Intern Public Safety Procedure

When to Contact Public Safety

Columbia Public Safety can be contacted at any time by dialing the campus emergency number at 212-854-5555. Interns should notify Public Safety should any of the following circumstances arise:

  • If suspicious persons, activities, or incidents are witnessed anywhere on campus
  • If an intern is assaulted
  • If an intern’s room has been broken into
  • If any of an intern’s property is stolen or vandalized
  • If an intern’s room key has been stolen
  • If a fire occurs
  • If an intern witnesses any of the above, or any other public disturbance

Public Safety can contact Columbia University Emergency Medical Service (CU-EMS) if necessary and will inform the intern’s RA and Conference Housing staff of the situation at an appropriate time. For less urgent situations, interns may contact Public Safety or their RA directly. Except for holiday and intersession periods, an RA will be on duty each night between 9:00 p.m. and 7:30 a.m.

General Safety Guidelines

Inside the Residence Halls

  • Interns must keep personal room and suite doors locked at all times.
  • Interns must not not sign anyone into their residence hall who they do not know or who will not be in the resident’s company at all times. Remember that interns are responsible for anyone they sign in.
  • Interns must never open doors to strangers. If a stranger asks to make a phone call, refer them to the hall phone or, in an emergency, to the nearest RA. If the person persists or tries to gain entry, contact Public Safety at 212-854-5555.
  • Interns must avoid keeping large amounts of cash or valuables in residence hall rooms.
  • Stairs should not be used when  alone or as a means to escape pursuers or potential attackers. Interns should go to an area where other people are present.
  • Interns must never give out private information to strangers over the telephone. If an intern is  the victim of telephone harassment, it should be reported to Public Safety and/or Conference Housing.

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Outside the Residence Halls

  • If an intern feels that they are being followed, they should cross the street and remain alert.
  • Interns should avoid walking near dark doorways, abandoned buildings, or other locations where someone could be hiding. Shortcuts and poorly lit areas should be avoided.
  • If a vehicle stops and the occupant asks for directions, interns should remain on the sidewalk and not approach the car.
  • When arriving home by private vehicle or taxi, interns should ask the driver to wait until they are safely on campus grounds, preferably inside their residence hall.
  • Interns should have keys in hand so that doors can be opened quickly.

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Elevator Safety

  • Before entering an elevator, interns should check to see who is inside. If they do not feel comfortable, they should wait for the next elevator.
  • Interns should never tamper with or abuse any elevator equipment or controls.
  • Interns should never pry open doors or hold them open by the safety edges.
  • Interns should never exceed the capacity posted in the elevator car.
  • Should an elevator stop between floors, interns should use the emergency phone located in the elevator car; it will provide direct access to Public Safety, who will provide  instructions on how to proceed.
  • Interns should never attempt to exit an elevator that is stuck between floors without direction and assistance from emergency personnel.
  • Interns should report elevator malfunctions to 212-854-2779, specifying the elevator location, the nature of the problem, and the number of passengers in the elevator.
  • Interns should never use elevators in a fire.

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Personal Safety

In the event of an emergency, interns should notify public safety: (212) 854-5555. Campus Public Safety serves to prevent criminal activities on and around campus. In the event of assault, an intern should remain calm and should not try to resist or overcome the suspect. Interns should attempt to get a good description of the perpetrator and report the crime immediately to Public Safety for assistance.

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