As we begin the new academic year, I want to take this opportunity to welcome the class of 2021 and share some important information on how the Georgetown community can care for its members and create a safe, secure campus. It is our highest duty to provide a safe environment for all of our students, faculty and staff. Given this responsibility and the national climate, I want to share the resources we have available to all members of our community.

At the forefront of this effort is our Georgetown University Police Department. GUPD officers are commissioned special police by the District of Columbia Metropolitan Police Department; they provide security 24 hours a day, seven days a week on the main, medical and law campuses.  You will see GUPD officers on foot patrols, in vehicles and on bicycles as they patrol our campus.

GUPD relies in part on hearing from you about concerning or suspicious activity that you may see. You may have seen our “see something, say something” campaign on campus – please do not hesitate to contact GUPD with any concerns by calling 202-687-4343 and by downloading the LiveSafe app, where you can report tips by text directly to GUPD, anonymously if you prefer. Please also be sure to enroll in HOYAlerts on MyAccess, which will allow you to receive text messages from the university in emergency situations. GUPD also offers monthly self-defense courses.

Georgetown also has a comprehensive Threat Assessment Program that works directly with GUPD to prevent violence on campus. If you hear about a threat of violence or notice other troubling behavior by an individual that makes you concerned about the potential for violence, please contact GUPD or the Threat Assessment team directly.

Furthermore, the university offers transportation options to ensure you commute safely. Call 202-784-RIDE (7433) to take advantage of our late-night, off-campus SafeRides program and our new on-campus safety escort program. SafeRides vans are available from 8 p.m. to 2 a.m. each night for point-to-point rides off campus within a radius of several blocks off campus. The new on-campus escort program, which will begin on September 11, will provide escorts by student guards on foot or by golf cart and will run from 8 p.m. to midnight seven nights a week.

We are deeply committed to ensuring our campus is a safe place for all students.  Any form of sexual assault or sexual misconduct is unacceptable, and we are committed to combating it on our campus. Over the past year, we have redoubled our efforts to educate our students, faculty and staff on best practices to prevent sexual assault and misconduct from occurring and to provide support for survivors of sexual assault. More information is available at

The recent events in Charlottesville, Va., remind us all of the need to combat hate and harassment in all forms that we find it. If you witness or experience any form of hate or hateful conduct, please report it to GUPD or use Georgetown’s Bias Reporting System to report any bias-related incident or hate crime. Such acts have no place at Georgetown, and these incidents will be investigated fully. Those found responsible will be held accountable for their actions.

In addition to the resources available to protect the safety of all community members, our Office of Campus Ministry is here to meet the spiritual needs of our university community. Campus Ministry chaplains are wonderful resources to discuss any and all issues important to community members, while chaplains-in-residence meet those same needs in our campus residences.

Students can also take advantage of the resources at the office of Counseling and Psychiatric Services to ensure that they are practicing self-care and prioritizing their mental health. CAPS offers a range of confidential services — including evaluations, consultations, psychotherapy and referrals — that are critical to providing support to students in our community.

Georgetown is a special place; we all have roles and responsibilities in ensuring our campus is a place that emphasizes the health and safety of all students. If you have additional questions or comments, please feel free to reach out to any of the offices or resources detailed here. If we all dedicate ourselves to caring for our peers, we can create a culture of safety and well-being.

Erik Smulson (COL ’89) is the vice president for public affairs and senior adviser to the President at Georgetown University.

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