Behavioral Intervention Team (BIT)

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The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign is committed to the safety of its students, faculty, staff, and visitors. The Behavioral Intervention Team (BIT) serves as the centralized body for discussion and action regarding students exhibiting aberrant, dangerous, or threatening behavior that might impact the safety or well-being of the campus community. The BIT, as outlined in the Campus Violence Prevention Plan, is founded on the principles of early intervention and proactive engagement to prevent violence and provide supportive services. Team members are committed to improving community safety through a proactive, collaborative, coordinated, objective, and thoughtful approach to violence prevention and supportive interventions.

BIT Leadership & Core Members

Rhonda Kirts

  • Acting Dean of Students

rkirts@illinois.edu

Justin Brown

  • BIT Chair
  • Associate Dean of Students

justbrow@illinois.edu

Katherine Snyder

  • Senior Assistant Dean of Students
  • BIT Case Manager

kzilmer@illinois.edu

Carla McCowan

  • Director, Counseling Center

cmccowan@illinois.edu

Bill Roberts

  • Associate Director, Counseling Center

wilro@illinois.edu

Tom Geis

  • Police Lieutenant, UIPD

tgeis@illinois.edu

Bob Wilczynski

  • Assistant Director of Residential Life/University Housing for Community Standards and Safety Programs
  • Assistant Dean of Students

rwilczyn@illinois.edu

Allison Kushner
(advisory only)

  • Assistant General Counsel

akushner@uillinois.edu

Robert Parker

  • Director, McKinley Health Center

rcparker@illinois.edu

Alexis Thompson

  • Assistant Dean of Students, Graduate College

athmpsn1@illinois.edu

What to Report

The campus community is responsible for actively participating in the recognition of concerning and threatening behaviors, as outlined below, and for reporting such behaviors to the Behavioral Intervention Team. The following guidance may help you, a member of the campus community, to identify observable behaviors or circumstances that indicate someone needs assistance, is at risk of disrupting the educational environment of others, or may pose a risk of violence.

Targeted violence is goal-directed behavior that most commonly results from the interaction of four factors: the person of concern, their potential target(s), the environment, and precipitating events. Additionally, targeted violence is rarely spontaneous; instead, it is usually preceded by a process of ideation, planning, and preparation. Thus, there are often observable behaviors or circumstances that indicate someone is in need of assistance and is at increasing risk for violence.

It is not always possible to know the significance of any single behavior taken out of context. The list below identifies risk factors that may indicate developing concerns. We ask that you report knowledge or observation of students exhibiting any of these factors/behaviors to the team so that we may assess the situation and provide what assistance and support may be needed.

  1. Motives for Violence: Evidence of a felt motive to act violently as a legitimate means to address a grievance or achieve an objective; e.g., to seek revenge or justice, end pain, gain notoriety, or bring attention to or solve a problem.
  2. Homicidal Ideas, Violent Fantasies or Preoccupation: Homicidal ideation or thoughts; preoccupation with violent themes, fantasies, weapons, or violent groups; approval of violence; identification with perpetrators of violence.
  3. Violent Intentions and Expressed Threats: Any threats, specific plans, or expressed intentions to harm (e.g., spoken, written, electronic, symbolic).
  4. Unauthorized Possession of Weapons: Evidence of bringing weapons to campus and/or to the workplace without proper authorization.
  5. Pre-Attack Planning and Authorization: Any behavior that is part of the research, planning, preparation, or implementation of an attack, including increased weapons acquisition.
  6. Stalking and Menacing Behavior: Stalking behaviors; pattern of fear-inducing harassment.
  7. Employee or Student Status-Related Problems: Recent or likely termination/suspension/dismissal; significant conduct, performance, employee/Student status issues. (Although nonacademic dismissals and significant conduct issues are important risk factors, the Office of the Dean of Students will already be aware of such issues in the case of most University Students.)
  8. Loss, Personal Stressors, and Negative Coping: Observable stress, desperation, despair, or humiliation in reaction to significant loss, death, rejection, or setback (e.g., death of a family member; breakup of a marriage or relationship; loss of status, financial resources, property, or good health; failed civil actions); generally very poor coping ability when stressed.
  9. Entitlement and Other Negative Traits: Strong sense of entitlement and self-centeredness; very defensive, blaming of others, intolerant; “black or white” thinking; preoccupation with felt insults; holds grudges; vindictive.
  10. Lack of Conscience and Irresponsibility: Callous disregard for or exploitation of others; lack of remorse for wrongdoing; habitual lying; habitual pattern of violating policies or laws.
  11. Anger Problems: Angry outbursts; “ready to explode” appearance; impulsive reactions to frustration; physical displays of anger (e.g., throwing objects, property destruction, vandalism; pattern of bullying, belligerence, intimidation; expression of anger leads to noteworthy fear in others; escalation in expressions of anger over days or weeks, or sudden absence of chronic anger).
  12. Desperation and Suicidality: Strong feelings of hopelessness or “nothing to lose”; suicidal ideas or actions, including history of attempts; anger associated with depressed mood or suicidal feelings; noncompliance with recommended mental health treatment.
  13. Paranoia and Other Psychotic Symptoms: Persecutory or delusional beliefs or hallucinations, especially if linked to an intention to attack perceived enemies; highly elevated, grandiose mood; impulsive behavior; agitation; anger or acts of violence associated with any of the above; noncompliance with mental health treatment for any of the above.
  14. Substance Abuse: Alcohol abuse or dependence; drug abuse or dependence; anger expression and/or violence associated with alcohol or drug abuse or dependence; recent history of treatment noncompliance for drug or alcohol problems.
  15. Isolation: Active avoidance of social and intimate bonds; increasing preference for isolation.
  16. Violence and Interpersonal Conflict: Violent behavior, especially recent, frequent, or severe; active protective orders and/or protective order violations; serial filing of often unfounded grievances.
  17. Domestic/Intimate Partner Violence: History of, especially recent escalation of, partner assault, harassment, surveillance, or stalking; history of assaulting previous partners; threatening contacts with partner on campus or in the workplace.
  18. Fixation: Any behavior that indicates an increasing pathological preoccupation with a person or a cause, measured by:
    1. Increasing perseveration on the person or cause, e.g., bringing up the person/cause or continuing to discuss the person/cause when the topic is not socially relevant or appropriate.
    2. Increasing negative characterization of the person or cause.
    3. Increasingly strident opinion.
    4. Impact on the family or associates of the person, if they are aware.
    5. Angry emotional undertone.

    The Behavioral Intervention Team also encourages employees to report information about students exhibiting any of the following behaviors 2 :

    • Social or occupational deterioration, e.g., unexplained or unusual absences from work or school;
    • Extreme or sudden changes in behavior;
    • Resistance to change, feedback, or reasonable limits;
    • overreaction to changes in policies or procedures;
    • Numerous conflicts with others;
    • Displays of paranoia or distrust; nonsensical or incoherent speech; or
    • Intimidating or aggressive behavior.

Please note that these examples are not all-inclusive, and this information is not intended to be used as a checklist. If you are concerned about a student, even if you cannot identify specific risk factors, please contact the team. We would like to assist you and the student.

1 Warning behaviors adapted from:

  • White, S. G., & Meloy, J. R. (2010). The WAVR-21: A structured professional guide for the workplace assessment of violence risk, Second edition. San Diego, CA: Specialized Training Services.
  • Meloy, J. R., Hoffman, J., Guldimann, A., & James, D. (2012). The role of warning behaviors in threat assessment: An exploration and suggested typology. Behavioral Sciences and the Law, 30, 256-279.
  • Meloy, J. R., Hoffman, J., Roshdi, K., Glaz-Ocik, J., & Guldimann, A. (2014). Warning behaviors and their configurations across various domains of targeted violence. In J. R. Meloy & J. Hoffman (Eds.), International handbook of threat assessment (pp. 39-53). New York, NY: Oxford University Press.

2 Virginia Tech Threat Assessment (https://threatassessment.vt.edu/do-your-part.html), and Illinois Community of Care (http://odos.illinois.edu/community-of-care/referral/#concerning-behavior)

How to File a BIT Report

There are two primary ways to report concerns:

  1. File a report online through our online referral form. This provides a quick method to bring a concern to the attention of the Student Assistance Center and Behavioral Intervention Team.
  2. Call the Office of the Dean of Students at (217) 333-0050. During business hours, this number connects callers to the Dean on Duty, who can take the initial report of concern.

In either case, your report will be reviewed by staff in the Office of the Dean of Students. When filing a report, please include all relevant information pertaining to the student’s concerning behavior, while refraining from diagnosing or speculating about a mental health issue. Please provide a detailed description of the incident or concerning behavior, using language that is specific, concise, and objective. If there are relevant documents to include, please submit them with the report.

Please Note: Any information submitted in a BIT referral, whether in-person, over the phone, via email, or through the online referral form, becomes part of the student’s educational record, subject to FERPA, and may be disclosed to the student upon the student’s request.

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