UNH Behavioral Intervention Team

31 UNH Behavioral Intervention Team

Statement of Need

A key component of the University of New Hampshire’s academic mission is the safety, health, and well-being of its students. In the past, communication silos prevented faculty and staff from sharing important information about students. The lack of coordinated communication has at times prevented interventions which might have interrupted disruptive and/or threatening behaviors before they escalated. This lack of communication also occasion­ally contributed to students not being held accountable for their actions. To promote appropriate and timely action, the University has formed the Behavioral Intervention Team (BIT).

Purpose

The Behavioral Intervention Team shall provide consultation to the Dean of Students regarding students who are at risk of harming themselves or others.

Members come to the team with authority in managing both academic and co-curricular aspects of the University experience and may therefore spot trends and set up early intervention services as they evaluate behaviors from a variety of campus perspectives.

The Team shall suggest referrals to appropriate offices, or mandate psy­chological assessments if necessary.

Structure

The Team shall consist of the Dean of Students (Chair), Assistant Vice Presi­dent for Student and Academic Services and Director of Residential Life, Director of the Counseling Center, Director Education and Promotion, Health Services, Associate Provost for Academic Achievement and Support, and Deputy Chief of the University Police Department.

The BIT shall consult with and collaborate with UNH staff, faculty, and offices as appropriate and on a need to know basis.

The BIT shall meet regularly during each Fall and Spring Semester and may call meetings at any time if reported behavior of any student(s) disrupts normal operations of any aspect of the University.

The purpose of meetings shall be to review and act upon any reports of distressed behavior that becomes disruptive and behavior that threatens self or others that have come to the attention of any team or auxiliary team member.

Distressed, disruptive or threatening behaviors

There are 2 categories of behavior which may require attention by the BIT.

1. Self-injurious behavior/suicide ideation or attempt.

2. Erratic and/or threatening behavior (including on-line activities) interfer­ing with the mission or normal operations of students, faculty, or staff.

When a student’s behavior suggests the need for the Team’s examina­tion, the Team may choose to seek more information, provide advice and counsel to those faculty or staff working with the student, or intervene using the tools listed below. In the event that a campus notice is warranted, the Chief of UNH Police or designee shall make the decision in accordance with applicable protocol.

The Team may use a variety of tools to intervene in disruptive or dis­tressful situations to mitigate any risk to safety of the public or troubled student(s). Those tools include the Code of Conduct in the Student Rights, Rules, and Responsibilities (SRRR), Administrative Separation policy in the SRRR, and the Health Withdrawal protocol under the authority of the Executive Director of Health Services. In addition, the team may require a student to be evaluated for self harm/suicide or risk of harm to others.

The Chair of the team shall consult with appropriate offices to a) coor­dinate a response to the situation, b) determine what to communicate to others affected by the situation, and c) determine if and how the community will be notified of action steps being taken. Information dissemination will be based on a determination by the team of who needs to know what.

Examples of behaviors that should be brought to the attention of the team:

  1. A student submits an English assignment about a committing suicide.
  2. Two students make a class video about placing bombs on campus.
  3. A Hall Director receives an email stating, “I’m going to kill everyone in my hall”.
  4. A student’s web page has links to web pages with information about poi­soning others with cyanide.
  5. A student corresponds with a faculty member using language that indi­cates disordered thinking.

Action Steps and Outcomes:

The Team’s deliberations may result in one of the following action steps:

  1. Continue at UNH with no restrictions.
  2. Remain at UNH subject to conditions.
  3. Separation from the University.

Notification of Family, Roommates, Faculty, and Others. In deciding whether and how to notify family, roommates, teachers and others regarding a stu­dent’s threatening behaviors, the team shall comply with FERPA. The team shall consider what prevents it from notifying significant others in a student’s life about the student’s potentially threatening behaviors and there shall be a presumption in favor of providing timely notice to persons affected by a student’s threatening behaviors.

Persons reporting incidents shall be kept informed of the progress of the team, but may not be given therapeutic details of specific action steps unless the student has provided written permission.

Ongoing Monitoring. The Dean of Students will review on-going cases to determine if there are students who may need follow up contact in order to determine if their distress has gone dormant but still in evidence or need for continued assistance. If necessary, the BIT will be consulted.

June 2009