University Procedure #304
Section 1. Purpose of Procedure
These procedures establish consistent practices for the creation and operation of the University’s Behavioral Intervention Team (BIT), consistent with Metropolitan State University Policy 3040.
Section 2. Authority
This procedure is issued pursuant to the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities System rules and regulations.
Section 3. Effective Date
This University Procedure shall become effective immediately upon the signature of the President and shall remain in effect until modified or expressly revoked.
Section 4. Responsibility
Responsibility for implementation and revision of these procedures is assigned to the Vice President for Student Affairs, or designee.
Section 5. Procedures
5.1. Procedural Context
The University has established a Code of Conduct that is in place to facilitate the maintenance of a safe and supportive University environment conducive to the pursuit of academic achievement by all its students. The BIT objective is to support this purpose through information-gathering, assessment, reasoned analysis, and the provision of supportive intervention services, when needed, to our students. In some cases there may be no violation of the Metropolitan State University Student Code of Conduct, but the behavior may evoke alarm or concern among involved persons. Examples include, but are not limited to: behavior which appears to be dangerous or threatening to oneself or others; disturbing behavior; angry, hostile, or abusive behavior; or other behavior that is inappropriate or disruptive. This context allows the BIT to develop personalized plans of action, after considering a full range of suitable options, and selecting the one it believes is best tailored to the circumstances of a particular case.
The Behavioral Intervention Team will meet on a regular basis and additionally, on an emergency basis as needed, to:
- Provide early support for and intervention to students exhibiting behaviors of concern in order to best serve them and enhance their opportunities for success as well as to protect the University community;
- Receive reports from members of the campus community about concerning or disruptive student behaviors;
- Address these reports through an established threat assessment and management process;
- Develop and select potential interventions and responses that are informed by the assessment process;
- Assign and communicate roles and responsibilities for implementation of interventions and responses to appropriate individuals, including the student of concern, BIT members, faculty, staff, and community resources;
- Follow up on interventions to address their effectiveness, and make adjustments as needed;
- Inform the University community of the BIT, and educate and empower University community members regarding the need, purpose, and mechanisms for reporting and intervention;
- Provide education and consultation to the University community regarding responding to students of concern.
If a member of the University community observes any behavior that is concerning and that needs to be brought to the attention of the BIT, individuals may report the behavior in either of the following ways:
- Utilizing the secure online reporting tool
- Directly contacting one of the members of the BIT
This is not a notification system to be used for emergencies. If there is an emergency situation involving an imminent risk of self-harm or harm to others that requires immediate medical, psychological, or police services, the requisite course of action is to call 911 and contact the University Safety and Security Office.
5.4. Decision-making and Outcomes
Once a report is submitted, the BIT will review the information for appropriate action. The BIT, under the leadership of the Dean of Students, will work to reach a fully-informed consensus among its members when making its decisions, recommendations, and formulating individual plans of action. BIT decisions represent judgments based on the expertise, knowledge, and experience of BIT members, the relevant facts of the situation under consideration, and the behavior of the student(s) at issue.
Action plans may fall across a wide continuum in relation to the progressive level of concern the BIT might have regarding an individual student’s behavior, safety, and the welfare of others.
Possible resolutions and outcomes include, but are not limited to:
- No action, further observations and monitoring;
- Assist in developing an action plan for success;
- Referral to Metropolitan State University Student Care Team;
- Referral to existing campus or community resources;
- Reduction in access to or related University privileges, facilities and/or courses, with or without behavioral stipulations;
- Referral for Student Code of Conduct investigation and adjudication;
- Recommendation of mandatory mental health assessment;
- Recommendation of medical leave of absence;
- Recommendation of conduct suspension or expulsion;
- Obtain legal consultation, if appropriate.
Section 6. Membership
The BIT includes membership from across several campus constituent groups, and is currently chaired by the Dean of Students.
- Dean of Students,
- Student Conduct Officer,
- Director, Counseling & Career Services,
- Director, Campus Safety,
- Academic Advisor,
- Faculty Member,
- Veterans Counselor,
- Director, Gateway Student Services,
- Director, Financial Aid,
- Student Ombudsperson.
The Behavioral Intervention Team may request attendance or consultation as needed on a case-by-case basis by representatives from various campus offices or community agencies including law enforcement and community mental health services. BIT members are trained in threat assessment and management processes.
Section 7. FERPA & Student Confidentiality
Metropolitan State University recognizes the importance of maintaining certain records for each student which contributes to and confirms the student’s educational progress. To protect the rights of students regarding these records, the University has established policies and guidelines which describe the records maintained and provisions for releasing information. These rules conform to State and Federal laws (the U.S. Department of Education guidelines for the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 as amended, known as the Buckley Amendment or FERPA.)
The information provided to the BIT team will be handled as confidentially as possible, balanced with our goal to help protect the safety of the individual and the campus community. The University has the duty to warn members of the community when potentially harmful or dangerous situations have been reported and after a review by campus officials warrants such notification. In these situations, BIT may breach confidentiality in order to warn identified victims.
If the student referred to BIT is already receiving care through Metropolitan State’s Counseling Services or an outside mental health provider, information may not be obtained by the team from those agencies without written authorization from the student in question, in accordance with federal and state law.
Throughout the evaluation process the BIT will attempt, in accordance with legal restrictions pursuant to the FERPA guidelines, to keep all involved students and reporters appropriately informed of the actions of the BIT.
Recent clarification of FERPA indicates that one may disclose their personal observations about an individual to a University official, particularly when it involves a health or safety emergency. This information, however, should be considered confidential and not shared with others who do not have a “legitimate educational need to know.”
Section 8. Approval
Issued on this 24th day of May, 2012
Sue K. Hammersmith, President