Frequently Asked Questions

FAQ for SUNY Oswego University Police

 1.       Is the SUNY Oswego campus safe?

SUNY Oswego is proud of our record of providing a safe environment for all who learn at, work at or simply visit our campus.  We’ve achieved this record through a coordinated effort utilizing strategies involving best practice security policies, taking full advantage of cutting edge security related technologies and the 24/7 efforts of our professional full time police department.

 2.       What are the most common crimes on campus?

Property related crimes, specifically thefts and drug law violations are the most commonly reported incidents on campus.  Both of these categories are highly preventable by making good choices and being aware of smart daily habits to increase security like simply locking doors and not leaving property unattended.

 3.       Are weapons allowed on campus?  

Firearms and other dangerous instruments are strictly prohibited on campus.  Students who wish to keep a firearm for hunting or recreational shooting must store the weapon at the University Police Department and strictly follow all of the established protocols.  In accordance with New York State Penal Law, the College does permit the possession of a single self-defense spray device - meaning a pocket-sized spray device which contains and releases a chemical or organic substance which is intended to produce temporary physical discomfort or disability through being vaporized or otherwise dispensed in the air.  If you choose to possess a self-defense spray device, it must be consistent with standards established by New York State pursuant to New York State Penal Law Section 265.20 (14) and shall only be used for the purpose of self-defense.

 4.       How many police officers are there?

There are currently 22 sworn members assigned to the University Police Department. This number includes all uniformed members, investigators and command staff.

 5.       Do I have to register my bicycle?

Registering your bicycle with University Police is not mandatory but is encouraged.  The process is simple and registering can deter theft and assist with recovery should the bike be lost or stolen. Best of all, it’s FREE!

 6.       Why doesn’t the campus have “blue lights or call boxes”?

SUNY Oswego offers the Oswego Guardian Emergency Alert App as a superior alternative to blue lights.  Rather than limiting emergency assistance to a small number of locations on campus, Oswego Guardian is as close as your cell phone.  More information can be found at:

 7.       When there is a snowstorm, how will I know if classes are cancelled?

There are several options:

Check SUNY Oswego's homepage.

Listen to radio and television: TV Channels 3, 5, 9 and 10 in Syracuse, the WRVO Stations (FM 89.9 to 91.9 throughout Central Upstate New York); and WHAM 1180 AM in Rochester.

You may receive direct notification as well if you have signed up to receive campus alerts through New York Alert.


 8.       How will I know if I need to move my car for snow plowing?

When a lot is scheduled to be plowed, by 12:00PM that day, a “Notice of Intent to Plow Certain Lots” will be posted in all residence halls. A sign will also be posted at the entrances to all lots that are to be plowed. In the larger lots, plowing will generally occur between 8 and 11 pm, depending on the workload and current conditions.


 9.       Do I have to leave my residence hall if there is a fire alarm?

Yes!  There is no distinction between an actual fire alarm and a drill.  Seconds count in any emergency situation. Evacuations are mandatory and students who disregard any alarm are subject to discipline.

 10.     Is it safe to walk across campus at night?

Campus is most certainly as safe as any public space can be expected to be.  With that in mind, it is important to always be aware of your surroundings, walk in well-lit areas, use the buddy system when possible and let someone know when you are leaving and where you are going.  These concepts apply wherever you may be living, on campus or off.  Don’t forget to download the Oswego Guardian App for emergency assistance at your fingertips!

 11.     What are the rules regarding drugs and alcohol?

Underage and/or irresponsible drinking and drug use often lead to unexpected outcomes and sometimes tragedy.  For this reason, SUNY Oswego takes drug and alcohol violations very seriously.  Students that are over 21 may possess alcohol in their residence hall room but they must adhere to standards regarding safe and healthy amounts.  Alcohol may not be possessed or consumed in the presence of under 21 residents.  Alcohol is not allowed in any public area except by special permitting. Students who engage in illegal drug activity expose themselves to Student Conduct penalties and possibly arrest by the University Police Department. Please read the student handbook for limitations for possession in Residence Halls. 

 12.    Can parents call and check on their student?

If parents (or any friend or family member for that matter) are ever concerned about the welfare of a student please feel free to call the University Police Department, day or night.  We will gladly dispatch an officer to make contact with the student and check their welfare.

 13.    What happens if I’m arrested?

Depending on the nature of the offense, there are a couple of possibilities.  First, for low level offenses, the student can expect to be asked questions regarding their basic information and be released with a ticket for appearance at court at a later date.  More serious offenses may require that the student be placed in custody and returned to the University Police Department for further processing and possibly immediate court action.  It is our hope that our staff will not have to engage with any student in this capacity but should it come to pass we will remain professional at all times and explain fully to the student what is happening when and why.  Opportunities to reach out to family are always afforded during custodial processes. All cases will also be forwarded to the Code and Conduct Office on campus. This includes arrests made by another police agency.

 14.    Can I call University Police if I live off campus?

The University Police Department’s jurisdiction is generally limited to the properties owned or leased by the State University of New York, though University Police Officers do have statewide jurisdiction for all crimes.  In the event of an emergency, it is vitally important that you call either 911 or the police agency/emergency service that has responsibility for where you currently are.  If you would like to call University Police for advice or non-emergency assistance from off campus, we welcome the call and will assist in any way possible.