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Cornell University

Report Online Harassment

This article applies to: Digital Harassment , Security & Policy

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Assess the Threat

If you or those close to you are in imminent physical danger or there has been a direct threat of physical violence, dial your local emergency line (U.S.: 911, Qatar: 999, Rome: 112) immediately.

If there is no immediate physical threat, yet you believe the actions of the harasser are criminal, please contact the university security office for your campus (listing below). Online harassment that should be investigated includes:

  • Receipt of threats, obscene images, or hate crimes
  • Posts with harmful or false information on social media sites
  • Evidence of a bad actor posting or encouraging others to post private, personal, false, or offensive information about a specific person
Campus-Specific Security Resource Contact Information
Ithaca Campus

Cornell University Police Department (CUPD)


Investigations Department: 607-254-6731

Geneva Campus

Cornell AgriTech Emergency Information


NYC: Weill Cornell Medicine

Weill Cornell Medicine Emergency Information


Also offers a security escort service to your residence building or nearby transit location as needed.

NYC: Cornell Tech

Cornell Tech Safety & Security


Local public safety resources:
114th Police Precinct: 718-626-9311
Roosevelt Island Public Safety: 212-832-454

Doha: Weill Cornell Medicine - Qatar

Reports can be made to the Director of Facilities, Health, Safety and Security at 4492-8131

Rome Campus TBC

Collect Evidence

Whenever possible, collect evidence that online harassment and/or doxxing has occurred. Save any emails, voicemails, or text messages you receive. Any evidence you can gather will support your claim and aid law enforcement agencies, legal counsel, and support staff in helping you. 

  • If someone is calling your home, family members, or your place of work, try to get a recording.
  • Take screenshots of where your personal information was posted and any threatening messages you receive on social media.
  • Create a Microsoft Outlook rule to filter harassing messages into a new folder. Although deleting the offensive content is a gut reaction, preserving the evidence can be useful for law enforcement officials. 
  • If the messages are numerous and upsetting, identify a trusted confidant to help collect the evidence.

Report the Incident

It is important to speak up when you see wrongdoing or have concerns that someone has violated the law or university policies. There are teams dedicated to investigating incidents of harassment.

Report Incidents to Cornell

Report Threats and Criminal Misconduct to Law Enforcement

For campus-specific security contacts, check the table provided above in the Assess the Threat section. Victims can choose a course of action, which may range from opening an informational report with your local Cornell campus security team (which provides a police record of the incident) to investigating and prosecuting harassers. The targeted individual can choose to stop a process at any time or continue to pursue a different route of support from campus security at any time during the process.

Reach Out to a Trusted Community Member

If you are comfortable discussing the situation, reach out to your director, supervisor, or mentor. During these conversations, it is helpful to share details of the incident and concerns, including:

  • What happened? Describe the incident with relevant details.
  • Are there any safety concerns? When did the initial incident begin?
  • Is the incident connected to something specific, such as an article, appearance, expert commentary, social media post, etc.?
  • What channels and platforms, social media or otherwise, are you being harassed on?

Take Legal Action

It may also be helpful to obtain legal advice regarding consequences to you and possible civil actions against abusers. In cases of online harassment, legal action must be taken in the location where the email/social media harassment was viewed.

In the United States, the federal law that prohibits cyberstalking is 18 U.S.C. ยง 2261A(2). Legal proceedings must be filed with the police department that serves the location where the harassment was first viewed. If the harassers are in another state, the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) can be brought in; however, the U.S. attorney overseeing that office decides whether or not to pursue a case based on prosecutorial evidence and resources.

If the attack is international, Interpol may be involved.

Contact Social Media Platforms

Alert the particular social media platform on which you are being harassed. For doxxing, you can request to have the information taken down and the doxxer prohibited from posting more. This guide from DeleteMe provides details on how to report doxxing on Facebook, TikTok, X, Discord, Instagram, Reddit, Twitch, YouTube, and Google.


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