16.20 – Awareness, Assessment and Response to Behaviors of Concern

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Scope: NMSU System

Source: ARP Chapter 16 | Safety and Risk Management

Rule Administrator:

Last Updated: 12/11/2015

Related

Cross-Reference:

ARP 16.10 – Emergency Preparedness and Response

RPM 1.10 NMSU System Policies and Procedures

ARP 16.20 – Awareness, Assessment and Response to Behaviors of Concern



Revision History:

2017 Recompilation, formerly Rule 3.07
12/11/15 Policy 3.07 repealed from RPM by Board of Regents
10/21/15 former Policy 2.64 replicated by Board of Regents as initial Rule 2.64
05/10/13 Policy adopted by Board of Regents

A. Purpose


The purpose(s) of this Rule, and corresponding procedural guidelines, as they may be subsequently issued by the Rule administrators, are as follows:

  1. To heighten awareness and mutual concern for the welfare of all within the New Mexico State University (NMSU) system, which includes all campuses and work sites, and to encourage the reporting of observed behaviors of concern occurring in the classroom, on campus, in NMSU Housing, in the workplace, or at any other university location or sponsored event.
  2. To facilitate communication and coordination amongst university officials charged with maintaining a safe and secure environment for university students, employees, and others, specifically with a focus on the avoidance of critical incidents caused by individual or group misconduct, through early detection and reporting, risk assessment and responsive action.
  3. To formally recognize and authorize the Conduct Assessment/Response, and Education (CARE) Committee and its subcommittee, the Behavioral Intervention Team, and to clarify their respective roles and responsibilities relative to the process by which the behavior of concern will be assessed for risk and determination of appropriate precautionary and/or follow up action.

 

B. Scope


This Rule applies throughout the NMSU system, at all university owned, controlled, or leased properties, as well as at off campus locations used for university sponsored events or activities. The Rule may also be applied, at the discretion of the Rule administrators on a case by case basis, in response to reported off-duty or off-campus conduct, depending upon the nature of the impact to university interests, including but not limited to, its students and personnel.

 

C. Rule Administrator(s)


The Dean of Students, NMSU Police Chief and Asst. VP for Human Resource Services, or their respective designees, shall administer this Rule as outlined herein; they may jointly approve any supplemental operational protocols to facilitate implementation of this Rule. The Rule administrators work closely with the Conduct Assessment/Response and Education (CARE) Committee, its subcommittee, the Behavioral Intervention Team and designated police personnel, as appropriate for each case. All NMSU supervisors shall assist, as may be requested by the primary Rule administrators, with university community education necessary to implement this Rule.

 

D. Definitions


For purposes of the administration of this Rule and corresponding procedural guidelines, the following definitions apply:

  1. Behavior of Concern”: Behavior of concern is any behavior, including verbal, physical, written or expressed via electronic media or other mode of communication, that reasonably causes someone to be concerned about:
    1. the health, safety, or welfare of the individual exhibiting the behavior;
    2. the health, safety or welfare of any other individual(s) or property, ordisruption in the classroom, program, or other academic or work environment.
  2. “Campus Resident”: Any person who lives in university housing; such individual may or may not meet the definition of “student”.
  3. “Student”: Any person enrolled in any course or program at New Mexico State University, which includes all NMSU campuses and work sites.
  4. “University Community”: The university community includes students, faculty, staff, campus residents, contractors and other vendors, volunteers, and visitors to campus.
  5. “University Facility”: Any campus, college, center, building, open space or other facility or area owned by, or operated under the control of, New Mexico State University.
  6. “Violence”: Violence includes, but is not limited to: murder, sexual assault, robbery assault; battery; harassing or intimidating behavior that creates a reasonable fear of harm; stalking; and/or, threats of violence made in any medium (verbal, electronic, telephonic, written, gestures, etc). It also includes all incidents of hate crimes, dating violence, and domestic violence.

 

E. General Principles


1. Early Reporting and Intervention

While potential incidents of violence are at the forefront of concern, this Rule is intended to address individual behaviors that may be, or may become, a disruption to the environment, whether classroom, office, housing or other university facility. Outreach at an early stage is desirable to prevent violence in some instances, and to retain an employee or student in more instances. This Rule is therefore designed to encourage the reporting of behaviors of concern before they lead to violence or other serious harm. In the unfortunate event that a critical incident should occur, administrators are not relieved of their duties under other policies and protocols (e.g. emergency notification and response; support to victims of violence; internal and/or police investigation into alleged misconduct; and student/employee disciplinary action and/or punitive consequences, including arrest).

  1. Any person, including university employees and students, who observes behavior of concern is encouraged to submit a report under this Rule.
  2. Persons who in good faith submit a report or take other action authorized by this Rule shall not be subjected to adverse action for having done so.
  3. It is acknowledged that some individuals may be both student and employee; in those situations, action will be taken in the best interest of the individual and the institution, and may include administrative action under either student policies/procedures or employee policies/procedures, or both.
  4. As part of a larger and institution-wide commitment to a secure campus and workplace environment, the university is committed to the development of preventive measures. In addition to the work of the CARE Committee, the Behavioral Intervention Team and/or NMSU Police Chief and/or designee; other examples include: pre-employment screening, employee assistance program, student support services, and other outreach and educational initiatives.
  5. The university’s Office of Human Resource Services-Employee Management Services provides collaborative problem-solving assistance to supervisors and employees in the area of conflict resolution in an attempt to address and diffuse tensions caused by interpersonal disputes or other reasons, before disputes in the workplace reach a level at which violence may erupt. f. Individuals found to have intentionally and maliciously submitted a false report may be subject to appropriate administrative, civil or criminal action.

2. Retaliation Prohibited

Individuals who are found to have retaliated against any individual reporting or taking other action under this Rule, including encouraging or assisting another to report behavior of concern, may be subject to administrative, civil or criminal action as may be appropriate under the circumstances.

3. Establishment of the CARE Committee

To facilitate implementation and administration of this Rule, the Board of Regents formally recognizes and authorizes the Conduct Assessment/Response, and Education (CARE) Committee as a standing university board, along with its subcommittee, the Behavioral Intervention Team. See Official List of University Boards.

4. Role of the CARE Committee and the Behavioral Intervention Team

The CARE Committee and Behavioral Intervention Team assess and coordinate response to reported behaviors of concern that do not pose an immediate threat of personal harm (to self or others), nor to property. These committees have been established in part to facilitate the assembly of information from the distinct NMSU entities that may be privy to relevant information, in order to assist with the assessment for risk of harm. The CARE Committee defers to the Behavioral Intervention Team and other qualified professionals the decision making regarding the nature and type of appropriate responsive action.

  1. The CARE Committee and the Behavioral Intervention Team do not provide counseling or medical advice or services, but each may act to refer individuals to such internal or external resources, especially in situations involving victims of violence.
  2. The CARE Committee and the Behavioral Intervention Team are not responsible for responding to campus emergencies. Emergency response is performed by the appropriate public safety entities (e.g. police or fire), with consequence management (continuity of operations and disaster recovery) addressed by the Central Administration Response Team (“CART”), consisting of university executive administrators (See ARP 16.10 Emergency Preparedness and Response) However, the CART or other public safety professional may request information or assistance from either the CARE Committee or the Behavioral Intervention Team as needed when responding to or managing an emergency. This provision is not intended to affect or otherwise limit the authority of the individual members of the Behavioral Intervention Team to act in their professional capacity, or to take emergency medical action as permitted by state law.
  3. The CARE Committee and the Behavioral Intervention Team will work with other university offices and resources to publicize, throughout the NMSU system, the purpose and functions of the committee and the protocols in place for reporting behavior of concern, including new employee and new student orientation at all campuses.
  4. The members of the CARE Committee and the Behavioral Intervention Team are authorized to obtain information pertaining to a matter pending review by the committee or team about individuals from supervisors of the NMSU entities and from students for relevant information; supervisors and students shall respond cooperatively and timely to such requests, for the benefit of the person involved as well as for that of the institution.
  5. The Office of General Counsel provides legal counsel to the CARE Committee and the Behavioral Intervention Team, and is included in their meetings as an ex officio member.
  6. All members of, as well as individuals involved with, proceedings of the CARE Committee or the Behavioral Intervention Team shall maintain confidentiality at all times as required by law, including professional licensing standards regulated by the State of New Mexico.

 

F. Procedural Guidelines and Flowchart


As authorized by RPM 1.10 and former ARP 16.20, Section F., the following guidelines issued on April 13, 2013 supplement this Rule. See Also CARE Team.

1. Review Procedures for Reported Behavior of Concern

The following are the essential procedures for the reporting, initial review of reports; fact gathering; assessment of risk by professionals; and action taken in response relating to reported behaviors of concern. See Also the corresponding Flowchart for an overview of the process.

  1. Report by Member of University Community: Members of the university community report behaviors of concern that they may observe through the Office of the Dean of Students website, “Worried About Someone?” located at deanofstudents.nmsu.edu, or by phone to 575-646-1722, or at the on-line reporting at concernreport@nmsu.edu. If the behavior of concern also constitutes a crime, or more importantly, poses a potential for imminent harm to a person or property, the individual reporting the behavior should call 911 directly.

2. Receipt of Report/Initial Review

  1. Reports of behavior of concern shall be reviewed daily by the appropriate rule administrator:
    1. For student behavior of concern, the Dean of Students or designee;
    2. For employee behavior of concern, the Asst. VP for Human Resource Services or designee;
    3. For volunteer, vendor, visitor or other third party behavior of concern, the NMSU Police Chief and/or designee.
  2. The appropriate rule administrator shall provide an abbreviated review based upon the limited facts in the report and:
    1. If there appears to be imminent risk of harm to self or others, the matter shall be referred to the NMSU Emergency Dispatch, for appropriate medical or law enforcement response;
    2. If there appears to be an immediate need, but no risk of harm, the matter shall be referred to the Behavioral Intervention Team for expedited fact gathering, assessment for risk, and responsive action.
    3. If there appears to be no immediate need for either administrative, law enforcement or medical attention, the matter shall be referred to the next meeting of the CARE Committee.
  3. Fact Gathering:
    Absent an active emergency, it is the role of the CARE Committee, the Behavioral Intervention Team and the NMSU Police Chief and/or designee to seek additional information which may be known by other areas within the university and surrounding areas, and to share with all involved as appropriate, in order to best assess the behavior of concern and determine the level of risk of harm presented, if any. Additionally, they may, but are not obligated to, contact the individual’s emergency contact listed in the NMSU Emergency Notification System to obtain additional information from family or friends that may be familiar with the individual whose behavior has been reported. The CARE Committee and the Behavioral Intervention Team members also will expedite the provision of available information to the designated NMSU Police personnel, as may be requested during emergent circumstances that arise from behavior of concern by a student or employee.
  4. Risk Assessment and Case Assignment:
    The following evaluation classifications, identified by Deisginger and Randazzo, as adapted in this rule are used to assess any risk of harm that a behavior of concern may present. Cases may be assessed and re-assessed dependent upon the circumstances of each case, and as each develops.

    1. EXTREME RISK (Level 1): Appears to pose an immediate threat of violence or self-harm. REQUIRES immediate containment, law enforcement or emergency medication, target protection, and/or a Threat Management Plan. Matters assessed at Level 1 will be assigned to the NMSU Police Chief and/or designee to coordinate law enforcement action and/or emergency medical assistance. The NMSU Police Chief and/or designee will take the lead in coordinating all Risk Level 1 Threat Management Plans.
    2. HIGH RISK (Level 2): Appears to pose a threat of violence or self-harm but lacks immediacy or specific plan. REQUIRES a Responsive Action Plan. Matters assessed at Level 2 will be assigned to the Behavioral Intervention Team, for development of a Responsive Action Plan, which will be implemented and monitored by the Behavioral Intervention Team, in conjunction with the NMSU Police Chief and/or designee.
    3. MODERATE RISK (Level 3): Does not appear to pose a threat of violence or self-harm at this time, but exhibits behaviors or circumstances that are likely to be disruptive to the community. REQUIRES active monitoring and referrals. Matters assessed at Level 3 will be assigned to the Behavioral Intervention Team, for development of a Responsive Action Plan, which will be implemented and monitored by the Behavioral Intervention Team, with assistance from the CARE Committee or the NMSU Police Chief and/or designee, as may be requested.
    4. LOW RISK (Level 4): Does not appear to pose a threat of violence or self-harm at this time, nor is a significant disruption to the community expected. REQUIRES passive monitoring and referrals as appropriate. Matters assessed at Level 4 will be referred to the CARE Committee to develop a Responsive Action Plan.
    5. NO IDENTIFIED RISK (Level 5): Does not appear to pose a threat of violence or self-harm at this time, nor is the person a significant disruption to the community expected. No monitoring is required. Matters assessed at Level 5 will be referred to the CARE Committee to open a file and store the information for future reference.
  5. Case Worker Responsibilities:
    For each Responsive Action Plan, a single case worker will be identified by the Behavioral Intervention Team or the CARE Committee as the primary contact for communications and documentation.

    1. The case worker shall lead and/or coordinate implementation of the plan, which shall be reviewed on a regular basis to determine effectiveness, and whether or not plan modifications are necessary.
    2. In the event that an individual’s behavior results in arrest for criminal misconduct or hospitalization for a condition that contributed to the behavior of concern, the role of the case worker is to monitor the status and to work as closely as the individual will permit regarding their release and the individual’s plans to return to the work or academic environment.
    3. The case worker will be responsible for documenting and reporting progress implementing the responsive action plan, as well any new developments, to the NMSI Police Chief and/or designee, to the Behavioral Intervention Team or CARE Committee, or chair, as appropriate.
    4. The Chair of the CARE Committee or the Behavioral Intervention Team will coordinate with affected faculty, staff or students as needed, while also respecting the involved individual’s wishes regarding privacy and confidentiality; when exigent circumstances exist, the law will be followed and proper documentation will be maintained.
  6. Police Communication:
    Upon successful execution of a Threat Management Plan, the matter will be appropriately referred by the NMSU Police Chief and/or designee to the CARE Committee or the Behavioral Intervention Team for re-assessment of the risk level.
  7. File Closure:
    A matter will be closed if evaluated as a level 5, and there is no further development changing that status for six months.

    1. A Threat Management Plan, or a Responsive Action Plan, may be modified or continued for as long as the NMSU Police Chief and/or designee or Behavioral Intervention Team decides is appropriate, and during which time the matter will remain open and pending periodic review and reporting to CARE Committee by the case worker.
    2. If the risk assessment indicated no need for either a Threat Assessment Plan nor for a Responsive Action Plan, the matter will remain open for a period of six months; if there are no subsequent developments during that time, the file will be closed and stored in the office of the appropriate rule administrator.
    3. All matter assessed or re-assessed as Level 5 will remain open for six months and if there are no subsequent developments during that time, the file will be closed and stored in the office of the appropriate rule administrator.
  8. Documentation and Custodian(s) of Records:
    The chair of the CARE Committee and the chair of the Behavioral Intervention Team will work with the assigned case workers to ensure that proper documentation is prepared and maintained.

    1. The official custodian of the CARE Committee’s records, including meeting notes and Level 4 and 5 cases assigned to case workers, is the Dean of Students.
    2. The official custodian of the Behavioral Intervention Team records, including and limited to Level 2 and 3 cases assigned to case workers, is the appropriate rule administrator for the type of individual (e.g. student, employee or third party visitor).
    3. The official custodian of Level 1 Threat Management Plans and related records, and all other criminal records which might relate to cases assessed at any risk level pursuant to this rule, is the NMSU Chief of Police and/or designee.
  9. Retention of Records:
    The documentation related to reported cases, responsive action plans (if created), and/or any administrative action taken as a result of reported or observed behavior of concern will be maintained for ten years following file closure, in the office of the appropriate record custodian, unless New Mexico or federal law require retention for a longer period.