Policy on Mandatory Threat Assessments of Students 

Purpose

The purpose of this policy is to establish when the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga ("UTC" or "University") will require mandatory behavioral, threat, and/or risk assessments on students. These assessments are conducted for the purpose of maintaining a safe and welcoming campus community.

Definitions

  1. "Campus community" refers to any person who is a student, faculty member, staff employee, campus visitor, or participant in a University-sponsored or University-affiliated activity, or any organization that participates in a University-sponsored or University-affiliated activity.
  2. "Counseling Center" refers to the office and staff designated with primary responsibility for clinical mental health counseling for University students.
  3. "FERPA" refers to the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (20 U.S.C. § 1232g; 34 CFR Part 99).
  4. "Office of the Dean of Students" refers to the University office designated with primary responsibility for the administration, safety, and welfare of University students, as well as the administration of the Office of Student Conduct and Office of Student Outreach & Support. The Office of the Dean of Students may act as or on behalf of the Office of Student Conduct and Office of Student Outreach & Support.
  5. "Office of Student Conduct" refers to the University office designated with primary responsibility for administering and enforcing the Student Code of Conduct and implementing student conduct-related rules, policies, procedures, training, and education.
  6. "Office of Student Outreach & Support" refers to the University office designated with primary responsibility for coordinating the University's case management and referral program.
  7. "Student(s)" refers to a person who is admitted, enrolled or registered for study at the University, either full-time or part-time, pursuing undergraduate, graduate, professional, and/or non-degree courses; or has completed a preceding academic term at the University and is eligible for re-enrollment without re-applying for admission and/or otherwise has a continuing relationship with the University.
  8. "UTC Police Department" refers to the law enforcement agency with primary jurisdiction for all University-owned and controlled property.

Procedures

  1. In the event the University is presented with a credible report that a student has threatened or attempted suicide, engaged in efforts to die by suicide, expressed a preoccupation with suicide, threatened homicide, or has expressed a preoccupation with homicide, that student will be required to be assessed for risk of suicide or homicide by the Counseling Center, Office of Student Outreach & Support, and/or their designees.
  1. The University shall use the Columbia Suicide Severity Rating Scale (C-SSRS) or other professionally recognized tool for assessing suicidal risk.
  2. The University shall use Workplace Assessment of Violence Risk (WAVR-21), Structured Interview for Violence Risk Assessment (SIVRA-35), Extremist Risk Intervention Scale (ERIS), Violence Risk Assessment of the Written Word (VRAW2), or other professionally recognized tool for assessing homicidal and other violent risk.
  1. If risk of suicide, homicide, or other violence has been deemed present based on one or more assessment tools, the state-designated Crisis Response Team shall be immediately contacted to assess whether mandated treatment and/or a Certificate of Need is warranted.
  2. If the Crisis Response Team deems that a student requires mandated treatment and/or a Certificate of Need, the Counseling Center or Office of Student Outreach & Support shall contact the UTC Police Department to arrange transportation of the student to the designated facility.
  1. The UTC Police Department shall determine the appropriate method of transport, whether via police or medical transport.
  2. The Counseling Center or Office of Student Outreach & Support shall complete the Student Emergency Transport form and disseminate as appropriate.
  1. If the Crisis Response Team deems that a student does not require mandated treatment and/or a Certificate of Need, the student shall be required to have a follow-up meeting with the Office of Student Outreach & Support.
  2. All assessment information shall be presented to the Student of Concern (SOC) Team and/or Case Assessment, Review, and Evaluation (CARE) Team to determine whether further follow-up care and coordination is needed.
  3. If the student fails to complete a mandatory assessment and/or if there is a risk of suicide, homicide, or other violence is determined to be present based on one or more assessment tools, then the student and all relevant information shall be referred to the Office of Student Conduct for review for potential disciplinary action.

Confidentiality

  1. University faculty/staff members who respond to crises must remain aware that students have a right to privacy and that, in some instances, they may not wish to have information shared with others. FERPA protects against the disclosure of student education records to unauthorized persons. Once observations become written (electronically or on paper), they become subject to FERPA, unless these records are written by and remain in the custody of the UTC Police Department or other law enforcement agencies. University law enforcement records are subject to public records laws, including the Tennessee Public Records Act (Tenn. Code Ann. § 10-7-503 et seq.).  As outlined in the University's Policy Statement on FERPA, faculty/staff may disclose a student's education records and information without the consent of the student under certain circumstances, including when the disclosure is to University officials (e.g., a person employed by the University in an administrative, supervisory, academic, research or support staff position, including health and medical staff, a person employed by UTC Police Department) who have a legitimate educational interest in the records and/or information. An official has a legitimate educational interest if that official is performing a task specific to their position description, performing a task related to the discipline or education of a student, providing a service or benefit to the student or student's family (e.g. healthcare, counseling, job placement, financial aid) or maintaining the safety and security of the campus. In any situation, it is always best to attempt and obtain the student's permission to release information.
  2. Consistent with the University's Parental Notification Policy, if a student is determined to present a risk of suicide, homicide, or other violence, the Office of Student Outreach & Support (or designee(s)) may, without the student's permission, notify the parent(s), legal guardian(s), and/or other emergency contact for the student.

History and Review

  1. Version

This is the first version of this policy

  1. Periodic Review

This policy is effective January 1, 2020.  This policy shall be reviewed on or before January 1, 2025.