In light of the pandemic and a recent uptick in robberies in the area, Barnard sent an email to students outlining new safety procedures and emphasizing the necessity of commonplace safety practices. Highlights include several entrance closures and a new rideshare partnership with Via offering FREE rides within the Morningside Heights area.

Barnard announced new procedures in place to maintain the safety of students on- and off-campus in an email to students sent by VP Ariana González Stokas and Interim Executive Director of Public Safety Amy Zavadil. They noted the recent uptick in assaults and robberies in the area, most recently on July 19 at 122nd & Broadway and another two in June on 111th near Broadway and on Tiemann Place & Broadway.

Measures previously put into place will continue to be employed, including blue light emergency boxes and the Safe Haven Program with local businesses. Blue light emergency boxes are located on campus and around Morningside Heights and can be used to get an immediate response from Barnard Public Safety in an emergency. The Safe Haven Program is a partnership between local businesses and the University that allows students who feel unsafe to enter and ask them to call for help, whether it is from Barnard or Columbia Public Safety or the police. Participating businesses have a red lion on display in their windows.

VP González and Interim Executive Director of Public Safety Zavadil reiterated the importance of awareness of one’s surroundings, walking with others, and having your cellphone and a filled Metrocard on hand. Students are encouraged to not congregate in groups and are required to wear a face-covering on campus, while visiting local businesses, and around New York City.

In addition, several new policies were announced in this email to ensure students’ safety in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic as well as the recent robberies.

Entrances To Campus

The gates at 119th Street and the Chastity Gates (within Reid Hall) will be closed for regular access this school year. The main gates at 117th Street, in front of Barnard Hall, will serve as the primary entrance onto campus. Vendors attempting to access campus will need to show identification and comply with health and safety guidelines. Any guests will need prior approval before entering campus.

Transportation Around Morningside Heights: Public Safety Shuttles And A Partnership With Via

Most notably, a new on-demand evening shuttle service will be offered to students starting this semester. Columbia Transportation and Public Safety have partnered with Via to provide rides for students at night. You can request a ride through the Via app or by calling. This is a FREE service. Before requesting a ride, you can activate a unique promo code that identifies you as a student registered with the program. Barnard students are currently unable to activate their promo codes, but Barnard has clarified in a statement to Bwog that students will be able to use the service starting August 17th. The program is accessible to Barnard students between 6 pm and 4 am, with the start time subject to change once it starts getting darker earlier. Under current state guidelines, only one rider will be allowed at a time and if guidelines loosen, three riders will be allowed at once. Barnard expects for wait times for shuttles to be less than ten minutes. This on-demand service will cover the area along 103rd Street to 135th Street and between Riverside Drive and Frederick Douglass Boulevard. More information regarding registration, eligibility, and procedures can be found on Columbia Transportation’s website or the new program’s FAQ page.

The Barnard Public Safety Shuttle will resume service on September 8th, leaving from Barnard Hall and dropping students off along its route at Barnard residence halls. The shuttle will run from 9 pm to 1 am. The schedule will be posted later on the Barnard Public Safety website.

The Columbia Intercampus Shuttle has expanded its route area and will run between 6:30 am and 12:30 am on weekdays.

The email sent to Barnard students can be read in full below:

Dear Barnard Community, 

We are each preparing for a return to fall semester with new ways of doing and being in the Barnard community, with a primary focus on health and safety for all. As part of this planning process we write to share information about campus safety resources and our shared responsibilities as community members. 

Barnard Public Safety provides a wide range of support for the campus community, serving 24 hours a day, seven days a week throughout the year. It is helpful to understand the elements of safety to inform how we approach these responsibilities along with members of the Barnard community. Safety includes physical security and access to campus, fire and life safety, crime prevention and interpersonal safety, and psychosocial safety and well being.

Accessing Campus & Physical Security

In order to maintain safe distancing and density on campus, access to campus will be more limited than usual. Current Barnard or Columbia identification will be needed at locations across campus for ease of access. The main gate, at Broadway and 117th Street, is the primary entrance to campus. The gates at 119th Street and Reid stairway will not be open for regular access for the remainder of this year. Vendors need to show identification and check in with Public Safety as well as follow enhanced health and safety guidelines. Guests and visitors will be limited and require prior approval to receive instructions with regard to access.

Although much has changed about NYC since the start of the pandemic, the same safety practices that we have always recommended still apply. These include:

  • Walk with friends or in a group; if by yourself, keep others in sight
  • Use well lit and well populated routes
  • Limit distractions such as earbud volume, texting while walking, etc.
  • Trust your instincts, and change your route if you sense danger
  • Be familiar with where you are heading; check directions in advance of travels
  • Have your cell phone with you; let someone know where you are headed and/or when to expect you
  • Secure valuables (cash, cards, tech devices) in an inner pocket or within your bag
  • Add value to your Metrocard at the start of your trip if you do not have a monthly pass so your card value can cover your return
  • Look for the subway stations with the Green Bulbs at the entrance, which indicate open stations (a red bulb indicates exit only)

Several transportation options are also available:  

  • New for this fall, Barnard has joined Columbia University in offering the Via ride share service using an on-demand app-based system. This new service is available to current Barnard students during the evening hours (6pm-4am; start time will adjust, as it gets dark earlier, later in the semester) starting August 17, 2020. This point-to-point service is limited shared ride within a geo-fenced area of the Morningside and Manhattanville area and may be especially helpful for students living on or close to campus. Initially there will be a limit of a single rider under current New York State COVID-19 guidelines (no more than 3 passengers will be permitted per ride should the state guidelines loosen).  A typical wait time for each ride is expected to be ten minutes or less.  
  • During peak night hours (9pm-1am), the Barnard Public Safety Shuttle will operate between the main gate and the exterior Barnard Residence Halls. The schedule will begin September 8, 2020 and will be posted on the Public Safety website.
  • Additionally, the Columbia University Intercampus Shuttle provides service to an expanded geography of the area from 6:30 a.m. to 12:30 a.m weekdays. Consult the Transportation website for routes, maps and information on additional shuttles. 

Patrol visibility and emergency call boxes  

In Morningside Heights, Barnard Public Safety, Columbia University, and other neighboring schools provide security presence and blue light emergency call boxes. Blue light emergency call boxes are posted in locations within and surrounding the greater campus area. The call boxes connect directly to Barnard or one of our affiliate’s public safety departments and should be used if you are in need of help or feel threatened in any way. Look for the blue light call boxes on your walking route(s).

Safe Havens program

Neighborhood merchants continue to partner with the University to provide Safe Havens in the Morningside, Manhattanville and Columbia 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 Barnard or Columbia University’s Department of Public Safety, or the police, and wait for security personnel to respond.

Community Responsibility 

As students return or arrive at Barnard for the first time, we want to stress that the community members of Morningside Heights and Harlem have been significantly impacted by the pandemic. As a college, we not only take the health and safety measures on Barnard’s campus seriously but will work with community groups to ensure that Barnard students are abiding by health and safety measures when in and around the neighborhood. Wearing a face covering is required to enter all business in and around Barnard and NYC. Congregating in groups is discouraged. We ask that students engage in the neighborhood with an awareness of the responsibility we hold for controlling the transmission of the virus for the residents of Morningside Heights and Harlem. 

Crime Prevention & Personal Safety

Crime prevention is everyone’s business. Across the nation in the wake of COVID-19, there has been a rise in crime in metropolitan areas, including New York City. In Morningside Heights, there have been steady reports of theft of packages from unattended lobbies – often related to doors being propped or individuals being buzzed into a building. There is incidence of theft of bicycles from street racks, commonly a swift removal due to either a bicycle not properly secured or cable locks being cut. There has also been an increase in the assaults, burglaries, and/or robberies reported in the area (most recently, on July 19 at 122nd & Broadway, and in June, on West 111th near Broadway, and Tiemann Place and Broadway). Looking out for one another, we can each take measures to reduce opportunity for incidence. 

In New York City, there are many resources for crime prevention including the city’s Crime Prevention Book, Barnard and Columbia safety and prevention information, and the NYPD 26 precinct crime information.

Interpersonal safety, as discussed in Being Barnard, be an active bystander – notice problematic behavior and intervene, indirectly or directly, to disrupt and deter offenses. Being Barnard provides additional resources. 

Finally, it is important to be clear about how Barnard reports crime on or near campus and how students can stay informed. In compliance with the Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act (the Clery Act), Barnard College provides crime alert information to the campus community. Students are also automatically enrolled in Barnard’s alert system utilizing the cell phone number that was provided to the College. Please visit myBarnard to confirm that your cell phone number is correct. Barnard students can also opt into Columbia University’s Public Safety text alert system by logging in with Columbia UNI to the Columbia SSOL. The link can be found under “Your Academic Records,” select “Text Message Enrollment.” Because of our separate locations, these alerts will, on occasion, include information about incidents that are not in close proximity of Barnard’s campus. In some instances, you could receive messages from both Barnard and Columbia alert systems. More information is available online at Barnard Public Safety. Additional crime prevention resources and programs are available to the University community.

We anticipate that members of the community returning to campus brings both excitement and uncertainty. These are challenging times for individuals, communities and society, and Barnard is no different. We favor a holistic approach to supporting our community and work tirelessly to consider the safety of our community.

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

Barnard College Public Safety

Non-emergency: 212-854-3362  Emergency: 212-854-6666

The safety and well-being of our community, students, faculty, and staff, remains our top priority.

Be safe, 

Ariana Gonzalez Stokas

Vice President for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

Amy Zavadil

Interim Executive Director of Public Safety

Barnard Hall Gates via Bwog Archives