Campus Safety

The following information is provided in conjunction with the Sewanee Police Department. Please visit the SPD's full website for more information.

Communicating Safety Concerns | Voice Siren System | Important Phone Numbers | Sewanee Police Department | Sewanee Fire Department | Sewanee EMS | Campus Security | Sexual Assault Program | Weapons | Crime Statistics | Drug-Free Campus | Environmental Health & Safety | Emergency Response Procedures | Building Maintenance Needs

The campus at Sewanee is, on the whole, a safe place to live. Although no institution can guarantee the safety of all students at all times, the University is fortunate to be located in a relatively low crime area and to have a very knowledgeable campus police force which traditionally has been attuned to the special needs of students, faculty, and staff. Students and residents have enjoyed an atmosphere in which members of the community may go safely about their various activities. Sewanee, however, like other colleges and universities, is not immune to the negative forces, including crime, which are present in the larger American society. Therefore, the best defense against crime for the University community and its individual members is planned prevention.

The following information is intended, in accordance with the Crime Awareness and Campus Security Act of 1990, to inform members of the University community about the available resources, policies, and procedures related to campus safety and security.

Communicating Safety Concerns

In the event that a situation arises, either on or off campus, that, in the judgment of the chief of police, constitutes an ongoing or continued threat, a campus wide Security Bulletin will be issued. The warning will be issued through LiveSafe, as well as the University e-mail system. A copy of the warning may be posted on the entrance door to each residential life building. To receive text messages in cases of campus-wide emergencies, please download LiveSafe. If you do not have and cannot download LiveSafe, please complete the following web form to receive notifications.  

Voice Siren System

The University, also, has a campus-wide voice siren system for weather or other alerts.  

Important Phone Numbers

  • Emergency: 911
  • Public Safety: 931.598.1111
  • Office of the Dean of Students: 931.598.1229
  • Residential Life: 931.598.1446
  • Health Services: 931.598.1270
  • Counseling and Psychological Services: 931.598.1325
  • Southern Tennessee Regional Hospital- Sewanee: 931.598.5691

Sewanee Police Department

The Sewanee police department provides 24-hours-a-day patrol protection to the campus, University property, parking lots, residence halls, and fraternities and sororities. Sewanee police officers are vested with full law enforcement powers and responsibilities. The officers are trained at the Tennessee Law Enforcement Training Academy and receive additional in-service training yearly; Sewanee Police have the power to arrest in the State of Tennessee.

Officers are responsible for a full range of public safety services, including all crime reports, investigations, traffic accidents, enforcement of laws regulating underage drinking, the use of controlled substances, weapons, and all other incidents requiring police assistance. Sewanee Police officers are empowered with arrest and investigation authority off central campus. The police routinely investigate crimes committed in non-university operated off-campus housing, neighborhood and business areas surrounding campus. The university operates no off campus housing or organizational facilities. The Sewanee Police are in regular contact with police agencies surrounding the University Domain and do respond to student related incidents that occur in the surrounding communities.

Potential criminal actions and other emergencies on campus can be reported directly by any student, faculty, or staff member. For speed in accessing the police department, a 911 system is in place on the campus and an E-911 county system will provide contact with the police dispatcher 24-hours-a-day for an emergency. In non-emergency situations dial 598.1111 or ext. 1111. The University’s police department and, when appropriate, University administrators will investigate all reported crimes. The University’s chief of police is Marie Eldredge (598.1111).

Sewanee Fire Department

Approximately 40 trained volunteers from faculty, staff, student, and community members operate the University’s fire department.

Fire personnel are certified in standard fire operations, mountain rescue, and vehicle extrication.

The Sewanee Fire Department’s equipment consists of three pumpers, one transport van, and two four-wheel drive vehicles. One of the four-wheel drive vehicles is equipped with jaws of life and mountain rescue equipment.

Emergency Medical Service

The University relies on the county emergency medical service (EMS), accessed through 911 dispatch.

The police and fire are located between Dupont Library and Snowden Hall on Alabama Avenue.

Campus Security

Students and employees are urged to contribute to their individual and collective safety not only by using preventive measures, but also by immediately reporting violations of the rights of others to the Sewanee Police Department, and by taking advantage of the security services provided. These include the following:

  • The student night escort service or the Sewanee Police Department will provide transportation from the library to outlying residence halls Sunday through Thursday. Contact should be made by calling the Sewanee Police Department (ext. 1111);
  • Registration of bicycles to expedite recovery if they are lost or stolen;
  • A lost and found service located at the Bishop’s Common information desk.
  • Automobile registration and designated parking for students, faculty, and staff.

Students should remember to keep their room doors locked when they leave their rooms, or when they are asleep. Exterior doors of residence halls may not be propped open as this causes a breach in security which endangers all residents. All students can access the buildings with their Sewanee ID cards between 8 a.m. and 10 p.m.  Between 10 p.m. and 8 a.m., access is each building is limited to only the residents of that building. Owners of automobiles are urged to keep their car doors locked.

Security considerations used in the maintenance of campus facilities, including landscaping, grounds keeping and outdoor lighting:

All residence halls are on a grand master key system with three levels of access.

  1. Individual room keys —  Each student is issued a room key in the fall. Residential Life issues and collects the keys at the end of school and returns them to Facilities Management (FM).
  2. Master keys — Master keys will open all room and exterior doors for a specific residence hall. Proctors and Area Coordinators are given master keys to their buildings. Keys are collected at the end of the school year.
  3. Grand Master keys — Grand master keys will open all locks in any building on the grand master system. Grand master keys are issued to key maintenance supervisors, safety, police and certain director level personnel as well as project personnel.
  • Lost keys — keys lost by a student must get approval from Residential Life before a duplicate can be made. Duplicates may only be made by FM.
  • Windows — all personnel are strongly encouraged to lock all lockable windows.
  • Exterior doors — Exterior door locks are changed by FM personnel during holiday and break periods.
  • Contractors — During holiday and break periods, FM contractors are escorted in all halls. Other departments may or may not use escorts.
Standard security features used to secure doors and windows in student rooms

Room doors are to be locked to prevent theft. The University assumes no financial responsibility for lost or stolen property. Each student is issued a key to their individual room door. Students are encouraged to lock all doors at all times. Windows are equipped with locks and screens. Renovations of halls include security screening added to first floor windows and windows located near fire escapes.  Students may not stay in residential facilities during vacation periods without permission from the Director of Residential Life.

The University does not provide insurance for students’ belongings, nor does it accept responsibility for items that are stolen or accidentally destroyed. Students whose family insurance policies do not cover their belongings while at the University often can have a rider added at a minimal cost.

The University permits crime victims or witnesses to make confidential, but not anonymous, reports of crimes for inclusion in the University's annual report. Such confidential reports should be made in person to the Chief of Police or the Dean of Students.

Sexual Assault Program

The University offers education and counseling to prevent sexual offenses. During freshman orientation, the issue of sexual assault and acquaintance rape is discussed with students. All hall staff are trained in reporting sexual assault and making students aware of the issue of sexual offenses.

If an individual reports a sexual offense, institutional authorities will assist the student in notifying proper law enforcement authorities, including on-campus police. A victim of sexual assault should contact any of the following: the Sewanee Police Department, hall staff, the University Counseling Service, or the Office of the Dean of Students. The University Counseling Service can provide counseling and referral for victims of sexual assault.

The University may change a victim’s academic and living situations after an alleged sex offense, including providing a new residence hall room.

Anyone who believes themself to be the victim of a sexual offense or harassment can bring a complaint through the University’s procedures detailed in the EQB Guide and the Faculty/Staff Handbook. No one will be reprimanded or discriminated against in any way for initiating an inquiry or complaint in good faith. The University will also endeavor to protect the rights of any person against whom a complaint is lodged. At each step of the complaint process, the University’s procedures seek to protect, insofar as possible, the privacy of individuals involved in a complaint. Both the accuser and the accused will be informed of the outcome of any institutional disciplinary proceeding brought alleging a sex offense, or harassment.


Firearms or any other weapons are not permitted on campus. The University accepts no responsibility for injuries to persons or property resulting from the use of firearms. Possession of firearms on campus is a felony under Tennessee law. The University’s full Weapons Policy can be found here

Crime Statistics

The University Police prepare an annual report to comply with the Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Police and Crime statistics Act. Campus crime, arrest, and referral statistics include those reported to the University police and the University dean of students. The statistics may also include crimes that have occurred in private businesses and residences.

The data can be found on the Web site of the Office of Postsecondary Education of the U.S. Department of Education.

To find the data, go to “Get data for one institution/campus,” then enter “Sewanee” as the name of institution. You will find information from the last report that has been uploaded by the Office of Postsecondary Education.

Drug-Free Campus Statement

This statement is provided in compliance with the provisions of The Drug-Free Workplace Act of 1988 (41 U.S.C. Sec. 701, et. seq.) and The Drug-Free Schools and Communities Act Amendments of 1989 (20 U.S.C. Sec. 3171, et. seq.) to all University of the South employees and students. The University of the South is committed to achieving a drug free campus and will both support those who voluntarily take steps to rid themselves of illicit drug use and alcohol abuse and rigorously enforce applicable laws and policies.


The unlawful possession, use, distribution, sale or manufacture of illicit drugs and alcohol on the University of the South campus, on property owned or controlled by the University of the South, or as part of any activity of the University of the South is strictly prohibited. All employees and students are subject to applicable federal, state and local laws related to this matter. Additionally, any violation of this policy will result in disciplinary action as set forth in the EQB Guide, the Faculty Handbook, the Staff Handbook and as defined by any other existing University policies, ordinances, rules, and regulations.

Legal Sanctions

Various federal, state and local statutes make it unlawful to possess, use, distribute, sell or manufacture controlled substances. The penalty imposed depends upon various factors, including the type and amount of controlled substance involved, the number of prior offenses, if any, whether death or serious bodily injury resulted from the use of such substance and whether any other crimes were committed in connection with the use of the controlled substance.

Possible maximum penalties for a first time violation of federal criminal drug laws include imprisonment for any period of time up to a term of life imprisonment, substantial fines, supervised release, or any combination of the above. These sanctions are doubled when the offense involves either: 1) distribution or possession at or near a school or college campus or 2) distribution to persons under 21 years of age. Repeat offenders may be punished to a greater extent as provided by statute. Further, a civil penalty of up to $10,000 may be assessed for simple possession of "personal use amounts" of certain specified substances under federal law (21 U.S.C. Sec. 801, et. seq.).

Under state law, the offenses of distribution, possession or casual exchange of controlled substances are punishable as a Class A misdemeanor for a first offense (unless the possession is authorized by a valid prescription). If there is an exchange between a minor and an adult at least two years the minor’s senior and the adult knew that the person was a minor, the offense is classified as a felony. See T.C.A. §§ 39-17-417, 418. It is also a Class A misdemeanor to possess with intent to use drug paraphernalia. T.C.A. § 39-17-425. Class A misdemeanors are punishable by imprisonment of up to 1 year and fines up to $2,500.00.

It is unlawful for any person under the age of 21 to buy, possess, transport (unless in the course of his or her employment) or consume alcoholic beverages, wine or beer. T.C.A. § 1-3-113. Further, it is an offense (1) to provide alcoholic beverages to any person under the age of 21, including purchasing alcoholic beverages for or at the request of a person under 21 years of age, (2) for a person under 21 to attempt to purchase alcohol, and (3) to use false identification to purchase alcohol. T.C.A. § 57-3-412 and 57-5-301. Such offenses are generally classified as misdemeanors punishable by prison sentences of less than a year and fines ranging from $50 to $2,500. Repeat offenders may be subject to harsher penalties.

University of the South Sanctions

The University of the South will impose appropriate sanction(s), consistent with local, state and federal law, on any employee or student who fails to comply with the terms of this policy.


As a condition of employment, each employee, including student employees, must abide by the terms of this policy, and must notify his or her department head or supervisor of any criminal drug statute conviction for a violation involving the workplace no later than five days after such conviction. A conviction includes a finding of guilt, a plea of nolo contendere, or imposition of a sentence by any federal or state judicial body. In the event any such conviction involves an employee working on a federal contract or grant, the University will contact the granting or contracting federal agency within ten days of receiving notice of a conviction. Possible disciplinary sanctions for failure to comply with this policy, including failure to notify of conviction, may include one or more of the following:

  1. termination;
  2. suspension;
  3. mandatory participation in and satisfactory completion of a drug/alcohol abuse program or rehabilitation program;
  4. recommendation for professional counseling;
  5. referral for prosecution;
  6. letter of warning;
  7. probation.

Possible disciplinary sanctions for failure to comply with the terms of this policy, including failure to notify of conviction, may include one or more of the following:

  1. expulsion;
  2. suspension;
  3. mandatory participation in and satisfactory completion of a drug/alcohol abuse program or rehabilitation program;
  4. referral for prosecution;
  5. probation;
  6. fines;
  7. community service;
  8. reprimand.

For those cases warranting consideration of readmission for students or reinstatement for employees, any such consideration will only be given following appropriate counseling and rehabilitation.

Health Risks Associated With the Use of Illicit Drugs and the Abuse of Alcohol

Many health risks are associated with the use of illicit drugs and the abuse of alcohol, including organic damage; impairment of brain activity, digestion, and blood circulation; impairment of physiological processes and mental functioning; and physical and psychological dependence. Such use during pregnancy may cause spontaneous abortion, various birth defects or fetal alcohol syndrome. In addition, the illicit use of drugs can increase the risks of contracting hepatitis, AIDS, and other infections. If used excessively, alcohol or drugs taken singly or in certain combinations may cause death. Additional information on the risks associated with illicit drug use and abuse of alcohol is available at the University Counseling Service, located at 1310 University Avenue (adjacent to Emerald-Hodgson Hospital), ext. 1325.

Available Drug and Alcohol Counseling, Treatment and Rehabilitation Programs

The University urges students and employees engaged in the illicit use of drugs and/or the abuse of alcohol to seek professional advice and treatment. The University’s health plan for employees and their dependents and many other health plans provide some coverage for substance abuse treatment. Preliminary evaluations, case assessment, and referral for University students and employees are provided by the staff of the University Counseling Service. Information about various drug and alcohol counseling, treatment and/or rehabilitation programs in Sewanee, Winchester, Tracy City, Tullahoma, Chattanooga, Nashville, and elsewhere in the country is also available from the University Counseling Service, the Office of Dean of Students, and the Office of Human Resources. All inquiries will be treated confidentially to the extent possible.

Environmental Health and Safety information

The University of the South environmental health and safety information details can be found at Sustain Sewanee. 

Emergency Response Procedures

Automobile Accident

If you are involved in an automobile accident on campus, you should do the following:

  1. Assess the accident and determine if medical assistance is needed.
  2. If so, call Sewanee campus police at ext. 1111 who will then dispatch an ambulance if necessary.
Bomb Threat

If you have knowledge of a bomb threat on campus, you should do the following:

  1. Report the information immediately by calling campus police at ext. 1111.
  2. Warn everyone and evacuate the building immediately. Follow the fire evacuation plans.
  3. Stay clear. Get at least 500 feet away from the building.
  4. Stay in a safe area. Until the building is declared safe by the proper authorities, remain out of the building.
Serious Injury or Illness
  1. Report the injury / illness immediately by calling campus police at ext. 1111.
  2. The police officer will call for emergency medical services and/or transportation to local health care facilities.
  3. In case of injury or illness, the Dean of Students Office will notify the involved person’s family.
  4. Faculty and staff should follow the Universal Precautions in Handling Body Fluids as recommended by the Environmental Health and Safety Office, i.e. wearing rubber gloves and disposing supplies properly.

Periodic fire drills will be conducted. If you have discovered a fire on campus, you should do the following:

  1. Report the information immediately by calling police at 911 and/or pull the Fire Alarm.
  2. Warn everyone and evacuate the building immediately. Follow the fire evacuation plans.
  3. Stay clear. Get at least 500 feet away from the building.
  4. Stay in a safe area. Until the building is declared safe by the proper authorities, remain out of the building.
  5. Keep access roads open. The campus police Department will ensure that key access roads are open for emergency vehicles.
Civil Disturbance

A civil disturbance is any set of circumstances that in the judgment of the administration would cause a disruption of normal college activities and would potentially jeopardize the safety of students, faculty or staff. Call the police at 911.

Hazardous Weather

When the weather conditions are enough to warrant limited activities at The University of the South, students and employees will be advised by local television and radio stations and e-mail messages issued by the appropriate college personnel; instructions will be given as to the status of University operations. Only under emergency or threatening conditions will the University of the South be closed during normal operating hours.


Immediately go to an interior room or hallway. Stay away from glassed areas. If the building has more than one floor, go to the bottom floor. In the event of a tornado, proctors will be notified when warnings are issued.

Winter Storm

Facilities Management will handle snow and ice removal from walk and roadways. The University winter storm emergency plan is found on the Facilities Management website: Ice and Snow Response.

Building Maintenance Needs

If you live in University rental housing, please contact Facilities Management at ext. 1264. If you live in a residence hall, please contact a proctor or the Office of Residential Life at ext. 1446. If you are in any other University building, please contact Facilities Management at ext. 1264. After hours, please contact the Facilities Management after hours answering service at ext. 1111, who will notify the appropriate FM personnel.

Gas Leaks

During regular business hours, contact Facilities Management at ext. 1264. After hours, please contact the FM after hours answering service at ext. 1111, who will notify the appropriate FM personnel.