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BETA Process

The major steps of the BETA process are as follows: 1. Student behavior identified by faculty, staff, student or community member as concerning 2. Student referred to the Behavioral Evaluation and Threat Assessment Team (BETA) via the online reporting form and/or other contact with a BETA Member 3. BETA Team reviews the initial report and determines if the behavior is perceived as a possible threat or is disruptive to others. a. If behavior is perceived as a threat/disruption then: i. BETA Team is assembled to meet including the appropriate School/College and Ad-Hoc Members ii. The assembled team develops a Plan of Action that may include: 1. Ongoing case management and follow-up 2. Referral to Campus and/or Community resources a. (PEER Assistance, Counseling, Etc.) b. Can be a recommendation or a mandate (assessment only) 3. Referral to Student Conduct process for adjudication when behavior may be in violation of the code of conduct 4. Other action/plan iii. In most cases, the initial plan will be followed by an Information Gathering process to more fully understand the pattern of behavior and may eventually be used to adjust or create a longer-term plan of action iv. Plan monitoring and check-in should be built in to the original plan and monitored throughout the recommended period.

b. If behavior is not perceived as threat/disruption then: i. BETA Chair coordinates Information Gathering with input from: 1. Other faculty/staff/students 2. Campus services and resource offices that may have had contact with the student ii. The results of the information gathering are shared with the BETA Team for an additional review. 1. If based on the information gathering a threat or disruption is perceived BETA shall follow the steps outlined above 2. In cases where no threat is perceived, but there remains a concern about disruption and/or behavior the BETA may refer the matter for adjudication under the appropriate code of conduct/ethics 3. In cases where the information shows not threat, disruption or behavioral concerns the file will be closed and maintained in the system should there be future concerns BETA reports are submitted electronically over a secure server and are maintained in an encrypted and secure database with very limited access. As a BETA report is received the database automatically notifies the user if there are previous incidents in the system. This ability allows the team to easily identify patterns of behavior and to link incidents together that take place over time and distance. Investigation of the Virginia Tech shooting and other incidents of campus violence have shown that in many cases there were a series of incidents that were never linked together and that the responses to these concerns never accounted for the entire picture.

Behavioral Evaluation and Threat Assessment Team at Anschutz Medical Campus August 17, 2010

The shootings at Virginia Tech and Northern Illinois sparked campuses nationwide to establish processes aimed at identifying and responding to students, faculty and staff who may pose a danger (either to themselves or others) or who may be struggling and in need of assistance. Eighty percent of all reports on university security published since 2007 recommend that institutions of higher education establish threat assessment teams. In fact, in 2008, Virginia and Illinois both enacted laws that require all colleges to establish threat assessment teams. A threat assessment team is a multidisciplinary team that is responsible for evaluation of non-academic behaviors that raise concern and to prevent a wide array of harm on campus (e.g. disruption, threatening behavior, assault, etc.). At University of Colorado Denver, the Behavioral Evaluation and Threat Assessment Team (BETA) was established and implemented for the Downtown Campus in January 2008 and is one component of the newly formed University Emergency Management Operations Group (EMOG). The team aims to prevent people from harming others, harming themselves or disrupting the campus community. The team also provides support, information and referrals to those dealing with threatening or disruptive situations and to design intervention strategies, when appropriate. The BETA teams work rests on a number of guiding principles: 1. Violence can often be prevented. This principle is data from school shootings that show targeted violence is rarely spontaneous but rather begins with a pattern of thought and behavior. By proactively identifying the behaviors early, the team can attempt to stop the potential escalation. 2. Violence is a dynamic process, rather than a static event or state of being. 3. Communication, collaboration and cooperative systems across the campus is critical.

4. Threat assessment is about non-academic behavior. 5. Early identification, reporting and intervention are key. 6. Multi-faceted resources can provide effective interventions. BETA interventions will vary greatly depending on the nature and severity of the behaviors and concerns, the actions and attempts made by faculty/staff to address concerns and the UC Denver Student Code of Conduct http://www.ucdenver.edu/life/services/standards/Documents/UCD%20Code %202008-2009.pdf. Interventions can include summary suspension or other immediate action where there is an immediate threat, mandated psychological assessment/evaluation or a conduct hearing and/or mediated conversation with those involved in the situation. 7. Safety is the primary focus. The ultimate purpose of the team is to ensure the safety of the campus by identifying and addressing behavioral issues. 8. Support for victims and others affected. The team often devotes time and energy working with victims and others affected in helping them feel safe in the community and providing resources as appropriate (e.g. counseling, debriefing, etc.). At AMC, we recommend the BETA teams composition consist of representatives from the Student Wellness Center (mental health consultant), Legal Counsel, Campus Police, a representative from the school/college whose student is involved, a representative from Student Affairs who will serve as the team leader and ad hoc members as appropriate for the situation (e.g. someone who knows the person in question that can provide case specific information). BETA Process The major steps of the BETA team are as follows: 1. Identification of a student who has engaged in threatening behavior or done something that raised serious concern about their well-being or for the well-being of others (e.g. suicidal ideation or attempt, sexual assault, etc.). Referrals to the team can come to any of the BETA members directly, through the online form or via the UC Denver police department. Members of the BETA often have questions and will request additional

information and feedback from reporting parties. The more information the Team has to work with the better they are able to provide appropriate referrals and guidance.

2. BETA Team reviews the initial report and determines if the behavior is perceived as a possible threat or is disruptive to others. a. If behavior is perceived as a threat/disruption then: i. BETA Team is assembled to meet including the appropriate School/College and ad-hoc members ii. The assembled team develops a Plan of Action that may include: 1. Ongoing case management and follow-up 2. Referral to campus and/or community resources a. (PEER Assistance, Counseling, Etc.) b. Assessment can be a recommendation or a mandate 3. Referral to University student conduct process for adjudication when behavior may be in violation of the UC Denver Student code of conduct 4. Other action/plan iii. In most cases, the initial plan will be followed by an information gathering process to more fully understand the pattern of behavior and may eventually be used to adjust or create a longer-term plan of action iv. Plan monitoring and check-in should be built in to the original plan and monitored throughout the recommended period. b. If behavior is not perceived as threat/disruption then: i. BETA Chair coordinates Information Gathering with input from: 1. Other individuals who witnessed the behavior. 2. Campus services and resource offices that may have had contact with the student . ii. The results of the information gathering are shared with the BETA Team for an additional review.

1. If based on the information gathering a threat or disruption is perceived BETA shall follow the steps outlined above. 2. In cases where no threat is perceived, but there remains a concern about disruption and/or behavior the BETA may refer the matter for adjudication under the appropriate code of conduct/ethics. 3. In cases where the information shows no threat, disruption or behavioral concerns the file will be closed and maintained in the secure database should there be future concerns. In order to optimally function, BETA will work with the AMC schools/colleges to communicate clear behavioral expectations to students on campus. These behavioral expectations are found in the UC Denver Student Code of Conduct and include policies around anti-violence, weapons, retaliation and providing false information to this group. Finally, BETA can provide outreach and education to faculty, staff and students about campus safety and ways to help people who may need assistance. Student Privacy and Record Keeping BETA can only be effective if it can access and share information about a person and or situation that raises concern. One of the keys to the functioning of the team is in making sure it adheres to laws protecting individuals privacy and confidentiality (HIPPA, FERPA, disability and mental health laws). The BETA team has established procedures and protocols (in consultation with University Legal Counsel) that adhere to the aforementioned privacy laws. Finally, the BETA team leader will maintain a centralized secure database of everyone who has come to the teams attention. The maintaining of this database allows the team to easily identify patterns of behavior and to link incidents together that take place over time and distance. Investigation of the Virginia Tech shooting and other incidents of campus violence have shown that in many cases there were a series of incidents that were never linked together and that the responses to these concerns never accounted for the entire picture.

Dos and Donts When working with Distressed, Disruptive, and/or Difficult Students
The Depressed Student DO Let the student know you are willing to help Provide your full attention when a student is expressing his/her feelings Use your referral list and express you are willing to assist in helping a student obtain a referral DONT Say things like Dont worry or it could be worse. Be afraid to use the word suicide or be afraid to ask if a student has thoughts of suicide Ignore the problem Be afraid to use referrals

The Suicidal Student DO Take any threats or talk of suicide seriously Listen empathically, but remember you are not a therapist Provide referrals, offer to walk the student to the, Counseling Center or Health Center DONT Minimize the seriousness of the situation or say things like You will feel better tomorrow Be afraid to ask if the student needs medical assistance Get in over your head with promises or willingness to help Be afraid to call 911

The Agitated/Anxious Student DO Allow them to discuss their feelings/frustrations Remain calm and offer re-assurance Be clear about instructions DONT Become triggered or over-reactive or argumentative Convey complicated instructions Ignore or patronize

The Aggressive/Violent Student DO Remain calm Calmly acknowledge the persons anger/frustration, I can see you are very upset, I will try to assist you as best I can Remember you have the right to call for help Stay in open areas DONT Ignore warning signs of violence, e.g. yelling/screaming, clenched fists, statements like Im warning you Become hostile yourself Threaten, taunt, ignore or corner the person, or get into an arguing match Be afraid to call 911 EVER TOUCH THE PERSON

Students Abusing Substances DO Share your observations and concerns with the person Remember your referral list Seek assistance from campus police in cases of intoxication or inappropriate behavior Remember substance abuse is often a symptom of other serious mental or emotional disorders DONT Ignore the problem Pass judgment or criticize Criticize, lecture or offer anecdotal stories about the dangers of substance abuse Enable the persons behavior by covering for him/her out of sympathy Be manipulated into believing there is not a problem

The Delusional/Psychotic Student DO Express compassion but do not offer support outside of professional boundaries Maintain a gentle but firm and steady tone of voice Call for help if you feel you are in danger Be specific about what you are asking of a student or what behavior is expected DONT Challenge or agree with illogical beliefs Panic Make fun of or belittle illogical beliefs Play along with the bizarre behavior Offer to be the students friend Joke with the student or attempt to be funny to de-escalate the situation

In all cases, we strongly encourage you to file a referral with BETA. We will ask you to document what you witnessed in writing and to submit your report to us at www.ucdenver.edu/beta and then click Submit a Concern. Not sure what to do? Consult us by calling 303-556-2444.

BETA Highlights

The Behavioral Evaluation and Threat Assessment Team (BETA) was created in 2009 for the Denver Campus and has been expanding on the Anschutz Medical Campus since 2010. Each Campus has a separate team to respond to concerns. Each team shares at least one core member (standing) from Student Affairs, Counseling/Mental Health and Law Enforcement. The Anschutz team also generally includes a member of Legal Counsel for consultation and guidance. Both teams incorporate ad-hoc members as needed depending on the specifics of the concern and the student. Examples of ad hoc members include; members of the academic school/college/program, legal counsel, Disability Resources, Registrar, Human Resources, etc. The Downtown Team meets weekly given a high caseload. The AMC Team meets as needed. Both teams meet/work regularly by phone and over email to investigate, monitor, ad resolve issues without meeting. This allows us to respond more quickly and eliminates some of the challenges . Concerns can be presented by any member of the campus community or community in general. The majority of concerns are brought forward by faculty/staff. We have also received reports from friends and family members from off-campus and in the community. When a concern is received it is shared and reviewed by all team members to determine next steps and who else needs to be involved. The first steps include pulling a criminal background and checking conduct/BETA files for any previous contact or concerns. The team immediately attempts to determine if there is any immediate threat of harm to self or others. In cases where there is such a concern Upper Administration is given a heads-up and legal may be consulted about contacting parents or emergency contacts as appropriate. We have also used wellness checks conducted by local and campus law enforcement when selfharm is indicated. The team will then work on a strategy for further investigation and contact. Work is often divided among the members in terms of action items and contacts. In many cases one of the goals is to connect the student with Mental Health Services for support and/or an evaluation.

Integrative Threat Assessment Matrix


Mental Health Concerns Neither Pattern of Thought/Behavior Priority Levels * Management Strategies

Concerning behavior exhibiter not disturbed or disruptive

1: No Identified Risk The student of concern does not appear to pose a threat of violence or self-harm at this time, nor is their evidence of significant disruption to the community. 2: Low Risk The student of concern/situation does not appear to pose a threat of violence or self-harm at this time, nor is there evidence of significant disruption to the community. This case may warrant some intervention, referral, and monitoring to minimize the risk of escalation. 3. Moderate Risk The student of concern/situation does not appear to pose a threat of violence or self-harm at this time, but does exhibit behaviors/circumstances that are l kely to be disruptive to the community. This case warrants some intervention, referral, and monitoring for to minimize risk for significant disruption to the community or escalation of threat. 4. High Risk The student of concern/situation appears to pose a threat of harm to self or others, usually to an identifiable target, but currently lacks immediacy and/or a specific plan or a specified plan of violence does exist but currently lacks a specific target.

The team can close the case without a management or monitoring plan, following appropriate documentation. Possible consultation/referral opportunity to counseling, community standards, etc. Identify the type of monitoring: active or passive Possible consultation/referral opportunity to counseling, community standards, etc. Behavior agreement and/or treatment plan with student ThinkStrong Workshop, mediation, etc. Develop an active monitoring and management plan Case may be referred for conduct review Case may be referred to appropriate counseling or mental health service Evaluate parental/guardian notification Evaluate need to request permission from student to receive and review medical/educational records Consider referral for assessment (forensic psych, etc.) Develop and active monitoring and management plan Parent/guardian notification mandated unless contraindicated Evaluate emergency notification to others (FERPA/HIPPA/CLERY/CO Law/etc.) Consider temporary sanction under student code, including interim suspension and campus restriction Possible liaison with local police to compare red flags Initiate involuntary medical withdrawal Law enforcement response Immediate notification to law enforcement to pursue containment options, and/or take action to protect identified targets and community Once emergency action has been taken, develop an active monitoring and management plan Parent/guardian notification mandated unless contraindicated Evaluate emergency notification to others (FERPA/HIPPA/CLERY/CO Law/etc.) Consider temporary sanction under student code, including interim suspension and campus restriction Possible liaison with local police to compare red flags Initiate involuntary medical withdrawal Law enforcement response

Neither of Disturbed

IDEATION Threat is vague and indirect Information within the threat is inconsistent, implausible, or lacks detail Content suggests person is unlikely to carry it out PLANNING Wording suggests students has given some thought to how the act will be carried out General indication of place and time (but not a detailed plan) Specific statement seeking to convey that the threat is not empty: Im serious! or I really mean this! PREPARATION Strong indication that the student has taken preparatory steps

Disturbed or Disruptive

Disturbed and Disruptive

Disturbed and Disruptive

IMPLEMENTATION Direct, specific, and plausible plan Threat suggests concrete steps have been taken toward carrying it out; for example, statements indicating that the student has acquired or practiced with a weapon or has a victim under surveillance

5. Imminent Risk The student of concern/situation appears to pose a clear and immediate threat of serious violence towards self or other and requires containment.

* Priority Level taken directly from: Deisinger, Rendazzo, ONeill, and Savage (2008), p. 70.

Department of Justice Threat Assessment Model


Violence is the product of an interaction among and between three factors:
1. The individual who takes violent action 2. Stimulus or triggering conditions that lead the subject to see violence as an option, way out, or solution to problems or situations 3. A setting that facilitates or permits the violence, or at least does not stop it from occurring Outline for Investigation and Questions What is the Behavior? Materials created or possessed by the student (journals, e-mails, facebook or other social media, etc.) Information from people who know the student: Records and archival information (student conduct and concern records, police records, health/mental health records, etc.) Student has expressed interest in possible targets __Yes __No Student has communicated with possible targets __Yes __No Student has considered/attempted harming self or others __Yes __No Student has secured and/or practiced with weapons __Yes __No Student has followed or approached potential targets __Yes __No Are potential targets known and identifiable __Yes __No Is the potential target well known tot the subject __Yes __No Is the potential target vulnerable to attack __Yes __No Is the target afraid of the subject __Yes __No Evaluation Is the subject moving towards or away from violence? (what is baseline?) Does it appear more or less likely that violent action will take place? What is the information and reasoning behind that conclusion? How close is the student to attempting an attack? What thresholds have been crossed? What are the thresholds that have been set in place and are being monitored? (trees) What might change the students life/situation to increase or decrease the risk of violence? Case Management Action plan. Who implements? Timeline and Triggering Events. Follow-up and Monitoring What has changed in the students life that appears to lessen the likelihood of violence? What portions of the case-management plan seemed to affect the students thinking or capacity to initiate violence and to what extent? (Assess the process) What life

Reference: Threat Assessment: An Approach to Prevent Targeted Violence, National Institute of Justice, Research in Action, July 1995

Guidelines for Behavioral Evaluation and Threat Assessment Team (BETA) Case Review and Management The following items serve as guidelines to help the BETA information about a student of concern and appropriately perform a fact-based threat assessment of that individual. The ultimate conclusion whether someone poses a threat will be based upon the judgment of the team based on the totality of the circumstances known about the student of concern. The team is not limited to the discussion items listed below, and not all items will be applicable to every situation. In addition to examining a threat of harm to others the team should also consider threats of harm to self. Section I Initial report from referring entity/individual, prior to BETA evaluation Identity of alleged victim(s)/target(s) (see further discussion in section II) What is the exhibited/identified concerning behavior presented by the student of concern? o Was there an actual action/threat to commit a violent act or engage in behavior that threaten targeted violence? (in this case targeted violence means an incident of physical violence in which both the perpetrator(s) and target(s) are identified, or identifiable prior to the incident.) o What are the motivations behind the students statements or actions? Identity of the person making their report and their relationship to/with the student of concern. o What are the reasons this person made the report? (fear, concern, advised to do so, etc.) o What are the motivations of the person making the original report? (support from BETA, removal of student from class, residence, etc.) o What is the credibility of the person making the original report? What was the initial intervention with the student of concern, if any? o What immediate efforts have been made to resolve the problem, and what has been the result? o Is the student of concern satisfied (cooling down effect) with the efforts to resolve the problem up to the point of the BETA evaluation? o Does the situation/conflict/circumstance that led to the behavior still exist? o Has the student expressed any reason for his/her behavior? o Has the student displayed any lack of concern for any consequence of inappropriate or violent behavior? Post initial incident assessment o Does the situation appear to be safer now, or are their immediate safety concerns? Remaining safety concerns? o What portions of the immediate response plan seemed to affect the students thinking or capacity to initiate violence? To what extent? o Are there supports in place (or can they be developed) that will be known and available at a future time when the student is again at risk for moving toward violent behavior? Has the student been interviewed? o If so, what information was learned? o If not, should an interview be conducted? Should additional interviews be conducted with the original reporter, alleged target(s), witnesses, close associates, campus offices, and others in order to gather information and assess credibility?

Section II Investigation of Student of Concern Gather and obtain reports of concerning behavior from potential UC Denver offices and departments: o Faculty and Staff o Community Standards (Student Conduct and Ethics) o Registration and Records o Campus Police/Local Police o Housing and Dining o Health Facilities (with appropriate authorizations or permissions) o Close friends/associates o Classmates o Roommates o Persons who knew student before the threat was made o Online and Social Media o Others Review and evaluation of records of archival information from the above resources Obtain other appropriate sources of information o Previous educational institutions o External law enforcement agencies o Other medical providers o Others Personality of the student o What is the students age and maturity? Do they match? o How does the student feel about him/herself? What kind of person does the student imagine themselves to be? How does the student believe he/she appears to others? How is the student perceived by others? o Does the student exhibit behaviors that demonstrate difficulty coping with conflicts, disappointments, loss, failures, or stressful situations? Has the student recently experienced losses, failures, or stressful situations? Does the student appear to be, or perceive him/herself to be a victim of bullying, persecution, or injury from others? Does the student express anger or rage, frustration, disappointment, humiliation, sadness or similar feelings? Does the student exhibit behaviors or make statements that he/she does not have alternatives or options other than violence and/or threats? Does the student demonstrate or fail to demonstrate resiliency after a setback, failure, real or perceived criticism, disappointment, or other negative experience? o How does the student demonstrate his/her attitude towards others (for example does the student view others as inferior or with disrespect?) How does student respond to rules, instruction and authority figures? Does the student demonstrate a desire or need for control, attention, respect, admiration, confrontation, or other needs? Does the student demonstrate or fail to demonstrate empathy with the feelings and experiences of others? o Does the student openly communicate concerning statements (for example, in journals, emails, Facebook, twitter, etc.) Identification and evaluation of close friends, family, coworkers, faculty members, student organizations and colleagues, etc. o Family Dynamics What are patterns of behavior, thinking, beliefs, traditions, roles, customs, and values that exist in the family? What is the culture of the family (racial, ethnicity, socio-economic?)

School Dynamics What are patterns of behavior, thinking, beliefs, traditions, roles, customs, and values that exist in the University culture? School or College culture? Program of study? Social Dynamics What are the students interests? Does the student display an interest in incidents of violence, violent actors, or weapons? Does the student exhibit an obsessive interest in persons or activities? Has the student exhibited a loss of interest in past interests? What are attitudes towards alcohol and drugs? Do individuals in the support network appear to be responsible and supportive? Is there evidence of negative influence from others around the student?

Section III Investigation of and information about the alleged Target/Victim (hereinafter referred to as Targets) This section may not be applicable to threats of harm to self. Has the student expressed an interest in possible targets? Are the potential targets identifiable, or does it appear that the student of concern, if considering violence, has not yet selected possible targets? What is the relationship between student and target if any? What is the proximity between student and target? Is target aware of students concerning behavior and focus as a target? Is the target afraid of the student? Is the targets degree of fear shared by family, friends, and/or colleagues? What steps has the target taken to arrange for protection and security? o Has the target engaged in self-defense mechanisms? o Has the target informed others about the student of concern (law enforcement, family, friends, counselors, etc.) o Has the target articulated the need to stop the student? How able is the individual to communicate a clear and consistent I want no contact with you message to the student? Has the student of concern obeyed this directive?

Section IV Discussion and Analysis of Circumstances Surrounding the Actions and Behaviors/Conduct IDEATION: Has the student formulated an idea to do harm to self or others? What behaviors demonstrate that student has considered/attempted to harm self or others? Are these behaviors significantly disruptive to the campus environment? What is the likelihood for physical harm per students ideas? Are there other types of harm that can result (psychological, financial, legal, etc.)? What interactions or communication has the student had with the potential targets? PLANNING: Has the student developed a plan to carry out that harm? Is the student surveying possible sites for an attack? How fast is the student moving towards engaging in harm? How sophisticated does the student appear to be? How sophisticated do the plans appear to be? o What is the specificity of the plan? (the more specific, the more concerning) o What is the lethality of the means? (the more lethal, the more concerning) o What is the availability of the means? o What is the students proximity to social supports?

Has the student expressed an intent to carry out the plan? If so, to what degree?

PREPARATION: Has the student developed the capacity to carry out the plan; i.e. exhibited behaviors that move the ideas of harm forward towards actual harm? How organized is the students thinking and behavior? Does the student have access to a weapon or are they attempting to gain access? Has the student secured or practiced with weapons (and ammunition)? Has the student followed or approached potential targets, either with or without weapons? Is the student testing access to potential targets? Is the student rehearsing attacks or ambushes? IMPLEMENTATION: Is the student at the point of carrying our the attack? Does it appear more ore less likely that violent action will be directed by the student against the targets? Why? What thresholds, if any, have been crossed? For example: o Has the student disobeyed a request for no contact? o Has the student violated the Judicial Affairs, ethics board, law enforcement or court orders? o Has the student prepared him/herself for the consequences of a potential attack by doing such things as preparing a will, giving away personal items, or expressing a willingness to die or be incarcerated? What might change in the targets lifestyle or living/working arrangement to make an attack by the student less likely or more difficult? For example, is the targeted individual planning to move, spend more time at home, or take a new job? Section V Assignment of Priority and Proposed Response Level (see Integrative Threat Assessment Matrix) Section VI Team Recommendation of Specific Response Action Plan and Follow-Up Discussion about potential consequences of the recommended Action Plan on student o Versus: What are the need of the campus community? What appropriate University resources are available to this student and the team (including mental health services, crisis management, and comprehensive services for victims, whether provided on campus or by accessing resources in the community)? Recommended Action Plan o Assign appropriate office/person who has the authority to act o Timeline o Support services for student (including but not limited to, mental health, crisis management, etc.) Is there a need to gather further information o Responsible official o Timeline Post-Incident Assessment and Evaluation of effectiveness and response to incident o After Action Report

Section VII Additional Comment or Concerns

References: This model is based in large part on the work done by Northern Illinois University with a grant provided by the Department of Justice. Northern Illinois Student Threat Assessment Team, 2009 Bibliography: Calhoun, F.S. and Weston, S.W. (2003) Violence assessment and intervention: The practitioners handbook. New York: CRC Deisinger, G., Rendazzo, M., ONeill, D., & Savage, J. (2008). The Handbook for Campus Threat Assessment & Management Teams. Massachusetts: ARM Threat Assessment: An Approach to Prevent Targeted Violence, National Institute of Justice, Research in Action, July 1995

Exhibited Behavior
Disruptive behavior May or may not show signs of distress No threat made or present Emotionally troubled (e.g., depressed, manic, unstable) Individuals impacted by actual/perceived situational stressors and traumatic events Behavior may subside when stressor is removed or trauma is addressed/processed May be psychiatrically symptomatic if not coping/adapting to stressors/trauma Substance misuse and abuse; self-medication Individuals engaging in risk-taking behaviors (e.g., substance abusing) Individuals deficient in skills that regulate emotion, cognition, self, behavior, and relationships More involved or repeated disruption. Behavior is more concerning. Likely distressed or low-level disturbance Possible threat made or present Threat is vague and indirect Information about threat or threat itself is inconsistent, implausible, lacks detail and realism Content of threat indicates that threatener is unlikely to carry it out Increasingly behaviorally disruptive; unusual, and/or bizarrely acting Seriously disruptive incident(s) Exhibiting clear distress, more likely disturbance Threat made or present Threat is vague and indirect but may be repeated or shared with multiple reporters Information about threat or threat itself is inconsistent, implausible, lacks detail and realism or is repeated with variations Content of threat indicates that threatener is unlikely to carry it out Disturbed or advancing disregulation May be destructive, apparently harmful or threatening to others Parasuicidal (extremes of self-injurious behavior, eating disorder, personality disorder) Hostile, aggressive, relationally abusive Profoundly disturbed, detached view of reality Threat made or present Threat is vague, but direct, or specific but indirect Information about threat, or threat itself is plausible, consistent or includes increasing detail of a plan (time, place, etc.) Threat likely to be repeated with consistency (may even try to convince listener that they are serious) Content of threat suggest threatener may carry it out Threat is concrete (specific and/or direct) Likely to be repeated or shared with multiple reporters Threat likely to be repeated with consistency Suicidal (thoughts, feelings, expressed intentions and ideations) Unable to care for themselves (poor self care/protection/judgment) Student is dysregulated (way off baseline) or medically disabled Content of threat suggest threatener WILL carry it out (reference to weapons, means, target) Threatener may appear detached At risk of grievous injury or death without an intent to self-harm Often seen in psychotic breaks

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Other Behavioral Characteristics


Hardening This aggressor becomes more distant and argumentative, demonstrating a lack of understanding and empathy. They conceal and deceive as to their motives and intent. For example, professors may notice this distancing in the classroom through averted eye contact or wearing concealing clothing, such as hoodies or long coats. Illustrating Intent through Actions v. Words This aggressor leaves argument behind, and takes action without consulting others, appears detached and is self-absorbed. Perceives the intent of his/her intended victim(s) as not in their best interests. Resident advisors and other staff may notice this behavior as students withdrawing from contact with others and developing concerning behaviors like punching bathroom doors. Image Destruction This aggressor plants seeds of distrust with his/her intended victims communitythose individuals the victim likes and respects and by whom they want to be liked and respected in return(potentially stealing ideas or credit, provoking anonymous, false accusations, or other subtle undermining) issues become bipolar, attacks intended victims core identity. In a college setting, this may involve attempts to embarrass students in class, flouting a resident advisors authority, or instrumental vandalism in residence halls. Forced Loss of Face This aggressor unmasks his or her victim as an enemy of their own community. Threat Strategies This aggressor presents an ultimatum to his or her victim or victims, aggressively responds to perceived threats, possibly on the verge of panic. In a college context, we could perceive a student aggrieved at the loss of an SGA election who lashes out at the winner as having stolen the election, or threatens that no one will be President if I cant be the winner. Limited Destructive Blows This aggressor is the Complicit Tactician, the individual who is complicit with the eighth and ninth-levels of the aggression continuum but does not intend to murder or die for his/her cause. This aggressor will inspire others to do so or aid others in the committing of violence. In the generic sense this individual is an accomplice. Win/Lose Attack This aggressor may be prepared to give up his/her life for this cause but intends to survive. Generically, this is the murderer (or in a military or homeland security context, a combatant) Plunging Together Into the Abyss The Ultimate Lose/Lose Attack This aggressor does not intend to survive, and presents with a profound disconnection from his/her own well-being. Detachment or dissociation results in a calm, methodical execution of his/her plan. The so-called Thousand-Yard Stare is one indication of this level of aggression, but others manifest as the whole body and behaviors lose animation. This aggressor will often take his own life if confronted, to avoid capture or incarceration. The cognitive aggressor as the most lethal of terrorists is a counter-intuitive concept for those whose views of violence are media driven. While the stereotypes of active shooters and going postal suggest primal aggressionthe red-faced, angry actor about to explodethe highest level of threat comes from the cognitive aggressor who is not emotionally engaged in the destruction of the target, who shows no remorse, has no compunction about mass killing and is therefore more lethal as a result.

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Process Steps
1. Identify a student, faculty member, or staff member who has engaged in threatening behaviors or done something that raised serious concern about well-being, stability, or potential for violence or suicide. 2. Conduct an initial screening 3. Conduct a full inquiry 4. Answer key inquiry questions 5. Make the assessment 6. Develop and implement a plan to manage and/or monitor the person
7.

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Monitor the plan

8. Refer and follow up as appropriate Emergency Intervention Call Police

Classroom Guide for Conict Management and Addressing Concerns for Students in Crisis
University of Colorado Denver Downtown
Behavioral Evaluation and Threat Assessment www.ucdenver.edu/beta 303-556-2444 What to do and whom to contact? Problem
Student is rude, disrepectful, and violates class rules for behavior (including cell phone policies)

Contact Information
Behavioral Evaluation & Threat Assessment Team www.ucdenver.edu/beta 303-556-2444 Auraria Campus Police Administration Building, Suite 370 http://www.ahec.edu/police.html 303-556-5000 Ofce of Community Standards & Wellness Tivoli 227 www.ucdenver.edu/standards 303-556-2444 Student and Community Counseling Center North Classroom 4036 www.ucdenver.edu/counselingcenter 303-556-4372 The Phoenix Center at Auraria Tivoli 227 www.thepca.org 303-556-6011 or 24/7 Free Helpline 303-556-CALL (2255)

Best Action
Speak to the student after class. Be direct about your expectations. Do not humiliate the student or confront him/her during class.

Student exhibits inappropriate, disrubtive behavior (extensively)

You have the right to remove the disruptive student from class should the behavior interfere with other students learning. Contact the BETA team immediately and notify your department chair.

Student refuses to leave the classroom and becomes agitated and aggressive

Contact Campus Police using the classroom phone at 6-5000 or 303-556-5000 from your cell phone. File a BETA report at www.ucdenver.edu/beta.

Logo goes here...eventually

Student indicates that s/he intents to incict self-harm

Contact the UCD Counseling Center at 303-556-4372.

Student indicates that s/he is experiencing interpersonal violence (sexual harassment, stalking, sexual assault, domestic and dating violence)

Contact the Phoenix Center at Auraria at 303556-6011 or at the 24/7 Free and Condential Helpline 303-556-2255 (CALL).

Student indicates s/he is expereincing a crises, such as a substance abuse issue, homelessness, and/or other stress inducing issues

If life threatening, contact paramedics at 911. Contact the BETA team by ling a report at www.ucdenver.edu/ beta

We give 30-60 minute presentations to campus departments regarding BETAs services and mission. Please contact us should your department be interested in learning more.

TO:

UC Denver Campus Teaching & Research Faculty, Staff, Deans, Directors, Dept Chairs, System Administration Teri Burleson, University Registrar ____________ Student Behavior and FERPA Requirements

FROM: DATE: SUBJECT:

Across campuses nationwide, there continues to be a great deal of discussion related to the privacy of student records in relation to tragedies on college campuses. Most UC Denver Campus faculty and staff know that FERPA protects student rights to view their educational record, access and amend records, and control what disclosures can be made from these educational records. However, FERPA includes some important, and often times overlooked, exceptions that provide higher educational institutions with opportunities to share and disclose information within the institution that may assist the institution in protecting its students and employees. It is important for faculty and staff to understand that FERPA does not prohibit the disclosure of personal or classroom behavioral observations of students. FERPA does allow them to disclose information about students who they perceive to be behaving oddly, to have a disturbing change in their normal behavior, or generate concerns about the safety of the student or others. FERPA allows us all the discretion to release this information under specified circumstances, and through proper channels, to appropriate personnel on campus. The Behavioral Evaluation and Threat Assessment Team (BETA) is one such channel. Their website, www.ucdenver.edu/beta has additional information on this issue and a link to a secure form to report and share concerns. You can also learn more about FERPA and disclosure on their page. What are the "specified circumstances"? Your personal observation of student behavior is not part of their educational record and can be openly shared and reported. FERPA also specifically allows the disclosure of information from the educational record, without the written consent of the student, under the following: "Persons in an emergency, if the knowledge of information, in fact, is necessary to protect the health or safety of the student or other persons." The Department of Education interprets FERPA to permit institutions to disclose information from education records to parents if a health or safety emergency involves their son or daughter. For clarification purposes, the Department of Education recently proposed to amend the language of a "strictly construed" interpretation, and replace it with language that states the institutions have far "greater flexibility and deference" to "bring appropriate resources to bear on a circumstance that threatens the health or safety of individuals." Some concerns have been expressed by faculty and staff on campus that they are reluctant to share any information with the appropriate personnel on campus if the student advised them, verbally or in writing, that they were seeing a mental health or other medical professional. Note that anything expressed verbally by a student is not part of the "educational record," and can be shared. If the student has advised a staff or faculty member of this in writing, it can still be shared with someone with "an educational need to know" as described by FERPA regulations, which would include those listed as the "appropriate personnel on campus" below. Again, the bottom line to recall: FERPA does not prohibit disclosure of personal observations to

appropriate campus personnel about students of concern. You do not have to determine if this is an emergency that will be considered a threat of health or safety. You can consult with other appropriate personnel on campus for additional perspective, suggestions, resources, referral or assistance.

Who are the "appropriate personnel on campus? There are a variety of offices and personnel on campus who can be of assistance when you are faced with a student of concern. Some of these resources are listed below: Department Chair/Associate Dean/Director In many cases these individuals are excellent resources and can help you to support the student and/or find additional support and resources on campus. UC Denver Student and Community Counseling Center Located in the North Classroom 4372 and available by phone at 303-556-4372. The center is open from 10am to 8pm Monday through Thursday for walk-in or phone-in crisis consultation, intakes and counseling. The Behavioral Evaluation and Threat Assessment Team (BETA) is a multidisciplinary team that reviews student behavioral concerns and intervenes as appropriate. This group is available by phone at 303-556-3682 and online at www.ucdenver.edu/beta. You can submit a concern online 24 hours a day on their website and learn much more about recognizing and responding to students in crisis. Community Standards and Wellness Office Located in the Tivoli 259 and available by phone at 303-556-2444. This office responds to student behavior, disruption and violations of the Student Code of Conduct. Staff is available to consult regarding disruptive behavior and concerns.

These offices are available for phone consultation to you or to meet with you if you want to bring a group of staff or faculty together to problem-solve about a particularly complex student situation. Or we can refer you to other appropriate resources. Finally, in an urgent situation, never hesitate to call Police and Security (303) 556-3271 or for emergency calls, 911. (On the UC-Denver campus this would be 303-556-5000 for Auraria Campus Police.) Some faculty members think they should not reveal the name of the student and keep the consultation anonymous. However, this is key information for the consulting party as that professional may already have some information about the student of concern that should be included to formulate the best way to proceed. Some of these professionals may already have had contact with the individual and you may be providing key information the professional would need to know to be effective. Licensed mental health professionals have strict confidentiality laws to follow which restricts their ability to inform you. However, FERPA allows you great discretion in informing the mental health professional of your own professional and personal observations, as well as allows you to share information about a student with a person who has an "educational need to know." In conclusion, it is important for all of us to understand that FERPA does not prevent you from contacting others at UC Denver if you have concerns about the behaviors of student on this campus. However, only those who are identified as the "appropriate personnel on campus" should be contacting the parents or other relatives of students. These trained individuals are most knowledgeable in human behavior, and can best determine if further concern is warranted. Please do not hesitate to contact either of us if you have any questions. For more information about FERPA and campus safety, visit the Office of the

Registrar website at (we are developing a page that will give more info on FERPA like Boulders at: http://registrar.colorado.edu/regulations/ferpa guide.html . For more information about CU student mental health resources: Websites www.ucdenver.edu/beta www.ucdenver.edu/standards Counseling Center Website?

NCHERM Model The second rubric informing the model is a generalized risk rubric developed by the National Center for Higher Education Risk Management (NCHERM), applicable to potentially violent and injurious acts, as well as to risks that threaten reputation, facilities, normal operations, etc. This is the central part of the Threat Assessment Tool, and it is universally applicable. Like the Homeland Security system, the NCHERM model is a five-level rubric, but the criteria for risk classification developed by NCHERM were specifically designed for campus threat assessment purposes. These criteria are drawn from widely accepted measures including those promulgated by the US Department of Education and the US Secret Service. The following are the specific definitions of threat levels in the NCHERM generalized risk rubric:
Classifying Risk Mild Risk Disruptive or concerning behavior May or may not show signs of distress No threat made or present Addressing Risk as Classified Mild Risk Confrontation by reporter Behavioral contract or treatment plan Student Conduct Response Evaluate for disability services referral Conflict management, mediation, problem solving Moderate Risk Confrontation by reporter Behavioral contract or treatment plan Student Conduct response Evaluate disability services referral Conflict management, mediation (not if physical/violent) problem-solving

Moderate Risk More involved or repeated disruption. Behavior is more concerning. Likely distressed or low-level disturbance Possible threat made or present Threat is vague and indirect Information about threat or threat itself is inconsistent, implausible, lacks detail and realism Content of threat indicates that threatener is unlikely to carry it out Elevated Risk Seriously disruptive incident(s) Exhibiting clear distress, more likely disturbance Threat made or present Threat is vague and indirect but may be repeated or shared with multiple reporters Information about threat or threat itself is inconsistent, implausible, lacks detail and realism or is repeated with variations Content of threat indicates that threatener is unlikely to carry it out

Elevated Risk Confrontation by reporter Evaluate parent/guardian/family notification Evaluate need to request permission from student to receive medical/educational records Consider interim suspension if applicable Evaluate for disability services referral Consider referral or mandated assessment

Severe Risk Disturbed or advancing disregulation Threat made or present Threat is vague, but direct, or specific but indirect Likely to repeated or shared with multiple reporters Information about threat, or threat itself is plausible, consistent or includes increasing detail of a plan (time, place, etc.) Threat likely to be repeated with consistency (may even try to convince listener that they are serious) Content of threat suggest threatener may carry it out

Extreme Risk Student is dysregulated (way off baseline) or medically disabled Threat made or present Threat is concrete (specific and/or direct) Likely to be repeated or shared with multiple reporters Information about threat, or threat itself is plausible, consistent or includes increasing detail of a plan (time, place, etc.) often with steps already taken Threat likely to be repeated with consistency Content of threat suggest threatener WILL carry it out (reference to weapons, means, target) Threatener may appear detached

Severe Risk Possible confrontation by reporter Parental/guardian/family notification obligatory unless contradicted Evaluate emergency notification to others (FERPA/HIPPA/Clery) NO behavioral contracts Recommend interim suspension if applicable Liaison with Police to compare red flags (campus and local) Deploy mandated assessment Evaluate for transport/custody Consider voluntary/involuntary medical withdrawal Direct threat eligible Law enforcement response Consider eligibility for 72 hour hold or other involuntary commitment Extreme Risk Possible confrontation by reporter Parental/guardian/family notification obligatory unless contradicted Evaluate emergency notification to others (FERPA/HIPPA/Clery) NO behavioral contracts Recommend interim suspension if applicable Liaison with Police to compare red flags (campus and local) Deploy mandated assessment Evaluate for transport/custody Consider voluntary/involuntary medical withdrawal Direct threat eligible Law enforcement response Consider eligibility for 72 hour hold or other involuntary commitment