Earlier today Housing Services sent out an email detailing new procedures for fire drills. Apparently, “during these fire drills and any other fire alarm, all students are required by law to exit the building.” Seems straightforward enough. But, in a Dean Wormer-like attempt to put a stop to shenanigans, soon a combination force of people from Public Safety, Housing Services and Residential Programs will also be SWAT-teaming your rooms!

The valiant bureaucratic coalition may begin to implement random room inspections during all fire alarms sometime this semester, all to prevent that heinous habit of realizing that you’d rather do something else than practice your stair-descending skills. So if your habit is to stand your ground and turn on your iPod during fire alarms, you may need to reconsider, or face Dean’s Discipline.

But let’s be honest: you can always pretend you slept through said alarm. The more pressing concern for some of us might be the accidental discovery of any, er, not-law-abiding items you leave behind. That’s everything from halogen lamps to things that are against state and federal law. Find a list of other items Columbia prohibits below.

What kind of trouble you will get in for having a halogen lamp, Bwog isn’t sure. Just hide it in your closet before leaving your room. Since the SWAT teams are just checking to make sure you’ve left, they won’t be searching through your things to screw you over. They’re not thaaaat evil.

Things Columbia prohibits:

  • Your own space heater
  • Any gigantic container of alcohol (no matter how old you are)
  • All alcohol if you are a wee lad or lass (i.e. under 21)
  • Halogen lamps
  • Airconditioners
  • Grills, other than those cute little George Foreman ones
  • Steam vaporizers
  • Waterbeds (though Bwog’ll give you points for sex-ayness)
  • Any cooking appliance being used in your room (just turn it off and you’re golden)
  • Your own microwave (not ok under any circumstances. Well, except for all non-fire drill circumstances)
  • Pets other than fish and your registered friendly seeing-eye dog
  • Gigantic fridges (over 2.5 cubic feet)
  • Smoking devices such as a hookah, pipe, or bong that one uses for tobacco
  • Weapons of any kind (including martial arts, which is silly)
  • Evidence that you are running a business of any kind out of your room
  • If you’ve painted your wall or cabinet or anything, even if you intend to repaint it, watch out.
  • Illegal substances (Wait, when did this get added?)

Original Housing Services Email

Dear Students,

Throughout the Spring semester, please be advised that staff members from Housing Services, Public Safety, and Residential Programs will partner together to conduct a random number of room inspections during the pre-scheduled fire drills that are mandated by New York City law.  During these fire drills and any other fire alarm, all students are required by law to exit the building.  As the welfare and safety of our students are our utmost concern, our objective is to ensure that students are, in fact, evacuating their rooms and buildings in a quick and orderly fashion.  Any student found in their room will be subject to Dean’s Discipline and must attend an educational program.  At some point in the Spring semester, we may begin to implement random room inspections during all fire alarms.

Thank you for your cooperation with these fire safety procedures.


Joyce Jackson, Executive Director, Housing Services

Jose Rosado, Director of Morningside Operations, Public Safety

Cristen Kromm, Assistant Dean of Community Development and Residential Programs