Salt Lake Community College has organized a team to keep an eye out for students in need of immediate psychological help.
The Behavioral Intervention Team, or BIT, provides a safety net for SLCC students, faculty and staff. The group works discretely to assist and support troubled students before they harm themselves or others.
“A lot of work that we [BIT] do goes on behind closed doors, it’s the work that nobody sees,” says Ken Stonebrook, Title IX discrimination manager. “If we can help a student, then we’ve done the service that we set out to accomplish.”
Occasionally, students may notice one of their peers exhibiting signs of distress, including anger, withdrawal, isolation or extreme mood swings. Thanks to the BIT, these type of behaviors don’t have to go unnoticed.
“You can file a concern report if you have a concern about a fellow student anonymously,” Stonebrook says. “The [student] that sits next to you in science class, on the first day they’re talkative and friendly, but as time goes on, they stop talking move to a seat in the corner of the class, those are the types of concerns that can get referred to the BIT.”
If the BIT decides to intervene, the Dean of Students and other team members gather and review any recorded history the student might have of incidents on campus.
The group also uses the misconduct quick tip guide, which helps to determine what risk priority the student poses. Risk priorities range from one through five, five being the top priority for the team.
“There are some cases that we [BIT] don’t have to intervene on; sometimes we contact and work with the student directly and create an action plan,” Stonebrook says. “That [action plan] could be a referral to tutoring services or a referral for counseling.”
Action plans are designed to fit that student on case-by-case basis.
“Obviously if we [BIT] gets notices of threats of harm to others or self from a student, we refer that to the appropriate law enforcement authority,” Stonebrook says. “We want to make sure that we take care of the student referred and all the students around at SLCC without them having to worry about anything bad happening.”
Melissa Flores, general counsel and legal representative for the BIT, believes the team makes a difference in providing a stable environment for all students.
“I do think that the BIT team provides an important service of balancing safety and support on campus,” she says.
Any SLCC student who has concerns about another student on campus can contact the Dean of Students at 801-957-4776.