Addressing common questions and concerns
A good place to learn and to work begins with a safer place to learn and work. Like other institutions of higher learning, we take violence prevention seriously. One of the ways in which we do that is with our CARE Team in order to identify resources, services, and interventions with a purpose to support a student in a proactive manner in an effort to prevent their situation from escalating into an emergency response. In the event a student’s situation does escalate to a higher level of risk or emergency, the CARE Team is able to support the student and others involved during and after the situation.
- Receive and assess referrals received from faculty, staff, students, and others regarding persons of concern. Assessing referrals may include the assignment of cases to other departments or committees (i.e., First Alert Committee).
- Give recommendations to other campus administrators on next steps in order to address the CARE report and support the persons of concern.
- Coordinate interventions and resource assistance for students of concern.
- Develop and implement educational and training programs for all members of the university community with regard to behavioral assessment and supporting students of concern.
The CARE Team utilizes the National Behavioral Intervention Team Association’s Risk Rubric as a broad triage process to evaluate risk levels over a broad set of behavioral concerns. Possible interventions may include (but are not limited to):
- Provide guidance and education to referral source
- Reach out to student offering meeting or resources
- Connect with offices, support resources, faculty, staff etc who interact with the student to enlist support or gather more information
- Possible referral to student conduct office
- Explore services Student Accessibility Services
- Assess social media and other sources to gather more information
- Consider assessments to measure risk in written communication
- Skill building in social interactions, emotional balance, reinforcement of protective factors (e.g., social support, opportunities for positive involvement)
- Consider a welfare/safety check
- Coordinate with necessary offices to create plan for safety, suspension, or other interim measures
- Identify follow-up and ongoing case management or support services
The CARE Team is aware of the fear and apprehension that can accompany situations of concern. Regardless of the severity or seriousness of a situation, anxiety and fear can be intense for those sharing reports of concern. As feeling safe is often a personal matter, there will be times someone may disagree with the CARE Team’s opinions or the actions being taken by campus officials.
As the team gathers information, and makes recommendations to administrators on next steps, judgments are made about which actions should be recommended to other administrators and decision makers. Sometimes people submitting a CARE report have a specific outcome in mind, such as removing a student from a classroom, ask that the student be evaluated by a counselor, suspension from school, etc. While these are possible actions, there are important steps the University must take in regards to behaviors that do not align with our expectations of campus and community conduct vs. dangerous behaviors. Some actions may have unintended consequences and further agitate an individual of concern. For example, if the team recommends to administration to hastily remove someone from campus without hearing the individual’s version of events.
There is no “one size fits all” when universities seek to resolve situations of concern. There will be CARE reports submitted that may be concerning, but the student does not actually pose a danger (as determined by a careful risk assessment process). Individual situations often require tailored interventions specific to each situation and context. Some students may be very willing to accept professional care and continue with their academics, some may seek a leave of absence, and some may be removed from campus buildings or courses. Monitoring the changes in behavior from a CARE report is one of the functions of the CARE Team. There is no “one size fits all” situations for CARE Teams.
The legal rights of students are also considered as part of the CARE Team responses. Though campus safety is of paramount importance in risk scenarios, concerns must also be balanced with an understanding of the rights of students who may be perceived as possibly posing a risk. This could include (but is not limited to) privacy rights, protection from discrimination, and following due process as outlined in our Student Handbook. This can affect the level of information that can be conveyed to others about the details of the CARE Team’s assessment of the student, the care a student may already be receiving, or the specific results of the CARE Team’s recommendations.
Many scenarios assessed by the CARE Team can be resolved in a relatively short time period but there may be others that require more time as information unfolds or situations change. But there are also instances with positive outcomes as we connect students to necessary support systems and resources that help resolve concerning behavior or situations. There are some situations in which the CARE Team assesses a student who does not actually pose a risk of harm (despite behaviors that may indicate otherwise). No risk or very low risk situations are often referred to other services and offices designed to support students as assessed by the CARE Team.