With students facing high levels of stress in their lives, faculty and staff may encounter students whose behaviors are concerning, disruptive, or threatening towards themselves or others. In an effort to respond to the safety needs of the campus, the University of Utah Asia Campus has established the Behavioral Intervention Team (BIT).
BIT’s primary function is to help keep the university community safe and connect distressed students to support services. BIT seeks to act preventively versus reactionary to students in distress. In doing this, BIT:
- Gathers and manages reported information from concerned faculty and staff
- Assesses the level of threat a student’s behavior poses
- Intervenes with students and connects them to support services
- Provides faculty and staff with support and intervention resources
- Makes referrals to the Dean of Students
- Disseminates relevant information to Campus Police
BIT is housed in the Office of the Dean of Students and consists of a team of professionals from several university units.
Other members of the Behavioral Intervention Team Include:
|University Police Department||University Counseling Center||Housing & Residential Education|
|Center for Disability & Access||International Student & Scholar Services||Office of General Counsel|
|Center for Student Wellness||Office of Equal Opportunity||Faculty Partners|
HOW THE PROCESS WORKS
When a BIT report is filed, the leadership team will receive a notification. The UAC Dean of Students then reviews the report and gathers further information to add to the report. The Dean of Students may modify or update the report as needed to record the most accurate depiction of the student concerns. After review of the report, appropriate outreach will be conducted.
BIT is intended to provide resources and assistance to students, and is generally not a disciplinary referral. The hope of BIT is to intervene before students act in ways that result in meetings with a conduct officer.
The role of BIT is to help students be able to succeed. This may look like an email, a meeting with the Dean of Students, or other actions deemed appropriate for that specific question.
BIT maintains all private information of students in order to protect privacy. BIT may or may not reach out to reporters, depending on the situation.
In order to determine the need for intervention, BIT uses a threat assessment tool that measures generalized risk, mental and behavioral health, and aggression. Generalized risk includes harm to facilities, reputation, finances, etc.), while mental and behavioral health related risks include harm to self.
A copy of the threat assessment tool can be found here.
Protecting student privacy is a higher priority of the Behavioral Intervention Team. Records and proceedings of BIT are kept protected and confidential and are only shared on a “need to know” basis. This “need to know” basis complies with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA).
FERPA protects the privacy of students’ education records. FERPA does not prohibit in any way restrict a University employee from sharing what they observe personally.
In other words, a University employee would not violate FERPA by advising BIT of what the employee saw or heard when directly interacting with the student, observing a student interaction with others, or otherwise observing a student’s behavior or demeanor.
Yes. It is important to respond to any outreach by a University of Utah official. Failure to do so in a timely fashion may result in additional actions being taken to ensure that the student is safe and a referral to Student Conduct.
Yes. The BCT understands that we may not have all of the correct information. Students have the right to share their perspective, and this will be taken into consideration when determining an appropriate course of action.
A student’s privacy is valued; however, some information is disclosed to the BIT, which is comprised of team made up of high-level administrators. BIT leadership, including the Case Manager and Assistant Dean of Students for Behavioral Intervention, will handle most of the information.
WHEN TO MAKE A REPORT
Often, faculty or staff are in a position to offer a helping hand to students. If you are concerned that a student may be in a state of emotional distress, make a report. Each person has their own comfort level in terms of discussing issues with students. Do the best you can. The most important thing is that you do something.
You should make a report when you notice changes or behaviors that you would consider unusual for that student. The list of behaviors below may be indicators of distress, especially when multiple signs are present.
Indicators of Stress
Stress may manifest itself in different ways in different students. In the long run, it doesn’t hurt to make a report no matter what the outcome may be.
- Decline in grades
- Repeated absences
- Multiple requests for extensions
- Considering leaving school
- Disruption to learning environment
- Inappropriate or concerning content in assignments
- Feeling sad more often than not
- Feeling tense, worried, or experiencing panic attacks
- Unprovoked anger
- Impulsiveness, loss of self-control
- Confused speech or behavior
- Hallucinations, delusions, or paranoia
- Overwhelming concern about finances, relationships, or role balance
- Changes in physical appearance
- Excessive fatigue or low energy
- Agitated expression or movements
- Excessive weight loss or gain
- Bruises, cuts, or other injury
- Physical or verbal outbursts
- Withdrawing socially
- Change in non-verbal behavior
- Statements about death, dying, suicide, or homicide
- Physical violence
- Sexual assault
- Stalking and/or harassment of any kind
- Interpersonal violence
- Drug or alcohol abuse
- Threatening communication
TALK ABOUT IT
Broach the subject in a caring and supportive way. Cleary express your concern to students and remind them that they have a personal responsibility as a member of the community. Respect the student’s privacy, but don’t promise confidentiality.
Engage in conversation by remaining calm, concise, and clear when speaking with the student. Gain a clear understanding of what the student is saying or asking. Ask the student about their support network. Listen! Don’t minimize the problem or try to solve it too quickly without advice.
Consult with someone – you can connect with the Dean of Students.
You can always refer to the Dean of Students when in doubt. Reassure the student that their decision to seek help or support is a wise choice – they are not alone. Offer to meet with the student again to follow up and check in on them.