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Threat Assessment

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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 to establish and operate campus violence prevention committees and threat assessment teams. The statute specifically calls for a threat assessment team that shall include 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 our College. As a result, both the campus CARE (Campus Assessment, Response and Evaluation) teams and the college-wide Threat Assessment Team were formed. On September 9, 2011 this 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.

What We Do

A NOVACares database, maintained by the NOVACares Office, tracks and documents all threat cases and other cases that are brought to the attention of the NOVACares Office, that are not deemed as threats, but as disruptions to the teaching and learning process.

CARE teams are operating on each of our six campuses and the Extended Learning Institute to handle threat cases. The teams are also responsible for the 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. Teams meet on a monthly basis.

The Deans of Students (or their designee) manage cases as they are received for student disruptive behavior cases. Human Resources Business Partners take the lead for intervention, often working with Managers and Academic Deans to resolve the issues for faculty and staff reports. The College may take appropriate disciplinary actions for violations of the Student Handbook or Employee Handbook. All information in the database is access restricted to need-to-know responders.

The College Threat Assessment Team assesses and has the authority to address cases at the College that rise to the moderate or severe threat level. 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. This team is trained to respond quickly and efficiently to any and all incidents that pose a major risk to the NOVA community. The 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:



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.