What to Do When You See a Disruptive or Threatening Situation on Campus

What to Do When You See a Disruptive or Threatening Situation on Campus

Wednesday, February 06, 2013

For Faculty and Staff:

What to Do When You See a Disruptive or Threatening Situation on Campus

Feb. 1, 2013

As we settle into spring semester, I wanted to remind all faculty and staff about the Behavioral Intervention Team which provides prevention, early intervention, and crisis response services for students thought to be threatening to themselves or others.  Members include Paul Dean, executive director of Public Safety and Chief, UNH Police Department; Scott Chesney, director of Residential Life and assistant vice president for Student and Academic Services; David Cross, director of the Counseling Center; Judy Spiller, associate provost for Academic Achievement and Support; Kathleen Grace-Bishop, director of education and promotion, Health Services; and Anne Lawing, Dean of Students.

The team meets on a regular basis to coordinate various types of responses whenever a member of the community shares information about a student who may be a threat to self or others.  The immediate goal is to get the student to an appropriate helping agency as soon as possible.  For more information about the BIT and protocol, please go to the UNH Student Rights, Rules and Responsibilities (www.unh.edu/student/rights).  It is within the Administrative Policies section.

If you become concerned (through verbal, physical, or written clues) that a student may be at risk of harming him/herself or others, you should contact a team member or call any one of the offices below. We have a need to know and an obligation to act based on concerns related to health and safety.  If you encounter student behavior that disrupts the climate for classroom learning, you are encouraged to contact your associate dean.

Sharing your concerns is not a violation of any law, including the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA).  Even if you are in doubt, ask or tell.  If you are not certain about a situation but are concerned about it, contact:

  • UNH Police Department: 911 (emergencies 24/7) -or- (603) 862-1427 for non-emergency situations
  • Counseling Center (603) 862-2090  (24/7)
  • Dean of Students  (603) 862-2498 (M-F 8: a.m.- 4:30 p.m.)

Contacting one of these offices is a constructive step toward resolving the situation that you encounter as you allow the university to engage our resources and expertise. 

Signs of someone who may be at risk to him or herself or others:

  • Explicit threats, gestures or acts of violence directed at self or others.
  • Communicating intent and/or plans to perform a violent act.
  • Unprovoked anger or hostility.
  • Apparent disorientation or breaks from reality.
  • Deterioration in quality of work and/or appearance (for people with whom you are familiar).
  • Severe depression.

Psychologists at the Counseling Center also offer an "Identifying At- Risk Students" program for faculty, staff and students. This is a suicide/homicide prevention program which also informs the community about the resources on campus as well as whom to call for help with intervention.  Call 862-2090 to schedule a program in your office or department.

UNH strives to be a safe, caring, and open community where we try and take care of each other.  The overall goal of the BIT protocol is to assist students and to ensure that the campus remains a safe and productive place for everyone.  I know you join me in working actively to achieve this goal.

Anne Lawing, Dean of Students