UP Police Services

Safety & Security

Safety is a priority at Penn State. The University strives to create an environment where an individual on campus can come and go without fear for his or her safety.

University Housing Safety

University housing, with the exception of apartments, are equipped with an electronic/computerized card access security system that has been recently updated. In consultation with Office of Physical Plant (OPP), University Police and Public Safety, and the Access Control and Electronic Security (ACES) Team, University Housing selected a security platform that is compatible with other University systems and provides many benefits such as a centralized and unified monitoring system for incidents and alarms. A closed-circuit television (CCTV) system was also installed, providing video cameras in common-area locations throughout residence halls and commons buildings. Cameras are typically located at building entry and exit doors and common spaces (lounges, kitchens, etc.), but are not in private student living space. CCTV systems are routinely checked to ensure system functionality, but are not live-monitored. 

Card Access System

University housing is locked 24 hours a day while students are in residence. Adjustments to the access hours may be modified during fall semester arrival and spring semester closedown. A student must use his or her id+ Card to gain access to his or her assigned building. Card readers are located on the building's entrance doors. Other doors may be designated as exit-only doors, which cannot be held open or an alarm will sound.

If a card reader fails to unlock the entry door after a student swipes his or her id+ Card, the student should report the malfunction to University staff. If the student is unable to gain entry to the building, the student should contact the Residence Life staff on duty for assistance.

If a student has food or other items delivered, the delivery person and unescorted guests are not permitted to enter University housing. The student is responsible for meeting the delivery person at the building entry door. 

Student Responsibility for Safety

Each student plays a critical role in maintaining a safe and secure environment within University housing. Even with a sophisticated card access system and Auxiliary Officers on duty, the safety and security of residents can be compromised by careless behavior. Every student is responsible for locking his or her room door, refraining from propping open entrance and exit doors, and allowing unescorted guests to enter the building (commonly referred to as "piggybacking").

Safety and Security Tips

  • A student entering University housing should not permit an unknown person from entering.
  • The staff member on duty should be notified if someone has insisted on entering University housing. The student should try to get a good description of the individual, and observe the direction in which he or she was headed.
  • Every student should keep his or her room door locked, even when sleeping, and especially when leaving the room or building.
  • A malfunctioning card access reader or door should be reported to University staff.
  • If a student is expecting a guest, the student is responsible for meeting the guest at the building entry door and escorting him or her in the building.
  • A student is not permitted to lend his or her room key or id+ Card to another student or guest.

Reporting Suspicious Activity

If a student notices any suspicious activity, the student should immediately contact the Residence Life staff on duty. Suspicious behavior may include the following:

  • A person going room to room, trying to open doors
  • A person loitering at unusual hours or locations
  • A person running (especially if something of value is being carried)
  • A person exhibiting unusual mental, emotional, or physical symptoms
  • A person carrying University property or other items not wrapped
  • Open or broken windows or doors
  • Unusual noises, screams, or cries for help

University Police and Public Safety

University Police and Public Safety is responsible for the protection of and service to Penn State's students, faculty, staff, and visitors. In addition, University Police and Public Safety is charged with the protection of property and maintenance of order as well as the enforcement of both the laws of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and University regulations. University Police and Public Safety has full law enforcement authority.

Auxiliary Officers (AOs) are hired to ensure the safety of University housing. AOs are typically on duty from 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 a.m., although shifts and locations may vary from area-to-area and on weekdays and weekends. AOs will check University housing entrance and exit doors, ensuring that no doors are propped open, and will inspect outside lighting units and will report any burned out lamps. AOs will also monitor activity occurring in University housing and common buildings, and will assist students who may have problems with the card access system.

Resources provided by University Police: