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Threat Assessment

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Origin

The NOVA Threat Assessment Process started in 2009, immediately following the passage of Virginia Criminal Code Section 23-9.2:10 that mandated all colleges and universities establish and operate campus violence prevention committees and threat assessment teams. The statute calls for a threat assessment team that includes members from law enforcement, mental health professionals, representatives of student affairs and human resources, and, if available, college or university counsel.

The Administrative Council of NOVA sought planning for such a response at NOVA. As a result, Campus Assessment, Response and Evaluation (CARE) teams and the Threat Assessment Team were formed. On September 9, 2011, the process was officially approved by the NOVA Administrative Council. In order to implement the requirements of the law, NOVA created the NOVACares Office in 2012 to oversee the entire threat assessment process. On November 21, 2016, NOVA’s Administrative Council approved the current policy.

Northern Virginia Community College Threat Assessment Policy

  1. Purpose: Northern Virginia Community College (NOVA) Threat Assessment Team (TAT) and Campus Assessment, Response and Evaluation (CARE) teams support a safe and secure environment for faculty, staff, students and third parties.
  2. Authority: § 23-9.2:10 of the Code of Virginia, requires institutions of higher education to have in place procedures for the prevention of violence on campus, including assessment and intervention with individuals whose behavior poses a threat to the safety of the campus community. The statute specifically calls for a threat assessment team that includes members from law enforcement, mental health professionals, representatives of student affairs and human resources, and, if available, college or university counsel.
  3. Applicability: This policy applies to concerning behavior demonstrated by all College faculty, staff, students and third parties.
  4. Threat Assessment Team (TAT): TAT identifies and assesses risks posed by concerning behavior. TAT responds to cases of severe and extreme risk within the entire college community. TAT provides guidance, recommends interventions and facilitates communication and coordination college-wide. TAT consists of the following members: (voting members) Director of NOVACares, Associate Vice President for Student Success and Enrollment Management, Chief of Police, the Director of Human Resources, Title IX Coordinator or designee, and NOVACares Case Manager (mental health professional). Non-voting members include: Associate System Counsel and Assistant Attorney General and NOVACares Program Manager.
  5. CARE Teams: Campus Assessment, Response and Evaluation (CARE) teams operate on the principle that early intervention is the best way to prevent a crisis situation. Each of NOVA’s campuses has a CARE team that coordinates support and strategies for students who may be distressed, struggling or in need of resources. Each Campus, as well as the Extended Learning Institute (ELI), has a CARE team with a chair appointed by the Provost. Each CARE team will consist of team members representing student services, law enforcement, teaching faculty and administrative faculty. Teams may consult with others as appropriate on a case by case basis.
  6. Reporting: Any member of the NOVA community anticipating, observing, or experiencing any aspect of threat, intimidation or violence that affects the NOVA community is expected to file an online NOVACares report. In an emergency, the reporter should first contact NOVA Police.
  7. Interpretation: Authority for interpretation of this policy rests with the Associate Vice President for Student Services and Enrollment Management.

Northern Virginia Community College (NOVA) Threat Assessment Process 2014

(Revised, 2017)

The genesis of the NOVA Threat Assessment Process occurred immediately following the passage in 2009 of Virginia Criminal Code Section 23-9.2:10 that mandated all colleges and universities to establish and operate campus violence prevention committees and threat assessment teams. The statute specifically calls for a threat assessment team that includes members from law enforcement, mental health professionals, representatives of student affairs and human resources, and, if available, college or university counsel.

College Threat Assessment Team Mission Statement:

The mission of NOVA's Threat Assessment Team is to assess potentially threatening behaviors, including communications, and provide steps to mitigate risk when an individual may pose a threat to self or others within the NOVA community.

A NOVACares database, maintained by the NOVACares Office, is utilized to track and document all threat cases, as well as other cases that are brought to the attention of the Office of Student Mental Health and Behavior that are not deemed as threats but as disruptions to the teaching and learning process.

For threat cases, CARE teams are operating on each of our six campuses and the Extended Learning Institute and are responsible for the additional centers and sites that are located near and associated with those campuses. CARE teams have authority to investigate and intervene in low-level student threat assessment cases. These cases are usually those in which members of the NOVA community need assistance in order to perform at their normal functioning level. At a minimum, teams meet on a monthly basis.

Care Team Mission Statement:

The NOVA CARE Team mission is to provide a systematic and professional collective response in instances where students’ behavior is concerning or disruptive to themselves, to others or to the community.

For disruptive behavior cases, the Deans of Students and Human Resources Consultants manage cases as they are received. The same database is used for documentation and tracking of these cases. As warranted, the College may take appropriate disciplinary actions for violations of the Student Code of Conduct.

For cases that rise to the moderate or severe threat level, the College Threat Assessment Team has the authority to address cases at the College. The members of this team meet monthly to review current cases, continue their training in the field of threat assessment, and to resolve issues as they arise. Decision-making in specific cases that are reviewed and assessed by this team involve using the team members’ professional observations and judgments and the following tools and resources:

  • Risk Assessment Guideline Elements for Violence (RAGE-V) (2006 The Association of Threat Assessment Professionals)
  • Structured Professional Judgment (2011 Hart, S. & Logan, C.)
  • NaBITA Threat Assessment Tool (2014 NCHERM Group, LLC)

This team is trained to respond quickly and efficiently to any and all incidents that pose a major risk to the NOVA community. This team uses added regional resources in the area of law enforcement and mental health on an as-needed basis.

All of the teams involved in the NOVA Threat Assessment Process embody the principles of collaboration, coordination and alignment of principles, to include:

LAW – POLICY – PROCEDURE – PRACTICE

We strive to be FAIR, OBJECTIVE, REASONABLE and TIMELY.

In accordance with the NOVA Administrative Council, the NOVA Threat Assessment Team works collaboratively with these other committees established to enhance the safety and security of all who attend and work at NOVA:

  • Violence Prevention and Education Committee
  • Safety and Security Advisory Committee
  • College Emergency Planning Committee

All documents related to the entire Threat Assessment Process are stored in the confidential NOVACares database. Anyone can submit a report of concerning behavior to NOVACares via the NOVA website. Each report is carefully screened by the NOVACares Office and then assigned to the most appropriate college authority for further investigation and response. NOVA does not provide mental health services (per the policy of the Virginia Community College System), but we do provide faculty, staff and students with resources and referrals.

All records are kept for a minimum period of seven years to comply with all Federal and VCCS requirements.

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