Skip to main content

Violence and Emergency Definitions


Acts of violence include:

  • intentionally causing physical injury to another, including sexual assault and domestic and dating violence;
  • intentionally damaging property;
  • using language or engaging in behavior that threatens physical injury to another or intentional damage to property and has the effect of intimidating, frightening, coercing or provoking others;
  • brandishing or using a weapon in a manner not required by the individual's position and
  • inciting or aiding any of the above.

Also see the Student Conduct Code, policy 3.1.

Violence Prevention

Preventing violence means intervening before any initial act of violence occurs. Instead of focusing solely on individual behavior, prevention efforts attempt to engage the community to promote environments where everyone can thrive. Violence prevention can also include efforts to stop or prevent individual acts of violence, while increasing the use of healthy behaviors and strategies. All of these efforts help to lessen the chances for violence to take place in a community. For prevention efforts to be successful, everyone in a community - faculty, students and staff - has to be invested and involved.


An unplanned event that can disrupt business operations, cause physical or environmental damage, threaten the institution's financial standing or public image or can cause significant injuries or death to members of the university community.

Levels of Emergency

The ability to provide information to the community during an emergency is crucial to the management of the emergency. It is important to have a process that makes effective use of the university’s emergency notification system. The university strives to inform the community without causing widespread alarm. To accomplish this, the university has designated three levels of emergencies/threats.

  • Potential Threat - An emergency where the conditions are favorable for the incident to occur, or for an event that happens off campus that is likely to have an impact on the university at some point in the near future. Examples of this are usually weather related such as predicted blizzard or ice storms or manmade incidents such as chemical spill or fire near campus.
  • Imminent Threat - An event that is likely to affect the university within the next several hours but currently has not seriously affected the campus. Examples include a person with a gun on campus whose intent has not been established or railroad car overturned with a hazardous material release with the potential for contamination of the university.
  • Active Threat - Usually a spontaneous event that comes without warning requiring immediate action to prevent the loss of life. Examples include a hazardous materials incident that poses an immediate threat to life or an incident with a firearm that has been used to cause injury.

Types of Violence

While not all inclusive, the types of situations listed and defined below are currently addressed through resources and training at the University.

  • Harassment - The university defines harassment to include abusive conduct that is sufficiently severe, persistent or pervasive to threaten an individual or limit the ability of the individual to work, study or participate in university activities. Often, harassment takes the form of hostile words and actions that create an abusive living, learning or work environment. See University policies 4:4, 4:5 and 4:6 for further detail.
  • Hate Crime - Committing any crime resulting in bodily injury that is committed because of the perpetrator's bias against the victim's actual or perceived race, gender, religion, ethnicity/national origin, sexual orientation or disability. Bias, prejudice or hatred must be the motivation for committing the crime as evidenced by such things as racial or other slurs, comments, actions (i.e. burning a cross) or graffiti. Racial or other slurs alone, however, do not constitute hate crimes.
  • Hazing - Hazing, as defined by the university, refers to any activity expected of someone joining a group (or to maintain full status in a group) that humiliates, degrades or risks emotional and/or physical harm, regardless of the person's willingness to participate (Policy 3.1). In years past, hazing practices were typically considered harmless pranks or comical antics associated with young men in fraternities. Activities that are often considered hazing include such include paddling in any form; creation of excessive fatigue; physical and psychological shock quests, treasure hunts, scavenger hunts, road trips or any other activities; wearing publicly any apparel which is conspicuous and not normally in good taste; engaging in public stunts of buffoonery; morally degrading or humiliating games or activities; late work sessions which interfere with scholastic activities and any other activities which are not consistent with the regulations and policy of the university.
  • Intimate Partner Violence - Intimate Partner Violence (domestic violence/dating violence/battering) is made up of a learned pattern of abusive behaviors that is used to exert power and control over another person in the context of an intimate relationship. Abusive tactics vary and can be either physical, sexual, psychological, emotional or a combination of all of these. Often, there is more than one form of abuse taking place in a relationship at the same time. See University policies 4:4, 4:5 and 4:6 for further detail.
  • Issues in the Workplace - Workplace violence is any physical assault, threatening behavior or verbal abuse occurring in the workplace by another employee or third party. A workplace may be any location where an employee performs any work including buildings, surrounding perimeters including parking lots, field locations and travel to/from work assignments. Simply put, workplace violence is any attempt or act that harasses, intimidates or injures an employee and is initiated by another employee or third party.
  • Mental Health - Mental illness is not an indicator of violence and yet is often associated with violence and/or crime. In the context of this website, mental health is referenced because of the concern for self-directed violence (see below). Even then, this is a broad category that addresses many different aspects of a person's overall well-being or ability to balance all of the dimensions of wellness; physical, spiritual, intellectual, occupational, social and emotional. It also encompasses:
    • Psychological issues, such as depression, anxiety, eating disorders or substance abuse;
    • Broader personal issues, such as self-esteem, communication problems, relationship issues, identity development, sexual orientation or family conflict;
    • Educational issues, such as procrastination, test anxiety, studying difficulties, career counseling and time management;
    • Crisis situations, such as suicidal thoughts or the death of someone close.
  • Self-Directed Violence - This type of violence can range from self-mutilation (such as cutting) to suicide. According to the World Health Organization, self-mutilation "is the direct and deliberate destruction or alteration of parts of the body without conscious suicidal intention." Self-directed violence can also involve being preoccupied with death, thinking about suicide and attempting suicide.
  • Sexual Assault - Sexual assault encompasses acts that range from unwanted touching to rape. Sexual assault occurs when a person does not or is unable to consent to sexual activity. A person is unable to consent when he or she is forced, threatened, intimidated or is mentally or physically incapacitated. See University policies 4:4, 4:5 and 4:6 for further detail.
  • Sexual Harassment - Unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature that tends to create a hostile or offensive work environment. Sexual harassment is a form of sex discrimination that occurs in the workplace. Persons who are the victims of sexual harassment may sue under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (42 U.S.C.A. § 2000e et seq.), which prohibits sex discrimination in the workplace. See University policies 4:4, 4:5 and 4:6 for further detail.
  • Stalking - Stalking is a series of actions directed at one person or entity toward another that would make one reasonably feel afraid or in danger. Stalking is serious, often violent and can escalate over time. See University policies 4:4, 4:5 and 4:6 for further detail.