Administrative Policies

AD78 Threats to Campus Safety

Policy Status: 

Active

Policy Steward: 

Vice President for Administration

Contents:

PURPOSE:

The Pennsylvania State University is committed to promoting a safe and secure working and learning environment. Violence, threats of violence and threatening behaviors are inconsistent with this objective and are unacceptable.

This policy provides direction by which acts of violence, threats of violence, and threatening behaviors may be reported, evaluated, and managed.

SCOPE:

This policy shall apply to all University students, faculty, staff, and visitors to the campuses; to activities and events occurring on all University-owned or controlled property, buildings, facilities; and to activities and events, regardless of the location, which are sponsored by the University or by a University-recognized organization.  This policy does not provide for the adjudication of misconduct by, discipline of, or imposition of sanctions on employees or students. Such action may, however, be taken against individuals whose behavior is addressed by this policy according to the University’s regular employee or student disciplinary policies and procedures.

DEFINITIONS:

Behavioral Threat Management Team (BTMT)- A standing committee of multi-disciplinary experienced representatives who will analyze potentially threatening situations, especially imminent threats to others or self, and take action to mitigate risk, if warranted.

Employee- Any full-time or part-time employee of the University.

Intimidation- Engaging in actions intended to frighten, coerce or induce duress. These actions include, but are not limited to, stalking, unwanted pursuit, harrassment, etc.

Others-Any other individuals not affiliated with the University.

Physical Attack- Unwanted physical contact including, but not limited to, hitting, kicking, pushing, shoving, biting, fighting, throwing objects or use of a weapon against another person.

Student- All individuals taking courses at the University, either full-time or part-time, pursuing undergraduate, graduate, or professional studies, both degree and non-degree seeking, as well as individuals enrolled in non-credit courses and programs. In addition, for purposes for the Student Code of Conduct, Code jurisdiction also includes individuals who have accepted an offer of admission to the University, who withdraw after allegedly violating the Student Code of Conduct, who are on leave of absence from the University, or who are not officially registered and/or enrolled for a particular term but have a continuing relationship with the University.

Threat- A stated intention to inflict injury, damage, or hostile action on someone or something, whether the intention is expressly stated or implied, whether the person communicating the threat has the ability to carry out the threat, whether the threat is made on a present, future, or conditional basis, or whether the threat is made in person, through another person, in writing, over the phone, in the mail, electronically, or by any other means.

University Facility(ies)- As used in this policy, any building or structure or any improved or unimproved land, or any part of any such building, structure or land, that is owned, used or occupied by The Pennsylvania State University.

Visitor- Any non-employee or non-student present on a University campus or at any University-controlled location for any purpose, professional or private. This includes both invited and uninvited guests.

Violent Behavior- A broad range of behaviors that generate reasonable concerns for personal safety, result in physical injury or result in damage to University Facilities. Violent behavior includes, but is not limited to, aggressive or frightening acts, Intimidation, Threats, Physical Attacks or property damage.

Workplace/Educational Setting- Any location, either permanent or temporary, where faculty, staff, or students perform any work-related duty, or are involved in educational activities and/or University sanctioned events. This includes, but is not limited to, campus buildings and the surrounding perimeters, including the parking lots, field locations, student housing, and alternate work locations.

POLICY:

Safety on all University campuses is everyone's responsibility. By recognizing and reporting behavior believed to be a potential concern, community members and visitors to the campus can help others get the assistance and services they might need.

This policy establishes the BTMT as a mechanism to assess campus violence, threats of violence, and threatening behaviors, and to respond to such violence, threats, and/or risks as appropriate. The BTMT’s mission is to provide a proactive, coordinated, and planned approach to the identification, assessment, management, and, where possible, reduction and/or prevention of behaviors that are brought to the team's attention.

The BTMT has been established to:

  • Identify trends that negatively affect the campus community;
  • Facilitate timely communication among different campus units and others about individual behavioral concerns;
  • Investigate or gather additional information about individuals of concern, including individuals outside of the University community;
  • Assess the information so that the University can devise an appropriate response;
  • Recommend interventions, threat management plans, active monitoring plans, and other case management strategies that connect individuals of concern with needed resources;
  • Recommend plans for reintegrating a subject once initial actions are complete and the threat is eliminated;
  • Assist with the education of the campus community to increase awareness of potential threats, by identifying the types of behavior or concerns that should be reported, and how they should be reported to team members.

Members of the Penn State community are encouraged to contact the BTMT if they have concerns about their own safety, or the safety of those around them.

Reporting:

In the event of an incident and/or suspect behavior as described in the definitions above, individuals are encouraged to promptly report such behavior. Immediate concerns about campus safety must always be directed to the campus police or security office, by dialing 911. Those who wish to contact the team can do so through multiple channels, including directly contacting a team member, by email at btmt@psu.edu, or by phone any time at 1-855-863-BTMT (2868) or 814-863-BTMT (2868).

Each report will be investigated and will be reviewed for action by the appropriate campus BTMT member.

The making of intentionally false or misleading reports under this policy, with knowledge of, or reckless indifference as to the falsity of the matters reported, shall be considered misconduct, and may result in disciplinary action per University disciplinary procedures, or local, state and federal laws, as applicable.  No individual making a report in good faith will be retaliated against by the University. 

Assessment:

Once reported, the BTMT is responsible for conducting a behavior assessment to:

  1. Determine facts on the situation reported;
  2. Gather any and all appropriate additional information to facilitate a thorough assessment of the situation reported.

In assessing a report, the BTMT will focus upon determining whether or not the individual of concern poses a threat of violence.

Confidentiality:

All reports must be handled in a confidential manner. The BTMT will make every effort to protect the confidentiality and safety of anyone who reports a concern. If the circumstances do not allow privacy to be maintained, this will be discussed with the person making the referral. Information will be released on a need-to-know basis within the campus community, and in accordance with local, state, and federal laws and University policies. University administrators will be sensitive and responsive to the potential for reprisal directed at employees or students who report behavior within the scope of this policy.

TEAM MEMBERSHIP:

Members are appointed to the BTMT by the President in consultation with the Provost. The team will include representation from the following units: University Police and Public Safety, Student Affairs, Residence Life, Undergraduate Education, Center for Counseling and Psychological Services, Affirmative Action, Employee Relations, General Counsel, Office of the Vice President for Commonwealth Campuses and the Graduate School. If there is a need for additional team members, the team chair will make a recommendation to the President for approval.

At Commonwealth Campuses, team membership shall be appointed by the Chancellor and include, to the extent possible, representatives of the functional units that comprise the University Park committee.

RESPONSIBILITIES:

Each member of the Penn State community has a role and responsibility in promoting a safe and secure environment for the University.

All campus community members are strongly encouraged to be aware of their surroundings and to be alert for behavior that may pose a threat of violence. Students, faculty, and staff should be familiar with this policy and with the mechanisms for reporting actual or potential threats to the University community.

FURTHER INFORMATION:

For questions, additional detail, or to request changes to this policy, please contact University Police & Public Safety.

Effective Date: June 4, 2013
Date Approved: June 3, 2013
Date Published: June 4, 2013 (Editorial changes- February 27, 2014)

Most Recent Changes:

  • February 27, 2014 - Editorial changes. Addition of policy steward information, in the event that there are questions or requests for changes to the policy.

Revision History (and effective dates):

  • June 6, 2013 - Editorial changes to the TEAM MEMBERSHIP section, adding a paragraph which specifies how members from the Commonwealth Campuses will be appointed.
  • June 4, 2013 - New policy.