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Policy 1012

Threat Assessment and Intervention

I. Purpose

Preserving the safety and security of our faculty, staff and students is a top priority for Longwood University and one that requires vigilance, communication, and coordination. The purpose of this policy is to provide a framework for threat assessment, as well as intervention designed to reduce the risk of violence. This policy is guided by both Code of Virginia Section 23-9.2:10 and Commonwealth of Virginia Policy 1.80: Workplace Violence.

II.  Definitions

  1. Course of Conduct:A course of conduct is any series of acts over a period of time, however short, that evidences a continuity of purpose, such as following or stalking an individual to or from the workplace/campus, telephone calls to the employee or student, and correspondence with the employee or student, whether by public or private mail, e-mail, interoffice mail, or fax.
  2. Credible Threat:A credible threat is defined as a knowing and willful statement or course of conduct that would cause a reasonable person to believe there is a threat.
  3. Threat:A threat is the expression of intent to cause physical or mental harm. An expression constitutes a threat without regard to whether the party communicating the threat has the present ability to carry it out, and without regard to whether the expression is contingent, conditional, or future. Threats may be communicated directed to any intended victim or to third parties.
  4. Threat assessment:Threat assessment is an investigative procedure involving a possible or potential act to cause physical or mental harm. The goal of threat assessment is the prevention of violence and not necessarily identification and arrest of a perpetrator.
  5. Substantive Threat: A substantive threat is one that requires some form of protective action to prevent the threat from being carried out.

III. Policy

  1. Prohibited Conduct:
    1. Prohibited conduct includes, but is not limited to an expression:
      1. of intent to injure another person physically;
      2. that creates a reasonable fear of injury to another person;
      3. that subjects another individual to extreme emotional distress; and
      4. of intent to damage property.
    2. Such conduct can be verbal or nonverbal and may be communicated orally, in writing, through gestures, or by any other means, including electronic transmission.
    3. Threats will be subject to disciplinary action by the institution, and may include criminal prosecution if the behavior constitutes a violation of Virginia law.
  2. Threat Assessment Team:
    1. The Code of Virginia Section 23-9.2 defines the makeup of the threat assessment teams for institutions of higher education. At a minimum, the team must include members from law enforcement, mental health professionals, representatives of student affairs and human resources, and, if available, college or University counsel.
    2. Members of the Longwood University Threat Assessment Team (LUTAT) include the:
      1. Longwood Chief of Police;
      2. Associate Dean of Students;
      3. Chief Human Resources Officer;
      4. Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs;
      5. Director of Counseling Center;
      6. Director of Student Health and Wellness Center; and
      7. Director of Honor and Judicial Programs.
    3. The Threat Assessment Team may also include one or more members of senior staff and representatives from the Longwood University Community, as appropriate.
    4. The Threat Assessment Team shall include one individual in the supervisory chain of command or administrative hierarchy of employees of the University. It shall be at the sole discretion of the Threat Assessment Team to determine the appropriate individual in that chain.
    5. The Threat Assessment Team shall be chaired by the Longwood Chief of Police.
    6. The Threat Assessment Team shall be responsible for developing a set of threat assessment procedures and protocol to be approved by the President of the University.
    7. The Threat Assessment Team shall establish relationships or utilize existing relationships with local and state law enforcement agencies as well as mental health agencies to expedite assessment and intervention with individuals whose behavior may present a threat to safety.
  3. Threat Assessment Team Scope of Authority:
    1. The Team is charged with developing comprehensive fact-based assessments of students, employees, or other individuals who may present a threat to the University or individuals engaged in University activities, and is empowered to take timely and appropriate action, consistent with University policy and applicable law.
    2. The Threat Assessment Team shall be referred all cases that involve threat of violence by student, faculty, staff, community member or anyone else that would affect the campus community. If there is any doubt whether a case will be referred to the Threat Assessment Team, the case shall be referred and the Team will determine what action, if any is appropriate.
    3. No administrative or disciplinary actions will be taken until such time that the Threat Assessment Team feels that such action will not jeopardize their investigation or protective actions in the case of substantive threats.
    4. The Threat Assessment Team may provide recommendation for administrative action, disciplinary action or other methods of intervention, such as counseling and dispute resolution. All such actions will be taken according to Commonwealth of Virginia Human Resource Policy, the Faculty Manual or the Student Handbook, as appropriate.
    5. In a health or safety emergency, no information that is necessary to protect the health or safety of others shall be withheld as confidential. In such cases, health or safety emergency, medical, mental health, employment, and academic records that are ordinarily regarded as confidential may be released to the Threat Assessment Team.
  4. Responsibilities:
    1. All administrative units and administrators shall report threats or threatening behavior to the Threat Assessment Team as soon as the threat is identified. Threat Reporting Procedure
    2. All administrative units and administrators are expected to cooperate with the Threat Assessment Team in order to respond to a threat or threatening situation.
    3. Once a threat has been determined not to be substantive, the subject of investigation shall be informed by the appropriate supervisory staff of the investigation and their behavior that led to the investigation.
  5. Record Keeping:
    1. Access to the threat assessment file shall be limited to members of the Threat Assessment Team and legal counsel. The threat assessment file shall be maintained in the office of the Chief of Police of the Longwood University Police Department.
    2. Threat assessment files shall be protected for security purposes as investigations of possible criminal behaviors. Because threat assessments are essentially investigations of criminal behavior, these records created by the threat assessment team are not eligible for release under the Freedom of Information Act and the reports generated by the threat assessment team are exempt under Va. Code, 2.2-3705.2(4), 3706(F)(1)(3) and 3706(G)(1).
    3. A response by the Team that includes a criminal arrest and prosecution may be exempt from release pursuant to Va. Code 2.2-3706(F)(1) and (3). This protection from disclosure applies to records generated by the Threat Assessment Team for threat assessment purposes.

IV. Enforcement

  1. Faculty, staff and students who fail to abide by this policy or retaliate against individuals reporting threats according to this policy shall be subject to disciplinary action according to Commonwealth of Virginia Human Resource Policy, the Faculty Manual or the Student Handbook, as appropriate.

Approved by the Board of Visitors, December 04, 2009