Safety is a shared responsibility
The University of Minnesota has a comprehensive and layered approach to safety. In addition to the housing-specific measures described on this webpage, all residents are encouraged to review the Safe Campus website and learn about campus-wide programs like 624-WALK, Gopher Chauffeur, GopherTrip, and the RAVE Guardian app.
You can use these services when traveling to and from your residence hall/apartment or anywhere on or near campus.
Safety in our on-campus Gopher community
As a staff, we consider maintaining the safety of all those who live in, work at, and visit our communities to be one of our most important jobs. This is a responsibility we take seriously.
Locked entrances: The exterior entrance doors to all our buildings are locked at all times as are the interior doors that are the entrances to our residential areas. Residents and staff must use their U Card/key fob to enter these doors.
Courtesy phones: There is a courtesy phone at each building's entrance. Guests must be escorted at all times, so guests can use these phones (or other means) to contact residents when they arrive. These courtesy phones can also be used to contact 911 if there is an emergency.
Surveillance cameras: Surveillance cameras are located at the entrances to all of our buildings and the interior public spaces. These cameras are monitored by the UMN Department of Public Safety.
Emergency exit doors: All buildings have emergency exit doors. These doors are locked and have alarms as they are only to be used if there is a fire or other emergency.
Additional measures: We also have fire extinguishers, smoke detectors, sprinkler systems, alarms, and more in all of our buildings.
- Information Desks: We have Information Desks in the lobby of all our buildings that are staffed during the day and night throughout the academic year. In addition to being available to answer questions and check items out, the students and full-time staff members who work at these desks will report any emergencies to the University of Minnesota Police Department.
- Community Advisor on Duty: Community Advisors (student-peer staff) are on duty weekdays from 4:30 p.m.-8 a.m. and 24 hours a day on weekends. They monitor what is happening in their assigned areas and are available if there are any problems. Residents can reach the CA on Duty by using the phone number posted at the Information Desk (reminder: you should first call 911 if there is an emergency requiring police, fire, or medical response).
- Residence Director on Duty: Each of our buildings has a Residence Director (a full-time staff member who works and lives in the building). At least one of these staff members is on call at all times.
- University security: Security Advisors conduct rounds each day. These workers will report any issues to the University of Minnesota Police Department, part of the Department of Public Safety.
What residents must do
As a resident, you are also responsible for helping protect the safety of our community. Calling 911 immediately if there is an emergency, not allowing strangers into the building ("tailgating"), and locking doors are all important actions that you must do to protect your new home and our entire on-campus Gopher community.
We understand that it can feel uncomfortable to talk with peers or report information about concerns in the building. However, we all have a responsibility to keep our buildings as safe as possible.
It is easy to assume that someone else will make a report when something is happening, but it is better for there to be multiple reports rather than none at all.
One of the largest ways unauthorized individuals enter our buildings is by tailgating residents (meaning they follow someone into the building who used their U Card/fob to enter or exit). The locks on the front doors of our buildings can only be effective if all authorized individuals (residents and staff) commit to 1) using their U Card/fob every time they enter the building, and 2) stopping others from entering the building without doing the same.
While it may feel awkward or rude to stop someone from following you or to not hold the door open for another person, remember that all residents should expect this, and it will only take them a few seconds to use their U Card/fob—just like you did.
Whenever you are sleeping or not in your room, lock the door that is the entrance to your unit. It only takes a few seconds for someone to open an unlocked door and steal a laptop or other valuables, so lock your door any time you exit including when going down the hall or doing laundry.
There are emergency exit doors in our buildings. While these doors may be used during move-in, they are not to be used as an entrance/exit during the school year.
By accepting your housing contract, you agreed to follow Housing & Residential Life’s Community Behavioral Standards. These policies state that all residents must escort their guests at all times and that you are responsible for their actions (even if you are not present).
Escorting guests makes it easier for you, your neighbors, and our staff to know when someone is in the building who shouldn’t be.
If you see someone vandalizing or damaging the building, call 911 and report it to hall staff immediately. Vandalism is not a harmless act. It can result in cost increases and amenities/areas of the building being unavailable while the damage is fixed.
Residents who commit vandalism will be held accountable for the cost of repairs through the student conduct process, and serious vandalism can result in criminal charges.
We encourage you to report potential crimes directly to the police and incidents that occur in University housing to the local Housing & Residential Life staff.
Should you be the victim of a crime, follow the steps below:
- Call 911 (emergency) or 612-624-COPS.
- Contact your CA or the CA on Duty.
- Fill out a police report and/or an incident statement.
Harassment, Threats, or Stalking
If you are in an emergency situation or feel that there is an immediate threat, call 911. If you receive harassing calls or need to have calls traced for any reason, contact the University of Minnesota Police Department at 612-624-COPS. Report any harassment, threats, or stalking to the police and your CA or RD. You may also request to have your information suppressed through the information desk.
The Aurora Center
Residents (and anyone in the UMN community) who experienced sexual assault, relationship violence, stalking, or sexual harassment can also contact The Aurora Center. The Aurora Center staff and advocates are available to provide confidential support and advocacy, and they can share information about your options (including whether to file a report with the police).
Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action
The University of Minnesota's Office of Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action (EOAA) accepts reports of discrimination, sexual misconduct (including sexual harassment, sexual assault, stalking, and relationship violence), nepotism, and related retaliation.
Please note: EOAA is not a confidential reporting resource. Once EOAA becomes aware of information that may violate the University’s discrimination, sexual misconduct, nepotism, or retaliation policies, staff may have an obligation to take some responsive action to prevent further misconduct from occurring.
Bias Response & Referral Network
The Bias Response & Referral Network (BRRN) responds to reports of bias incidents on the Twin Cities campus. BRRN provides support resources to impacted parties, promotes education and dialogue, and affirms the University's commitment to equity and diversity, free speech, and academic freedom.
A bias incident is an act of bigotry, harassment, or intimidation that is motivated in whole or in part by bias based on an individual’s or group’s actual or perceived race, color, creed, religion, national origin, gender, age, marital status, disability, public assistance status, veteran status, sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression.
In accordance with the Higher Education Act of 2008, all students must register a confidential contact with Housing & Residential Life. The confidential contact does not have to be a parent of a student unless the student is under the age of 18 or not emancipated, in which case the contact information must then be a custodial parent/guardian. This is the only individual who will be contacted by the University or police in the event that a student is reported missing.
This confidential contact will be updated as to the progress of the investigation into the missing person report. In the event that a student is under 18 years of age and has not been legally emancipated, the missing student’s parent/guardian will also be contacted.
The University of Minnesota Police Department will immediately conduct a thorough investigation into all missing person reports.
When the fire alarm sounds, residents are required to leave the area in alarm at once using the nearest stairwell exit. In the event of a fire:
- Call 911 to report the fire.
- Close your door as you leave.
- Evacuate and stay clear of the fire.
Evacuation From Fire Areas
You should do the following is the alarm sounds in your building.
- Feel the door from top to bottom. If it is hot, do not proceed.
- If the door is cool, crouch low and open the door slowly. Close the door quickly if heavy smoke or fire is present.
- If visibility permits, exit via stairwells. Stay as low as possible if smoky conditions exist (crawl if necessary).
- Never use elevators! You may become trapped.
- If you encounter heavy smoke in a stairwell, go back and go down another set of stairs.
- If trapped in a room, do the following:
- If possible, call 911 and report your situation and location.
- Wedge wet towels or clothing under the door jam to keep smoke out.
- Keep a soaked towel over your head.
- Stay low. Breathe fresh air near a window.
- Open the window and signal with a bed sheet to firefighters.
Activating the fire alarm under false pretenses or tampering with alarm and life safety equipment is a violation of state and local law. It is viewed as disregarding the safety and rights of others.
Criminal action, as well as disciplinary action, will be taken against individuals who violate this policy. Any student found tampering will be assessed a $100 fee.
Tampering With Fire & Life Safety Equipment
Tampering with, unnecessary use or misuse of, or removal of a fire extinguisher or fire alarm equipment, including smoke detectors and sprinklers, and automated external defibrillators will result in serious disciplinary action since such acts may endanger the lives and safety of others.
Tampering or damaging sprinklers are expensive. Residents should avoid hanging objects or hitting the fire sprinklers as this can damage them.
Severe Storms & Tornadoes
Be alert for these signs, generally from March through September:
- Severe thunderstorms with frequent lightning
- Power failure
- Heavy rain
- Strong straight-line winds
- Roaring noise
- Funnel clouds
Understanding Warning, Watches, and Sirens
A warning indicates that a severe storm has been sighted or detected by radar and may be approaching. Sirens will sound.
If you hear sirens sounding:
- Seek shelter immediately in the lower levels of the building, or an internal hall/apartment way, and away from windows.
- Use only stairwells. Do not use elevators. Remain in a sheltered area until the local authorities sound the clear signal and the hall/apartment staff indicates that it’s okay to return to your room.
- Please note: The outdoor warning sirens are tested at 1 pm on the first Wednesday of the month during tornado season. The sirens will sound at this time, but it does not mean there is a storm watch or warning in effect.
Automated External Defibrillators
Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs) are life-saving devices to treat victims of sudden cardiac arrest. AEDs are located in the lobby areas of all of the residence halls and apartments.
The AED has information about its use. There is more information on the Department of Emergency Management website about locations. training, and use.
Working together, we can all foster a safer climate on and near campus. There are resources across campus to provide support, tips, and additional information on alcohol and drug abuse prevention, crime, health emergencies, sexual misconduct prevention, transportation safety, and more.