Safety & Security | Teachers College Columbia University

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Safety & Security

New York City is one of the world’s safest metropolitan communities and our Morningside Heights neighborhood is one of the safest neighborhoods in the City. However, we do live and work in an urban environment and crimes can and do occur. The safety of our Teachers College students, faculty and staff is one of the College’s highest priorities. While a full-time staff of certified proprietary public safety personnel is employed by the College to help keep our campus safe and secure, a truly safe campus can only be achieved through the cooperation and awareness of all students, faculty and staff. You can help maintain your own safety by complying with College security policies, and by following common sense personal safety practices as follows:

  • Be aware of your surroundings and what is going on around you. Keep your head up and your eyes moving.
  • Walk purposely, at a steady pace, with a self-assured stride. Confidence deters attackers.
  • When walking at night, walk in well-lighted and well-trafficked areas. Avoid walking through parks, parking lots, isolated or deserted areas.
  • Use the buddy system. When traveling at night try to arrange to walk or ride with friends.
  • Walk in the center of sidewalks away from doors and bushes.
  • If you suspect you are being followed, indicate your suspicion by looking behind you. If you are on foot, cross the street, change direction, or vary your speed. Walk to a location where there are other people, to the nearest open store, or to a Columbia University “Safe Haven” location (denoted by a red lion decal on window).
  • Avail yourself of the free Columbia University Shuttles and/or the free Columbia University Escort Service: (212) 854-SAFE or (212) 854-5555. Stay away from isolated ATM locations. Plan ahead so you can avoid using ATM machines at off-hours.
  • Do not feel bullied by people who look you in the eyes. Look them in the eyes. Eye contact makes everyone uneasy. Use that to your advantage.
  • Be wary of strangers at night. It is better to be rude than to be in trouble.
  • Trust your instincts. Don’t allow rationality to over-ride your “sixth sense”--it could protect you from danger.
  • Do not resist armed robbers. Property can be replaced--your life can not.
  • Do not openly display and study maps on a public street as this indicates you are a stranger to the community, unfamiliar with your surroundings, and a potential victim.
  • Know your timetables to avoid long waits--especially if you are alone.
  • Avoid empty subway cars.
  • Late at night, buses are safer than subways. Sit close to the bus driver.
  • Plan your route in advance. At night, do not get off a bus or subway in a neighborhood you are not familiar with.
  • Try to avoid isolated bus or subway stops.
  • Keep your handbag and personal property in front of you and hold it close to your body.
  • Don’t open your purse or wallet while boarding the bus.
  • Stay alert and be aware of the people around you.

Teachers College students, faculty and staff have free access to Columbia University’s Shuttle Buses. This service is free of charge to members of the Teachers College Community with a valid TC ID card. Information about CU Shuttle Buses can be found on the CU Transportation or CU Public Safety website ( ).

Teachers College students, faculty and staff have free access to Columbia University’s Escort Service.This service is free of charge to members of the Teachers College Community with a valid TC ID card.

The Escort Service is a footed patrol or a security vehicle service that is available from 8:00 p.m. to 3:00 a.m. During the school year, the Escort Service will send two specially trained students to accompany students, faculty or staff to their door any time from 8:00 p.m. to 3:00 a.m., seven nights a week. Escorts carry two-way Columbia University Public Safety radios. This service is available from W. 108th St. to W. 110th St. between Amsterdam Ave. and Riverside Dr., and from W. 111th St. to W. 122nd St. between Morningside Dr. and Riverside Dr.

For more information about this service you may visit the CU Department of Public Safety web site at .

Theft is the unlawful taking of personal property and is the single most common crime on most college campuses. What can you do to prevent theft? Simply remove the opportunity by following the suggestions below:

Student Residence:
  • Lock your doors/windows whenever you leave your room or apartment.
  • Do not allow unescorted strangers inside your room/apartment.
  • Be suspicious of unknown persons loitering in the area.
  • Never leave an exterior door propped open.
  • Keep a record of your valuables.
Offices and Classrooms:
  • Avoid keeping handbags under your desk or classroom work table.
  • Lock your office door if the office is left unattended, even for short periods.
  • Do not bring large sums of cash to work or school. Carry only the credit cards and required identification.
  • If you must leave your purse or wallet in your work area, lock it in a locker or desk. In a classroom, keep it in front of you where you can see it at all times.
  • Do not leave personal property unattended even for a minute.
  • Report any suspicious persons/activities to library personnel or to the Office of Public Safety.
  • Keep personal property in view at all times.
  • Try not to bring valuables with you to the library.
Athletic facilities at the Morningside campus of Columbia University:
  • Secure all personal property in a locker.
  • Avoid carrying large sums of money or other valuables with you to the athletic facility.
  • Report any suspicious persons to the athletic staff, to the Columbia Office of Public Safety, or to the TC Office of Public Safety. Keep your locker locked whenever unattended.
If You Have a Car:
  • Park in a well-lit area and close all windows and lock all doors.
  • Put packages or valuables out of sight: CD players, cell phones, iPods, GPS systems, and other expensive items in full view invite theft.
  • If you park in a commercial lot or garage, leave only the ignition key with the attendant.
  • Do not keep your license, registration or title in your car. Thieves can use these documents to sell your car if stolen or to impersonate you when police challenge them.

Yellow radio-operated emergency boxes with blue lights on top are located throughout the greater Columbia University campus.

To operate: Open door (pull handle) and depress red button to speak, release red button to hear message. Give Public Safety your location. Public Safety personnel will be dispatched. These boxes allow students to immediately access Public Safety.

These boxes can be found at the following locations:

Teachers College Campus

  • 120th St. Russell Hall/Zankel Building

Columbia Campus

  • Southeast corner of Mathematics Building (lamp post)
  • Pupin Plaza
  • Revson Plaza
  • Uris/Fairchild area
  • Outside John Jay Tennis Courts
  • Dodge Hall – upper campus entrance
  • Sundial – College Walk
  • Gate outside Wien Hall
  • Front of Kent Hall
  • 415 West 118th St. between Amsterdam Ave. and Morningside Dr.
  • 514 West 114th St.
  • 614 West 114th St. (River Hall)
  • Furnald Lawn
  • 460 Riverside Dr.
  • 411 West 115th St.
  • 140 Morningside Dr. at West 122nd St. (parking lot)
  • Front of 448 Riverside Dr.

Additional Locations

  • Columbia Soccer Stadium (218th St.)
  • Andy Coakley (Baseball) Field (218th St.)
  • 50 Haven Ave. (on the fence in front of Bard Hall)
  • 169 Street & Fort Washington Ave. (near Hammer Center side entrance)
  • On the fence outside Towers 1 and 2 (171st St. & Haven Ave.)
  • 611 West 113th St. (parking lot)
  • On building facade, W. 120th St. & Amsterdam Ave.

Teachers College Office of Public Safety, in complying with the notification requirements of the federal “Campus Sex Crimes Prevention Act,” provides sex offender registration information for any students, employees or residents of the College. The Office of Public Safety is located in Suite 1A, Whittier Hall. Additionally, information on any sex offenders who are also residents of the city of New York in Morningside Heights can be found at the New York Police Department 26th Precinct. New York State law mandates that anyone required to register as a sex offender do so with both their local law enforcement (municipal or county) agency at their residence and also with the police or security department of any institution of higher learning at which they are enrolled as a student (full-time or part-time), are an employee (full-time or part-time), or reside (or intend to reside or stay) on any property owned or controlled by the institution of higher learning.

In compliance with the federal Campus Security Act (also known as the “Clery Act’) and Article 129-A of the New York Education Law, Teachers College prepares an annual Campus Security report. The most recent version of the report, including all required crime statistics, may be found at Paper copies of the report are available upon request to the Teachers College Public Safety Office, Whittier Hall, 525 W. 120th St., Box 225, New York, New York 10027, (212) 678-3340. The U.S. Department of Education makes campus crimes statistics, including those submitted by Teachers College, available at .

Sexual Assault prevention, education and outreach is provided to the Teachers College community by the Sexual Violence Prevention and Response Program at Columbia University, located at 301 Lerner Hall, MC 3841, Columbia University, New York, NY 10027, (212) 854-3500.

If you are sexually assaulted: Go to a safe place. Ask someone you trust to stay with you. Don’t wash, change clothes or douche before calling or going for help. Don’t touch any evidence of the incident even if the assault took place in your room or home. Go to the nearest emergency medical facility. Seek appropriate medical and/or counseling services.

If you are a survivor of a recent sexual assault, you need to assure yourself that you are medically well. Go to the nearest hospital emergency room including:

  • Bellevue Hospital Center, Rape Crisis & Victims Intervention Program
    27th St. and 1st Ave.
    (212) 562-3435, Phone & Hotline

  • Beth Israel Medical Center, Rape Crisis Center
    1st Ave. at 116th St.
    (212) 420-4516

  • NY Presbyterian Medical Center, The Domestic & Other Violence Emergencies (DOVE) Program
    180 Ft. Washington Ave. (Harkness Pavilion 2)
    (212) 305-9060

  • Harlem Hospital: Center for Victim Support SAFE Center
    506 Lenox Ave. and 135th St.
    (212) 939-4613

  • Mt. Sinai Medical Center, Sexual Assault & Violence Intervention (SAVI) Program
    40 E. 98th St.
    (212) 423-2140

  • St. Luke’s-Roosevelt Hospital, Crime Victims Treatment Center
    411 W. 114th St.
    (212) 523-4728

The Sexual Assault Information is provided by the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN) and is available on the web at .

  • New York City Police Department Sex Crimes Report Line
    (212) 267-7273

  • Crime Victims Hotline
    (212) 577-7777

  • NYC Gay and Lesbian Anti-Violence Project Hotline
    (212) 714-1184

John DeAngelis, Director
Room 100, Suite 1A, Whittier Hall
(212) 678-4180

Yeremy Chavez, Senior Associate Director, Administration Systems
Room 102, Suite 1A, Whittier Hall
(212) 678-3335

Michael Porter, Associate Director, Emergency Management
Room 103, Suite 1A, Whittier Hall
(212) 678-7469

Hoi-Ming So, Associate Director, Public Safety Operations
Room 101, Suite 1A, Whittier Hall
(212) 678-8359

Robert Wilson, Assistant Director, Investigations
Room 105, Suite 1A, Whittier Hall
(212) 678-7468

Kathleen Meehan, Assistant Director, Operations
Room 100, Suite 1A, Whittier Hall
(212) 678-7462

Stephan Durkin, Assistant Director, Operations
Room 100, Suite 1A, Whittier Hall
(212) 678-4081

Malissa Gardner, Secretary
Room 100, Suite 1A, Whittier Hall
(212) 678-3340

Office of Environmental Health & Safety

Christopher Diodato, Director
Room 31E, Zankel Building
(212) 678-6640

Stephen Doyle, Assistant Director, EHS, and Fire & Life Safety
Room 31D, Zankel Building
(212) 678-8164

Edward S. Kurzum, Jr., Manager, EHS, and Fire & Life Safety
Room 31D, Zankel Building
(212) 678-4017



Office of Public Safety

Teachers College Public Safety Office

Suite 1A, Whittier Hall
(212) 678-3340
(212) 678-3967

CU Department of Public Safety

Columbia University
Escort Service

8:00 p.m. to 3:00 a.m.
(seven nights a week)

(212) 854-SAFE or (212) 854-5555

Sexual Violence Prevention & Response Program

301 Lerner Hall
MC 3841
Columbia University
(212) 854-3500