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Behavioral Intervention Team

Mission and Purpose

The SUNY Canton Behavioral Intervention Team (BIT) will act in a proactive manner to assist students; maintain privacy and handle all matters discreetly; provide consultation and support to faculty and staff; connect students with needed resources; and recommend interventions or sanctions. The BIT will act in the best interest of the safety of the students, faculty, staff, College, and community.

Composition

The Behavioral Intervention Team will be composed of the following individuals, who will meet on a weekly basis when classes are in session:

  • VP for Student Affairs/Dean of Students: Chair of Behavioral Intervention Team
  • Chief of University Police/ Deputy Chief of Police
  • Director of Student Conduct
  • Director of Counseling
  • Director of Health Services
  • Director of Residence Life
  • Director of Diversity Affairs
  • Provost / Chief Academic Officer

Contact Information for 2016-2017 Behavioral Intervention Team Members:

Name Position Campus Phone
Courtney Battista Bish VP for Student Affairs/Dean of Students x7120
Alan Mulkin Chief, University Police x7777
Kristen Roberts Director of Student Conduct x7120
John Kennedy Director of Residence Life x7513
Melinda Miller Director of Counseling x7314
Patty Todd Director of Health Services x7333
Lashawanda Ingram Director of Diversity Affairs x7128
Douglas Scheidt Provost/VP for Academic Affairs x7202
Information about Behavioral Intervention Teams

The mass tragedies at Columbine and Virginia Tech focused the nation’s attention on what appeared to be a new and catastrophic form of violence in our schools and universities. While shootings on campuses have been documented since the late 1700’s, recent shootings have resulted in larger numbers of victims, often students and staff who were unknown to the shooter.

In an effort to prevent all forms of violence on our campus, SUNY Canton has formed a Behavioral Intervention Team or BIT. The BIT is designed to address threats and other incidents of troubling behavior and will be the primary decision makers of the campus in establishing a plan to protect students, faculty and staff from potentially violent situations. The Team consists of a small group of staff members who work closely with students. Many members are trained in evaluation and intervention in crisis situations. All members of the Team are particularly sensitive and aware of the need to protect the privacy of those who come to attention of the BIT. The Team is specifically designed to intervene with students who have acted in ways causing concern. If faculty or staff members come to the attention of the BIT, the Human Resources Department, University Police, or other appropriate agency will be contacted. The BIT may also be activated to assist the University in the aftermath of a violent situation on campus. (Adapted from SUNY Potsdam’s BEC Manual with permission)

Actions of the SUNY Canton Behavioral Intervention Team

The SUNY Canton Behavioral Intervention Team (BIT) meets on a weekly basis when classes are in session and will review all reported incidents of concern and students of concern. The BIT will then complete the following steps.

The BIT may become aware of a student/incident of concern by the following channels:

  • Online reporting form on the BIT webpage
  • Report/referral from a BIT member
  • Resident Assistant incident report
  • University Police referral
  • Report/referral from any campus or community member

Step 1. Assessment Process

  • While there is no single set of warning signs that will reliably predict behavior or campus violence, the assessment process looks for behavioral evidence that someone is planning or preparing to act out inappropriately or carry out some type of threat. Assessment will attempt to distinguish between threatening and non‐threatening cases in order to ensure the safety of the distressed person and any others potentially involved as well as to resolve concerns that initiated the inappropriate behavior.
  • Assessment assists in early identification of situations that may pose a threat to others, creates a baseline of information against which to assess future behavior, and provides a means for implementing interventions to increase the likelihood of a positive and safe resolution.

Step 2. Information Gathering

  • Once an Incident Report has been received by the BIT, the team implements the assessment process. The most appropriate time to include the individual in the process will be considered on a case‐by‐case basis.
  • In general, the BIT will gather preliminary information regarding the concern, and then a team member may interview the referred person as part of the initial assessment process. The interview will provide the opportunity for the individual to share his/her concerns about the situation and ask for needed assistance in solving it. Information gleaned in this initial interview will be helpful in determining appropriate intervention strategies.
  • That process may include any of the following data gathering processes:

    • Interviews with all available parties with information about the situation
    • Interviews with the person alleged to have displayed inappropriate/concerning behavior
    • Assessment by a mental health professional
    • Interview with any identified potential targets of inappropriate/concerning behavior
    • Contacting a student’s parents or family members if threat to self or others is apparent
    • Review of a student’s academic and disciplinary history
    • Legal/criminal background check

Step 3. Levels of Risk and Meeting

  • Based on all data gathered, the BIT will determine the level of risk that the behavior/situation poses to the individual and to others.
  • Once the situation has been assessed and the levels of risk have been determined, a Case Manager will be assigned and will meet with persons involved.

(Adapted from SUNY Potsdam’s BEC Manual with permission)