Violence Prevention Policy


Imminent Violence - Immediate Action Required

All threats of violence should be taken seriously. Staff members, faculty members, students, or others are required to notify Security Services immediately at extension 3311 or call 911 if they observe the following:

  • A life-threatening situation that is in progress (e.g., physical confrontation, active shooter, robbery).
  • Acts of violence or threats of violence or other conduct indicating the possibility of imminent violence.    

If staff members, faculty members, students or others observe or hear a disturbance, they should not intervene. They should immediately notify Security Services at extension 3311 or call 911 to report the incident.  Calling either number can facilitate campus and/or police response appropriate to reported circumstances.

Policy Application

Staff Members, Faculty Members, Students and Others (see definitions) 

Purpose

The university is committed to providing a healthy, safe and secure learning and workplace environment. Staff members, faculty members, students, and others (persons affiliated or not affiliated with the university) have a mutual responsibility to maintain an environment in which the university's and each person's well being and property are respected. The violence prevention policy outlines what constitutes violence; the responsibilities of staff members, faculty members, students, and others; and the consequences of violating this policy.

Policy

The violence prevention policy applies to all staff members, faculty members, students and others present in the university environment.

The university prohibits violence or threats of violence in the university environment from any source, and will not tolerate or condone acts including, but not limited to, homicide, physical attacks, verbal threats, harassment, sexual assault, emotional abuse, verbal abuse, property damage, sabotage, or theft. It is a violation of this policy to:

  • Engage in violence as defined in this policy;
  • Use, possess, or threaten to use a weapon; or 
  • Misuse the authority granted to any staff member, faculty member, student, or other person in a way that violates this policy.    

The university is committed to:

  • Minimizing the risks of violence in our environment;
  • Responding to incidents of threats of violence, actual violence, or suspicious activities or behaviors;
  • Investigating reported incidences of violence in an objective and timely manner; and
  • Providing support for complainants.   

For purposes of this policy, the following definitions apply:
The environment is any facility, premises or room in which a staff member, faculty member, student, or other engages in university activities or university business whether on-campus or off-campus. This includes any location where a staff member, faculty member, student, or other engages in university activities or conducts business for the university including representing the university at conferences, offsite meetings, alternative worksites and riding in university-owned or personal vehicles on university business.

Violence is any violent behavior or action that threatens harm, causes death or bodily injury to oneself or others, damages property, coerces, harasses or intimidates others, interferes with an individual's legal rights of movement or expression, or disrupts the workplace, the academic environment, or the university's ability to provide services.

A weapon means any firearm, explosive, knife, club, or other object, replica or facsimile, that has been designed with the intent to harm another person or property, or any object used to inflict harm to another person or property. This definition does not include objects that are authorized, designated and used in accordance with departmental policies for operational, academic and/or recreational purposes (e.g., cutlery used in dining services operations, tools used in facilities services operations, props used in the theatre department, fencing equipment used in athletics) unless used in a way that is intended to harm another person or property. The university at its sole discretion will grant or deny the authorization and use of such objects. Staff members, faculty members, students, or others should disclose the intended use of objects that may fall into the definition of weapon as defined by this policy.  Note:  Examples of "weapons" also include, but are not limited to, pellet gun, BB gun, air-soft gun, paint gun, blackjack, slingshot, billyclub, sandclub, sandbag, metal knuckles, toy weapons (including squirt guns and nerf guns or any device capable of launching a projectile or substance) or any other device which could reasonably be mistaken for a weapon.

See additional definitions below.

Examples of violence include, but are not limited to:

  • Violations of the university's Weapons Policy.
  • Intentional, non-accidental physical contact that causes harm (e.g., slapping, stabbing, punching, shoving, or other physical attack).
  • Fighting, rough housing, or other conduct that may be dangerous to others.   
  • Destroying, damaging or sabotaging university property in all its forms. 
  • Threatening behavior that may be interpreted as intending to cause harm to individuals or property (e.g., throwing objects, making or transmitting statements intended to frighten, coerce, or threaten).
  • Threatening, intimidating, or abusive language (spoken or written) and/or gestures.
  • Intentional, non-accidental written, spoken, or physical acts that harms a staff member, faculty member, student or other; or has the effect of substantially disrupting the orderly operation of the university. 
  • Interfering with or preventing normal work or educational activities of others, including all forms of stalking, bullying and harassment that are so severe, persistent, or pervasive that they create an intimidating or threatening environment that interferes with a staff member's or faculty member's work or a student's education.
  • Harassment based on an individual's sex, race, color, national origin, religion, creed, age, disability, marital or familial status, sexual orientation, veteran or military status, gender identity or any characteristic that is legally protected under applicable local, state or federal law is also covered under the university's Campus Policy Prohibiting Harassment and Sexual Misconduct.

Reporting Threats of Violence, Actual Violence, and Suspicious Activities or Behaviors   

Anyone witnessing or becoming aware of prohibited behavior as outlined in this policy shall immediately report the behavior as outlined below:       

  • Threats of Violence and Actual Violence.  All threats of violence or actual violence, both direct and indirect, must be reported immediately to Security Services at extension 3311 or 253.879.3311, or the Tacoma Police Department by dialing 911. This includes threats or acts of violence by staff members, faculty members, students, and others. All reports will be handled in a confidential manner to the extent possible.

  • Suspicious Activities or Behaviors (non-imminent).  All suspicious activities or behaviors that are not imminent but have the potential to become threatening or violent must be reported promptly to the appropriate contact as outlined below:

  • Staff members are required to notify their supervisor, manager, department head, division vice president, or Human Resources (HR).

  • Faculty members are required to notify their department chair or the Academic Vice President's Office.

The Academic Vice President's Office, HR, academic department chairs, administrative vice presidents, and the supervisor, manager, or department head shall consult with the Security Services Director or designee regarding any threats about which they are informed or any threats that they receive or witness. 

  • Students are required to notify the Dean of Students Office.

The Dean of Students Office shall consult with the Security Services Director or designee regarding any threats about which they are informed or any threats they receive or witness.   

    If staff members, faculty members, students or others see or hear a disturbance, they should not intercede. They should notify Security Services at extension 3311 or 253.879.3311, or call 911.

    • No Contact or Restraining Orders.  Individuals shall notify Security Services promptly in the event a no-contact or restraining order is entered that names a member of the university community or identifies the university as a restricted location. Petitioners and respondents of no contact or restraining orders should also notify their supervisors of the order immediately and provide a copy of said orders to the Security Services Director.  Note:  For information about no-contact or restraining orders, visit the Pierce County Web site

    Procedures

    All reports of actual violence, threats and/or suspicious activities or behaviors will be handled in a confidential manner to the extent possible. The university will provide follow-up information to witnesses or victims regarding its investigations and/or findings as appropriate and in accordance with policies, laws, and regulations.   

    1. Following any report made in accordance with the procedures outlined above, Security Services will complete an Incident Report as appropriate based on the circumstances of the situation.
    2. Security Services will notify the Dean of Students Office, the Academic Vice President's Office, Business Services, the Communications Office and/or HR in a timely manner regarding all reports of actual violence, threats, and/or suspicious activities or behaviors.
    3. Security Services, the Dean of Students Office, the Academic Vice President's Office, Business Services, the Communications Office and/or HR will initiate an assessment process and may convene a meeting of the full or partial Critical Behaviors Response Team to assess a situation of critical campus safety, manage a threatening situation, and/or arrange a critical incident debriefing. Team members will be convened depending on the severity and nature of the situation and the constituency of violence perpetrators and victims (i.e. students, faculty, staff members and/or others). The university's Emergency Response Management Team may be convened in response to a violent act, depending upon the nature and severity of a situation.
    4. Media inquiries regarding incidents of campus violence will be directed to and handled by the Executive Director of Communications. 

    Violations of this Policy

    The university will first consider the need to provide a healthy, safe, and secure environment when responding to possible violations of this policy. The following factors may be considered when determining an appropriate response: the impact of the incident on the health, safety, and security of the complainant and/or the university community, the nature of the incident, the vulnerability of the complainant, the degree of aggressiveness and/or physical contact, and the period of time and pattern or frequency of the incident(s). In addition, the university will strive to balance the use of reported information, considering confidentiality, in accordance with the procedures of the Student Integrity Code, Staff Policies and Procedures, Faculty Code, or University of Puget Sound Code of Conduct as appropriate.

    Consequences for violations of this policy, at the sole discretion of the university, may include, but not be limited to, corrective action up to and including denial of university privileges, dismissal from participation in academic endeavors, termination of employment, or exclusion from campus or other consequences as determined by the university.

    Responsibilities

    • All university community members.  For purposes of this policy, all university community members are responsible to:
      • Comply with the provisions of the university's violence prevention policy;Upon witnessing or becoming aware of prohibited behavior as outlined in this Policy while at work, on campus, in a university environment, and when participating in any university activity or business, immediately report the behavior as outlined in the procedures above; and
      • Act respectfully toward other individuals while at work, on campus, in a university environment, and when participating in any university activity or business;
      • Secure their own immediate physical safety in the event of violence and immediately report any incidents, as the situation warrants, as outlined in the procedures above;
    • Supervisors/Managers.  In addition to the responsibilities required of all university community members, supervisors/managers are responsible to:
      • Exercise authority respectfully and appropriately; 
      • Promote and support a non-violent environment; 
      • Ensure that the university's violence prevention policy is disseminated and explained to all staff members in their area(s);
      • Identify training needs of staff members in their area(s);
      • Ensure that staff members understand whom to contact to report an incident; and
      • Act to ensure the security and safety of all parties involved during an investigation of a report or incident of violence.
      • Cooperate with any efforts to investigate and resolve matters arising under this policy.
    • Faculty.  In addition to the responsibilities required of all university community members, faculty members are responsible to:
      • Act respectfully toward other individuals while in the classroom and when participating in any instruction-related activity;
      • Exercise authority respectfully and appropriately; 
      • Promote a non-violent environment in their classrooms and departments; and
      • Act to ensure the security and safety of all parties involved during an investigation of a report or incident of violence. 

    Investigation

    The university will investigate all credible reports of threats of violence, actual violence or suspicious activities or behaviors. Staff members, faculty members, students, or others who exhibit threatening behavior, or engage in violent acts, may be removed from campus as quickly as safety permits. Reports of harassment may be investigated under the provisions of the Campus Policy Prohibiting Harassment and Sexual Misconduct.

    Commission of a Crime 

    Any member of the university community who believes a crime has been committed has the right to report the incident to the appropriate law enforcement agency.   

    Retaliation Prohibited

    This policy prohibits retaliation against staff members, faculty members, students, or others, who, in good faith, report a violation of this policy or who participate in the investigation of a situation under this policy. Any person who is found to have engaged in retaliation will be subject to appropriate corrective action, including denial of university privileges, dismissal from participation in academic endeavors, termination of employment, or exclusion from campus, or other corrective action as determined by the university. Every effort will be made to protect the safety and confidentiality to the extent possible of anyone who comes forward with concerns about a threat, an act of violence, or suspicious actions or behaviors. 

    Advice and Assistance Available  

    Staff members, faculty members, and students should seek advice and assistance from the appropriate office and/or Security Services for potentially volatile situations arising from academic sanction, job performance counseling or corrective action, dismissal from the university, or instances in which an individual's personal circumstances have the potential to result in violence (e.g., residential conflicts, domestic violence, or situations arising from organization or group membership). Security Services may contact law enforcement officials to inform and/or seek assistance in responding to such situations. 

    In circumstances where threat of harm is not imminent, staff members, faculty members or students involved in disputes are encouraged to take advantage of internal and external dispute resolution resources. Note:   For information about external dispute resolution resources visit the Pierce County Center for Dispute Resolution Web site.

    The university also encourages staff members, faculty members, and students to bring their disputes or differences with other staff members, faculty members, students, or others to the attention of their supervisor, manager, department head, the Academic Vice President's Office, the Dean of Students, and/or the Human Resources Department before the situation escalates into potential or actual violence.

    Students, staff members, and faculty members are also encouraged to use the university's confidential counseling services. Students have access to confidential counseling through Counseling, Health, and Wellness Services (CHWS) and the University Chaplain. Staff members and faculty members have access to confidential counseling through the university's Employee Assistance Program (EAP). 

    Training and Education 

    Through information and training, the university works to provide a healthy, safe and secure environment and minimize the risk of violence. The university works to provide related training and education for faculty members, staff members, and students (e.g. preventing violence, recognizing warning signs of potentially violent persons, and responding to and reporting violence or potentially violent circumstances).   

    Definitions/descriptions/abbreviations:

    Assault:  Attacking someone physically, causing bodily or emotional injury, pain and/or distress. This might involve the use of a weapon as defined above, and includes such actions as hitting, punching, pushing, poking, and kicking where the action is non-accidental and intended to cause harm or injury.

    Campus:  Any university-owned or university-leased property or any location where university activities are conducted or any location where faculty members, staff members, or students are considered to be representing the university. University vehicles and personal vehicles being utilized for university business are included in this definition. Campus violence can also occur at any location as a result from an act or decision made during the course of representing the university.

    Counseling, Health, and Wellness Services (CHWS): CHWS is a department of Student Affairs and provides counseling services, health care, wellness programs, insurance and immunization information, and more. 

    Domestic Violence:  Acts of physical and psychological violence, including harassing or intimidating behavior, that occur as a part of a personal relationship such as a partnership or other intimate relationship. 

    Employee Assistance Program (EAP):  A program for faculty and staff designed to assist faculty and staff and family members with workplace or personal problems (e.g. family, financial, substance abuse, emotional, marital).

    Intimidating behavior:  Behavior characterized by threats or other conduct which intimidates, frightens or inhibits others or impairs operations. Psychological intimidation includes making statements which are false, malicious, disparaging, derogatory, rude, disrespectful, abusive, obnoxious, insubordinate, or which have the intent to hurt others' reputations. Physical intimidation may include holding, impeding, or blocking movement, following, stalking, or other physical contact.

    Others:  Includes vendors, alumni, volunteers, visitors (including applicants for employment, neighbors, conference and event attendees, etc.).

    Restraining or no contact order:  A court order prohibiting a person from coming near or contacting someone. Often this includes prohibiting a person's presence at a place of employment, personal residence, and/or school.

    Threat:  Any oral or written expression or gesture that could be interpreted by a reasonable person as conveying intent to cause physical harm to persons or property. Statements such as, "I'll get him," or "She won't get away with this," are examples of threatening expressions.

    Related Policies:

    Campus Policy Prohibiting Harassment and Sexual Misconduct; Faculty Code; Weapons Policy; Information Use and Security Policy; Staff Policies and Procedures; The Student Integrity Code; Residence Policy; University of Puget Sound Code of Conduct.  

    Primary Violence Prevention and Response Offices:

    Office

    Phone Number

    Role

    Security Services

    253.879.3311

    Manage emergency response

    Process Violence Report Forms

    Refer to support services

    Human Resources

    253.879.3369

    Consult about staff and faculty situations

    Refer to support services

    Coordinate violence prevention and awareness training for faculty and staff

    Dean of Students Office

    253.879.3360

    Consult about student situations

    Adjudicate student conduct issues

    Coordinate violence prevention and awareness training for students

    Refer to support services

    Academic Vice President's Office

    253.879.3205 or 253.879.3207

    Consult about staff and faculty situations

    Refer to support services

    Associate Vice President for Business Services

    253.879.3203

    Address general policy, questions, suggestions, concerns

    Coordinate annual policy review and assessment

    Refer to support services

    Office of Communications

    253.879.3905 or 253.879.2611

    Respond to media inquiries

    Origination Date:  07/2009