February 13, 2003
Dear Members of the Columbia Community:
We are all troubled by the high level security alert in place in New York City. It is natural -- whether you were in New York on September 11, 2001 or not -- to feel anxious at this time. We all do.
First, you should know that there have been no specific threats or information regarding Columbia University. Nonetheless, I want to assure all of you that we take the general alert seriously and that the safety of students and the entire Columbia community is our foremost concern.
Columbia has emergency procedures in place, which are reviewed and reevaluated periodically. Senior administration members are in frequent contact with local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies to gather the most updated information and advice on how to respond to risks. We have open lines of communication between City Hall and the NYPD. We regularly attend briefings on terrorist and other threats at Police Headquarters.
Recently, we have augmented our security on and around the Manhattan campuses, including at the entrance gates, on-campus parking garages and loading docks. In addition, the New York City Police Department has increased its security in the area near our campuses. Columbia is coordinating emergency procedures with the 26th and 33rd Precincts. Response protocols are in place enabling us to respond immediately to police department directives in the event of an emergency.
I recognize that preparedness measures may diminish, but do not eliminate, a sense of apprehensiveness in light of the threats and world events. I want to encourage all of you to continue to go about your lives, academic studies, and activities as normally as possible in these abnormal times. As a community, we also need to support each other especially during these difficult times.
I also want to remind you of the assistance available to you individually, on and off campus, and encourage you to take advantage of it as needed. Please do not hesitate to speak with your resident advisors, faculty members, Counseling and Psychological Services, Human Resources, or the Office of the Chaplain about your concerns.
Meetings in the residence halls will be held next week. We will also post any new information on the homepage.
Lee C. Bollinger