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Public and Campus Safety

The Vanderbilt University Police Department (VUPD) takes campus security very seriously and is committed to efforts to maintain a safe, secure environment for Vanderbilt students, faculty, staff and visitors.  Personal safety is a priority at Vanderbilt.  Maintaining a safe campus requires a dedicated partnership between the members of the Vanderbilt community and VUPD.

  • Commodore Cards: All students, faculty, and staff members at Vanderbilt University are issued identification cards, called Commodore Cards.  The cards may be used to gain access to certain locations and may be used to make purchases from university facilities. Lost Commodore Cards should be reported immediately to the Card Services Office by telephone at 2-2273 or online at  In addition, a stolen card should be reported to VUPD immediately.
  • Emergency Phones: More than 100 emergency telephones are located throughout campus.  Each phone has an emergency button that, when pressed, automatically dials the VUPD Communications Center.  An officer will be sent to check on the user of the phone, even if nothing is communicated to the dispatcher.  An emergency response can also be activated by dialing 1-1911 from any campus phone or 615-421-1911 from a mobile phone.  For off-campus emergencies, dial 911. Only call 911, however, for life-threatening emergencies such as fires, serious injuries, etc.  For non-life-threatening emergencies such as reporting theft, break-ins, property damage,  please call 615-862-8600.  For more information on what constitutes an emergency, go to:
  • VUMC Shuttle Services: The Vanderbilt University Medical Center (VUMC) shuttle service operates between the Medical Center and distant parking lots on weekdays only. VUMC shuttle service is not available on weekends.  For VUMC shuttle information, please see this site.
  • VandyRide: The VandyRide shuttle bus, administered by VUPD, provides shuttle service to designated locations on campus during the fall and spring semesters.  The services consist of vans that operate from 6:00 PM to 1:00 AM.  Additional information about Vandy Vans (including routes and schedules) is available here.
  • Walking Escort Service: VUPD also provides walking escorts for students, faculty, and staff walking to and from any locations on campus during the nighttime hours.  The telephone number to call for a walking escort is 615-322-2745.


Personal Safety

  • Walk or jog in groups of three or more.
  • Be aware of your surroundings.
  • Be aware of crimes on campus.
  • Avoid isolated or dark areas.
  • Travel with confidence and a purpose.
  • Do not wear earphones while walking or jogging.
  • If you can’t find a travel companion, use the escort service on campus, no matter how short the distance.
  • Before exiting a building or car, look around the area for anything suspicious.
  • If confronted by a situation, try to remain calm.
  • If it is safe to do so, try to get a detailed description of suspects or suspicious persons and/or their vehicle(s).
  • Before parking at night, call or stop by the VUPD headquarters at 2800 Vanderbilt Place. Ask for an officer to meet you and to escort you from your parking space.
  • Know the locations of emergency telephones.
  • Do not use ATMs (automated teller machines) alone, at night, or when someone suspicious is nearby.
  • Don’t talk to strangers.
  • If you are being followed, go to the nearest area of safety.
  • Stay alert, and plan ahead for “What if…?”

Residential/Workplace Safety

  • Know your neighbors or co-workers; you are the best one to determine who does not belong.
  • Do not prop open exterior doors.
  • When entering a building with access control in place, do not allow strangers to enter behind you.
  • Always lock your door when you leave, sleep, or work late.
  • If you see someone you consider suspicious or out of place, call Vanderbilt Police immediately.

Protecting Your Identity & Property

Vanderbilt Security & Safety Reference Phone Numbers

On-Campus Resources:

  • Vanderbilt Police
    • Emergency: 615-421-1911 (off-campus), 1-1911 (on-campus)
    • Non-emergency: 615-322-2745, or 2-2745 (on-campus)
    • Lost & Found: 615-343-5371
  • Medical
    • VUMC Emergency Department: 615-322-3391
    • Student Health: 615-322-2427 (for student non-emergency illness & injury)
    • Occupational Health Clinic: 615-936-0955 (work-related injuries or exposures)
    • Poison Center Hotline: 1-800-222-1222
  • Environmental/Safety Hazards
    • Environmental Health and Safety: 615-322-4551
    • Plant Operations: 615-343-9675
  • Counseling/Support/Information
    • University Counseling Center: (615) 322-2571
    • Employee Assistance Program: 615-936-1327 (counseling, referrals, violence in the workplace issues)
    • Margaret Cuninggim Women’s Center: 615-322-4843
    • Project Safe: 615-322-7233 (24-hour crisis hotline) 
    • Office of Housing & Residential Education (OHARE): 615-322-2591
    • Center for Spiritual and Religious Life: 615-322-2457
    • Equal Opportunity & Access: (615) 343-9336 (issues involving sexual harassment, racial bias, discrimination, equal access)
  • Parking & VUMC Shuttles
    • University Traffic & Parking: 615-322-2554

Off-Campus Resources:

  • Metro General Hospital Emergency Department: 615-341-4357
  • Nashville Crime Stoppers: 615-74-CRIME (to give an anonymous tip on a crime)
  • Metro Police Interpersonal Crimes Branch: 615-862-4133 (for cases concerning domestic and child abuse, elderly abuse, sexual assault, and human trafficking)
  • Metro Police Domestic Violence Unit: 615-880-3000
  • District Attorney’s Office Victim-Witness Services: 615-862-5500 (support and resources to navigate the legal system if you are the victim of a crime)
  • Crisis Contact Center: 615-244-7444 (24-hour assistance; provides counseling for people in crisis)


Know Your Rights: What to Do If You’re Stopped by the Police

To fight police abuse effectively, you need to know your rights. There are some things you should do, some things you must do, and some things you cannot do. If you are in the middle of a police encounter, you need a handy and quick reference to remind you what your rights and obligations are.

Print this page and carry it in your wallet, pocket, or glove compartment to give you quick access to your rights and obligations concerning police encounters.

Think carefully about your words, movement, body language, and emotions.

Don’t get into an argument with the police. Remember, anything you say or do can be used against you.

Keep your hands where the police can see them.

Don’t run. Don’t touch any police officer.

Don’t resist even if you believe you are innocent.

Don’t complain on the scene or tell the police they’re wrong or that you’re going to file a complaint.

Do not make any statements regarding the incident. Ask for a lawyer immediately upon your arrest.

Remember officers’ badge and patrol car numbers.

Write down everything you remember as soon as possible.

Try to find witnesses and their names and phone numbers.

If you are injured, take photographs of the injuries as soon as possible, but make sure you seek medical attention first.

If you feel your rights have been violated, file a written complaint with police department’s internal affairs division or civilian complaint board.

Here is a link to more information from the American Civil Liberties Union: .

Finding a Lawyer

If your circumstances necessitate legal help, here are two resources that can connect you to a lawyer:


Cybersecurity and Scams

Vanderbilt’s Office of Cybersecurity has important information and tips for protecting against cybersecurity threats and scams. Be sure to review and familiarize yourself with these resources.

Cybersecurity Tips for Students

Scam Awareness