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Campus Safety

Posted by on Thursday, August 13, 2020 in .

Vanderbilt University’s policies and protocols for responding to the COVID-19 pandemic will be rooted in safety for staff, faculty, students, invited guests (e.g., contractors), and the public with whom we interact. The health and well-being of our community are critical.


Vanderbilt University Public Safety (VUPS) is committed to the safety of students, faculty and staff. The people within VUPS work diligently to maintain a safe and secure campus, and they are committed to doing so with the utmost care and compassion and under the highest standards of conduct.

More than 300 staff serve in the department, which includes 100 police officers, 135 community service officers and 80 security personnel. The department also continues to protect members of our campus community during the pandemic.

CORE Committee

The Community Oriented Result and Expectation (CORE) Committee continues to meet to make recommendations to the Vanderbilt University Police Department (VUPD) regarding safety and security on campus. The committee discusses issues including suspected bias, VUPD’s ongoing community relations efforts, police accountability and transparency, pedestrian and bicycle safety and other traffic concerns, and the handling of significant events and incidents on campus while addressing concerns and planning solutions for those issues. 

Representation on this committee includes the Office of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion, the Multicultural Leadership Council, the Graduate Student Council, Vanderbilt Student Government, the National Pan-Hellenic Council, the Interfraternity Council, the Panhellenic Council, the Office of Residential Education, the Faculty Senate, the Project Safe Center for Sexual Misconduct Prevention and Response, the Bishop Joseph Johnson Black Cultural Center, the Office of LGBTQI Life, Athletics, International Student and Scholar Services, a community/neighborhood representative, the University Staff Advisory Council (USAC), the Division of Communications, the Office of Risk and Insurance Management, and the Office of the General Counsel.

Evacuation and Shelter Situations

We understand that during these extraordinary times, there may be some concern for safely evacuating or sheltering during emergency situations. We encourage everyone to be aware of the most immediate threat while continuing to take the necessary precautions to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

If there is a need to take shelter (i.e. tornado warning, active aggressor) or if there is a need for evacuation due to a fire or other emergency, please do so while exercising CDC recommended precautions as possible.

While there are signs indicating COVID-19 circulation patterns, in the event of an emergency, please take the most direct route to safety.

In the event of a fire alarm or other emergency:

Evacuate Immediately:

  • Leave the building through the nearest exit and establish a rally point away from the affected building. Open areas (indoor and outdoor) where physical distancing is available are preferred. If physical distancing is unavoidable, individuals should wear a face covering if possible.
  • Do not re-enter the building until authorized to do so by Vanderbilt University Police Department (VUPD) or on-site emergency personnel.

In the event of a Tornado Warning, Active Aggressor, or other emergency:

Shelter in Place:

  • Shelter in place using physical distancing measures.
  • If physical distancing is not possible, individuals should wear a face covering.

Outdoor Tents

The Office of Emergency Preparedness, Fire and Life Safety, in collaboration with the Facilities Review Committee, has developed a comprehensive plan for the use of outdoor tents this fall, which includes information regarding fire code compliance and safety; severe weather communication, evacuation, and sheltering; and general safety and security. Occupants of tented areas should follow the instructions provided by tent staff in the event that any enhanced safety or security measures are needed, particularly evacuation for inclement or severe weather.