Working with the Community to Prevent Violence
What is Threat Assessment?
“Threat Assessment is a process to identify and respond to students, faculty and staff who may pose a danger to others on campus may pose a danger to themselves, or who may simply be struggling and in need of assistance and resources.”
– G. Deisinger, M. Randazzo,
D. O’Neill, J. Savage in
The Handbook for Campus Threat Assessment & Management Teams
Washington Adventist University has established a Threat Assessment Team to address situations where students may be exhibiting disruptive, threatening or worrisome behaviors that have the potential to impede their own academic progress, or that has the potential to impede the ability of others to function successfully or safely.
It is imperative that any member of the WAU community – faculty, staff or students – immediately report any situation that could result in harm to anyone at the University. Any member of the campus community may become aware of a troubling situation that is causing serious anxiety, stress, or fear. If such a situation appears to be imminent, including possible immediate risk of violence to self or others, it should be reported immediately to the Department of Campus Safety. Any situation not deemed to be imminent, yet still of concern should be reported to the Office of Student Life.
This Team has been established to:
- Respond to possible circumstances of violence or threatening behavior;
- Respond quickly to behavior indicating a potential risk to self or others;
- Determine if a realistic threat is present and act accordingly;
- Coordinate and assess information from faculty, administrators, students and local authorities;
- Notify, within FERPA guidelines, parents, guardians and/or next-of-kin;
- Identify resources for troubled students and make referrals to appropriate campus and off-campus agencies, including helping with the securing of therapeutic actions such as treatment or counseling;
- Periodically assess outcomes of actions taken
For the safety of the campus community any threat, explicit or implied, will be considered a statement of intent. The Threat Assessment Team will investigate any concern and act as necessary to protect the campus community.
Threat-related information must be forwarded to the Office of Student Life or in an imminent situation directly to the Department of Campus Safety. The report will be initially evaluated, and if appropriate a group from the Threat Assessment Team will be convened. Any member of the campus community is expected to make themselves available as needed for advice and consultation.
When information is received about a possible threat, it will be investigated and a determination will be made using the best available information regarding the level of threat present. This determination will be made by assessing the initial concern in conjunction with any corroborating evidence, the student’s disciplinary record, and any other relevant information as deemed appropriate by the Threat Assessment Team. The determination of the Threat Assessment Team is intended only as an initial intervention, and should only be considered as the first part of an ongoing review. While the Team is comprised of skilled and knowledgeable staff who will make every effort to consider all angles of a situation, it should be noted that assessing a possible threat can never be 100% accurate.
As needed, the Threat Assessment Team will ask the Vice-President of Student Life, or designee, to place a student on an interim suspension pending a disciplinary hearing, require internal or external psychological evaluations, or act in any other manner as allowed by the University’s policy in order to ensure the safety of the campus community.
The Threat Assessment Team consists of University personnel with expertise in law enforcement, threat assessment, academic affairs, and student affairs. Whenever possible a collaborative process will be used to assess the perceived threat. A core team of key campus leaders will generally comprise the Team, and a secondary support team will be available as needed to assist with the investigation and assessment of a situation. Other individuals may also be consulted such as a faculty member who has a concern about a student. Generally when investigating a possible student threat four members of the core team – one each from Student Life, Academic Affairs, the Counseling Center, and Campus Safety, to be chaired by the representative from the Office of Student Life – will be assembled to manage the investigation and make a determination regarding the level of threat.
The Team will meet on an emergency basis and as needed to review reports brought forward by faculty, staff, and students concerning disruptive, inappropriate, and/or threatening behavior.
- Vice President for Student Life
- Deans of Resident Life
- Director of Campus Safety
- Campus Professional Counselor
- Campus Nurse
General questions about the role or purpose of the Threat Assessment Team should be forwarded to the Office of Student Life at any time.