This study explores the risk perceptions and behavioral responses of university academics and students toward the COVID-19 pandemic . All universities in Iraqi Kurdistan were invited to take part in a self-administered online survey; 976 individuals ultimately completed it . The survey included eight main questions about personal risk perception and behavioral response to COVID-19 based on a five- or nine-point ordinal scale . A high percentage of the respondents perceived it as highly unlikely they were at risk of getting infection (26.9 %), serious illness (29.7 %), and death (41.7 %). The percentage of the respondents who applied protective measures frequently or always was high for most protective behavior types, except for wearing masks, wearing gloves, and avoiding touching the face . There was a significant (P <.001) weak positive correlation between risk perception and protective behaviors . The respondents followed protective behavior measures reasonably, but the frequency of undertaking some important protective behaviors was relatively low.