Residence Hall Safety and Security Policy and Procedures


The purpose of this policy is to define rules and guidelines for crisis response, safety and security procedures to ensure the safety of the residence hall community at Columbia College. 


This policy applies to all Day Campus students residing in residence halls at Columbia College.  


Security within the halls is the sum of the cooperation of the students with the hall staff and campus security officers. An electronic card access system is in operation in all residence halls 24 hours a day. The Residential Life staff will provide programs throughout the year in an effort to increase students’ awareness of the safety needs of the community.

However, without student support, a safety and security program is ineffective. Each student is responsible for his/her own behavior and should be concerned about the actions of other members of the community. Students should alert staff immediately if they become aware of unlocked or propped-open doors, unescorted strangers or other potential problems in the residence hall.

In an effort to provide a safe and secure environment, Columbia College is involved in a continuous process of design, development and implementation of alert systems and action plans. To prevail in these efforts, the College asks for assistance from all students.

  • Students should be aware of their surroundings on and off campus.
  • Students should immediately report (to Campus Safety, Residential Life or to any faculty/staff member) all suspicious behavior or activity that they may observe in any campus building and on or near campus property.
  • If students question whether they should report it, REPORT IT!
  • If students question whether or not it is campus property, REPORT IT!
  • If students hear a verbal or mechanical alert, they should follow the directions of Campus Safety, Residential Life, faculty/staff member or any emergency responder.
  • If the situation provides students the opportunity, they render assistance to others.
  • For situations that require immediate response from emergency personnel, students should call 911.

It is important that students regularly update their contact information with the College, including emergency contact information. In the event of an emergency situation, it is important that students check Cougar Email and the Columbia College website. Emergency notices will also be sent through a phone call and text message to personal cell phones and via the telephone/residence hall intercom system. During emergency situations and/or the time following such an event, information may be available at the Columbia College homepage. Tune into local television and radio stations for updates as well. Students should remember that their assistance is invaluable to the safety of all members of the Columbia College community.

Office of Campus Safety

Campus Safety officers are on duty 24 hours a day. An officer can be reached by dialing ext. 7315 from a campus phone. If calling from off campus or a cell phone, students should call (573) 875-7315.


In case of emergency, students should contact a Resident Assistant, Head Resident, or the Area Coordinator. The Resident Assistant assesses the situation and if necessary, contacts a staff member or other support personnel to assist.

During campus-wide emergencies, there are several crisis alert mechanisms in place. The residence halls are equipped with loud speakers where automated messages can be played and may be followed by directives given by Campus Safety or other campus officials. The Cougar Village apartments will receive the same information over the speaker on their kitchen phones.

Additionally, students will receive phone messages and text messages to their personal cell phones if this information is up to date in myPortal. These alerts will notify students if there are weather concerns or emergency conditions on campus that require a specific response on the student’s part. Students are expected to follow all directions given through these systems or by appropriate staff and/or emergency personnel. Following the resolution of the emergency situation an “all-clear” will be issued.

Emergency Treatment/Hospitalization

Any resident receiving hospital or emergency room treatment for medical or psychological condition should notify Residential Life of said hospitalization or treatment as soon as possible but preferably within 24 hours. In some cases a student returning to the residence halls will be required to present a letter from an attending physician stating that they are able to return.

Emergency personnel will be called for any resident who loses consciousness, is disoriented, impaired or physically injured. Decisions regarding the resident’s ability to safely manage the residence hall environment will be decided by the director of Residential Life or designee in consultation with emergency personnel. Students and staff cannot take responsibility for the supervision or continued welfare of residents.

Fire Alarms

In order to protect, and possibly save students’ lives and the lives of others, students must assume there is a fire when an alarm sounds. All students must evacuate the building when a fire alarm sounds. Failure to cooperate with staff members during any emergency will result in disciplinary action.

Students should learn the location of fire alarms and extinguishers in the residence hall. If a fire alarm sounds, students should:

  • Leave the building.
  • Cooperate and comply with the staff and fire personnel.
  • Remain outside until they are given permission by the Residential Life staff to return to their room.

Additional requirements for Cougar Village:

  • After evacuating students should call Campus Safety (573)875-7315 immediately.
  • Students should then call the Residential Life Duty Telephone (573) 875-7402.
  • Students should try to alert residents in nearby apartments when it is safe to do so.
  • Students should report any use of fire extinguisher to the appropriate duty personnel.

Pulling a false fire alarm, making a false 911 call, or tampering with fire safety or warning equipment is inexcusable behavior. It places everyone in jeopardy. Thus, the following penalties have been instituted: Campus Probation, a $500 fine and/or turned over to the Columbia Police Department for prosecution, as well as a formal letter of complaint sent to the Associate Dean for Student Affairs who may decide upon additional sanctions.

Fire Sprinkler Systems

Fire sprinkler systems are located in all of Columbia College’s residential facilities. These suppression systems are for the safety and security of Columbia College students. Students shall refrain from tampering or damaging the sprinkler system. Damage or activation could cause damage to not only the student’s room and belongings, but also the roommate’s belongings and the student’s rooms in other parts of the residence hall. Students will be held liable for damages caused by activation of the sprinkler system. Residential Life suggests students procure a renter’s liability insurance policy.

Suicide Threats or Attempts

In Columbia College’s efforts to get needed help to those students who attempt or speak of suicide, the following policies/procedures are in existence in the residence halls:

  • Students exhibiting suicidal behavior or expressing suicidal thoughts will be required to be assessed by medical/counseling personnel.
  • Students who ingest a harmful chemical will be required by staff to go to the hospital and be physically examined.
  • Students who attempt suicide will have their individual situation assessed and will be provided an appropriate action plan that is determined by the director of Residential Life and/or designee for Student Affairs.

Theft and Loss

For students’ protection, the protection of students’ roommate and personal property, students are strongly encouraged to lock their door every time they leave their room unattended.
Students, not the college, are responsible for loss of or damage to their possessions. In the event of theft, students should contact the Resident Assistant, Head Resident and/or the Area Coordinator immediately so a report may be filed.


In case of severe weather or tornado warnings, residents should move to lower areas of the building and take shelter in protected areas away from windows and the exterior of the building. Suggested areas of shelter are interior hallways, basements and lower floors. Individuals should remain inside the building. Cougar Village residents should follow the same procedure. Cougar Village residents may also evacuate to the lower inner apartments during an emergency. Students in these apartments must allow residents into the apartment for safety reasons. Students may evacuate to the basement in Miller Hall if current conditions are safe to do so.

Personal Property Insurance

Students should check with a parent/guardian to see if their belongings are covered by their insurance policy. If not, coverage can usually be added easily and inexpensively. The College assumes no responsibility for theft, damage, loss of money, valuables or personal property.

Keys/Student ID Cards

Security in the residence halls depends on the cooperation of all community members. Residence hall keys and ID cards in the wrong hands jeopardize each resident’s safety. Thus the following guidelines should be observed:

  • If a student is locked out of his or her room, that student should look for the Resident Assistant, Campus Safety personnel, or another staff member who can assist the student.
  • Lost keys should be reported to the Area Coordinator and/or the Head Resident immediately. A new key will be issued at the student’s expense ($15.00). There are some circumstances when a lock core change is mandated. In this case, the resident will be responsible for a $35 lock core change fee. Charges will be billed to the student’s account.
  • Abuse of the loaner key process may result in loss of loaner key privileges, disciplinary action, and a $35 lock core change fee.
  • Lockouts - After the first two weeks of each semester there will be a $5 charge for a staff member to key into the student’s room. This includes keying into a room to unlock a bathroom in the suite-style halls. It is highly recommended that students keep track of their keys at all times and work with the suitemates with respect to locking bathroom doors.
  • “Credit carding” or using any other item other than the room key to enter a room will be grounds for disciplinary action.
  • Lost ID cards should immediately be reported to Student Affairs. Students will be charged for a new ID card. After three cards, students will be charged $40 for replacement IDs.
  • It is the student’s responsibility to keep track of her or his key and ID card. Excessive losses may be dealt with as a conduct violation.

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