A Message from Public Safety Regarding Yesterday's Tragedy

December 12, 2019

Our hearts go out to the family and friends of Tessa Majors, and to the Barnard and Columbia communities in the wake of this tragic loss. As we mourn as a community, I write to emphasize the resources available to you and to share our elevated efforts in light of this horrific tragedy. 

As is always the case, if you are in immediate danger on campus, call Public Safety (Morningside: x4-5555; Manhattanville: x3-3333; CUIMC: x5-7979.) Off campus, call New York City emergency services at 911.

The NYPD investigation is ongoing and we are receiving regular updates.

It is important to note that the public safety officer assigned to the guard booth located at 116th Street and Morningside Drive was at his post last night when Tessa Majors emerged from the park, and he came to her aid immediately upon recognizing that she was injured. We understand that the media has reported that the guard booth was unattended but those reports are inaccurate. Public Safety officers stationed at this location do not make rounds that cause them to leave their post.

We encourage you to use a walking safety escort in evening hours or anytime you are concerned for your safety. The Walking Safety Escort Service dispatches two specially trained students equipped with a Public Safety radio to walk with you to your destination. The service is available during the school year, and we have increased public safety support for the service by adding additional officers to do escorts. Visit the website for the specified geography where the service is available along with details about the service in Manhattanville and the Medical Center.

We have also enhanced public safety presence along Morningside Drive with additional foot and vehicle patrols.

The Public Safety Evening Shuttle operates two routes, seven days a week from 6:00 p.m. every evening until 4:00 a.m., excluding University holidays, providing free transportation for CUID holders from approximately 106th Street to 135th Street, from Riverside Drive and east to St. Nicholas, Manhattan, and Columbus Avenues. Consult the website for the route maps and schedule, including an app that provides real-time, GPS tracking of the shuttles.

On weekdays, the Intercampus Shuttle provides service to an expanded geography from 6:30 a.m. to 12:30 a.m. Consult the Transportation website for routes, maps and information on additional shuttles. The same app used for the Evening Shuttle also provides real-time GPS tracking of the other University shuttles.

Public Safety partners with neighborhood merchants to provide Safe Havens in the Morningside, Manhattanville, and Medical Center communities.  Participating businesses display a Red Lion logo in their window. If you enter these businesses, the merchant will assist you in phoning Columbia University's Department of Public Safety or the police and wait for security personnel to respond.

The Public Safety Departments of Columbia, Barnard, and Teachers College collectively maintain Blue Light Emergency Call Boxes at locations within and surrounding the greater campus area. The call boxes connect directly to Columbia’s or one of our affiliate’s public safety departments if you are in need of help or feel threatened in any way.

Consult the Public Safety website for additional guidance on personal safety and the crime prevention programs available.

As always, you can contact us for emergency and non-emergency issues:

Morningside Campus:

  • Non-emergency: 212-854-2797  Emergency: 212-854-5555

Manhattanville Campus:

  • Non-emergency: 212-853-3301  Emergency: 212-853-3333

Medical Center Campus:

  • Non-emergency: 212-305-8100  Emergency: 212-305-7979

The safety and well-being of our students, faculty, and staff remains our top priority. We join the Barnard and Columbia communities in mourning during this difficult time.

James F. McShane