to the question:
    • “Do you need a housing accommodation because of a medical condition or disability? Examples include but are not limited to severe food allergies, mobility restrictions, service animal assistance, autism spectrum disorder, hearing/seeing impairment, etc.”
  • On the “Additional Information” page complete the requested information, including a brief description of the condition(s) for which you are requesting accommodations, what specific accommodation(s) you are requesting, and what needs you may have in an evacuation/severe weather situation.
  • Complete the required medical documentation by submitting one of the following (as outlined in the form): the Healthcare Provider Information form provided, or a letter from a healthcare provider, or indicate that you have already submitted documentation to Student Accessibility Services (we will verify documentation with that office).

Some important tips and additional information are listed below:

  • Documentation should be typed or printed on letterhead (or the provided form), dated, signed and legible with the name, title and professional credentials of the evaluator or medical provider. Most importantly, the documentation should clearly spell out why it is essential that the accommodation be granted as it pertains to housing.
  • Housing and Residence Life reserves the right to request additional documentation if the information does not address the student’s current level of functioning, or substantiate the need for modifications or accommodations.
  • We strongly encourage students requesting accommodations to register with Student Accessibility Services and/or Counseling and Psychological Services.
  • We are typically able to honor most requests that are submitted each year and we do our best to work with each student on an individual basis. We will notify you ahead of time in the event that we believe we are not going to be able to provide the requested accommodations.
  • The earlier you are able to submit your request, the more likely it is we will be able to reserve the appropriate space for you.

Assistance Animals

A student who wishes to bring an assistance animal to live in student housing must make a request to Housing & Residence Life which includes documentation of need. This information will allow the university to assess the request. Students can begin the process either by completing the medical accommodation request process or by emailing the department of Housing and Residence Life to request information about an assistance animal. Before contacting the department, it is very important to review the information below:

  • Pets are not permitted in student housing accommodations, except as authorized by the University. UCF will consider requests for a “reasonable” accommodation from a student with a documented disability to permit the presence of a service animal or an emotional support assistance animal if the animal is both necessary because of a student’s disability and reasonable under the circumstances.
  • What are assistance animals? Assistance animals can be either a service animal or an emotional support animal.
  • What is a service animal? Under the ADA, a service animal is defined as a dog that has been individually trained to do work or perform tasks for an individual with a disability. The task(s) performed by the dog must be directly related to the person’s disability.
  • What is an emotional support animal (ESA)? Under the Fair Housing Act, an ESA is a companion animal in the housing environment that provides emotional support or other therapeutic benefit to an individual with a disability, such as alleviating or mitigating one or more identified symptoms or effects of a person’s disability. While dogs are commonly used as service animals, other types of animals may serve a person with a disability as an emotional support assistance animal.
  • Important information to know: Service animals and emotional support animals are not the same and are assessed differently. Emotional support animals describe animals that provide comfort just by being with a person. Because they have not been trained to perform a specific job or task, they do not qualify as service animals under the ADA. Consequently, the ADA does not require covered entities to modify policies, practices, or procedures if it would “fundamentally alter” the nature of the goods, services, programs, or activities provided to the public. Nor does it overrule legitimate safety requirements. If admitting assistance animals would fundamentally alter the nature of a service or program, assistance animals may be prohibited. In addition, if a particular assistance animal is out of control and the handler does not take effective action to control it, or if it is not housebroken, that animal may be excluded.
  • How do I request an Assistance Animal?
    • Complete the Medical Accommodation process detailed above, and indicate within the Medical Accommodation form that you require a Service Animal or would like to request an Emotional Support Animal.
    • Please keep in mind registration of the animal with any national organization is not necessary and will not suffice for appropriate documentation or circumvent the DHRL emotional support animal process.Additional documentation will be needed to review the request.

Students with Dietary Restrictions

In order to provide the most healthy environment possible for our residents, we do offer housing room assignment consideration based on dietary restrictions resulting from religious believes (ex. Kosher or Halaal) or lifestyle choices (ex. vegetarian or vegan). Specific accommodations may include apartment style housing with a kitchen, access to a community kitchen, or roommates with similar dietary restrictions.

Students who have specific dietary restrictions should answer “Yes” to the question “Do you have a dietary restriction that may require a specific housing accommodation?” on the “Important Information” page of the online housing agreement. You will then be prompted to enter additional information about your dietary request on the “Additional Information” page.

Submitting the Dietary Accommodations Request form does not guarantee a space in housing, or the specific accommodation requested, but we will do our best to honor as many requests as possible. Our ability to honor the dietary accommodation requests depends on the space available and the number of students requesting accommodations.

Please note that the Dietary Accommodations form is NOT intended for students with life-threatening or very severe food allergies or sensitivities (ex. peanut allergy resulting in anaphylaxis, diabetes, celiac disease). If you have a condition that requires dietary restrictions and can be verified by a healthcare provider, you should complete our Accommodations Request Form instead.

Students Who Identify as Transgender

UCF Housing and Residence Life works with self-identifying trans students on an individual basis to find the living situation that will work best for each student. On the “Personal Information” page of the housing application, you may answer ‘Yes’ to the question “Does your gender identity differ from your legally assigned gender?” (your legal sex as listed on your admissions application is shown on the ‘Important Information’ page).

Students checking “Yes” will be prompted to enter additional information on the “Additional Information” page regarding their needs and requests.

Some previous accommodations for students have included informing residence staff of preferred names and/or pronouns upon request, being paired with another trans student, and being paired with roommate(s) who are allies. We cannot guarantee that any or all of these options will be available, as options depend on space and student self-identification, but we try our best to make sure all students feel comfortable and safe in their living environments.

For additional resources and campus support for transgender students, please contact Social Justice and Advocacy at: http://sja.sdes.ucf.edu/lgbtq

Let’s Be Clear

UnionWest is committed to creating and maintaining a campus free from all forms of discrimination, including sexual harassment, sexual assault, relationship violence, stalking and retaliation. Sexual harassment and violence is not tolerated at UnionWest. When reports of sexual harassment and violence are made, UCF takes them seriously and will respond. As a University, we are dedicated to ensuring compliance with all federal and state laws and University policies and regulations that prohibit discrimination based on the sex and gender identity of employees and students.

UCF designed the Let’s Be Clear website to provide every UCF student, employee and community member with information regarding what constitutes sexual harassment and sexual violence, as well as what support and resources are available should such misconduct occur. Through this website, the university is raising awareness about UCF’s nondiscrimination policies, employees’ reporting obligations and individuals’ options, and UCF’s extensive prevention programming.

Not Alone: Together Against Sexual Assault

The federal government launched Not Alone, a website featuring information for students, schools, and anyone interested in finding resources on how to respond to and prevent sexual assault on college and university campuses and in our schools. Find a crisis service, learn more about your rights and how to file a complaint, and view a map of resolved school-level enforcement activities.

Click here to learn more.

Tips for Improving Air Quality

According to the EPA, there is no practical way to eliminate all mold and fungal spores in an indoor environment. Mold spores waft through the indoor and outdoor air continually. When the fungal spores land on a damp spot indoors, they may begin reproducing, creating an environment for mold to form. Mold can be found almost anywhere, and can grow on virtually any substance where moisture is present. Along with damp conditions and a necessary food source such as wood, dry-wall, fabrics carpet, groceries, etc., mold may grow. The way to control indoor mold growth is to control moisture, which requires diligence living in Florida. Here is what you can do:

To reduce the potential of mold indoors, water problems or leaks should be reported, identified, and corrected as soon as possible. These include dripping pipes, leaks, floods, and rainwater coming in through windows, etc. Submit work orders by clicking here.

In order to reduce the possibility of spores reproducing, relative humidity indoors should be kept at or near 60%. In order to accomplish this, all residential students should:

  • Keep all wet clothing in a plastic bag or plastic covered bin to keep moisture contained.
  • Your best bet is keep up on your laundry.
  • Wet shoes/hats should be dried before they are put away.
  • Do not attempt to control temperature by blocking the air supply.
  • Dry all personal belongings within 24-48 hours to prevent mold growth.
  • Keep thermostat set at or near 72 degrees. It is optimal to keep the system running, but if it is too cold, relative humidity will rise and condensation may form.
  • Keep wet towels in the bathroom to dry them and keep moisture from migrating into the bedroom.
  • Keep thermostat fan setting on “AUTO”

If you observe mold present in your room, it should be reported immediately by submitting a work order here.

For more in-depth information on mold visit EPA Mold Resources.

Hurricane Tips

In the event of a hurricane residents are encouraged to check emergency information that can be obtained via the University of Central Florida website. The Department of Housing and Residence Life staff will inform residents of necessary preparations in the event of a hurricane.

Florida’s hurricane season lasts from June 1st through November 30th, and UCF’s hurricane policies and procedures are summarized below.

The National Hurricane Center warns that some part of Florida is threatened by a hurricane or tropical storm each year, and the center provides information about hurricanes and other severe weather at http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/. During any threatening weather, UCF’s Office of Emergency Management monitors this site and sends official weather reports to all vice presidents, deans, regional campus directors, and to UCF President.

If a serious storm or hurricane threatens our region, the Governor and UCF President have the authority to cancel classes or close campuses, and they do so in consultation with other area colleges, school districts, and government offices. If they cancel classes or close the university, UCF News and Information will disseminate details to local TV and radio outlets, including WUCF radio 89.9 FM, and they will post this information on the UCF home page at http://www.ucf.edu. Additionally, a list of other media outlets and hurricane resources is available at http://emergency.ucf.edu/hurricanes.html.

When it is necessary – as it was during Hurricanes Charley, Frances, and Jeanne in 2004 – UCF enacts its Emergency Plan, coordinated by William Merck, Vice President for Administration and Finance and Chief Financial Officer. Storm closings typically require UCF to open campus shelters for resident students, essential-operations staff members, and their families. Jeff Morgan, Director of Emergency Management, will establish an Emergency Operations Center to coordinate mission critical services such as security, utilities, dining services, and shelter support. Details of our Emergency Plan are posted on the Office of Emergency Management Website at http://emergency.ucf.edu/plans.html. Updates about information for residents will be on the front page of the UCF Housing and Residence Life website.

While we hope to escape hurricanes this season, we are wise to prepare well and to educate ourselves in case an emergency occurs. Please do your part to keep the UCF community safe.

The University is not responsible for damages to, or for loss of, personal property as a result of a hurricane or any weather-related event.

If you have questions, please see a UCF staff member or ask an RA.

Please utilize the following sites to educate yourself on the ways you can be safe at UCF.

Topics to consider: