Bard College Student Handbook

Safety and Security


While every effort is made by the College to ensure the safety and security of all students, the campus is open with a public county road running through the center of it.  For this reason, it is particularly important that all students participate in behavior that protects the safety and security of all campus community members.
Exterior doors for all residence halls are to remain closed and locked 24 hours a day. Students should keep interior entrance and bedroom doors locked at all times, particularly when not in the room or when sleeping. Students must use assigned keys to enter residence halls and must not enter the building through any other means other than the main entrance doors. Entrance of residence halls through windows or other avenues is not permitted. Doors are not to be propped open at any time. The Office of Residence Life & Housing reserves the right to apply a $100 fine per instance of door propping. Residents should not provide access to residence halls to any unknown persons.
Security should be contacted immediately if someone persists in trying to gain access to an area without the appropriate key or appears suspicious or engaged in suspicious behavior. Forcing doors open will result in a $100 fine plus the cost of repair. Tampering with, removing, or damaging window screens may result in a fine plus cost of repair. Persistent offenders may lose housing privileges.
The College is not responsible for lost or stolen items.  Each student is encouraged to obtain some form of insurance to cover personal property from theft, loss or damages.
Fire Safety 
Fire equipment and procedures are life-saving matters. A minimum of a $150 fine with up to 5 hours of restitution to the community to a maximum fine of $500 will be levied in all cases involving fire safety plus any associated cost of repairs.  Students may face disciplinary action in certain instances. Fines are issued to: persons who are responsible for false fire alarms or negligent behavior resulting in a fire alarm; persons found tampering with fire extinguishers or alarms; persons engaging in behavior or possessing objects which are construed as a fire hazard and for tampering, blocking or propping fire control doors. Fines are intended as a deterrent against such actions, as the potential impact on the community, both the campus and local community is high.  Local volunteer fire departments are required by law to respond to all fire alarms on campus regardless of cause. False fire alarms, improper discharge of fire extinguishers causing a fire alarm and other such offenses are serious policy violations as they take equipment out of use, which could be needed for a true fire or emergency, and potentially slows response time from the local departments and requires volunteers to leave their employment or families.
Any student found responsible for an actual fire in a building, even accidental, may be charged for all resulting damage, may have housing privileges revoked, be suspended or expelled from the College. If the fire was an intentional fire a fine will be added to any associated costs.
Everyone is required to leave a building during a fire drill or alarm. Failure to cooperate (i.e. refusing to leave, sleeping through the alarm, etc.) is a serious infraction and will result in the issuance of the fire fine plus disciplinary action that may include suspension or revocation of housing privileges.
Fire drills are held at minimum of once a quarter to familiarize students with protective procedures and comply with New York State law:
1.  When an alarm sounds, think clearly about all the available exits from the building so that if one exit is blocked, you can alter your route without delay.
2.  Close the windows.
3.  For protection, put on a coat and hard-soled shoes.
4.  Before opening a door, feel it for heat to determine whether it is safe to enter the corridor.
5.  Turn off the lights and close the door behind you.
6.  Do not rush. Order and quiet are essential.
7.  Knock on other doors as you leave the building.
8.  Do not use an elevator.
9.  Exit to the designated gathering area (as identified by the PC in the first floor meeting & posted in the Residence Halls) as quickly as possible.
10.  If you are in study or social areas, leave by the nearest exit without returning to your room. Make sure that you are accounted for as soon as possible.
11.  Do not leave the designated gathering area until you are accounted for and told you may leave.
Security and Residence Life staff are required to make a visual check of the entire building, which may include entering all or some residents’ rooms to ensure compliance with the drill, before students are allowed to return to the building.  Any policy violations discovered during these visual checks will be addressed per normal conduct processes.
The New York State Fire Inspector inspects campus, including residence halls and random residence hall rooms.  Students who have their rooms inspected and are found in violation of fire policy will be notified via campus e-mail and given an opportunity to remedy the violation.  Failure to correct the violations in the designated time frame will result in the cost of any state fines (which can be thousands of dollars) being passed along to the student(s) responsible for payment.  Additionally the student(s) could face College disciplinary action and fines.
Students wishing to have a controlled fire outside on campus at one of the designated fire locations must request permission from the Office of Safety and Security. All unauthorized fires will be handled as above.