Academic administrators have a legal responsibility to take reasonable steps to respond and intervene when they are made aware of a student, faculty member, or other employee who exhibits aggression or violent behavior on campus. Individuals with severe emotional and interpersonal problems rarely commit aggressive or violent acts without first exhibiting numerous campus violence specific warning signs. Early intervention and response are critical to mitigating the risk for violence. This often begins with more subtle behaviors of concern (e.g., bullying, chronic anger, social isolation) which among many other known risk factors, can lend themselves to a pathway to aggression or violence. Deliberate campus attacks have been prevented when administrators have learned of threats, aggression, and/or violent behaviors and moved rapidly to gather information, assess the situation, and intervene.
Gauging the safety of the campus environment can be difficult given the large amount of attention devoted to isolated incidents of extreme campus violence nationwide. While campus homicides are rare, they are the worst case scenario, and we are periodically reminded of such events, often just moments after they have occurred via media outlets.
We consult with academic administrators to screen, assess, manage, and monitor these identified students, faculty, or other employee. By taking a proactive approach, we assist campus administrators in better understanding the individual’s behavior in an effort to mitigate the violence risk potential. In these cases, we can conduct a direct violence risk potential evaluation or indirect threat assessment.