In the aftermath of the Virginia Tech tragedy many panels have been convened to look at how universities can provide more safety for their communities. One area of concern is that the Virginia Tech shooter was suffering from serious mental health problems that were not being treated. Though there were multiple warnings of this young man’s troubles and though attempts were made to connect him to services, there was no centralized method to coordinate information/reports from multiple sources about his behaviors or to follow up to see if he had received recommended help and if his condition had stabilized. As a result, he did not receive the support he obviously needed and began to construct and implement his homicidal plan.
One of the issues when assessing campus safety is how well the campus is addressing the mental health needs of its students and how effectively it is responding to incidents of disruptive behavior. “With advances in treatment and medications, there are now more students who attend college with severe mental health problems than in the past. Also mental health issues typically first present themselves between the ages of 18-22.” (Sokolow, 2008). Therefore, among many recommendations of the panel that reviewed the Virginia Tech incident was the recommendation that the campus set up a threat assessment team to assess and deal with disruptive student behavior.
Concordia University Texas will maintain a Behavioral Intervention and Support Team, whose goal is to provide early support for and intervention to students who are exhibiting disruptive behavior in order to best serve them and enhance their opportunities for success as well as to protect the university community.
Membership of the Team should include staff who represent the student conduct and residential life function (Student Services), the counseling/disabilities function (Success Center) and Campus Security. Others can be included as needed to deal with specific situations. The core team should be kept small so that it can meet and respond quickly when threats are identified.
The function of the Team will be to consider disruptive behaviors among the student body. The team meets regularly and when needed in emergencies to:
Sokolow, B. A. (2008). Risk Mitigation throught the NCHERM Behavioral Intervention and Threat Assessment Model . Malvern: National Center for Higher Education Risk Management.
Current Team membership
Director of Student Services
Director of the Student Success Center
Director of Residential Life
Assistant Director of Athletics
Additional Ad Hoc members include representatives from the following departments and offices: