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Letter to Parents

Dear Freshman Family:

On behalf of the Vanderbilt University Police Department, I am happy to welcome you and your student to Vanderbilt University. We understand that you are entrusting your student to our care and we take that responsibility very seriously. We work together with our students and staff to maintain a safe and secure campus, and I assure you that the safety of our students is our highest priority.

Vanderbilt is fortunate to be located in the midst of a booming urban community featuring all the amenities of a big city, including sporting events, restaurants, and cultural and social events. As in any urban setting, individuals must make choices that maximize their personal safety and security. Therefore, the Vanderbilt University Police Department is taking this opportunity to familiarize you with some of its security-related programs and services. Students also have a responsibility for their own safety, and it is my most sincere hope that you will join my officers in encouraging your student to take advantage of the following services.

  • Students can take a proactive role in their own security by keeping dorm rooms locked and should consider walking in groups across campus, especially after dusk.
  • After dark, the Vanderbilt University Police Department offers two options to help your student get to and from different locations on campus. The first is the Vandy Vans program. These vans pick up and drop off at predesignated points on campus. A walking security escort service is offered for individuals and pairs crossing campus. A walking security escort can be requested by dialing (615) 421-8888, after which, a representative from VUPD will be dispatched to the caller's location or to a designated meeting point to accompany the caller to his or her destination.
  • Operation ID encourages students to document and label their personal possessions. The information should be kept by the student for quick reference. Students may register their bicycles and laptop computers online with Vanderbilt University Police Department.
  • The Rape Aggression Defense program (RAD) is a self-defense program for women. A separate mens self-defense program is also available.
  • For details about the programs mentioned above, as well as information about Crime Alerts and the Daily Crime Log, please visit our website at

Vanderbilt's goal is to provide a safe and secure environment in which students can learn and grow. We take pride in our police department and in the quality services we deliver. I encourage both you and your son or daughter to contact the Vanderbilt University Police Department should you experience any problems, or have any questions or concerns related to security or law enforcement services on campus. I can be reached at (615) 343-9750 if you would like to speak with me personally.

Best wishes and welcome to Vanderbilt University.

August Washington
Associate Vice Chancellor and Chief of Police