I’ve never heard of a CARE team. Why does NVC need one?
CARE teams, or BIT (Behavioral Intervention Teams) as they are sometimes known, are increasingly common on college campuses. The idea is that through sharing of information about concerning behaviors, potentially harmful or disruptive situations can be addressed at the earliest stages, before behavior escalates and some type of crisis develops.
Who can report a concern to the CARE team?
Any member of our campus community, whether student, staff or faculty is encouraged to report their concerns.
What kinds of behavior should I report to the team?
Any behavior requiring immediate intervention such as imminent suicide, violence, or criminal activity should be reported to the campus police by calling 7777 from a campus phone or (707) 256-7777 from a cell phone.
Any behavior that raises concern for a person’s well-being, or that might indicate a potential threat to the safety of the campus community or cause a disruption to campus activities should be reported.
Do not hesitate to report any behavior that is troubling or makes you concerned. The behavior that one person reports may be an isolated incident and no cause for further concern, or it may be an indication of a larger problem that needs to be addressed. The Team attempts to understand the whole of a person's behavior patterns before making any recommendations for action.
What are examples of situations that should be reported to the CARE Team?
- Communication of suicidality or obsession with violence or death
- Comments in class that seem incoherent or confused
- A change in behavior, such as when a normally well-prepared, sociable student begins to appear disheveled, withdrawn, and depressed
- Difficulty dealing with a large life event
- Behavior that is menacing, hostile, or threatening, including stalking
- Frequent wounds or bruising which raise the suspicion of domestic abuse
- On-going disruption of classes or other campus activities
- Holding a grudge over a real or imagined grievance
- Failure to take responsibility for their own actions or the blaming of other people for their problems
Is my report anonymous? What if I am concerned about retribution or loss of trust by the person I report on?
Yes, your report is confidential, and so is the CARE team process. The Team will attempt to handle all matters discreetly. Often a person does not know that they have been the subject of a report. However the Team cannot guarantee that person(s) involved will not be able to determine the source of the report.
All information gathered during a case will be considered strictly confidential and will only be released within established institutional guidelines and legal mandates as necessary to accomplish the CARE Team’s mission.
Will the CARE team contact me after I make a report?
Yes. We will contact you to let you know that we have received the report and are initiating a case review process. Often we also need to get further information or clarification from the reporting party. If you do not wish to be contacted make that known in your initial report.
How does the CARE team respond to a report?
Investigation. The first step is often to contact the reporting person for more specifics. The team can gather information from a variety of sources, for example determining whether an individual has a criminal record or has purchased guns, whether they have been disciplined by NVC for conduct violations, or whether other staff or faculty have noticed any disturbing behavior. If needed the Team uses an investigative checklist to help determine the level of risk.
Management Plan. The Team, sometimes working in collaboration with faculty or staff, devises a plan based on their assessment of the behavior. The plan aims to minimize the threat if one exists, enhance the well-being of everyone involved, and decrease tension or confusion around a situation. The plan could include many elements, including advising the reporting party how to deal with the situation, connecting a student with resources such as psychological therapy or DSPS, or referring to the VP of Student Affairs for disciplinary action. Anyone deemed to be at risk of harm would be alerted. The Team itself often does not take direct action, but engages and coordinates other campus entities.
On-going monitoring. As the plan is carried out, the CARE team monitors its success. The Team’s aim is to assure that possible threats have been mitigated, inappropriate behavior has stopped, and the subject is getting any necessary help. The case is not closed until it is determined that no threat remains, and that other issues have been appropriately addressed.
If I report something, and it turns out to be innocent behavior, will I get a person in trouble?
No. Our concern is with the well-being of everyone, including the subjects of reports. Most of the time, reports will not result in a determination of high risk or need for disciplinary action. Often the CARE team will facilitate a referral to helpful resources for the person whose behavior raised concerns.
Will I be informed of the outcome of the case?
That depends on the situation. Various privacy and confidentiality considerations apply to the situations handled by the CARE team. A member of the Team will follow up with the person making the report when appropriate.