Event Security

Security at events is a crucial piece of the event planning process. Proper planning when it comes to security can make an event successful for the sponsor, presenter, and guests.

Planning Ahead is Essential

File an Event Registration Form (ERF). The sponsors of an event must file an ERF four (4) weeks before the event for some events, and two (2) in advance for others (see the main Event Registration Form website for more information). This allows event-planning experts to better understand the event. You may be required to meet with the Events Management Planning Team (EMPT) and/or its members like Cornell Police, Cornell Dining, Environmental Health & Safety, or others who will assist with the event planning and assess where your event fits into the table below.

How Event Security Fees are Determined

EMPT, in consultation with Cornell Police, Risk Management and other members, assesses the event based on myriad factors, primarily related to the venue and the type of security needs. For example, EMPT will consider the size of the event, the physical features of a particular venue (like balconies and numbers of entrances and exits), whether the event is open access or ticketed, whether attendance is limited to members of the University, whether alcohol is served, if a dignitary is speaking, a non-Cornell artist is performing (i.e. musician, comedian, actor, etc.), if an event could be seen as elevated risk or high risk, or involves high risk physical activity (some sporting events, inflatables, dunk tanks, etc.), whether the event is after-hours, if there is fire involved, if there are inflatables involved, etc. This list is not exhaustive, but intended to give planners a sense of the wide-range of issues EMPT considers when assessing security needs. EMPT will assess into which category (from the table above) the event fits and assign a fee accordingly in an agreement with the event sponsors. This agreement specifies the need for event sponsors to pay for security costs one week in advance of the event. Failure to sign the agreement, or to deliver payment one week prior to the event, will prevent the approval of the event or result in its cancellation.

Summary of Venue-Based, Baseline Fees For Cornell Police Security

The table below gives the baseline fees for four different types of student-sponsored events—driven mainly by the size of the venue. This table allows groups to predict security costs for their events. It reflects approximately three-hours of police time; actual costs may be more for longer events.

In some cases, security costs for events will exceed the costs predicted during the planning process. If the cost is due to the actions of the sponsoring organziation (e.g. allowing Q&A to exceed the set time or starting the event late), the organization will be responsible for additional costs. If EMPT determines the additional costs were not directly caused by the sponsoring organization (e.g. power disruption, demonstrations, etc), then Cornell will absorb the first $1,000 in security costs exceeding those costs in the agreement, and the sponsoring organization will be responsible for the balance. 

Baseline fees for security by Cornell Police for July 1, 2018 – June 30, 2019

Size of Venue


No Security
(e.g., meeting or class)


Minimal Security
(e.g., a cappella group or small late-night event)


Elevated Security
(e.g., famous entertainer or larger late-night event)


High-Level Security
(e.g., VIP with high protection needs)


1. 1200 or larger
(e.g. Bailey)





2. 600 - 1200
(e.g. Statler or Call Auditorium)





3. 599 or less
(e.g. Lewis, Rockefeller, WSH Memorial Room)





4.  49 or less
(e.g. International Room or 626 Thurston Avenue)



Cannot have this type of event in a small setting

Cannot have this type of event in a small setting

Note - These figures will be adjusted each year in July. These fees are based on the minimum of 3 hours; longer events will have higher baseline fees.

Security Costs Defined

The costs outlined above are for Cornell Police-related security costs only. They do not cover any additional support that might be necessary (e.g. ambulance, technology, production, facilities, etc.) to successfully hold the event.


The venue-based, baseline fee structure and overage assistance is only available to student organizations that follow the appropriate Event Registration Guidelines, including the timeframe in which they engage in this process. Events that have failed to comply with all Event Registration Guidelines will not be approved. 


Compliance with the event management protocols and instructions outlined in the student event planning handbook are required for the consideration and approval of the event. Holding an event without approval may result in a referral to the Office of the Judicial Administrator, breach of contract sanctions (including suspension or permanent loss of recognition) under the group’s contract with Campus Activities, and being responsible for costs incurred to shut down events that did not have authorization or any other safety-management costs, regardless of impact on the group’s budget.