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Behavioral Intervention FAQs

What is the purpose of the team?

As a community of caring and understanding the behavioral intervention process is restorative and not punitive. The purpose of the team is to facilitate timely communication among different campus departments about behavioral concerns related to students, employees, visitors, and other affiliated, as well as non-affiliated persons, in order to identify individuals in distress as early as possible. Having this central repository of information will allow the team to recommend interventions and case management strategies that connect community members with needed resources and de-escalate any threat to the community. The purpose of this team is not to profile individuals or target community members for disciplinary actions or sanctions; rather the team’s goal is to use the expertise of team members to accurately identify threats and defuse them in a timely manner.

Who is on the team?

The Behavioral Intervention Team is a multidisciplinary team composed of individuals from various constituencies on campus to allow for effective collaboration and coordination of efforts. Team members include representatives from:  Student Affairs, Residential Life and Housing, Counseling Center, University Police Department, Office of Safety and Security, Athletics, Human Resources, and academics. Contact information is available at the team member link.

Who can make a referral to the team?

Anyone who feels an individual is a threat to self or others, or is exhibiting concerning, disruptive, worrisome or threatening behaviors, can make a referral, including students, parents, faculty, staff and other community members.

What kinds of behavior should I report to the team?

All concerns requiring immediate attention (potentially criminal activity, violent, threatening, or imminent suicidal behavior) should first be directed the police department by calling 111 from a campus phone or 911 from a cellular or off campus phone. The UPD non-emergency number is 605-688-5117.

If a member of the university community (student, staff, or faculty) or a visitor to the campus behaves in a way that is concerning, disruptive, worrisome, or poses a potential threat to the safety and well-being of the campus community or any member of it, such behaviors should be reported to the Behavioral Intervention Team.

Experience shows that tragedies affecting college campuses are very often preceded by warning signs or patterns of behavior. Early communication and intervention may help to prevent an escalation of behaviors to critical levels. Therefore, report any behavior that is troubling or makes you concerned. It is better to be safe than sorry.

What do I do if I know someone that may need to be referred to the team?

1. If you believe that the person may pose a threat of imminent danger of harm to him/herself or to others, call 111 from a campus phone or 911 from a cellular of off campus phone. The non-emergency number for UPD is 605-688-5117.

2. To make a referral to the team, click on the Behavioral Intervention reporting form links. You will be asked for basic information about the person of concern, a description of the incident or behaviors that prompted you to make a referral, and your contact information. Anonymous referrals are accepted but discouraged. Identifying yourself assists the team if clarification or additional information is needed. Submitting your name also gives the referral more credibility.

3. You are the Team's best resource because you are familiar with the individual or directly observed the concerning behavior. If you want to speak with a member of the team their contact information is available at the following link.

What happens to the information I send to the threat assessment team?

The Team receives and prioritizes the information, then immediately begins further investigation. You will likely be contacted for clarification and additional information if you have included your contact information in the report. Often the initial report is just one piece of the puzzle. A behavior that someone observes can turn out to be an isolated incident and no cause for further concern, or it may be an indication of a larger problem that needs to be addressed. The Team attempts to understand the whole of a person's behavior patterns before making any recommendations for action.

Is the information kept confidential?

All information will be considered strictly confidential and will only be released within established university guidelines and legal mandates as necessary to accomplish the Team’s mission. All Team members understand and agree that confidentiality is required and inappropriate divulgence of information is strictly prohibited.

I am not really sure this is a big deal. Will the person get in trouble?

Remember that the behavioral intervention process is restorative and not punitive and is designed to identify those at risk of harm to self or others so that the underlying conditions that are causing the behaviors can be addressed. Something that may appear to be a minor incident to you may be part of a larger pattern unknown to you. Early and effective communication among key offices and individuals is crucial to identifying problems before they get bigger and more difficult to manage. The guiding mission of the threat assessment team is that of early intervention in order to understand what is happening and try to intervene before a situation escalates and attempt to resolve a situation BEFORE someone "gets in trouble." The goal is to promote the safety of the individual and campus through early intervention. The team takes into account the concerns of the campus, as well as the needs of the student, faculty, or staff member about whom concerns are expressed. Whether the information will adversely affect the individual's student or employment status will depend on the situation. Frequently, when a situation is identified early enough, and reported, it can be resolved without the need for disciplinary action or criminal prosecution against the person involved. If you are unsure about whether or not you should say something, report it! Trust your instincts.

What if I am wrong about the person?

You are acting in the best interest of that person and the community when you report a concern based on an observed behavior (e.g., verbal exchange, hostile interaction, etc.), not making a determination or judgment about the individual. There is no expectation that reporters make judgments about whether their observations are "right" or "wrong." Let the Team weigh all the information available, gather further data if warranted, and determine the best course of action. The university does not permit retaliation against any individual who reports a concerning or troubling behavior in good faith.

Will the person I refer be able to know that I sent the form? Can I report a concern anonymously?

Typically the person will not be aware they have been referred to the Behavioral Intervention Team. The Team is respectful of any and all information they receive and treat it as confidential as possible. Secondly the Team does not usually take direct action. The Team is responsible for collecting information from across campus to determine the level of risk, if any, and determining a management plan; if one is necessary and tasking existing campus departments with carrying out the plan.

Anonymous referrals are accepted but discouraged. The Team will attempt to handle all matters discreetly, but cannot guarantee the person(s) involved will not be able to determine the source of the report. The university will not attempt to determine the identity of an anonymous reporter unless there is an imminent threat of harm or the reporting system is being abused. The university does not permit retaliation against any individual who reports a concerning or troubling behavior in good faith.

Will I find out what happens?

That depends on the situation. Various privacy and confidentiality laws apply to the situations handled by the Team. A member of the Team will follow up with the person making the referral when appropriate and possible to let you know the continuing action or closed status of the referral.

Does FERPA prohibit faculty and staff from disclosing student information to the team?

No. The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) expressly permits the sharing of any and all information from you to the Team.

What authority does the threat assessment team have and what can it do?

The Team does not enact sanctions or administer policy regarding referrals; however, the team can:

  • Communicate with other offices and individuals on campus to seek relevant information on the current behavior of the individual.
  • Share information with Team members to evaluate the potential risk to the individual or community.
  • Develop specific strategies to manage potential harmful or disruptive behavior to protect both the safety and rights of both the individual and the community.
  • Assist faculty or staff in developing a plan of action to minimize the threat and assist the person of concern in obtaining necessary resources.
  • Recommend medical/psychological evaluation and/or request permission to receive such records.
  • Coordinate and share information with other offices on campus that may take actions such as:
    • evaluation for immediate emergency response (by the police or other outside agencies),
    • provision of continued support to the individual (e.g., academic advising, Dean of Students Office, Counseling Services, etc.),
    • emergency notification of others, and/or
    • parental/guardian notification.

 

What is my duty as a member of the South Dakota State University Community?

As a member of a caring community you have an obligation to the individual and the community to report concerning and threatening behavior. You should not attempt to “solve” the problem of the individual. You are simply asked to share your concerns or fears with members of the community who have the ability to take action in the best interest of the individual.