University Secretariat and Legal Counsel

University Secretariat and Legal Counsel
University Secretariat and Legal Counsel

Students at Risk Policy

Category: Board of Trustees

Approval: May 12, 2017

Responsibility: Provost and Vice-Principal (Academic)

Date: May 12, 2017

Definitions:

Students at Risk: Students who engage in one or more of the following behaviours are referred to as Students at Risk:

  • Behaviour that gives rise to reasonable concerns about a threat or risk to themselves, other people or property;
  • Behaviour that causes significant disruption to, or interference with, the educational process, or interferes significantly with the lawful and proper activities or functions of Queen’s University, its staff, and/or members of the university community, due to issues that may pertain to their mental or physical health; or
  • Behaviour that suggests an inability or unwillingness to manage serious health condition(s), even with accommodation(s) if required, resulting in the student’s inability to engage in basic activities required to function in a university setting, or, failure to cooperate with the university’s reasonable efforts to evaluate the impact of such health condition(s), on the student’s ability to engage in basic activities required to function in a university setting.

Threat Assessment Protocol: A set of operational activities that uses a fact-finding process in order to identify, assess, and manage situations in which there may be a threat or risk to a student, other people or property. The primary focus of the protocol is to assess potentially threatening situations identified by the members of the community, and to develop risk abatement plans that minimize the potential risk of harm.

Threat Assessment Team (TAT): The inter-disciplinary body to which situations of concern to members of the university community (because they, for example, present a possible safety risk, are disruptive or are potentially threatening) are referred, to determine an appropriate course of action. A TAT Coordinator oversees and coordinates the work of the TAT.

TAT Members: TAT members will also include all, or a subset, of the following, as may be appropriate to the specific circumstances under consideration: Vice-Provost and Dean of Student Affairs or designate, University Counsel or designate, Director of Campus Security and Emergency Services (CSES) or designate, Executive Director of Student Wellness Services (SWS), or designate, Director of Environmental Health and Safety, or designate, Director, Risk Management and Office of the Vice-Principal (Finance and Administration) or designate, a representative from the Office of the Provost and, as required, a member of Human Resources (when a staff member is involved), a member of Faculty Relations (when a faculty member is involved), representatives from other units/departments as appropriate (e.g. Faculties and Schools, Residence Life, Human Rights Office).

Assessment and Care Team (ACT): A sub-group of TAT and the body to which situations involving students potentially at risk, but who are not deemed to be an immediate threat to themselves or others, are referred to determine an appropriate course of action. In certain circumstances, student behaviour of concern (because they, for example, present a possible safety risk, are disruptive or are potentially threatening) may be directed to the TAT process before being referred to ACT and the Students at Risk Procedure.

ACT Coordinator: The ACT Coordinator is responsible for the overall coordination of the ACT process. The coordinator, or designate, convenes meetings, manages internal communication, maintains records and follows-up on decisions of the team as required. The coordinator is also responsible for ensuring all ACT members are aware of, and respect, confidentiality and privacy legislation and resulting processes, including with respect to information sharing and document handling. The Vice-Provost and Dean of Student Affairs, or designate, serves as the ACT coordinator.

ACT Members: In addition to the ACT Coordinator, ACT members will include all, or a subset, of the following, as may be appropriate to the specific circumstances under consideration: Director, Counselling Services or designate, Director, CSES or designate, a representative from the student’s home faculty/school, and representatives from other units/departments, as appropriate (e.g. University Legal Counsel, Residence Life, Human Rights Office).

Purpose/Reason for Policy:

Having appropriate policies and procedures in place to quickly, effectively and compassionately respond to situations where a student’s actions or behaviours present, or have potential to pose, risks or threats of violence or harm to self or others in the university community, is an essential aspect of maintaining a safe, supportive, and positive campus community.

The need to have appropriate policies and procedures in place to identify and respond to these difficult situations is one recognized by all Canadian universities. The Students at Risk Policy and Procedures also provides an alternative to the non-academic conduct process for responding to concerning behaviours that may be related to a health condition. The intention of this approach is to enhance the understanding of the contributing factors that may have caused the behavior and to ensure access to supports and treatment, and, where possible, provide the accommodation needed to allow students to continue their studies.

It should be noted that in certain circumstances, a student’s actions may be addressed in the first instance by the Threat Assessment Protocol or by the Queen’s University Student Code of Conduct or the Harassment and Discrimination Complaint Policy and Procedure. Matters may be referred
from one process to the other based on the specific circumstances.

Guiding Principles:

Queen’s University is committed to taking all reasonable steps to facilitate the success of its students. This policy is intended, where possible, to enable the university to:

  • provide reasonable services and supports for students at risk and to encourage students to use these; and
  • make reasonable efforts to support students at risk in ways that make it possible for them to continue their studies, where feasible.

Scope of this Policy:

This policy applies to all registered undergraduate and graduate Queen’s students. The Students at Risk Policy is a complementary document to the Threat Assessment Protocol, Student Code of Conduct and the Harassment and Discrimination Complaint Policy and Procedure. Together, these documents establish a procedural framework that facilitates and supports a positive and safe environment for students at Queen’s University.

Policy Statement:

Queen’s University has the right and the responsibility to respond to situations where a student’s actions or behaviours present or have the potential to create risks or threats of violence or harm to self or others in the university community. In limited and exceptional circumstances, the university may be required to rapidly and effectively identify, assess and coordinate responses to students at risk. This policy will guide the university response for students who are identified as being potentially at risk.

Responsibilities:

The Vice-Provost and Dean of Student Affairs has overall responsibility for the Students at Risk Policy. Both the Provost and Vice-Principal (Academic) and the Vice-Provost and Dean of Student Affairs, or designates, on the recommendation of the ACT, have the authority to make key decisions regarding students at risk.

The Vice-Provost and Dean of Student Affairs, or designate, upon recommendation of the ACT, may implement any of the actions noted in the Student at Risk Procedures with the exception of a Temporary Suspension. A recommendation by the ACT to impose a Temporary Suspension will be conveyed to the Provost and Vice-Principal (Academic), or designate. Only if the Provost and Vice-Principal (Academic), or designate, is in agreement with the recommendation, will a Temporary Suspension be imposed.

Confidentiality and Privacy:

Reports collected under this policy are subject to the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FIPPA, 1990), and the Personal Health Information Protection Act (PHIPA, 2004), which regulate the collection, use and disclosure of personal information and personal health information, respectively.

Information can be disclosed without consent, per FIPPA and PHIPA, in emergency or other urgent situations, and in these circumstances, will be disclosed on a need-to-know basis only. For example, where violence or threats are directed at, or are likely to be directed at, particular individuals or units, that information will be communicated to the individual or unit involved, as well as to other appropriate authorities. Disclosure will occur per Information and Privacy Commissioner fact sheets and practice tools for universities.

The ACT Coordinator and members will only share the identity of the person who makes the report with the individual being reported, if the reporter provides explicit permission to do so or if required by law or university policies or collective agreements.

Contact Officer Vice-Provost and Dean of Student Affairs
Date for Next Review 2020/05/08
Related Policies, Procedures and Guidelines

Threat Assessment Protocol, Students at Risk Policy, Student Code of Conduct, the Harassment and Discrimination Complaint Policy and Procedure, Academic Consideration for Students in Extenuating Circumstances
 

Policies Superseded by This Policy N/A