USC Threat Management Team protocol

The University of Southern California is committed to maintaining the safety of all USC campuses, facilities, activities, and events such that students, faculty, staff, patients and visitors can work, learn and receive healthcare in an environment free from violence and threats. USC’s Threat Management Team provides advice and counsel to the university when individuals exhibit disruptive, disturbing or threatening behaviors that could affect the safety and well-being of the university community.

Mission

Threat assessment consists of the process of identifying and responding to individuals who may pose a danger to themselves or others in the USC community, by distinguishing those who may simply be struggling and in need of assistance, and those where behavioral and environmental indicators suggest a real threat. The mission of USC’s Threat Management Team is to help the university to timely and appropriately respond to individuals exhibiting behaviors that may pose a threat to the university community. The team uses a proactive, collaborative and objectively fact-based process to identify and assess individuals exhibiting disturbing behavior, and to recommend appropriate responses and intervention strategies to the relevant decision makers. Whenever possible and appropriate, the team provides follow-up interventions and continued monitoring.

The Threat Management Team is composed of various staff members from the USC community. The Department of Public Safety (DPS), Student Affairs, the Office of Equity and Diversity, Human Resources and mental health professionals are all represented on the team.

Reporting a Concern – Immediate Threats

If you become aware of a situation that you believe poses an immediate threat to the safety of any member of the university community, including self-harm, notify DPS immediately at (213) 740-4321. When providing information please include your name, the concerning behaviors and who is exhibiting the concerning behaviors.

Reporting Concerning Behavior – Not an Imminent Threat

For non-immediate threats or concerning behavior by:

Students – report to Student Support and Advocacy (Student Affairs) at (213) 740-2421. An anonymous report regarding a student can also be made online by completing a Trojans Care for Trojans (TC4T) report at https://studentaffairs.usc.edu/trojans-care-for-trojans-tc4t/.

Faculty or staff – report to the Office of Equity and Diversity at (213) 740-5086.

Visitors or other community members – report to DPS at (213) 740-4321.

Please note that in any of the above reporting situations, the identity of the individual reporting the concerning behavior will not become a part of the reporting party’s academic or personnel record.

The Process

When a concern comes to the attention of Student Affairs, Equity and Diversity, or DPS, staff of these units will first assess situation to determine if the issue can be resolved within Student Affairs, Equity and Diversity or DPS, or if it warrants referral to the threat assessment team.

Concerns Regarding Criminal Conduct:  In the event that danger is imminent, contact DPS or local law enforcement. If the concerning behavior reported to the Threat Management Team suggests a crime may have occurred, DPS will immediately be contacted. DPS will determine whether a crime has taken place and whether the matter should be reported to local law enforcement. The Threat Management Team is not involved when determining whether a crime has occurred, but instead will determine, separately, whether there is danger or a threat that can be addressed with university services.

Upon referral to the Threat Management Team, the team chair or his/her designee will convene the team and assess the situation and all known facts. They will gather all necessary and relevant information in order to fully understand the situation and the potential threat, if any, to the community. During this time, the individual in question and other key witnesses or sources of information might be called on for interviews. Information that might be gathered could include information from witnesses to the behavior in question, previous threat assessment records, roommates, campus security, local police, academic advisors or work supervisors, residential staff, judicial officers, significant others, Student Affairs, or online searches. In addition, an initial screening of the person of concern may occur. Then the point person will assemble pertinent members of the Threat Management Team to evaluate the level of seriousness of the threat and develop strategies for risk reduction. Recommendations to university administrators and outside agencies may be appropriate. This can include requesting outside expertise to determine the best courses of action to reduce risk. The Threat Management Team will act fairly and as quickly as possible, focusing on the behavior suggesting potential threat. Most assessments do not require interviews and thus there is a high likelihood that an individual being assessed might not know that his/her behaviors are being discussed.

If the student or employee in question presents an immediate risk to the community, the Threat Management Team might recommend that he/she be immediately placed on an interim suspension or leave until a full assessment takes place.

Once the threat assessment process is completed, the individual in question may be made aware of the findings when there is a determination that the individual poses a threat such that further action needs to be taken. When appropriate, resources to assist the individual will be provided. The individual who first reported the concerning behavior will also be informed that the matter has been resolved and, when appropriate, offered a referral to support services.

In the unlikely case that an individual bringing forward a concern is found to have falsified a report, he/she will be subject to judicial ramifications, and any reparations that need to be made to the respondent will be implemented as appropriate.

The members of the Threat Management Team ensure that each case is treated with the utmost professionalism. Only the relevant information regarding an individual’s behavior is presented to the team. Decisions regarding interventions and/or USC responses to threats are judged solely on behaviorally-relevant facts. The Threat Management Team takes great care to not base any decisions or actions on stereotypes or generalizations. Additionally, the team does not judge people based on any aspects of their identity such as race, ability, sexual orientation, gender, national origin, religion, group affiliation, etc.

Please note that the Threat Management Team is not a disciplinary entity and thus there is a potential that an individual will also be subjected to judicial ramifications in accordance with SCampus, the Faculty Handbook, or staff employment policies and procedures.

Confidentiality of Reports

All information about possible threats to the campus community will be treated as confidentially as possible with the reporting individual’s and the community’s safety in mind. The information shared will be used to respond appropriately to the concerns raised. Any measures that need to be implemented to ensure the safety of the reporter will be done so with the assistance of DPS.

Additional Information

Any questions or requests for additional information should be directed to the Director of the Office of Equity and Diversity at oed@usc.edu.

Additional Resources

University members who seek support services as a result of a perceived or real threat can contact the following resources:

  • Student Counseling Center at UPC (213) 740-7711; HSC at (323) 442-5631
  • Center for Work and Family Life at both UPC and HSC (213) 821-0800