Behavioral Health Intervention
This protocol has been established to guide college personnel in their professional response to events defined by the College as behavioral health emergencies which require immediate action from college and/or local emergency personnel to protect life or property.
If the College becomes aware that a student has attempted suicide, made a suicidal gesture or threat, developed a suicidal plan or engaged in other self-injury that requires immediate intervention, college staff and/or local emergency personnel will assess the student’s condition and take action to protect the well-being of the student and safety of the college community.
Response to Life-Threatening Physical Harm
If emergency medical personnel determine that the student has sustained a life-threatening self-injury (e.g. drug overdose, laceration, asphyxiation, etc.), the student will be transported by ambulance to an area hospital for immediate medical evaluation and treatment. The Dean of Students or designee will notify the parent/guardian of the emergency and determine if the family desires that a college representative accompany the student to the local hospital until parent/guardian arrives. The student will be required to undergo a full medical and psychological exam.
If cases of a suicide attempt or other life-threatening physical self-harm, a voluntary medical withdrawal is encouraged to maximize the student’s opportunity for a full recovery with the support of external medical experts and the student’s family. If a student who has attempted suicide declines voluntary withdrawal, he/she may be separated without consent by action of the Dean of Students according to standards established for a Required Leave. In this circumstance, the student must petition for reinstatement according to the guidelines for Reinstatement Following a Required Leave. If the student has initiated a voluntary medical withdrawal, h/she should following guidelines provided by the Department of Student Wellness.
In the event of a suicidal gesture, threat or ideation or other attempt or threat of self-harm that does not require immediate medical treatment for a physical injury, the college staff counselor on call will evaluate the student and outline next steps. The staff counselor assesses each situation case-by-case and is authorized to require:
(1) An urgent psychological evaluation to be completed immediately at a local hospital. If an urgent psychological evaluation is required, the Dean of Students or designee will notify parent/guardian of the ambulance transport and required evaluation. If the responding staff counselor determines that medical transport can be delayed until the student’s parent/guardian can drive the student to a local hospital, the Dean of Students or designee will establish an acceptable timeline, and a college employee will remain with the student until the parent/guardian arrives. When a student is transported to a local hospital for an urgent psychological evaluation, the responding staff counselor will be available to consult with hospital staff and assist the student as necessary. An interim action will likely be imposed by the Dean of Students (or designee) to restrict the student from campus until the results and recommendations of the external evaluation have been reviewed by the staff counselor. After consulting with the staff counselor, the Dean of Students may decide to reinstate the student or to refer the decision to the Behavioral Intervention Review Team.
(2) A psychological evaluation by an external, licensed mental health provider to be completed within a designated timeframe. The responding staff counselor may determine that an external psychological evaluation is important but not urgent. In this situation the staff counselor, the Dean of Students and the student will establish an acceptable timeline for completion of the required external evaluation. For reasons of individual and community safety and well-being, the Dean of Students may determine that the student be restricted from certain activities including class attendance, co-curricular participation, off-campus internships, campus employment and from campus housing until the psychological evaluation has been completed and reviewed by the staff counselor. See Interim Action.
(3) An internal follow-up treatment plan without an external psychological evaluation. If the need for an external psychological evaluation has been ruled out, the responding staff counselor will inform the Dean of Students of the internal response. The Dean will notify Residence Life and Campus Security of the student’s status.
A Required Leave will likely be imposed when a student exhibits acute or persistent health or behavioral problems. Each situation will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis. The College may initiate the Required Leave if in the judgment of the Behavioral Intervention Review Team (BIT) the student meets the following standards:
- The student is a direct threat to self or others. A direct threat to self or others includes any danger of suicide, self-mutilation, accident, or assault that necessitates unusual measures to monitor, supervise, treat, protect, or restrain the student to ensure his/her safety and the safety of others in the Elizabethtown College community. As a standard practice, students who attempt suicide are normally expected to take a minimum of one full semester voluntary withdrawal from the College.
- The student’s behavior is disruptive to others. Disruptive behavior includes behavior which causes emotional, psychological or physical distress to other students or employees substantially above that normally experienced in daily life. Such disruption may be in the form of severe distress associated with one of more behavioral incidents, or somewhat less severe but persistent distress over a more extended period of time.
- The student refuses to cooperate with recommended assessment or treatment and his/her physical or psychological functioning seems likely to deteriorate to the point of permanent disability, disfigurement, impairment or dysfunction without such assessment or treatment, thus presenting a direct threat to the health and safety of the student or others. Where standard assessment is impossible because of the student’s resistance, indirect behavioral observations will constitute basis for judgment.
When conditions allow for the full investigation and appraisal of the student’s health status, resolution of the situation will be sought with the student’s full cooperation if at all possible. Voluntary withdrawal is encouraged to maximize the participation of the student or his/her family. However, if a student declines voluntary withdrawal, he or she may be separated without consent from the College by action of the Dean of Students at the recommendation of the Behavioral Intervention Review Team.
Role of Behavioral Intervention Review Team (BIRT)
The Behavioral Intervention Review Team, appointed by the Dean of Students, is comprised of the Director of Student Wellness, the Assistant Dean of Students/Director of Residence Life, the Assistant Dean of Students/Director of Academic Advising, the Director of Student Rights & Responsibilities and the Director of Disability Services. The Assistant Dean/Director of Residence Life will serve as the Coordinator.
If the Dean of Students deems that a student may meet one or more of the standards above for a Required Leave, the student’s case is referred to the BIRT for review and recommendation. In emergency situations, the College will take immediate steps to protect life and property including the imposition of Interim Action by the Dean of Students. The formal decision to impose a Required Leave will be referred to the Behavioral Intervention Review Team.
During the review process (emergent & non-emergent), the BIRT will consider all available information with regard to or on behalf of the student as may pertain to determining health or behavioral status; the BIRT may request to meet with the student. The BIRT will determine if a reasonable accommodation can be made or if a Required Leave is necessary. If the BIRT determines that the referred student does not meet any of the standards for a Required Leave, it will inform the student in writing and the process will conclude.
Appeal of a Required Leave
A decision reached by the Behavioral Intervention Review Team may be appealed by the student to the Provost/Sr. VP within 5 calendar days of the decision. Appeals should be in writing and include specific reasons for the appeal. The Provost/Sr. VP has 5 calendar days to review the information presented and inform the student in writing of a final decision. The Provost/Sr. VP may uphold the decision of the BIRT, adjust the finding, refer the matter back to the BIRT for additional consideration or reverse the decision of the BIRT and reinstate the student. The Provost/Sr. VP’s decision is final.
Reinstatement Following a Required Leave
A student may petition for reinstatement following a Required Leave by:
- Submitting the completed MEDICAL WITHDRAWAL RE-ENTRY DOCUMENTATION FORM-(MH) or MEDICAL WITHDRAWAL RE-ENTRY DOCUMENTATION FORM-(PH) to the Coordinator of the Behavioral Intervention Review Team.
- Scheduling an appointment with the BIRT for a personal interview.
The BIRT will review the external evaluation, recommendations and other available information and meet with the student to determine if the student is eligible to return to Elizabethtown College. The BIRT may recommend full or partial reinstatement or deny the student’s request. The action of the BIRT may be appealed to Provost/Sr. VP.
- In certain circumstances, the Dean of Students or a designee may impose interim action prior to a Student Conduct Hearing or Behavioral Intervention Review Team review. Interim separation may be imposed: a) to ensure the safety and well-being of members of the College community or preservation of College property; b) to ensure the student’s own physical safety and well-being; or c) if the student poses a definite threat or disruption of or interference with the normal operations of the College.
- During interim action, the Dean of Students or his/her designee may determine other restrictions to be appropriate. Students may be denied access to the residence halls and/or to the campus facilities (including classes). Students may also be denied participation in other College activities or privileges for which the student might otherwise be eligible.
- Interim Action does not replace the regular Student Conduct Process or the role of the Behavioral Intervention Review Team, which shall proceed on the normal schedule, up to and through an Appeal, if required.
- Interim action remains in effect through any appeal process.