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Columbia University Department of Public Safety
Campus Safety Protocols During the Republican National Convention

The Republican National Convention (RNC) is scheduled to take place in Manhattan's Madison Square Garden from Monday, August 30, through Thursday, September 2. The presence of the convention and related events in our city will add to what is already a hectic week at the University because it is move-in week for most of our students. For some graduate students, classes will already have begun. In addition, the Columbia College/Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science undergraduate New Student Orientation Program begins on Sunday, August 29, and continues through Saturday, September 4.

In order to ensure a safe and efficient transition into the fall semester, the Department of Public Safety has developed certain protocols that will be implemented during the RNC and move-in week. These protocols are set forth below. We are also providing additional general information, which may be useful in planning your activities during what should be an exciting and busy week for our community.

Columbia Public Safety Liaisons With Law Enforcement Officials

The Department of Public Safety maintains regular contact with local, state and federal law enforcement authorities. In particular, we work closely with the New York City Police Department and the Office of Emergency Management (OEM). We receive frequent briefings and regular updates on criminal activity, terrorist-related intelligence and other potential threats. In consultation with the NYPD, we are able to assess our levels of risk and implement appropriate protocols.

With respect to the Republican National Convention, we are working closely with OEM and other New York city colleges and universities to ensure that we have timely and accurate information up to and throughout the week of the convention. Columbia will work with the OEM's Emergency Operations Center throughout the week of the convention to obtain critical information on a real-time basis. OEM also provides a mechanism for requesting comprehensive emergency response resources from a single source should the need arise.

Additional Campus Resources

Because of the combination of the Republican National Convention and move-in week, we will be deploying additional resources across the campus. Among these resources are the following:

  • Increased Uniformed Presence: Additional security officers will be assigned, both in and around the campus, to provide a visibly heightened presence and to enhance our response capabilities to any situations that might arise.
  • Activation of Operations Center: The campus Operations Center will be activated at 9 a.m. on Friday, Aug. 27. The center will be staffed from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., Friday, Aug. 27, to Sunday, Aug. 29, and from 9 a.m. to 11 p.m., Monday, Aug. 30, to Thursday, Sept. 2. The toll-free telephone number for the center is 877-905-4667. The center will provide for continuous coordination of our resources during critical hours, and will serve as an informational resource for the Columbia community to address issues as they arise. When the Operations Center is closed, the telephone number will provide pre-recorded information. In the event of an emergency, please contact Public Safety immediately at 212-854-5555.
  • Emergency Management Operations Team (EMOT): EMOT, which consists of representatives from all of the critical departments across the University, will be on standby for activation as needed. EMOT provides a mechanism for unified information sharing and for determining and implementing a coordinated response strategy during emergencies.
  • Campus Access: Public Safety personnel have the ability to restrict access to the campus in an emergency, should circumstances warrant.
  • Emergency Response Numbers: In the event that you need emergency assistance of any kind while on campus, simply dial one of the following emergency numbers:
    • Morningside (Including Columbia University EMS): 212-854-5555
    • Medical Center: 212-305-7979
    • NYPD/FDNY/EMS: 911
  • Emergency Call Boxes: In the event of an emergency, there are call boxes located throughout the campus. These phones connect directly to the Public Safety Operations Desk. A list of call box locations can be found on the Public Safety website.
  • Escort Service: The Department of Public Safety provides an escort service within the Columbia University area to those who request it. Details are contained on the Public Safety website.

Travel Tips

The following suggestions are provided to supplement Mayor Bloomberg's statement for those who may not be all that familiar with the city.

  • If you are traveling to Columbia from the West (e.g., through New Jersey), it is probably better to avoid using the Holland or Lincoln tunnels because both exit onto the west side of Manhattan where the impact of the street closures will be most severe.
  • A better alternative is to enter Manhattan via the George Washington Bridge and to head south to either campus from there.
  • Similarly, for those traveling from the East (Long Island), it may prove more efficient to avoid the East River crossings and, instead, to use the Triboro Bridge.
  • Although the city has indicated that it does not intend to suspend train service into Penn Station, there may be unavoidable delays as a result of heightened security. Other alternatives may prove to be more efficient.
  • Plan ahead. Give yourself plenty of time to arrive. Be flexible. Check traffic conditions on the radio and amend your route as needed.

Travel Advisory for RNC

Published: July 27, 2004
Last modified: Jan 10, 2005

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