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Identifying & Responding to Threat or Concern

The university requires that you report threats and acts of violence and encourages reporting concerning behaviors. Reporting helps to ensure that the university’s Behavioral Intervention Team (BIT) has the information necessary to do its job. BIT seeks to identify and reduce potential threats before they result in harm.

As with many of life's problems, early intervention is often better. A person who receives appropriate help sooner, rather than later, may be less likely to experience more severe symptoms or cause harm to self or others.

If you are unsure what do to, contact one of the resources provided to assist you on the Community Resources page. By knowing the warning signs, and the resources that are available, you will be able to better identify and respond to a situation.

How to respond in an emergency/crisis

  • Have an escape route
  • Notify the Police IMMEDIATELY (Call 911/ 111, 605-688-5717)
  • Provide all possible information to the Police including the location, name of person(s) involved, description of perpetrator and type of weapon(s) used (if any).

How to respond to a violent person

Like a crisis, you need to:

  • Get to a secure location as soon as possible
  • Notify the Police
  • Provide all information available to you
  • Do not try to be the mediator!
  • Remain calm

How to respond if you are concerned someone may cause harm to themselves or others


  • Share your concerns with the Behavior Intervention Team (BIT)
  • Listen and offer support in a non-judgmental way
  • Widen options and explore alternatives for problem solving
  • Ask direct questions about the person's intentions; if appropriate ask if the person is considering suicide or other acts of violence
  • Communicate your concern for the person's well being
  • Recommend that the person reach out to someone who can help them figure out what to do next (clergy, supervisor, mental health professional)
  • Call the Police if you believe the risk of harm to self or others is immediate

Do Not...

  • Say "everything will be alright"
  • Dare the person to "do it"
  • Tell the person about someone who "has it worse"
  • Promise to keep the conversation a secret
  • Leave the person alone if you believe the risk of harm to self or others is immediate
  • Provide counseling if you are not qualified to do so.