Violence on Campus and Threat Assessment

Policy number: 9.8

Policy section: Police & Public Safety

Revised Date: September 4, 2019

1.  Policy Statement

The University is committed to a workplace and academic learning and living environment free from violence and threats of violence. The University does not tolerate behavior, whether direct or through the use of University facilities, property or resources that:

  1. Is violent
  2. Threatens violence
  3. Harasses or intimidates others
  4. Interferes with an individual's legal rights of movement or expression
  5. Disrupts the workplace, the academic environment or the University's ability to provide service to the public

Violence in any setting on University campuses or in any educational program or activity is strictly prohibited. Violent or threatening behavior may include physical acts, oral or written statements, or non-verbal gestures and expressions, which may be considered harmful to oneself or others. Violence  may also include acts of domestic and/or relationship violence which intrude into the workplace or academic living and learning environments by endangering a person in the relationship or others, or acts of physical, sexual, and/or psychologically abusive behavior that are used to establish and maintain control over another person.

2.  Reporting Violent or Threatening Behavior

The University has established procedures that faculty,  staff, and students must report incidents of violence which occur on campus, or during any University-sponsored educational program or activity, or to report concerns about situations that could become violent. These procedures have been created to ensure that incidents receive an appropriate and timely response.

  1. All members of the University community employees are responsible for contacting the SMU Police Department with any report that was made to them of a potential threat, actual threat, or actual act of violence. This includes, but is not limited to: SMU faculty, staff, students, volunteers, contractors, and others as may be determined.
  2. Any faculty or staff member who has witnessed violent behavior or threats of violent behavior must immediately report it to SMU Police, the Office of the Dean of Students, or the Office of Human Resources, as applicable.
  3. SMU faculty and staff should immediately report any behavior which involves sexual misconduct or sexual harassment immediately to the Title IX Coordinator, or a Deputy Title IX Coordinator. Sections 51.251-259 of the Texas Education Code require any employee of an institution of higher education to promptly report certain violent or threatening acts to the SMU Title IX Coordinator, or Deputy Title IX Coordinator; failure to make such a report may result in termination. Administrative penalties against SMU, and criminal sanctions against the employee may also result as a failure to report.“Certain violent or threatening acts” means any incident that the SMU employee reasonably believes constitutes sexual harassment, sexual assault, dating violence, or stalking, which was allegedly committed by or against a student who was enrolled at, or an individual who was an employee of, SMU, at the time of the incident.
  4. In the event that violence is imminent or an individual’s safety is in question, the SMU Police Department should be contacted immediately. An imminent threat is when there is actual violent behavior, or when it appears that violent behavior is likely to take place, such as a verbal altercation that appears to be escalating. Call 8-3333 or 911.
  5. Faculty, staff, and students, shouldreport any behavior regarded as threatening or violent, even without an actual threat, to the SMU Police Department, the Office of the Dean of Students, the Office of Human Resources, and/or the Title IX or a Deputy Title IX Coordinator, immediately.

3.  University Response

The University will respond promptly and firmly to reported threats or acts of violence on campus, including, but not limited to, reports of incidents occurring in off-campus settings, such as study abroad or other SMU trips and events; hazing, and domestic violence. All reports will be taken seriously and addressed expeditiously. Individuals who are determined to have committed acts and/or threats of violence shall be considered in violation of this and other University policies and shall be handled in accordance with applicable University policies and procedures, in addition to federal, state, and local laws.

  1. Sanctions
    Individuals who engage in violent or threatening behavior may be removed immediately from the University premises, including students who live in University housing, and may be subject to discipline up to and including termination, temporary or formal suspension, expulsion, or other disciplinary action, arrest, and/or criminal and/or civil prosecution. Employees and supervisors may contact SMU Human Resources and/or the SMU Police Department for assistance in maintaining a safe work environment.
  2. Filing of False Reports
    any person who knowingly and intentionally files a false report shall be subject to disciplinary action that may include but is not limited to: termination, expulsion, and/or legal action.
  3. Retaliation Prohibited
    A faculty, student, or staff member who retaliates in any way against an individual, who has brought a complaint in good faith pursuant to this policy or participated in good faith in an investigation of such a complaint, is subject to disciplinary action, including but not limited to:  suspension, expulsion, or termination, in accordance with applicable SMU Policies.
  4. Violence and Threat Assessment
    The University has established a Violence and Threat Assessment Team which shall meet as necessary to assess individual cases involving university faculty, staff, students, and others whose behavior is considered potentially threatening, violent, or harmful to themselves or others and recommend appropriate responses in accordance with University policies. The Violence and Threat Assessment Team will be convened by the SMU Police Chief, or his/her designee, and is comprised of individuals from the following offices as applicable:
  1. SMU Police Department
  2. Risk Management/Environmental Health & Safety
  3. Legal Affairs
  4. Office of Institutional Access and Equity/Title IX Coordinator (if a report of alleged sexual harassment or sexual violence is received)
  5. Office of Counseling and Psychological Services
  6. Provost (if an SMU faculty member is involved)
  7. Human Resources (if an SMU employee is involved)
  8. Office of the Dean of Students (if an SMU student is involved)

Other staff or faculty, or both, may be invited to join on a case-by-case basis as determined by the Violence and Threat Assessment Team.

Revised: September 4, 2019

Adopted: August 12, 2010