Campus Assessment, Response and Evaluation (CARE) Team
It is the responsibility of faculty, staff, and students to immediately report any situation that could possibly result in harm to anyone at the college. Any member of the campus community may become aware of an individual or situation that is causing serious anxiety, stress, or fear. It must be noted, however, that behavioral assessment should not be confused with crisis management. A “crisis” may be defined as a situation in which a person may pose an active or immediate risk of violence to self or others. In these cases, the South Plains College Police should be contacted at 806-716-2396 or by contacting 911.
South Plains College is a member of the National Association for Behavioral Intervention and Threat Assessment (NABITA). Resources and tools published byNABITA will be utilized for risk assessment purposes.
The CARE Team consists of college personnel with expertise in law enforcement/threat assessment/tactical applications, college operations, medical and mental health, and student affairs. Membership is based on the position and not the individual. The members selected here have regular contact with campus community members in some manner, which will aid in the assessment of individual, and/or the authority to take the appropriate action, as needed. A collaborative process to assess concerning behavior will be used. Depending on the situation, additional personnel with specific areas of specialization or responsibility may be called upon to assist the team. The team may also consult other individuals as needed, such as a faculty member who has a concern about a student, a roommate, family member, local law enforcement, and/or a manager who has information concerning an employee. The CARE Team Chair will keep senior college officials advised of situations.
Team members are critical to the functioning of the team. They are responsible for completing ongoing training, attending meetings, and assisting with follow-up and intervention as designated by their categories.
Core members attend every meeting and have full access to the team’s electronic records database. If certain core members are unable to attend a meeting, they have designee backups who attend. The departments they represent are crucial to the CARE Team’s function. Many core members keep records in their own departments and can share this information with the team through the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act’s (FERPA) emergency exception clause or when a school official has legitimate educational interest (SPC Policy FAD). The Health and Wellness department operates under state confidentiality laws for their records, while Student Health services operates under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA).
Dean of Students: The Dean of Students chairs the team and attends all meetings. If the Dean is unable to attend, the Associate Dean chairs the meeting. The Dean organizes the agenda,
performs a cursory rating with the NABITA Threat Assessment Tool, ensures team members’ attendance, ensures that a risk level is assigned to each case during meetings, and coordinates the selection and implementation of interventions and follow-up for cases. The Dean maintains case data through an electronic reporting database called Maxient. Conduct data is kept in the Maxient database and is accessible during the meeting. This data is partitioned from the CARE Team. Conduct records are protected under FERPA and shared with the CARE Team by the Dean under the legitimate educational interest clause of FERPA.
Also included in the CARE Team under the Dean of Students role are the Dean of Reese Center, the Director of the Plainview Center and the Executive Director of the Lubbock Career and Technical Center.
Data Reporting Responsibilities:
• Brief overview of the incident report (team members should have already read the incident report in Maxient prior to the meeting).
• Financial Aid/Business Office information: Is the individual having difficulty paying the tuition bill or experiencing other financial aid concerns?
• Withdrawal information: Did the individual previously withdraw from school? Was the withdrawal for a medical reason?
• Conduct history of individual: Are there previous records of academic and nonacademic discipline concerns?
• Are there reoccurring themes of behavior or possibly escalating behaviors? Is the individual well known to student conduct?
• In any previous cases, what was the level of assessment using theNABITA Tool? If a behavioral baseline has been established for this individual, is the currently reported behavior in line with the assessment baseline or not?
• Academic history (e.g., high school and college transcripts, and recent grades from past terms): Are current grades consistent with what should be normally expected? Are there dips in grades with a return to normal? Is there anything about the degree program that impacts the situation?
• Current class attendance, participation, and demeanor: Is the individual attending? Was the person attending, but recently stopped? Does the individual take an active and constructive part in class discussions? Does the individual turn in assignments? What is the regular appearance and hygiene associated with the individual?
• Class disturbances addressed independently by the instructor: Has the instructor had any unreported issues with the individual, either during class or possibly online?
Chief of Police: Our campus has a sworn police department and the Chief attends each meeting. If the Chief is unable to attend, the Captain attends the meeting. The Chief provides liaison communications with local and federal law enforcement agencies, consults on CARE Team cases that have court or law enforcement elements, and assists with interventions on campus requiring a police presence. Police records are kept in Omnigo software, separate from student conduct and CARE Team records. These records are protected by FERPA and shared with the CARE Team by the Chief under the emergency exception clause of the law.
Data Reporting Responsibilities:
• Criminal History: Was the individual hired or admitted to the institution with a known criminal history? Could the same type ofbehavior be taking place now?
• Police Contact and Reports: There may be a report with no charges of which only the police department is aware. The individual may be a repeat witness to events; this may bring into question whether the person is actually part of that problem. Has the individual been a recent victim of a crime?
• Social Media: Are posts by the individual dark or concerning? Do they have threatening statements or overtones? Who are the individual’s “friends,” and what do they post? What groups, activities, etc., does the individual like? Are there writings on social media that could possibly be evaluated using theVRAW Campus Assessment Response and Education tool fromNABITA?
Director of Health and Wellness: The Director of Health and Wellness attends the meetings and the Assistant Director of Health and Wellness attends if the Director is unavailable. The Director of Health and Wellness receives information from the team to ensure collaborative communication and consults on issues of mental health, crisis, and disruptive/dangerous behavior. The Director of Health and Wellness keeps privileged medical treatment records in Therapractic. These records are protected by state confidentiality law, and information is only shared with the CARE Team when a student gives permission through a specific release of information or the expanded informed consent document. Exceptions to confidentiality law include danger to self and others on a need-to-know basis.
Data Reporting Responsibilities:
• The team member from the Health and Wellness Center most likely will not share any knowledge of a particular individual unless a release has been signed or there has been a public incident, such as suicide attempt in a resident hall. The Health and Wellness representative may be able to speak professionally to the public knowledge of an event.
• Health and Wellness may also be able to share professional insight in a general sense, such as recalling a similar situation when working at another institution.
• Health and Wellness may assist by educating the team about certain disorders that present in the individual based on observable behaviors being described by other team members at the meeting.
Associate Dean of Students: The Associate Dean of Students attends the meetings. They offer insight into residential life students, after-hours emergencies, and targeted intervention with Resident Advisors (RAs) and Hall Directors (HDs). Residence life records are in StarRez and Maxient and these records are covered under FERPA. Information is shared with the CARE Team under the legitimate educational interest clause of FERPA.
Data Reporting Responsibilities:
• Incident Reports: Are there any residence life incident reports on the individual? Have professional staff or student staff interacted with the individual?
• Room Condition: Does residence life have a vehicle for conducting a room inspection? Is the individual unusually clean? Is the room a health hazard? Are there pictures or posters of concern (e.g., depicting guns, death, or destruction)?
•Roommates’ Impression of the individual: Care should be taken in obtaining thisinformation as to not violate FERPA.
•Recent Room Changes: Does the individual havedifficulty making friends?Is the individual intentionally creating a roommate conflict to drive others away and get a private room?
•Recent Maintenance Requests: Are there unusualpatterns of requests?Is there more thanwhat would be considered normal wear and tear on the room?
•Student organization information: Is the individual a member ofa student organization?Are there systemic problems associated with thatorganization?
Case Manager: Each individual with a CARE Team case is assigned a Case Manager who is a member of the Core CARE Team group. The Case Manager ensures documentation in Maxientfor the cases they are assigned. The Case Manager may also do the assessment of the individualusing the SIVRA-35 or other tools as needed. TheCase Manager keeps records within Maxient under the CARE Team, and these records are considered to beFERPA protected. These are visible to all members of the core.
Data Reporting Responsibilities:
•Case Management Notes and Interactions: What are the Case Manager’s interactions and observations? Have goals been discussed and established with the individual? If so, what is the progress?
Circle Membersare invited to meetings but servein departments that are not required to berepresented forevery case presented to the team.If circle members are unable to attend a meeting, there are no backups to represent them. They do not have access to the electronicdatabase. The case manager or core team member may reach out to these individuals whenneeded. This can be reported on in the CARE Team meeting or the individual can attend.
•Director of Disability Services:The Director of Disability Services consults and offersguidance on issues ofacademic, residential, and other accommodations. If this person isunable to attend a meeting, reports or other usefulinformation should be sent to the Chair of the CARE Team. Records in the disability services office are protected under FERPAand exist in AIM. Information is shared with the CARE Team under the emergency exception clause ofFERPA.
•Veteran’s Advisor:TheVeteran’s Advisor is available to consult with the CARE Teamwhen the individual is or has related to military service. The staff person has the ability to determine a student’s veteran’s status, has a deeper understanding of localveteran resources and experience with assisting those returning from active duty.
•Title IX Coordinator:The TitleIX Coordinator attends the meeting when there is aTitle IX matter that overlaps in a way that is useful for both the TitleIX Coordinator and the CARE Team to discuss. Records for TitleIX are kept separateand confidential from the CARE Team and theTitle IX Coordinator does not have access to the Maxient database.
• Human Resources: The Director of Human Recourses (HR) speaks to issues related to reports concerning faculty or staff members, as well as student-employee situations. Depending on the need for privacy, the HR Director may work with a subset of the CARE Team to assess and develop intervention strategies for the faculty or staff in distress. Records for faculty and staff cases that come to the CARE Team are kept within the human resources database. Data Reporting Responsibilities of the Human Resources representative include if the personnel files indicate a criminal history, letters of correction or reprimand, letters of accommodation, complaints from other employees, appeals, or grievances filed?
The team meets bi-weekly on Wednesday afternoons from 3:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. The team meets in the Dean of Student’s office in the Student Services building or on a Microsoft Teams Meeting.
Core team members gather basic data on an individual in their respective areas. Members have policy and practice experience, and “have the authority to take independent action when needed.” For their data-reporting responsibilities, individual team members bring their respective data to the CARE table during the initial discussion of an individual.
Members will know about the individuals on the agenda prior to each meeting. This enables members to gather the expected information from their area and report to the team. As team members are delivering their reports, care should be taken not to interrupt the speakers, except to ask a clarification-‐type of question. Other members may take notes, but should remain unemotional and non-‐judgmental at this time.
While each meeting can be adjusted by the CARE Chair and the team membership, generally speaking, the first 15–30 minutes of the meeting are to be spent reviewing previous cases, obtaining updates, and assigning action items to team members. The remaining meeting time is spent going around the room and soliciting new cases from team members. When addressing new cases, the meeting flow is respectful of the Three Phase Process, which is at the heart of a CARE Team and consists of: 1) gathering and presenting data; 2) applying a rubric/analyzing data; and 3) implementing an appropriate intervention.
Team members who have new cases to share at the CARE Team meeting will, whenever possible, highlight and share these cases for the CARE Chair so that the person in that position can research the cases and better manage the meeting time and flow. This should be done before the meeting to allow the Chair time for research and meeting management planning.
It is the CARE Team Chair’s responsibility to keep the team on task with this simple yet crucial process flow. To accomplish this, the Chair will use the De-Escalation Decision Tree (D2T) published by NABITA. Extra time in meetings is dedicated to checking in on team members, reviewing policy, or conducting tabletop exercises. Meetings are not canceled if there are no new cases to discuss, as these times are dedicated to tabletop training. Details from each case presented to the CARE Team will be written into Maxient during the meeting by the Case Manager to ensure consistency of record-keeping.
The CARE Team conducts business by three means:
• Preliminary Response Meeting: Once a report is received, a preliminary response meeting may be conducted by the CARE Chair and the CARE Team member having administrative responsibility for the individual. Other appropriate CARE Team members may be consulted and included during this initial evaluation. These team members will investigate the submitted report and, if appropriate, convene the CARE Team for an emergency meeting. Otherwise, these findings will be reported at the regular team meeting, as described above.
Initial Evaluation May Include:
1. Review of the CARE Team database and available information the individual.
2. Sending information out about the incident to other CARE Team members via Maxient to begin gathering additional information about the individual.
3. Discussions to confirm areas of corroborating evidence.
4. Other relevant information as deemed appropriate to ensure the safety of the college community.
5. Determining an initial rating on the NABITA Threat Assessment Tool. If the report indicates a more serious concern (i.e., moderate/elevated or above on the NABITA tool) then the CARE Team Chair notifies pertinent team members to assess and mitigate the risk. It may be determined that additional assessment should occur prior to the next regular team meeting.
6. The case is added to the next regular team meeting agenda as appropriate.
• Regular Team Meeting: Described above, these meetings occur on the first and third Wednesday of each month and are designed to review previous cases, assess the status of interventions and follow-ups, determine risk ratings and interventions for new cases, and provide regular opportunities for training. Training may be scheduled or provided at regular meetings during quiet times and may include tabletop exercises, discussion of current topics in the news, reading assignments, and webinars. Other trainings should include attending conferences and similar opportunities when possible.
Case review will include:
1. Follow up on previous cases, update risk level, assign team member for intervention;
2. Briefing on the preliminary response meeting by the CARE Team Chair or designee;
3. Review of available data, documentation, interviews, and other relevant information;
4. General discussion guided by the D2T;
5. Assignment of a risk rating on the NABITA Threat Assessment Tool; and
6. Recommendations by the team for appropriate intervention(s).
• Critical Incident Response Meeting (CIR): In the event that an individual attempts or dies by suicide, there is an apparent threat or danger to the campus or community members, or an event has occurred that may require the immediate attention of the CARE Team, a CIR meeting may be called by the Chair. This should not be confused with an active crisis, which is managed by the SPC police. Any actions or recommendation of a CIR should be reviewed at the next regular team meeting.
Phases of Operations
• Prevention: While all phases of operations seek to prevent violence, harm, and crisis, the CARE Team also seeks to prevent the presence of concerns on the campus through education and initiatives related to various risk factors for violence and self-harm.
• Data Gathering: Data is gathered through reports to the CARE Team, review of academic and employment records, follow-up interviews, criminal history records, discussions with faculty, supervisors, family and friends, and any other means deemed appropriate and necessary.
• Analysis: Once submitted, the report will be forwarded to the CARE Chair and members of the team for review. The report will automatically become part of the electronic database used for the active assessment of persons of concern and to generate report data.
• Assessment: The team uses multiple assessment tools to rank level of risk to the community (e.g., the NaBITA Threat Assessment Tool, SIVRA-35, and WAVR-21).
• Intervention: The CARE Team will, by way of the appropriate college office or officials, investigate and respond to reported behavior indicating that a student, faculty, staff, or other college community member may pose a risk to self or others. Interventions are based on the NaBITA Threat Assessment Tool’s recommendations for action based on the established risk level.
• Follow-up: The CARE Team may refer students, faculty, or staff members to professional counseling, make recommendation(s) for the filing of criminal charges, facilitate medical withdrawals, assign the individual to the Case Manager, or take other actions deemed appropriate.
• Evaluation: The CARE Team evaluates the intervention, recording the number of students retained on their course of study, suspended, or permanently excluded from campus. The CARE Team reviews cases to see what lessons can be learned for future interventions. It informs our anti-discriminatory practices by addressing issues of equality and diversity. Statistical data from the evaluations are then used as part of the annual report, which appraises the work we have achieved over the last academic year.
• Training and Development: Based on the evaluation, the CARE team develops monthly training goals and activities to improve team functioning.
The CARE Team is responsible for:
1. Developing and implementing educational and training programs for all members of the college community with regard to behavioral assessment. This should include publications and promotional materials designed to create awareness, understanding, and participation with the CARE Team.
2. Maintaining a current website, which can be easily accessed from the college’s home page and other relevant departmental pages. This site should include links to informational and referral sites, and instructions for filing a report with the CARE Team.
3. Receiving, coordinating, and assessing referrals received from faculty, staff, students, and others regarding persons of concern.
4. Coordinating interventions and resource assistance for persons of concern.
5. Reviewing applications for admission to the college of students who indicated that they have a criminal record or currently have charges pending; or students who were suspended or expelled from a previously attended college or university. This will be accomplished by means of a CARE Team subcommittee with the Dean of Students, Chief of Police, and Dean of Enrollment Services.
6. Reviewing applications for readmission of students who were suspended for disciplinary reasons or who were involuntarily administratively withdrawn from the college. These applications will be brought to the attention of the CARE Team by the Dean of Students.
7. Providing an annual report to the Vice President for Student Affairs.
This student affairs policy/procedure will occur by April 15 of each year by the CARE team with recommendations for revisions presented to the Dean of Students by May 1.
Updated: January 5, 2021