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Safety Policies & Programs

Your safety and security is extremely important to us at Chatham University. The following policies and programs are meant to ensure the wellbeing of all members of our campus community.

The Student Handbook, issued to every student, contains the complete policy on the possession and use of alcohol and drugs. In brief, Chatham University supports the Pennsylvania State Law concerning the purchase, sale, possession, and consumption of alcohol and drugs. All students are obligated to abide by these laws; any infraction makes them liable for punitive action from the state. The University will not be responsible for, nor offer protection to, a student’s violation of these laws. In addition, the University expects students to refrain from involving themselves and others in any violation of these laws.

Unless authorized by the President, alcoholic beverages are not permitted at any student function at the University sponsored by a recognized student, group, or organization. Likewise, no University funds, including student activity fees, are to be spent on alcohol by student groups or organizations or other representatives, unless authorized by the office of the President.

The University has developed a program to prevent the illicit sale or use of drugs and the abuse of alcohol by students and employees. The program provides services related to drug use and abuse including dissemination of information materials, educational programs, counseling services, referrals and University disciplinary actions.

Chatham's Medical Marijuana Policy is located on MyChatham.

Chatham provides on-campus housing to undergraduate students. Undergraduate housing consists of five student residence halls, Fickes, Rea, Laughlin, Dilworth and Woodland, that offer single, double, triple and quad rooms and the Chatham, Chung, Duplex, Haber, Hicks Estate, Linzer, and Pelletreau Apartments, which offer apartments on or near 5th Avenue bordering the main part of campus. Students can live in Orchard Hall at Eden Hall Campus as well.

All residence halls and apartments are locked at all times, and students are issued an id/access control card that controls access to the Residence Halls and most of the apartments. Students living at the Duplex, Haber, and Hicks Estate Annex access the building and their apartment utilizing keys. During the winter break and during the summer, the Access Control System deactivates all card access to the Residence Halls and Apartments, except those that are authorized to enter. Students are educated as to the importance of safeguarding their id cards and room keys as well as the need to properly secure all doors and windows. All students are expected to sign in their guests, and non-Chatham visitors are not allowed into the residence halls unless accompanied by a Chatham resident and signed into the guest book. Overnight visitors are permitted, for up to three consecutive nights, with the exception of fall semester. First-year students are not permitted overnight guests until late September at the completion of the Battle of the Classes campus tradition. Every individual student room has locks on all doors and windows. Each student is issued a key to their individual room. During business hours, the University (excluding the above mentioned residence halls and apartments) will be open to students, parents, employees, contractors, guests and invitees. During non-business hours, access to all University facilities is by key, if issued, or by admittance via the campus police. Campus police will admit only those with a valid room access pass.

Residence Life staff members work in cooperation with Public Safety as well as Facilities Management to provide a safe and secure living environment for all residents. The Director of Residence Life manages the residential program with the assistance of the professional and paraprofessional staff.  The paraprofessional staff is comprised of Graduate Resident Directors who live in the residence halls sharing responsibility for the well being of all residents. Each residence hall is managed by a Graduate Resident Director (GRD) who is available to provide counseling and advice, to supervise the Resident Assistants (RAs) within the building, to manage facilities, to enforce community standards, and to provide emergency coverage to address other major issues within the residence halls. Professional staff members work in cooperation with Public Safety as well as Facilities Management to provide a safe and secure living environment for all residents.

All students receive a copy of the Chatham Student Handbook, which describes all residence hall policies and procedures. In addition, all residence halls have periodic meetings during which these policies are reviewed and clarified. When appropriate, additional notices are distributed and posted to remind students of particular regulations.

If you are the victim of a crime and do not want to pursue action within the University system or the criminal justice system, you may still want to consider making a confidential report. With your permission, the Director or a designee of the Chatham University Public Safety department can file a report on the details of the incident without revealing your identity.

Community members, students, faculty, staff, and guests are encouraged to report all crimes and public safety related incidents to the Chatham University Police Department ("CUPD") in a timely manner.

To report a crime or an emergency, call the CUPD at 412-365-1111. To report a non-emergency security or public safety related manner, call the CUPD at 412-365-1230.

Campus Police are available at these respective telephone numbers 24 hours a day to answer your call. In response to a call, the CUPD will take the required action, dispatching an officer or asking the victim to report to the CUPD to file an incident report.

All incident reports are forwarded to the Director of Public Safety for review and potential action, Investigators will investigate a report when it is deemed appropriate. If assistance is required from the Pittsburgh Police Department, the CUPD will contact that Department. If a sexual assault or rape should occur, staff on the scene, including the CUPD, will offer the victim a wide variety of services, including Crisis Consultation by trained individuals who are available to assist a victim.

Crimes should be reported to the CUPD to ensure inclusion in the annual crime statistics and to aid in providing timely warning notices to the community, when appropriate.

In the event of an emergency on the campus, large scale emergency or disaster off campus, severe weather condition, or other event or emergency that could have an effect on the operations of the University and/or affect the safety of our community members, the emergency notification system will be used to communicate important information/instructions to our community members. Only the President, President's Council Members, Vice President of Finance and Administration, Director of Facilities Management, and/or Director of Public Safety can authorize the activation of the emergency notification system.

OmniAlert – a web-based system that allows community members to sign up so they can receive urgent text messages from the University on their mobile phone and/or e-mail. Signing up for this program is mandatory for students.

Chapel Bells – the Chapel bells have the ability to act like an "air raid" siren system. The system uses three types of alerts. An "alert horn" will be sounded to alert all community members to go to a classroom, office, room, etc. and lock themselves in ("lock down"), a "siren" will be sounded to alert community members to seek shelter either in the lowest part of a building or the center part of a building, and a “bell” will be sounded as an "all clear."

Voicemail – a voicemail message will be send to all campus telephones that are on the University's telephone system.

Email – an email message will be sent to all campus email address.

Telephone Switchboard – in the event that nobody is available to answer the University’s main switchboard, a message will be placed on the telephone switchboard.

Reporting a Fire

Fires should be immediately reported to the campus police at 412-365-1111. Pittsburgh Police, Fire, and EMS can be reached by dialing 911.

Fire Drills

Fire Drills are conducted in student housing twice a year by Student Affairs, Facilities Management and Public Safety.

Fire Safety Policies

Smoke detectors have been installed in each student room for the protection of the occupants in case of fire. Woodland Hall and Dilworth Hall have full sprinkler systems, while Fickes Hall has a partial sprinkler system.

Smoking is not permitted in any buildings.

Residence Life permits students to use U.L. approved coffeemakers and Micro-Fridge units. Other types of cooking devices are not permitted or have restricted use to the community kitchen in each building. See the Student Handbook for additional information.

Candles, incense, space heaters and halogen lights are not permitted in student housing. See the Student Handbook for additional information.

Chatham University has detailed Fire Plans, Evacuation Plans, and Emergency Response Plans, which are posted on MyChatham.

Fire Safety Education and Training

Residence Life staff are trained and given specific information on who to contact in an emergency, how to assess an emergency, how to respond using general response steps, and how to respond to fire emergencies.

Fire Safety Improvements and Upgrades

Chatham University reviews the fire systems annually and implements upgrades, repairs, or revisions whenever issues are identified.

Evacuation Procedures

If you hear the fire alarm sound, you are required to immediately evacuate the building.

Remember RACE:

  • R - Rescue anyone in immediate danger and Remove yourself from danger.
  • A - Alarm by pulling the fire alarm and notifying Public Safety at 412.365.1111.
  • C - Contain the fire and smoke by closing doors as you evacuate.
  • E - Extinguish the fire using the proper extinguisher. If the fire is too intense, evacuate.

Once you evacuate a building, meet in the designated meeting location and/or remain a safe distance from the building until the campus police inform you that are may go back inside.

Chatham Fire Alarm/Evacuation Procedures

In the event that a person is missing more than 24 hours or less than 24 hours as notes below, the campus police will be notified. Campus police will comply with the following:

  1. Campus police will interview the person making the complaint in order to obtain the information to determine the reason the complainant is reporting the person missing.
  2. Campus police will gather all essential information about the person including clothing description, where/when subject was last seen, who they may be with, vehicle description, etc.
  3. Campus police will also gather information about the physical and mental well being of the individual.
  4. A quick, but thorough search will be conducted in all campus buildings and parking lots.
  5. If the missing person is a student, the student’s room will be checked and Student Affairs notified. If the missing person is a faculty or staff member, their office/department will be checked and Academic Affairs or Human Resources will be notified.
If the above actions are unsuccessful in locating the person or it is apparent from the beginning that the person is actually missing or the situation includes one or more of the following unusual “at-risk” circumstances:
  • Missing person is under 18
  • Out of the zone of safety for his or her age and physical and mental condition
  • Mentally diminished
  • Drug dependent
  • A potential victim of foul play or sexual exploitation
  • In a life-threatening situation
  • Absent from home for more than 24 hours before being reported to a law enforcement agency as missing
  • Believed to be with a person who could endanger their welfare
  • Is absent under circumstances inconsistent with established patterns of behavior

The campus police will not wait 24 hours but will immediately request assistance from the Pittsburgh Police in order to make entry into the Unidentified Persons File through the Commonwealth Law Enforcement Assistance Network (CLEAN) in accordance with Pennsylvania State Police policy and procedures. If appropriate, an AMBER Alert will be issued and/or other immediate community notification methods, if available will be activated.

Students may file an emergency contact person with the campus police. This information will be kept confidential.

Students under 18 and not emancipated will require the notification of a custodial parent or guardian.

Chatham University's Title IX Policy prohibits sexual- or gender-based discrimination, including sexual assault:

  • Chatham University ("Chatham") is committed to establishing and maintaining a safe learning, living, and working environment where healthy, respectful, and consensual conduct represents the campus cultural norm. To that end - and in compliance with Title IX, the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2013 (VAWA), and applicable state and federal laws - Chatham prohibits sexual misconduct, including all forms of sexual or gender-based harassment, sexual assault, sexual violence, including relationship and interpersonal violence, and stalking (collectively, "Prohibited Conduct"). Chatham also prohibits retaliation against any individual for reporting conduct prohibited under this Policy or for participating in an investigation of an alleged violation of this Policy. These prohibited forms of conduct undermine the character, purpose and values of the Chatham community and will not be tolerated.

This Policy applies to Prohibited Conduct committed by Chatham students, faculty, employees, administrators, volunteers, independent contractors, vendors, and visitors.

This Policy also governs Prohibited Conduct directed towards Chatham community members of any sex, gender identity, gender expression, or sexual orientation.

What is sexual assault?

Chatham University's Title IX Policy defines Sexual Assault as:

  • Sexual Assault is having or attempting to have Sexual Contact with another individual without Consent. Sexual Contact includes:
    1. Sexual intercourse (anal, oral, or vaginal), including penetration with a body part (e.g., penis, finger, hand, or tongue) or an object, or requiring another individual to penetrate that individual with a body part or an object; or
    2. Sexual touching, including, but not limited to, intentional contact with the breasts, buttocks, groin, genitals, or other intimate part of an individual's body.

The Policy defines Consent as:

  • Consent is defined as an informed, affirmative decision made freely and actively by all parties to engage in mutually acceptable sexual activity. Consent must be given by clear words or actions and may not be inferred from silence, passivity, or lack of resistance. Consent to one type of sexual activity does not imply consent to other types of sexual activity.

    An essential element of consent is that it be freely given. Freely given consent may not be possible, in relationships of a sexual or intimate nature between individuals where one individual has power, supervision or authority over another.

    If a person is mentally or physically incapacitated or impaired so that such person cannot understand the fact, nature, or extent of the sexual situation, there is no consent; this includes impairment or incapacitation due to age, alcohol or drug consumption that meets this standard, or being asleep or unconscious. Incapacitation is defined below.

    Consent may also be withdrawn at any time. When consent is withdrawn, sexual activity must immediately cease. Existence of a current or previous dating, marital, and/or sexual relationship is not sufficient to constitute consent to additional sexual activity. Prior consent does not imply current or future consent.

    Consent cannot be obtained through the use of coercion or force, or by taking advantage of an incapacitated individual. A person's use of alcohol and/or other drugs does not eliminate that person's responsibility to obtain consent to sexual contact.

    In evaluating whether adequate consent was given, consideration will be given to the totality of the facts and circumstances, including but not limited to the extent to which a Complainant affirmatively uses words or actions indicating a willingness to engage in sexual contact, free from intimidation, fear, or coercion, and whether a reasonable person in the Respondent's position would have understood such person's words and acts as an expression of consent, and whether there are any circumstances, known or reasonably apparent to the Respondent, demonstrating Incapacitation or fear.

    • In Pennsylvania, a person under the age of 16 years old cannot consent to sexual activity with an individual who is four or more years older and a person under the age of 13 cannot consent to sexual activity regardless of the other person's age. Therefore, sexual contact with a person younger than 16 years old may be a crime as well as a violation of this Policy. In addition, certain incidents of sexual conduct involving individuals under the age of 16 will be reported to Childline at (800) 932-0313 as required by law.
Reporting Sexual Assault

Members of the Chatham community who would like to report an incident of sexual assault may contact any of the following: Chatham University's Public Safety Department, the Title IX Office, the Student Affairs Office or Residence Life Staff, and/or a hospital or other medical facility. Chatham community members also have the option of notifying the Pittsburgh Police Department regardless of any action taken or anticipated by campus authorities.

Under Chatham's Title IX Policy, certain employees are defined as Responsible Employees who have an obligation to report to the Title IX Office any incident of Sexual Assault of which they become aware:

  • Responsible Employee: Under Title IX, a Responsible Employee includes any Chatham employee (i) who has the authority to take action to redress sexual violence; (ii) who has been given the duty of reporting incidents of sexual violence or any other misconduct by students to the Title IX coordinator or other appropriate school designee; or (iii) whom a student could reasonably believe has this authority or duty. Responsible Employees include all Chatham employees except the professional counselors in the Counseling Center or Health Services staff. Responsible Employees include Resident Assistants, Teaching Assistants, Intern Assistant Coaches and Intern Assistant Administrators. Responsible Employees have an obligation to promptly report incidents of Prohibited Conduct to the Title IX Coordinator or one of the Deputy Title IX Coordinators.

Chatham's Title IX Policy provides the following contact information for anyone wishing to report an incident of Sexual Assault:

Contacts for Filing a Title IX Complaint

If you have been the victim of Prohibited Conduct, or if you would like to report Prohibited Conduct of which you are aware that does not involve you personally, please contact the following as appropriate:

  • For urgent, emergency cases (e.g., rape or sexual assault), please call the 24-hour emergency Chatham Public Safety hotline at 412-365-1111 or 911.
  • To report any non-emergency instances of Prohibited Conduct under Title IX, please contact:

If you are a Responsible Employee who is required to report incidents of Prohibited Conduct of which you are aware, you must immediately contact the Title IX Coordinator or one of the Deputy Coordinators (see above).

A list of resources for anyone who has experienced Sexual Assault can be found in Chatham's Title IX Policy.


Procedures for investigating allegations of Sexual Assault are described in Chatham's Title IX Policy.


Sexual assault awareness and prevention programming will be conducted throughout the academic year. The programming is conducted in conjunction with the Title IX Office, the Office of Student Affairs, and Public Safety.

In accordance with the “Campus Sex Crimes Prevention Act of 2000,” the Chatham University Public Safety department is providing a link to the Pennsylvania State Police Sex Offender registry. The Pennsylvania State Police are responsible for maintaining this registry. Learn more on their website.
Pastoral Counselors and/or Professional Counselors, when acting as such, are considered to be a campus security authority. The Pastoral Counselors and/or Professional Counselors can file a crime report on the details of a criminal incident without revealing your identity.

All members of the campus community and visitors are prohibited from possessing or carrying weapons of any kind while on University property, regardless of whether they are licensed to carry the weapons or not. Such prohibition extends to individuals having weapons in briefcases, purses, tool boxes, personal vehicles, or other personal property or effects.

The only exceptions to this policy are:

  1. Firearms in the possession of University Police Officers;
  2. Firearms in the possession of on-duty law enforcement officers;

University sanctions will be imposed on offenders as appropriate and in addition, criminal charges may be filled.

For the purposes of this policy, "weapons" include;

  1. Firearms such as handguns, shotguns, rifles, pellet guns, machine guns, stun guns, Tasers, or electronic weapons
  2. Explosives such as bombs, grenades, blasting caps, fireworks/smoke bombs or other containers containing explosive substances
  3. Other equipment, material devices that, in the manner that they are used or could be used or are readily capable of causing serious bodily injury.

The items described in clause c) include but are not limited to knives (except small personal pocket knives with folding blades that are less than (3) inches long), teargas, chemical substances, brass knuckles, clubs, or chains.