Violence on campus

Originally Published: April 1, 2011
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Dear Alice,

What can I do to get some support after an act of violence happened on-campus at Columbia (or off-campus, but to a student here)? I feel a little lost right now...

Dear Reader,

When something happens on campus it can fell like your world has been turned upside down. It's normal to feel nervous, anxious, and stressed by events like these, but it's important to realize that there are support systems in place to make you feel safe. At Columbia there are numerous groups that are available to help students in difficult times:

Public Safety
Public Safety's main function is just that — to keep the public (in this case, the Columbia community) safe. It's a good idea to have Public Safety's contact numbers in your cell phone in case of an emergency.

    • For Information:
      • Students on Columbia's Morningside campus should call 212-854-2796.
      • Medical campus students should call 212-305-8100.
    • In an Emergency:
      • Morningside: 212-854-5555 (x4-5555 from campus phones)
      • Medical center: 212-305-7979 (x5-7979 from campus phones)

You can also email public safety. Public safety personnel monitor this email address regularly.

Public Safety also runs a number of other services to assist members of the community:

  • Call Boxes: Public safety also has call boxes around both the Morningside and Medical Center campus. These call boxes are placed in many locations around campus where Columbia members can find them in an emergency.
  • Safe Havens: Columbia has set up a network of businesses in the Morningside and Medical Center area where students, faculty and staff can go when they feel unsafe. You can find these safe havens by looking for the Red Lion decal on the store window or clicking here. These locations have an agreement with Columbia to call Public Safety.
  • Escorts: Students should never feel like they have to walk home late at night if they are feeling unsafe. Public Safety runs a service to help Columbia community members get home safely. Call 212-854-SAFE (7233) at Morningside Campus. After hours (Prior to 8 pm or after 3 am) call 212-854-2798.
  • Text Messaging: Columbia has created a text messaging service as a way to reach members of the community in the case of an emergency. Text messaging will be used by Columbia to community valuable information to community members. Students should go to SSOL to enroll in the service. Faculty and staff can register through My Columbia.

Counseling and Psychological Services
Counselors and therapists are available to students at any point in time, but during emergency situations the department often extends their hours and locations in order to accommodate the community. To make an appointment at Counseling and Psychological Services call x4-2878. After hours call x4-9797.

Medical Services
In times of physical distress or when symptoms from stress and anxiety are interfering with your daily life, Medical Services is a good resource for finding out what is bothering you and working with a health care professional to determine what is the best way of coping with these problems.

Morningside students should call x4-2284 for an appointment, or log onto Open Communicator.  Students at CUMC should call 212-305-3400.

Sexual Violence Response 
Sexual Violence Response provides a myriad of services related to sexual and relationship violence. From counseling and support to education and advocacy, the team can help students cope with issues related to sexual violence.

Ombuds Office
The Ombuds Office at Columbia is available to any member of the community to discuss issues about administration. This could be anything from work place discrimination to the bureaucratic process.

  • Morningside: Call x4-1234 for an appointment
  • Medical Center: Call 212-304-7026

New York City Police Department/911
In the case of an emergency, you can also call 911. Calls to 911 get directed to the NYC Police Department, where personnel can respond immediately to situations.

Coping with difficult situations can be complicated, but know that there are resources out there to help you get through these challenging times. Although it can be easy to feel alone and lost when something like this happens, know that you are part of a community of people all going through this together.

Alice