Responding to Threatening Behavior
What Can Faculty and Staff Do?
Preventing Threatening Behavior
Clearly state your policies on your syllabus and remember to include:
- Absence policies
- Late and make-up policy
- Grades and incompletes policy
- Office hours
- Preferred methods of contact
- Expected adherence to university rules/policy
- Know university policy and state law (student code of conduct, PDP 201-05; SSM 104-02; SPP 814; FERPA)
- Be aware of new technology issues and ways that students use technology
- Set conduct expectations at meetings with students
Responding to Disruptive Behavior
- Avoid assumptions and diagnosis; respond only to the unwanted behavior
- Don’t over-react (respond rather than react) and don’t personalize.
- State the facts without comment.
- When speaking with a disruptive student, be concise and do not allow the situation to drag on.
- Always be respectful (even if they are not); Remember to role model behavior, know your bias and fears and be open to the values of the students.
- Don’t raise your voice; be aware of the tone, volume, and cadence.
- Ask “how do you want this discussion to end?”
- Ask for specific complaints to be put in writing.
- Be aware of the emotional climate--boundaries--give a little space.
- Give the individual time to run down.
- Be receptive to problem-solving.
- Do not unwittingly reward disruptive behavior.
- Seek help, consultation, and referral (See Resources for Faculty and Staff)
Manage the Interaction
Three things are needed for someone to hurt someone else and those are a victim, an offender, and a place where it happens. Managing a threat requires us to examine how we can impact all three of those variables to reduce exposure to victims.
Have a plan ready ahead of time.
Conduct a safety review with ASU Police that can help you with:
- A personal safety plan that involves keeping sharp objects, letter openers, and scissors off your desk and avoiding having family pictures on display when dealing with someone who concerns you.
- A strategic safety plan identifies how to establish and utilize code words that indicate to units that help in needed, know and walk through escape routes, identify who might be the best person to call police or notify others in the work area that there is a problem or a need to evacuate, and diffuse conflict. Once a safety plan is created, you are encouraged to visualize the safety plan in your space so you are prepared when a crisis does occur.
End the meeting or ask the disruptive individual to leave; allow him/her to return when he/she has calmed down.
Know the resources available and utilize them.
If necessary, call ASU Police and/or file a formal complaint with Student Rights and Responsibilities.