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. Coordinated communication about students of concern is necessary at times to permit interventions that may interrupt disruptive and/or threatening behaviors before they escalate. Such interventions promote the well-being of the students directly involved, the safety of the community and the educational mission of the University to appropriately support members of its diverse student population as they progress toward completion of their courses of study. To promote appropriate and timely action, the University has established the Behavioral Intervention Team (BIT).Purpose
The BIT shall provide consultation to the Associate Vice Provost for Student Affairs, Dean of Students [the Dean of Students] or the Dean’s designee regarding students who are at risk of harming themselves or others. The BIT promotes a consultative, coordinated response to community concerns regarding students who may be at risk of harming themselves, a direct threat of harm to others, who reject reasonable measures to accommodate their needs, require accommodations that cannot reasonably be offered and/or cannot meet essential eligibility requirements to continue their course of study.
Members come to the BIT 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 BIT may suggest referrals to appropriate offices, and/ or mandate psychological and/or safety assessments as appropriate. The BIT may recommend that the Dean of Students administratively separate a student when it finds adequate basis under SRRR section 22.2.
The Team shall consist of the Dean of Students, Director of Education and Promotion, Health & Wellness, Director of Residential Life; Director, Psychological and Counseling Services; Assistant Director, Housing; Director of Academic Advising; and UNH Chief of Police. All members of the BIT may designate a senior staff member from their unit to receive training and serve as their representative to the BIT as needed and appropriate.
As appropriate the BIT shall consult on a need to know basis and collaborate with other UNH staff, faculty, and offices.
The BIT shall meet regularly during the Fall and Spring Semesters and may call meetings at any time if reported behavior of any student(s) is a direct threat to the student or any other person and/or substantially disrupts normal operations of any aspect of the University.
The purpose of BIT 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 two 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) that substantially disrupts the mission or normal activities of students, faculty, or staff.
When a student’s behavior suggests the need for the BIT’s examination, the BIT 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.
The BIT 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 individually evaluated for self-harm/suicide or risk of harm to others.
The BIT Chair shall develop protocols to guide the work of the BIT and 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 and what information is pertinent, in compliance with FERPA and HIPAA.
Examples of behaviors that should be brought to the attention of the team:
1. A student submits an English assignment containing a detailed description of committing suicide.
2. A student makes statements on social media about placing bombs on campus.
3. A residence hall director receives an email from a hall resident stating, "I’m going to kill everyone in my hall".
4. A student living in University owned housing displays a knife collection to fellow students and states that s/he has been planning to end the life of a fellow student.
5. A student corresponds with a faculty member using language that indicates severely 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 to do so.
Follow-up. The BIT Chair may review on-going cases to determine if there are students who may need follow up contact in order to assess their need for continued assistance. If necessary, the BIT may be consulted. The University’s educational environment promotes a high level of individual freedom and autonomy. The resources provided to the University or finite and it is not reasonable for the University to undertake to provide close supervision of students of concern. Accordingly, the decision to follow up or not to follow up with a student is at the sole discretion of the BIT Chair, and shall not be deemed to create an on-going duty of care to guarantee the safety of the student or any third party.