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ENDING CAMPUS VIOLENCE: NEW APPROACHES TO PREVENTION Dr. Brian Van Brunt, Ed.D Director of Counseling Western Kentucky University NaBITA Advisory Board.

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Presentation on theme: "ENDING CAMPUS VIOLENCE: NEW APPROACHES TO PREVENTION Dr. Brian Van Brunt, Ed.D Director of Counseling Western Kentucky University NaBITA Advisory Board."— Presentation transcript:

1 ENDING CAMPUS VIOLENCE: NEW APPROACHES TO PREVENTION Dr. Brian Van Brunt, Ed.D Director of Counseling Western Kentucky University NaBITA Advisory Board Member

2 Ending Campus Violence: New Approaches to Prevention Prevention/dp/0415807441

3 A student posted the following last month…

4 Today’s the day, I’ve been waiting for this for a long time…I’ll be in the spotlight when the room becomes all mine. I had a future and I still do if I play it right. No fuck it, I had this plan its too late now, so say goodnight. Every human contact that I’ve had always awakens flight When I let my true self out so I don’t instead I stay inside.

5 Most wish that they were batman, I’m more like the joker, to be honest. The sun is an illusion, but I’ll light up the world, I’ll take out the men and the women and all the boys and girls. The kids, they are just as bad, as their parents they are just clones. I’m headed to the movies now this characters is not scared. But the supporting actors might just jump out of the chairs, not-nah, the jokers here forget your meaningless prayers.

6 Kent State sophomore and computer science major, William Koberna, was detected by University officials monitoring social media mentions of the school when a profanity laced tweet. The public tweet mentioned Kent State, identified the university president by name and included a threat that he planned to be “shooting up” the school. 7/25/2012 charged-threatening-school-twitter/

7 7 Seeking attention, expressing frustration: Some students are frustrated and don’t have any other outlet to express their frustrations. They turn to social media as a voice for attention. Understanding Why

8 8 On August 30 th and September 28 th, the Des Moines Area Community College Community College (DMACC) detected two separate threatening statements made about its school via Twitter™. “Who wants to shoot up the DMACC Ankeny campus the same time I shoot up the Urban campus?” and “blow up DMACC” Alex, T. ( 2011, August 30 ). Threat to shoot up Des Moines college campus draws quick response.

9 9 Understanding Why On April 29 th 2011, Taiwanese exchange student Ching-Han Hu posted on her Facebook™ page “My current wish is to take gun and shoot all my classmates, enjoying their blood and scary." This followed an argument with another student about a seating assignment in Orchestra class. Ching-Han defended her actions explaining guns are very difficult in China and this was not a serious threat, but a moment of poor judgment. Seigle, M. ( 2011, April 29 ). UCA student threatens shooting on Facebook.

10 10 Understanding Why On January 29, 2012, Umass student Tyler Molander distributed over 4000 letters under the doors of students living in UMass dormitories. The odd letter was seen as threatening by some and necessitated a law enforcement response.

11 11 Trolling: The art of deliberately, cleverly, and secretly pissing people off, usually via the Internet, using dialogue. Understanding Why

12 12 Actual threat: A direct communicated threat that is leakage for a potential plan they have to attack. When violent writing or other content is discovered, it should be explored. “Writings, drawings, and other forms of individual expression reflecting violent fantasy and causing a faculty member to be fearful or concerned about safety, should be evaluated contextually for any potential threat” (O’Neill, Fox, Depue and Englander, 2008, 31). Understanding Why

13 13 Jared Loughner posted odd YouTube™ videos about Pima College prior to his shooting in Tucson in January 2011. Understanding Why Couch, A. ( 2011, January 12 ). Arizona shooting suspect Jared Loughner: 5 of his strange ideas. Christian Science Monitor.

14 14 In 2009 at Henry Ford Community College, Anthony Powell fired a shotgun at a black female college student before using a handgun to kill himself. He had posted a series of hate-filled You Tube™ videos about atheists prior to the shooting. Understanding Why Chicago Tribune staff ( 2009, April 11 ). Two Shot At Michigan Community College. YouTube clip: “I’m really thinking about killing myself. I think I am going to do it. I’m just scared.”

15 15 Matti Juhani Saari wrote of his hatred for mankind and posted several threatening YouTube™ clips prior to his 2008 Finland shootings. Understanding Why Charter, D. ( 2008, September 26 ). Finland: classroom killers conspired to slaughter schoolmates. The Times, UK

16 16 Kazmierczak came into Cole hall in 2008 and killed 5 students and injured over 21 and then killed himself. Understanding Why Vann, D. ( 2008 ). Portrait of the School Shooter as a Young Man. Esquire, 150 ( 2 ): 114.

17 17 Kimveer Singh Gill (Payne, 2006) posted on a social media site the day before his attack: “People are so ignorant - September 12, 2006, 12:56:am Fuck people Fuck Life Fuck god.” Understanding Why Doug, S. ( 2006, September 15 ). Gunman’s Writings Presaged Rampage. The Washington Post.

18 18 Seung-Hui Cho brought a hunting knife to a party and proceeded to stab the carpet repeatedly prior to his 2006 shootings. Understanding Why

19 19 In a note left after the 2002 attack he writes, “I guess what it is about is that it is a reckoning. A settling of accounts... and arrogance of authorities. The University is filled with too many people who are filled with hubris. They feel untouchable.” Understanding Why New York Times ( 2002, October 31 ). Gunman in Arizona Wrote of Plan to Kill. The New York Times, p. 18.

20 20 Luke Woodham wrote in his suicide note, “It was not a cry for attention, it was not a cry for help. It was a scream in sheer agony saying that if I can’t pry your eyes open, if I can’t do it through pacifism, if I can’t show you through displaying of intelligence, then I will do it with a bullet.” Understanding Why Chua-Eoan, H., & Monroe, S. ( 1997 ). Mississippi gothic. Time, 150 ( 16 ): 54

21 21 Marc Lépine wrote in his suicide note, “Would you note that if I commit suicide today 89-12-06 it is not for economic reasons (for I have waited until I exhausted all my financial means, even refusing jobs) but for political reasons. Because I have decided to send the feminists, who have always ruined my life, to their Maker.” Understanding Why National Post Staff ( 2006, December 8 ). Lone gunman: The Ecole Polytechnique massacre was a freak tragedy. So why is every man made to feel guilty for it? National Post.

22 22 Rise in social media usage (62% of adults) * Millennium generation, students feel unique and entitled to express their opinion Schools overwhelmed with the prospect of monitoring social media through conduct Freedom of speech concerns Missing something and tried in the court of the media (University of Colorado and Pima) * Connecting and Communicating Online: State of Social media (2012). Harris Interactive. Understanding Why Given…

23 A Behavioral Intervention Team (BIT) or Threat Assessment Team (TAT) is a group of college staff and faculty who assess at-risk situations on their campus and develop action plans to remediate the situation. Teams are typically made up of 5-7 members and meet weekly for 1-2 hours. We Need BIT/TAT

24 Behavioral Intervention Team (BIT) Student Crisis Action Team (SCAT) Communicating Action Response for Emergency (CARE) Care and Action for Students Team (CAST) Student Protection Response Team (SPRT) Action for Students in Suffering Team (ASIST) Ensuring Action for Students in Emergency (EASE) Action Crisis Team for Students (ACTS) Care Team, Campus Partners, Networks We Need BIT/TAT

25 Deans of Students (114 teams), often synonymous with Vice Presidents of Student Affairs (61) Counseling Center Directors (153 teams) Directors of Departments of Public Safety (139 teams) Housing Directors (125 teams) Student Conduct Officers (112 teams) Health Services Directors (81 teams) Faculty Representatives (72 teams) University of Louisville’s 2010 survey We Need BIT/TAT

26 Increase information sharing Walk in each other’s shoes Task/goal oriented to solution More cooperation Go beyond basic department responsibilities Reduce Silos We Need BIT/TAT

27 Improve Communication More frequent interaction Understanding different perspectives Knowing other departments Cross training/conferences We Need BIT/TAT

28 Collective identification of at- risk student behaviors Careful analysis and understanding the context Group approach to developing action plan Mitigate Risk We Need BIT/TAT

29 Identify threatening and dangerous behavior, thoughts and attitudes Develop threat assessment techniques to assess threat Identify Threat We Need BIT/TAT

30 Student FamilyTherapyADA/TutorFacultyConductHealthStaff/DOS Connect to Resources We Need BIT/TAT

31 Ability to be connected to campus Quick response to high risk concerns Delegation of tasks on team for follow-up Clear documentation to create “paper trail” Stance on “sensors” vs. open referrals Stance on advertising vs. “star chamber” Behavior based, not diagnosis or opinion Commitment to meet, train, review, improve (faster, better, stronger…) We Need BIT/TAT

32 32 Rampage shooters don’t just “snap” – There is often a long history of planning and developing their agenda, mission, revenge or larger purpose to their attack. – BIT and TAT teams have an opportunity to gather information and hopefully identify an at-risk student as they escalate on the path to violence. – This isn’t done to target and “neutralize” risks, but instead to indentify potentially concerning behavior and connect them to services and supports in order to build connection and reduce the potential risk. Understand Cognitive Aggression

33 33 Need an Example? Look to Anders Breivik in Norway… – Planned his attack over 10 years – Painstakingly detailed his acquisitions of weapons, bomb making materials – Developed an exercise, nutrition and drug enhancement program – Conducted test runs – Buried weapons and ammo – Protected plan from friends – Practiced skills on simulation games – Investment in daily rituals Understand Cognitive Aggression

34 34 Early stages of the cognitive aggression model point toward behavioral symptoms to identify: – Level One: Hardened Point Of View – Level Two: Harmful Debate – Level Three: Action versus Words Understand Cognitive Aggression

35 35 What should we do? Initial Response: Make it conservative based on a worst case scenario Threat Assessment Interview: Build rapport and connection, following principles: – Is this a direct communicated threat? – Is there an action and time imperative? – Are there organized or disorganized thoughts? – Is their a focus or fixation to threats? – History of instability, impulsive action

36 36 Asses if he has the plans, tools, weapons, schematics and materials to carry out an attack on a potential target. – (e.g. he has begun to acquire weapons, make lists of weapons or objectives) – US Post Office (2007); ATAP (2006); Turner and Gelles (2003) What should we do?

37 37 He increases his perseveration on the person or object he is targeting. – (e.g. talking incessantly about person or place, borders on ranting) – Meloy et al. (2011); ASIS and SHRM (2011); ATAP (2006); Turner and Gelles (2003) What should we do?

38 38 Determine if there is an action and time imperative to complete an attack on a target. – (e.g. indication of impending action such as: “They are going to be sorry if they give me a poor evaluation.” or “I’m going to take care of them this weekend.”) – Meloy et al. (2011); ATAP (2006); Turner and Gelles (2003) What should we do?

39 39 Ascertain the degree he is fixated and focused on his target in his actions and threatening statements. – “Everyone is causing me to fail at college” versus – “It’s Becky, that bitch, from the KGA Sorority that is going to pay” – Meloy et al. (2011); O’Toole and Bowman (2011); ASIS and SHRM (2011); US Post Office (2007); Turner and Gelles (2003) What should we do?

40 40 What should we do? DMACC’s marketing department used a company called radian6 out of Nova Scotia, Canada ( to detect the threat and notify authorities. Other companies that offer this type of “listening platform” include: Cisionpoint Vocus, Sysomos

41 41 What should we do? Break, Arson, Blow up, Kill, Payback, Weise, Fire, Shooting, Kaczynski, Virginia Tech, Hurt, Mayhem, Unibomber, Eric Harris, Ted Kaczynski, Die, Kazmierczak, Rape, Assassinate, Gun, Provoke, Carl Roberts, IED, Hit list, Fight, Seung-Hui Cho, Northern Illinois University, Shoot, Hitler, Shoot up, Slaughter, Destruct, Red Lake, Bomb, Hatred, VT, Violate, Bombing, Weapon, Destroy, Bombs, Plotting, Steven Kazmierczak, V- Tech, Maim, Manifesto, Branch Davidians, Jihad, Stab, Unabomber, Lash out, Cho, Massacre, Crush, Guns, Roberts, V Tech, West Nickel Mines, Explosives, Klebold, Rape, Attack, Anger, Trench coat mafia, North Hollywood Shootout, Loughner, April 20, Columbine, Waco, Wound, Oklahoma City, Adolf Hitler, Punch, Jeff Weise, Dylan Klebold, Murder, Jared Loughner, Suicide, Weapons, Bloodshed, Assassinate.

42 42 What should we avoid doing? Under-reaction: Following a ‘boys will be boys’ kind of attitude to avoid potential threat Over-reaction: zero-tolerance policies make it worse College administrations under-react, downplay threat and adopt a “students are experimenting and finding their voice”---missing a potential threat. College administrations over-react, employ knee-jerk zero tolerance polices ---exacerbating the threatener and running the risk of making the situation worse.

43 43 What should we avoid doing? “Do not rely on expulsion except as a last resort and unless absolutely necessary to ensure campus safety; authorities should avoid the temptation to simply expel students of concern to quickly resolve a risk. Isolated from other contingency and safety planning, this strategy sometimes can worsen matters. The final humiliation of expulsion may serve as a precipitating, or triggering, stressor.” Scalora, Simons and Vansly (2010, FBI Bulletin p.7)

44 44 What should we avoid doing? Let the media drive the train: Use solid threat assessment principles---not statements like: – “We’re not playing games,” Mansfield (Kent State) said. “When someone posts something like this, we’re going to respond immediately to make sure our campus is safe.”

45 45 Final Thoughts Respond quickly to potential threat Build connection, establish rapport Assess nature of threat Develop next step plan to mitigate risk – Counseling – Parent contact/involvement – Conduct meeting/probation Avoid knee-jerk, one-size-fits-all approach

46 46 Final Thoughts Attend to bullying behavior (both sides) Ensure access to counseling Attend to leakage of potential attack (manifestos) Avoid under/over reactions- Goldilocks Attend to conflicts with supervisor/authority figure Those feeling trapped and hopeless Obsessional hate toward others Sociopathic; taking pleasure in harm Reaction to conduct decision

47 47 Final Thoughts Ending Campus Violence: New Approaches to Prevention Campus-Violence- Approaches- Prevention/dp/04158074 41 details/9780415807449/

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