Personal Safety

Locking Up | Suspicious Persons | Reporting Criminal Incidents | Harassing Phone Calls | Emergency Telephone Numbers Medical Emergencies | Fire Safety | Earthquakes | Pine Top Trail Safety | Emergency Call BoxesResidence Hall Safety

Mills College views campus safety and security as an important responsibility shared by the College and every member of the student body, faculty, and staff. The College and members of the Mills campus community are partners in creating an environment that is safe and conducive to learning. While no campus is isolated from crime, the likelihood of campus crime can be reduced by cooperatively working together.

The College commits a range of resources designed to promote campus safety and security, including an around-the-clock Department of Public Safety, safety and crime awareness programs, and security-related services and maintenance programs. These services and programs help to maintain an environment that enhances the campus learning experience.

Listed below are personal safety precautions, as well as emergency response procedures for a variety of potential emergencies. Emergency preparedness information is available in the Student Handbook and around the campus is posted in residential halls and common areas.

Personal Safety Precautions & Procedures

Locking Up

Students are advised to close and lock all windows and doors when leaving residence hall rooms or apartments. To prevent theft through open windows and unlocked doors, propping open building access windows and doors is prohibited. Students should close any propped doors or unattended open windows and report the incident to the Residential Life Staff. Damaged doors or windows should be reported immediately to Housing Management and Dining Services during the day and to Public Safety at night.

Suspicious Persons

Community members should report any suspicious persons or activities immediately to the Department of Public Safety by calling 510.430.5555. The person reporting should give her name, the nature of the incident, a description of the person(s) and property involved, and the suspect's location. The reporting person should not hang up the telephone until directed to by the Public Safety officer.

Reporting Criminal Incidents

Community members are urged to report all criminal incidents, no matter how small or petty the crime may seem. It is very important to report all incidents so that further preventative measures can be taken and the College has accurate data on the number and type of incidents occurring on campus. Summary statistics are available from the Department of Public Safety.

Harassing Phone Calls

Harassing or obscene phone calls should be hung up on immediately. If the calls persist report them to the Department of Public Safety.

Emergency Telephone Numbers

A list of emergency telephone numbers should be kept near every telephone. Both the Student Handbook and the Mills Emergency Preparedness Handbook provide a listing of important campus and off-campus emergency telephone numbers.

Medical Emergencies

Quick and appropriate response in a medical emergency is very important in ensuring that the injured person receives prompt medical assistance.

In any medical emergency immediately call the paramedics/ambulance services at 911. Callers should give the emergency dispatcher their name, describe the type of medical emergency and the victim's condition as best as possible, and give the exact campus location of the injured party. Callers should answer any questions the emergency dispatcher asks and not hang up until requested to do so.

Contact the Department of Public Safety at extension 5555 (cell phone users should call 510.430.5555) so they can assist and direct emergency personnel when they arrive. Callers should give their name, briefly describe the type of medical emergency and the victim's condition, and provide the exact campus location of the injured party. If possible, the caller should designate someone to meet the Public Safety Officers and to direct them to the location of the victim. One or more Public Safety Officers will respond immediately to the injured party's location and direct emergency personnel and services to the location. If possible, a Resident Assistant (or the Dean of Students Office during the day) should be contacted by the caller or a designated person.

Until emergency medical help arrives, the injured party should be kept still and comfortable. An injured person should not be moved or treated by untrained persons unless her/his life is in immediate danger. Under most circumstances, emergency medical help will arrive in a matter of minutes. When help arrives, involved persons should be ready to provide any relevant information about the condition of the injured person.

In conditions requiring major surgery, anesthesia, or other unusual or exceptional medical circumstances, a reasonable attempt will be made to reach parents or another person designated for notification in case of emergency. However, under California law, students 18 years of age or older will have treatment undertaken accordingly. In the event a student under 18 requires emergency treatment, a reasonable attempt will be made to reach parents or another person designated for notification in case of an emergency for consent. If this person is unavailable, treatment will be undertaken at the discretion of the attending physician.

Fire Safety

At any indication of smoke, flames, or suspicion of fire, students should take the following actions immediately.

Pull the nearest fire alarm, yell "FIRE", quickly evacuate the building in a calm and orderly manner and close all doors. If possible, grab a towel to cover faces while exiting. However, do not waste time collecting personal belongings. Assist mobility-impaired persons in exiting the building. When exiting, touch all doors at the top to feel if they are hot before opening. If a door is hot to the touch, try to find an alternative exit route.

Once outside the building, locate a phone and call the Oakland Fire Department at 911 and the Department of Public Safety at extension 5555. Cell phone users should call 510.430.5555. It is very important to call these numbers, as a fire is not necessarily automatically reported with the building's fire alarm. If the fire is in the campus residence halls or apartments, attempt to contact a Residential Life Staff member.

Proceed to the Emergency Assembly Area for the building to be accounted for and to assist in accounting for others. For a list of Emergency Assembly Areas for each campus building, see the Emergency Action Guide or speak with a Building Safety Coordinator or a Residential Life Staff member.


The key to living in a region prone to earthquakes is to first accept that they can and may occur. To realistically prepare for an earthquake it is important to adhere to the procedures listed below.

Study and living environments should be organized in an earthquake-safe manner. Most injuries during earthquakes are caused by falling objects, not by collapsing buildings. For personal protection, heavy objects should be removed from shelves above beds or desks and be placed on lower shelves. Free-standing cabinets, bookcases, and other tall furniture should be secured to the wall. If these items cannot be secured, they should be placed where they are not likely to fall and cause injury.

Also, desks, chairs, or beds should not be placed directly next to or under a window. If this is not possible, students should sit and sleep with their heads away from windows. Plants and other free-swinging objects should be kept away from windows so they will not break the windowpane.

Students should learn and practice quake-safe action for protection. At the first indication of an earthquake, it is important to move to a safe area (either under sturdy furniture, an interior door frame, or braced in an interior corner), away from shelves and windows, and keep faces and heads covered for protection from broken glass and falling debris. If inside, students should not rush outside, as there may be hazard from falling debris.

If outdoors, students should stay there. If possible, students should move to an open area away from buildings, trees, overhead power lines, brick walls, and falling objects. It is important to stay low to the ground and look for hazards that may require moving to a safer area.

If in a car, it is important to pull over and stop in a safe area away from trees, power lines, bridges, overpasses, and buildings. Students should stay inside the car. If live wires should fall across the car, students should remain still until help arrives. A car is usually well insulated and will usually provide protection against electricity.

All students and other community members should develop a personal emergency plan. Having a well-rehearsed emergency plan will increase personal safety in the event of an earthquake, provide necessary resources and training for handling the aftermath of an earthquake, and help to put family and friends at ease. A course in first aid, CPR training, stocking up on emergency supplies and developing plans for communication with loved ones should be considered.

Pine Top Trail Safety

  • There is safety in numbers. Find a partner, or jog with a group.
  • Run during daylight hours, and know your route and its safety points.
  • Be aware of who's around you and of your surroundings.
  • Don't wear jewelry (chains, medallions, rings, expensive watches, etc.).
  • Tune into your surroundings, not out; avoid wearing headphones.
  • Always carry some form of identification (including medic alert ID, if applicable).
  • Report ALL suspicious activity to the Department of Public Safety.

Blue Light Call Boxes

On the Mills campus, blue emergency call boxes are located in Richards Parking Lot, Post Road (below Reinhardt dorm), CPM parking lot (Seminary side), and Seminary Pedestrian gate. Blue emergency call phones connect directly to Public Safety.

Call boxes operate 24 hours a day. Public Safety may also be reached by dialing extension 5555 from any campus phone (PDF). Pay phone and cell phone users should call 510.430.5555.

Residence Hall Safety

In addition to the residential security policies designed for your safety, here are additional guidelines. Most thefts occur during the daylight hours and in half the reported burglaries, thieves enter the structure through unlocked doors and windows.

During the Day

  • Do not leave your purse or wallet in unlocked desks, cabinets, or in the open.
  • Always keep your outside door locked.
  • In group residencies, ask strangers to wait in common areas while their friends are summoned.
  • Lock your room door and windows when you leave, even if only for a minute, and take your keys with you.
  • Keep small valuable items out of sight, in a closed drawer, or another safe place.
  • Offer assistance to strangers on your floor. If they have legitimate business, they will appreciate your help. If they don't, ask them to leave or call Department of Public Safety by dialing extension 5555 from any campus phone (PDF).
  • When moving in or out of your residence, keep your room locked when you are out. Do not leave your car unlocked when you are loading or unloading.
  • Do not leave coats, books, or other valuable items in common areas. Keep them in your room.
  • If you hear or see something suspicious, call the Department of Public Safety immediately.

Vehicle Security

  • Park in well-lit areas. Do not patronize parking lots where car doors must be left unlocked and keys surrendered; otherwise surrender only ignition key.
  • Equip the gas tank with a locking gas cap. The hook-locking device should be controlled from inside the vehicle.
  • Visually check the front and rear passenger compartments before entering the vehicle.
  • Select a reliable service station for vehicle service.
  • Keep doors locked while vehicle is in use.
  • Be alert for vehicles that appear to be following you.
  • When traveling by vehicle, plan ahead. Know the locations of police stations, fire stations, and busy shopping centers.
  • Use a different schedule and route of travel each day. If followed, drive to a police station, fire station, or busy shopping center. Sound the horn to attract attention.
  • Do not stop to assist a stranded motorist, instead call for help on his/her behalf.