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Student Conduct Review Team can help employees prevent potentially violent behavior

When suspects in crimes that draw national attention have a connection to a college or university, the media come calling. Even local news can bring reporters to office doors, looking for someone who knew the suspect.

But before you share what you know about that student, remember the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974. Commonly known as FERPA, the act is administered by the Department of Education and keeps much information about students private — even from their parents — unless a waiver is signed by the students.

What can be said

  • Student directory information may be released under FERPA. Requests for this information should be referred to University Relations. KU defines directory information as
  • Name; current address and telephone number; permanent address and telephone number
  • Level and school
  • Month and day of birth
  • Major field of study
  • Enrollment status (full-time; half-time; less than half-time)
  • Dates of attendance
  • Degrees, honors and awards received
  • Most recent previous educational institution attended by the student
  • Participation in officially recognized activities and sports (including participation status)
  • Height and weight of members of athletic teams
  • Name(s), position(s), length of service and/or courses taught may be disclosed for student employees.
  • For purposes of official university news releases or conducting university business and advancement, student photographs and parent name, address, telephone number and e-mail are also defined as directory information. However a student’s e-mail address is not considered “directory information” where requests by non-university organizations for multiple e-mail addresses are made.

What can’t be discussed:

  • Classroom behavior or class work – even notes written to the side of an assignment.
  • Disciplinary actions taken by the professor, department or university.
  • Grades

The alleged gunman in the Tucson, Ariz., shootings reportedly created worrisome disturbances during classes at his local community college. At Virginia Tech, professors and classmates worried about what to do about the words and actions of student Seung-Hui Cho, who later opened fire and killed 32 students and faculty.

At KU, students, faculty and staff can turn to the Student Conduct Review Team if they have concerns about a student’s behavior. Contact with the team is confidential.

“The SCRT takes reports of students of concern seriously,” said Frank DeSalvo, associate vice provost for student success and chair of the review team. “We do our best to address each report with a timely and balanced approach that respects the rights of students and considers the responsibility of the university to provide a productive and safe learning environment.”

The review team is designed to educate the campus about indicators of potentially dangerous or troublesome behaviors as well as policies and protocols to address such behaviors. Members also respond to concerns regarding a student’s behavior, investigating and determining the need for further assessment of whether the student is a danger to him/herself or others. The team then recommends a response by university officials.

The university also has a threat assessment team to handle concerns about behaviors of staff or faculty.

Departments can contact the team for presentations on how to recognize when a student is experiencing difficulty coping with their environment or life circumstance. Call 864-4060 and ask to speak to someone from the team.

Contact the Student Conduct Review Team when a student

  • Exhibits an outburst or disturbing behavior in a classroom or other campus location
  • Submits a "dark" or otherwise disturbing passage in a written work
  • Makes threats involving guns, other weapons, or explosive devices either verbally or in writing (including electronically through social networks)
  • Reports being troubled by what appears to be "stalking" behavior
  • Acts in a manner or makes statements that are interpreted as posing a threat of violence
  • Exhibits gestures that appear bizarre, threatening, or dangerous (in person or on videotape)
  • Becomes extremely angry and unleashes a loud and abusive verbal attack (perhaps regarding a poor or failing grade)
  • Habitually demands services beyond the scope and mission of the office or department or after regular hours of service

In cases involving the high likelihood of imminent danger, call 911 immediately. In other cases, call 864-4060 during business hours and ask for the Student Conduct Review Team if the concerns involve student behavior. If the call is about staff or faculty, call 864-4946.

Read the KU policy on workplace violence.

Observations about a student’s behavior outside of class also are a slippery slope, said Jane Rosenthal, director of KU’s Privacy Office. When in doubt, avoid commenting or consult your department head or supervisor before doing so.

Rosenthal also is available to answer privacy-related questions at 864-9528.

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The University of Kansas prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, ethnicity, religion, sex, national origin, age, ancestry, disability, status as a veteran, sexual orientation, marital status, parental status, gender identity, gender expression, and genetic information in the university’s programs and activities. Retaliation is also prohibited by university policy. The following persons have been designated to handle inquiries regarding the nondiscrimination policies and are the Title IX coordinators for their respective campuses: Executive Director of the Office of Institutional Opportunity & Access, IOA@ku.edu, 1246 West Campus Road, Room 153A, Lawrence, KS 66045, 785-864-6414, 711 TTY (for the Lawrence, Edwards, Parsons, Yoder, and Topeka campuses); Director, Equal Opportunity Office, Mail Stop 7004, 4330 Shawnee Mission Parkway, Fairway, KS 66205, 913-588-8011, 711 TTY (for the Wichita, Salina, and Kansas City, Kansas, medical center campuses).