Individual responsibility

The cooperation and involvement of all community members is essential for making the campus safe. All students, faculty, and staff should be alert at all times; immediately report malfunctions and suspicious persons or activity; be sure that doors are locked when leaving rooms or buildings; and take common sense precautions. Since over 90% of Cornell students live on campus, student cooperation and support are especially important. The College cannot be responsible for accidents, personal injury, damage to property or loss of personal property.

Everyone is requested to exercise the following safety precautions:

  1. Report all suspicious activity to Campus Safety immediately. 

  2. Exterior doors of buildings should never be propped open. 
  3. Locks don't work unless you use them.  Most thefts on campus occur in unlocked rooms.  Room doors should be locked at night and when the student leaves, even for a short period of time.  Keep windows locked when you are not home.  If you have a problem with your lock, report it immediately to Campus Safety or Residence Life. 

  4. Residents should ask visitors to identify themselves before allowing access to the building or to their rooms.

  5. Keys should be carried at all times and never copied or loaned to others.

  6. Cars should be parked in lighted areas and kept locked at all times. Valuables should be concealed or locked in the trunk.

  7. Avoid walking alone at night.  Contact Campus Safety for an escort at extension 4299, 319-895-4299 or from an Emergency phone on campus.  

  8. Window shades or shutters should be drawn or closed at night, especially when room lights are on.

  9. Never leave valuables (wallets, purses,books, computers, etc) unattended or easily visible in your vehicle.  Inventory your personal property and make records of the serial numbers of all valuables. 

  10. Students should avoid areas that are isolated or not well lit.

Reporting crimes

Individuals who become victims of or witness a crime should immediately report to Campus Safety at 319-895-4299.  Campus Safety officers are on call 24 hours a day, seven days per week.  During the academic year an officer is present in the Campus Safety office from 4:00 p.m. until 8:00 p.m. daily, unless needed to assist in a campus emergency.  Any Campus Safety officer will take a report of a crime.  The Director of Campus Safety can also be reached for this purpose by calling 319-895-4518.  The Campus Safety department will investigate any criminal activity reported.  Reports may also be made to the Mt. Vernon Police Department by calling 911 or 319-895-6141.  More information can be found on the Reporting Crimes and Safety Tips page.

Safety resource and response

In addition to 24 hour per day presence by Campus Safety staff, there is a Student Affairs staff member on call every evening and throughout the weekends to help mitigate or respond to incidents involving students. Nearly every residence hall floor is staffed with a Resident Assistant and three Residence Life staff members live in apartments inside the residence hall. These staff members are trained to respond to an array of emergencies including interpersonal conflicts, health emergencies, fires, and missing person reports.

Campus community members play an important role in their own safety. Periodic reminders are sent via e-mail and provided through Resident Assistants to encourage personal safety habits like locking room doors, not walking alone in dark areas, and reporting suspicious behavior.

There are numerous emergency phones on campus and in parking lots that ring directly to Campus Safety. Cameras are present in several areas of campus.

College-owned residence halls, houses and apartments are locked at all times.

All residents of a building have 24-hour access to that building during times in which residence halls are open to student occupancy. All current students who do not live in that building will have access by planning ahead and contacting a host to be let in. Hosts should escort their guests in and out of the building. 

When an imminent threat to the college community is realized, an immediate alert is issued via the Ram-Alert text messaging system. Additionally, e-mail to all students, faculty, and staff, campus notices and other forms of communication will be used to provide accurate information and instructions pertaining to the incident.

Support and the goal of prevention

All institutions share the goal of preventing incidents of violence from happening. In this vein, providing support to students, obtaining accurate information about concerns, and acting appropriately on that information is essential.

Cornell’s Health and Counseling Centers offer free services to students. The Counseling Center, staffed with two licensed psychologists, provides general counseling to students and readily refers students with long-term, inpatient, or other specialized issues to area agencies and clinicians. The staff also conducts outreach and awareness programs.>

Cornell College has established an Early Warning Team to ensure we provide the safest possible environment for our students, faculty, staff and other community members.  This team is led by the Dean of Students and includes individuals from a variety of disciplines. The team responds to reported concerns about students through conducting threat assessments, engaging available resources and direct intervention with students.

If you experience troubling or threatening behavior/inappropriate communications or if you become aware of the same, contact the Director of Campus Safety at 319-895-4518, or the Dean of Students at 319-895-4234 or  If the threat is immediate, call Campus Safety at 319-895-4299 (24/7, 365 days per year) or 911 (9-911 from on campus).

Continuing commitment to safety

Cornell is committed to providing a safe living and learning environment for our students, faculty, staff and guests. We will continue to monitor emergency response and regular security practices and make adjustments as warranted.