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The Threat Assessment Team

Because of Fall Break, this week’s SafeU theme focuses on staff readiness, which includes building a Threat Assessment Team—a group of staff dedicated to addressing imminent threats to campus, from both inside and outside the university.

October is SafeU Month at the University of Utah, and there will be dozens of opportunities to engage in safety awareness, education and training opportunities on campus. See what’s happening throughout the month here.

Week Two (Oct. 7-13) is Fall Break, so the SafeU theme this week focuses on staff readiness. Events this week include Lunch & Learns for staff with presentations such as an "Introduction to Mindfulness" and "Positive Psychology: Everyday Skills to Enhance Resilience."

This story highlights the beginning stages of building a new Threat Assessment Team (TAT)—a group of staff dedicated to addressing imminent threats to campus, from both inside and outside the university.

The Presidential Taskforce on Campus Safety recommended that the U create a formalized TAT as an adjunct to the U’s existing Behavioral Intervention Team (BIT), a group of people from across campus who bring diverse expertise and resources to any issue reported. While BIT primarily focuses on an individual’s concerns—for example, if someone has expressed suicidal ideations—TAT will consist of a smaller, more focused group of individuals who can take quick actions and make in-the-moment decisions for an urgent threat to the broader university community.

When hired, the incoming chief security officer will guide how TAT will function. In the meantime, Brian Burton, associate dean of students and director of Student Accountability & Support, and Dustin Banks, director of Support Services for U of U Health, chair of the health sciences’ BIT, and chair of the security committee for the health sciences, are leading efforts to research the best practices for TATs across the country in order to be prepared to advise the chief security officer and hit the ground running.

“We want to build this intentionally and carefully to make sure that we're not creating an additional silo of information,” said Burton. “Because our campus is situated next to a large city, there will always be threats to our campus, and determining how to manage and respond to outside threats will be the focus of this group.”

Over the past decade, TATs have been growing in various institutions—local and state governments and academic institutions are just a few examples. Burton and Banks are researching how TAT teams function to ensure the U has a strong model to support the campus.

 “We want the right people in the room in the moment to make good decisions with the hope of reducing the chance that something bad happens,” said Banks. “Many TATs include a chief of police, emergency management personnel, and psychiatrists to name just a few. It’s a group of people who are able to assess what’s going on and, if there is a threat, decide how to mitigate it.”

@theU will provide more details about the U’s TAT when it becomes formalized.

J. Willard Marriott Library book list for SafeU Month

This is the second list of books available through the Marriott Library that are related to safety issues being highlighted during October, SafeU Month—which coincides with Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

Each week will feature a new list.

  1. "To the Survivors," Robert Uttaro
  2. "After They Touched Me," Sharon Drake
  3. "Love, Me Too," Leta Greene
  4. "After Silence," Nancy Venable Raine
  5. "Lucky," Alice Sebold
  6. "Sex Without Consent: Rape and Sexual Coercion in America," edited by Merril D. Smith
  7. "Sexual Assault: The Victims, the Perpetrators, and the Criminal Justice System," edited by Frances Reddington and Betsy Kreisel
  8. "I Never Called It Rape," Robin Warshaw
  9. "Resurrection After Rape: A Guide to Transforming from Victim to Survivor," Matt Atkinson
  10. "It's Not About the Truth," Don Yaeger
  11. "A History of Rape," Georges Vigarello
  12. "The Wounded Heart," Dr. Dan B. Allender
  13. "Don't Tell: The Sexual Abuse of Boys," Michel Dorais
  14. "A Stolen Life," Jaycee Dugard
  15. "Preventing Sexual Violence: How Society Should Cope with Sex Offenders," John Q. LaFond
  16. "Sex Without Consent: Young People in Developing Countries," edited by Shireen Jejeebhoy
  17. "Life, Reinvented: A Guide to Healing from Sexual Trauma for Survivors and Loved Ones," Erin Carpenter
  18. "The Revolution Starts at Home," edited by Ching-In Chen
  19. "Women & Wars," edited by Carol Cohn
  20. "Tainted Witness: Why We Doubt What Women Say About Their Lives," Leigh Gilmore