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Policies & Procedures

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The ESU Student Threat Assessment and Response Team aims to coordinate campus and community resources to address inappropriate, disruptive, or harmful student behavior.

Recommendations are designed to aid in the mitigation of threatening situations and to assist students in attaining success. In addition, the team assists faculty and staff in addressing instances of student behavior that may be harmful or disruptive to ESU or the learning community. Examples of such instances may include but are not limited to:

  • Behaviors that have been addressed with the student but continue to concern the community.
  • A pattern of disruptive behaviors affecting a number of areas or departments on campus and behaviors that may evoke a significant degree of alarm or concern among involved persons.

While some situations may result in direct referral to Counseling and Psychological Services center, University Health Services center, or Student Conduct & Community Standards office, START may be used in situations where a collaborative response would be most effective for the student and the ESU community.

To that end, the following procedures will be used in the event a concern is reported to the S.T.A.R.T. team. However, in cases of imminent threat, it is always advisable to contact University Police at (570) 422-2000.

    1. A concern may be reported to S.T.A.R.T. in one of the following ways:
      1. Complete a S.T.A.R.T. Person of Concern Report Form. This form should be immediately forwarded to the Chair of the S.T.A.R.T. team with as much detail as possible about the behavior in question;
      2. Contact any member of the S.T.A.R.T. with as much information and detail as possible.
    2. Every case is investigated as a potential threat until it is deemed otherwise by the S.T.A.R.T. team.
    3. Each report of a potential threat will be evaluated using the NaBita (National Behavioral Intervention Team Association)Threat Assessment Tool to classify the behavior in one of the following categories:
      1. Mild – a disruption where there is the absence of distress and threats (veiled or specific);
      2. Moderate – Possible threat made, threat is vague and indirect, threat lacks realism, content of threat suggests that the “threatener” is unlikely to carry out the stated threat;
      3. Elevated – Seriously disruptive incident (s), threat made or present, signs of clear distress, threat is vague and indirect, but repeated or shared with multiple reporters, threat lacks realism or is repeated with variations;
      4. Severe – Threat made or present, seemingly disturbed, threat or information about threat is consistent, plausible and includes increasing detail of a plan, may try to convince listeners that they are serious, content suggests that threatener may carry out threat;
      5. Extreme – Student has made a threat and is concrete, information is consistent, plausible and parts of the plan have already taken place, references to manner (weapons, means, and target); threatener may appear detached.
    4. Once a report form is submitted the Chair will determine if the concern should be discussed with specific departments or if the full S.T.A.R.T. team should be convened. In cases where the full committee is not convened, the Chair will consult with offices on campus that can best address the specific concern.

      For example, if a report form is submitted detailing a residential student who shows signs of depression with no specific threats, the Chair may deem it necessary to consult with the Director of Counseling and Psychological Services, Director of Residence Life and Housing and the Chief of University Police on a specified course of action.
    5. If a report is submitted which requires the Chair to convene the full committee, S.T.A.R.T. will convene as soon as possible to review the potential threat, and take an appropriate course of action. In these circumstances, the S.T.A.R.T. meeting and duties become priority over all other University business.
    6. During regularly scheduled S.T.A.R.T. meetings, all reported student threat forms will be discussed. This will be done for a few reasons. They include:
      1. To ensure that everyone on the committee is aware;
      2. To ensure that all relevant information has been evaluated;
      3. To ensure that each student is afforded due process;
      4. To ensure adequate tracking of students should any future issues arise.
    7. During the course of investigating possible student threats, the following information may be collected in an effort to complete the preliminary investigation as expeditiously as possible:
      1. Interviews to determine the existence of corroborating evidence;
      2. Student Conduct and Community Standards disciplinary history (if one exists);
      3. Residence Hall disciplinary history (if one exists);
      4. Any other relevant information that the Committee deems necessary to ensure the health, safety and welfare of the entire East Stroudsburg University community.
    8. The student who is the subject of a report form may be called in to meet with the Chair of the Student Threat Assessment and Response Team to determine what (if any) further course of action is deemed necessary by the Committee. This meeting can be a closure to the initial concern, or another preliminary step of the investigation (i.e. referred or mandated to visit another university office, such as a mandated visit to Counseling and Psychological Services).
    9. Below is a list of the types of behaviors that should be reported to the Student Threat Assessment and Response Team. This is NOT an exhaustive list and reporters should use their best judgment as to report (or clarification on). However, it is always best to err on the side of reporting (or getting clarification) any potential threats. Remember, that reporting one specific incident may be yet another piece in a puzzle. The potentially threatening behaviors may include:
      1. Extreme rudeness or insubordination to University officials;
      2. Serious classroom disruptions;
      3. Violations to the Residence Hall policies;
      4. Violations of the Student Code of Conduct;
      5. Severe or reoccurring intoxication;
      6. Threatening words and/or actions;
      7. Writings that convey clear threats to themselves or others;
      8. Self injurious behavior (cutting, burning);
      9. Online postings of concern (Facebook, Myspace, Twitter);
      10. Excessive absences from classes
      11. Suicidal thoughts, gestures, ideations or attempts;
      12. Acts motivated by hatred or discrimination;
      13. Possible stalking;
      14. Relationship violence;
      15. Hazing;
      16. Flat affect or extreme lack of responsiveness;
      17. References to things like bombs, ammunition or an infatuation with firearms.

Follow-Up Procedures

The Chair of the Student Threat Assessment and Response Team will convey all recommendations on behalf of the committee to the Vice President for Student Affairs (or her designee) for the final decision on all potential student threats. The Student Threat Assessment and Response Team will refer to existing policy for making recommendations of interim suspension, no trespass orders, mandated psychological assessments, removal from campus housing, and all other conditions to ensure campus and individual safety.

If an assessment is required before a student may return to campus, it is the responsibility of the student to provide that information to the Vice President for Student Affairs prior to returning to campus. If a student fails to comply with the decision of the Vice President for Student Affairs (or designee), additional sanctions may be imposed as specified by the office of Student Conduct and Community Standards.

If necessary, the Student Threat Assessment and Response Team will determine the procedure for custodial holding of individuals while interim suspension is being determined, or when interim suspension is imposed, but a gap in transition is in place until the individual relocates, parents arrive, etc. Decisions on how quickly an individual must vacate campus premises will be rendered by the Vice President for Student Affairs.

The Student Threat Assessment and Response Team will confirm with the reporter that the possible threat is being acted upon, but the extent of detail is at the sole discretion of S.T.A.R.T. based on the severity of the threat. If a campus-based no-contact order has been sanctioned, that specific information will be conveyed to appropriate University personnel. If a Student Conduct hearing is held in cases involving violence, disruption, threats and other relevant violations, the outcome of those hearings will be shared with the members of the Student Threat Assessment and Response Team.