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Department of Public Safety

695 Park Avenue, West B-122
New York, New York, 10065
Director of Public Safety: Joseph D. Foelsch, Jr. 
Telephone: (212) 772-4521

About Public Safety

Established in 1991, the CUNY Public Safety Department was created to further ensure that those who attend any of the CUNY institutions do so in a safe and comfortable environment. CUNY Public Safety Officers are sworn Peace Officers and have arrest authority granted them by the City of New York. They are designated as New York City Special Patrolmen/Peace Officers in accordance with Section 2.10, subsection 27 of the New York State Criminal Procedure Law. Campus Peace Officers (CPO) undergo sixteen weeks of training at York College, where they receive training pertaining to servicing the college community and how to effectively handle situations which may occur on a college campus and in the surrounding community. Campus Security Assistants (CSA) are employed as security guards in accordance with Article 7A of the General Business Law. CSA’s do not have arrest authority above that of a private citizen.

All Hunter College Department of Public Safety personnel wear distinctive uniforms and carry two-way radios. Additionally, the college has seven New York State Certified Emergency Medical EMTs to respond to medical emergencies at the Main and Brookdale campuses. These personnel are trained in first aid, cardiopulmonary resuscitation and other emergency response procedures.

Campus Peace Officers (CPO’s) are charged with the responsibility of making sure federal, state and local laws, as well as University policies and procedures are obeyed. Although officers are not city police officers, they are granted “Peace Officer” status through the City of New York and have arrest powers on all Hunter campuses. This  allows officers to make an arrest and to search and seize evidence in connection with an arrest as long at the crime was committed in their presence or for a felony, not committed in their presence or view, but reasonable grounds exist that the offense was committed by the person the officer is arresting on the campus.  The Hunter College Public Safety Department also maintains a strong working relationship with the City of New York Police Department (NYPD) as well as county, state and federal authorities and the City of New York Fire Department.

 NOTE: The Hunter College Department of Public Safety does not provide security at any off-campus events; or for any off-campus organizations and/or residences not owned by Hunter College.

Students, staff and faculty are encouraged to report all public safety concerns to this department. A mechanism has has been added to the Hunter Public Safety web page which allows the college community to report crimes anonymously, known as “Silent Witness”. 

The Director of the Public Safety Department is Joseph D. Foelsch,Jr., who has an extensive law inforcement background. Mr. Foelsch is assisted in the daily operations of the Department by a Deputy Director, Lt. Robert Lyons and Chief of Staff Jerry Matthews. The Public Safety staff includes two Lieutenants, eleven Sergeants, seven Corporals, four Specialists, 45 Campus Peace Officers and 45 Campus Security Assistants. The staff maintains several “fixed” posts, a communications center as well as roving patrols.

Campus Access

The campus is monitored 24 hours a day by members of the Public Safety staff. After the campus is closed all persons entering the institution must sign in. Only those students with written permission from a department head, or faculty member, are permitted entry to the campus when the college is closed. A student that wants to remain on campus after hours must request permission to do so, in writing, through their Department head, or designee sponsoring the after hour visit. The permission and a supporting letter must be provided to Public Safety. Students are not permitted to sign in non-students through the Visitors Center. 

Persona Non-Grata Guideline

 The College may restrict access to the campus by any visitor (i.e., a person who is neither a student nor an employee of Hunter College), including but not limited to guests, event attendees, and/or alumni whose conduct, after review by a panel of the Campus Safety Advisory Committee, is determined to be in violation of any rules and/or policies of Hunter College or the City University of New York or applicable New York State Law. This restriction may include revocation of alumni identification cards and/or other restrictions on access to Hunter College. Depending on the status of the individual involved, varying levels of review will be considered.

Identification Cards

Every member of the college community is required to carry a validated identification card, a One Card, while on campus. Upon request of a Public Safety Officer or college official, the ID card must be presented. Refusal to present the ID card will result in denial of access to the campus. ID cards are NON-TRANSFERABLE and may not be used by any other person, for any reason. The college will prosecute any unauthorized person who trespasses or loiters on college property. Students, faculty, and staff will need an ID card in order to gain access to buildings, or to gain access to offices when keys are forgotten. Student ID cards shall be validated each semester.

Complaints and Information

Complaints and requests for information concerning Public Safety services should be made to Mr. Joseph D. Foelsch, Jr. the Director of Public Safety at (212) 772-4521. After hours, all calls for Public Safety service should be made to (212) 772-4447.

Reporting a Crime

All crimes against person and property should be reported as soon as possible to the Office of Public Safety.  This helps us apprehend criminals and make strategic decisions about the deployment of security resources. Incidents can be reported in person in the Public Safety office (B-122 in the West Building); by phone X 1-4444 if the crime is in process, (X 1-4447 after the fact) or to any uniformed officer on campus. The Office of Public Safety will assist you in reporting a crime to the NYPD as necessary.

Even if you do not want to pursue action with the college or the criminal justice system, please make a confidential report which does not reveal your identity to the Public Safety Office. This helps us keep an accurate record of the number and nature of incidents, determine whether there is a pattern of crime and we need to redeploy our security officers, and alert the campus community to a potential danger. Reports filed in this manner are counted and disclosed in the crime statistics of the college.

Security Policies

The policy of the City University and of Hunter College is that:

  • Students and employees should report ​safety hazards; crimes; loss of property; illness or injury. Proper reporting assists in the apprehension of criminals and ensures the safety of the college community. Incidents can be reported to any Public Safety officer or by calling the Office of Public Safety.

Investigation of Violent Felony Offenses

Hunter College has adopted and implemented a plan providing for the investigation of any violent felony offenses occurring on Campus, and providing for the investigation of resident Missing Persons. Such plans provide for the coordination of the investigation of such crimes and reports with the New York City Police Department (NYPD). Such plans shall include, but not be limited to, written agreements with the NYPD providing for the prompt investigation of such crimes and reports.

Violent Felony Offenses

Defined in Section 70.02 sub. 1 of the New York State Penal Law and include Class A, B, C, D and E. violent felony offenses. These crimes will be immediately reported to the New York City Police Department by the Hunter College Department of Public Safety Office. A joint initial investigation will be conducted and then a follow up investigation will be conducted by the appropriate unit of the New York City Police Department. The college administration and college community will be kept informed and will be updated on developments.

Alcohol and Drugs:

Alcohol and Drugs

Any action or situation which recklessly or intentionally endangers mental or physical health, or involves forced consumption of liquor or drugs for the purpose of initiation or affiliation with any organization is prohibited. The unlawful manufacture, distribution, dispensation, possession, or use of illegal drugs or controlled substance by University students or employees on University/College property, or as part of any University/College activities is prohibited. Employees of the University must also notify the College Personnel Director of any criminal conviction for a violation occurring in the workplace no later than (5) days after such conviction.

The unlawful possession, use, or distribution of alcohol by students or employees on University/College property, or as part of any University/College activities is prohibited.

The legal age for possession and consumption of alcohol in New York State is 21. It is against the law to sell or give away alcohol to anyone under the age of 21.

The possession or use of illegal drugs is a crime in the State of New York. Anyone found in possession of or using such drugs on college property will be severely dealt with and will face criminal charges.

Hunter College is in compliance with the Drug-Free Schools and Communities Act Amendments of 1989 (Public Law 101-226). The New York State minimum drinking age (21 years) is observed at all campus functions. Proof of age is required to consume alcoholic beverages and no individual appearing to be under the influence of alcohol will be served.

The unlawful possession, use or distribution of drugs is prohibited on the campus. Violators will be subject to penalties ranging from reprimand and warning for a first infraction, to separation from the college for a subsequent offense.

Legal sanctions against students alleged to be in violation of Public Law 101- 226 will be determined according to Article 15 Section 3 of the CUNY Board of Trustees Bylaws. Sanctions for members of the instructional staff and non-instructional staff will be governed by Article VII of the CUNY Board of Trustees Bylaws and Article XIV, respectively.


No individual within the university community, except Peace Officers, pursuant to authorization of the college presidents, shall have in their possession a rifle, shotgun, firearm or any other dangerous instrument or material that can be used to inflict bodily harm on an individual, or damage to a building or the grounds of the campus.

Public Safety Emergencies

Throughout the Hunter College Main Campus and Brookdale Campus are stainless steel colored “Talk-A- Lert” boxes. The Talk-Alert boxes are mounted on walls near elevators, stairways and female bathrooms. Talk-Alerts are to be used for any and all emergencies on campus. Just push the black button, wait for the box to connect with Public Safety communications and a verbal response to your emergency. You may always reach Public Safety by dialing 212-772-4444 or 1-4444 from any internal telephone; or 911 from a cellular phone will connect you with NYPD. To dial 911 from an interior campus telephone you must dial a 9 first (9-911).

Evacuation Procedures        

Usually evacuation procedures concern a working fire; however there may be other reasons that a building may have to be evacuated. Examples of this may be a bomb threat; a chemical spill in a lab; a police action; a power failure; or other situation where it would be in the best interest of the occupants to evacuate. (PROCEDURES ARE LISTED UNDER Fire Safety Plan SECTION)

Timely Emergency Warnings

If a situation arises either on or off campus that, in the judgment of senior staff of the college, constitutes an ongoing threat, a campus wide “timely warning” will be issued through the college e-mail and CUNY Alert systems to all students, faculty and staff. To update your CUNY Alert preferences, please go to the CUNY Alert website and follow the directions.

Sexual Misconduct

       CUNY Sexual Misconduct Policy 

Daily Crime and Fire Log

The Department of Public Safety maintains a “daily crime log” and a “daily fire log” in two ways. One is placed in electronic form and may be viewed on our web site at This forum lists all crimes that are reported at all Hunter campuses. The second manner is a “daily crime log” that is maintained at each Hunter campus of crimes reported to the particular campus. That log will show reported crimes for the past 60 days and is available for viewing by students, faculty and staff during normal business hours.

ASR availability:       
The Annual Security Report, commonly known as the ASR, provides information about Hunter Colleges Public Safety Department; policies and procedures; types of crimes and definitions; college resources for students and victims of a crime and crime statistics for the college.

The Annual Security Report (ASR) is mandated by the Clery Act to be available to all students, faculty and potential students:  ASR’s can be obtained on-line Annual Security Report at any public safety desk at any one of Hunters campuses or at Public Safety’s Administrative Office located in the West Building in room B-122A.

Lost and Found

Public Safety maintains a Lost & Found storage in Room West 213. This office is not continuously staffed by Public Safety. To report a lost item to Public Safety, please submit a Lost & Found form online. Complete the form and it will be sent to the Lost & Found Custodian. 

Due to the high volume of requests submitted, you will ONLY be contacted if your item is turned into Lost & Found. If we do not contact you, it means your item was NOT turned in.

Lost & Found Policy

  • For health reasons, all clothing items such as but not limited to: hats, scarves, gloves, coats, sneakers, etc. will only be held for a period of seven (7) days.

  • All other unclaimed items will be donated to charity or destroyed (depending on the type of item) after a period of sixty (60) days.

  • All financial items, credit cards and non-Hunter IDs will be destroyed after a period of sixty (60) days.

  • All Hunter College ID cards will ONLY be held for a period of thirty (30) days.

If you have lost your Hunter ID card, you can submit the Lost & Found form or contact the OneCard Office located at room 203 West Building.



Each campus has a fire alarm system that meets the fire code of New York City. In most campuses a Fire Warden is assigned to each floor and is responsible for implementing the fire safety policy and evacuation during a fire emergency.

Things to Remember:    

  • If you notice a fire - pull the fire alarm pull station - do not waste time calling public safety. (Once activated, the alarm goes directly to a central station and NYFD is automatically notified and dispatched.

  • If a “pull station” is not close to you then,

    • Activate one of the silver wall mounted “Talk-Alert” boxes

    • Dial 1-4444 on a main campus telephone

    • Dial 911 on your cell phone.

  • Fire extinguishers are located on all floors of all campuses.

  • Fire Warden is assigned to each floor and is responsible for implementing the fire safety policy and evacuation during a fire emergency. 

  • It is important to follow their instructions, they are there for your safety

  • Stairway “A” is the primary staircase to be used for evacuation, unless told otherwise.

  • Disabled individuals should enter the stairway and stay on the landing of their floor. NYFD will come and get you!

  • A delay in public address announcements after a fire alarm sounds is usually because public safety is investigating the source of the alarm to determine what needs to be done.

    • Always listen for public address announcements.

  • If there is a fire or smoke condition in, or near an elevator shaft, the fire alarms will sound on all floors.

    • Elevators will get automatically re-called to the lowest floor/lobby.

  • Some elevators may be re-called to the main floor due to a fire.

  • After a fire alarm is activated, the alarm and the elevators cannot be reset until the NY Fire Department authorizes it and gives the “all clear”.

  • Evacuations may only occur on the “fire floor” and one floor above, and one floor below and not the entire building.

  • Organized “Fire Brigades” will respond to the floor below the fire floor.

  • Each semester Public Safety performs fire drills at each campus.

Evacuation Procedures        

Usually evacuation procedures concern a working fire; however there may be other reasons that a building may have to be evacuated. Examples of this may be a bomb threat; a chemical spill in a lab; a police action; a power failure; or other situation where it would be in the best interest of the occupants to evacuate.

  • Do Not Use Elevators Remain calm.

  • Everyone will listen for a public address announcement to evacuate the building when the fire alarm is sounded.

  • Normally, evacuation is ordered by building and by floor to prevent overcrowding in the stairwells.

  • Upon activation of the fire alarm, and the announcement to evacuate, all occupants will immediately exit the building using the nearest exit stairwell and proceed across the street from the building.

  • Excessive smoke, smell of gas is reason to immediately evacuate even if no announcement was heard.

  • Evacuation floor plans are posted on each floor by the elevators throughout each campus.

  • Close windows and doors. Leave lights on and doors unlocked.

  • When you evacuate, do not stop for personal belongings or records.

  • If there is excessive smoke, crawl to an exit. If you are unable to exit, stay low and plug all openings around doors, windows and vents.

  • If you find yourself trapped dial 911 and give them your location, room number and floor.

  • Before entering another room or stairwell, check for heat by placing your hand near the door.

  • Fire Wardens that are familiar with the evacuation procedures will alert on their assigned floor to follow their emergency procedures.

  • Disabled persons will enter the closest stairwell and await NYFD to assist them in exiting the building.

  • A “runner” should be dispatched to tell the responding officer (fire or police) the location of the handicapped individual(s), so that a rescue can be initiated.

  • Building occupants must immediately advise the responding Public Safety Officers of the possibility and location of any persons who have not yet evacuated the buildings due to injury or incapacitation.

  • No one is permitted to re-enter an evacuated building until the building is determined to be safe by the emergency service personnel and NYFD advises that re-entry into the building is permitted.