The Behavioral Evaluation Threat Assessment (BETA) Team is a campus wide team that provides consultation, makes recommendations for action, and coordinates campus resources in response to reports of disruptive or concerning behavior displayed by students, staff, or faculty. A Behavioral Evaluation Threat Assessment Referral Form is available for anyone who wishes to report an incident that occurred on College property.
Frequently Asked Questions
What should I report to the BETA team?
The BETA team is a committee that was designed as a resource to try to identify troubling behavior and address it before it escalates to something more serious. Experience shows that tragedies affecting college campuses (for example the Virginia Tech tragedy) are often preceded by warning signs or patterns of behavior. Early communication and intervention may help to prevent an escalation of behaviors to critical levels. Therefore, report any behavior that is troubling or makes you concerned. It is better to be safe than sorry: if you have a “gut feeling” that something is not quite right, report it. If a member of the Richland community (student, staff, or faculty) behaves in a way that is disruptive or poses a potential threat to any aspect of our community, such behaviors should be reported to the BETA team. All concerns requiring immediate attention (potentially criminal activity, violent, threatening, or imminent suicidal behavior) must first be directed to Decatur Police Department (9-1-1 or 217-424-2711).
Who is on the BETA team?
The BETA team is a multidisciplinary team composed of individuals from various departments on campus to allow for effective collaboration and coordination of efforts. Team members include representatives from: Enrollment Services, Security, Faculty, Campus Life, Veterans Affairs, as well as an outside mental health professional and legal counsel.
What do I do if I know someone that may need to be referred to the BETA process?
- If you believe that the person may pose a threat of imminent danger of harm to him/herself or to others, call the Decatur Police Department immediately by dialing 911 or (217) 424-2711.
- To make a BETA referral, click on the BETA Referral Form link. You will be asked for basic information about the person of concern, a description of the incident or behaviors that prompted you to make a referral, and your contact information.
- You are the BETA Team’s best resource because you are familiar with the individual or directly observed the concerning behavior. If you want to speak with a member of the team before submitting a referral you should call (217) 985-7211 and ask to speak to any team member of the BETA Team.
Who can make a BETA referral?
Anyone who feels an individual is a threat to him/herself/others, or is exhibiting concerning, disruptive, or worrisome behaviors, can make a BETA referral, including students, parents, faculty, staff and other community members.
What happens to the information I send to the BETA team?
The team receives and prioritizes the information, then immediately begins further investigation. You will likely be contacted for clarification and additional information. Often the initial report is just one piece of the puzzle. A behavior that someone observes can turn out to be an isolated incident and no cause for further concern, or it may be an indication of a larger problem that needs to be addressed. The team attempts to understand the whole of a person’s behavior patterns before making any recommendations for action.
I am not really sure this is a big deal. Will the person get in trouble?
Something that may appear to be a minor incident to you may be part of a larger pattern unknown to you. Richland Community College is a big place and early and effective communication among key offices and individuals is crucial to identifying problems before they get bigger. The guiding mission of the BETA team is that of early intervention in order to understand what is happening and try to intervene before a situation escalates and attempt to resolve a situation BEFORE someone “gets in trouble.” The goal is to promote the safety of the individual and campus through early intervention. The BETA team takes into account the concerns of the campus, as well as the needs of the student, faculty, or staff member about whom concerns are expressed. Whether the information will adversely affect the individual’s student or employment status will depend on the situation. Frequently, when a situation is identified early enough and reported it can be resolved without the need for further disciplinary action or criminal prosecution against the person involved. If you are unsure about whether or not you should say something, report it! Trust your instincts.
What if I am wrong about the person?
You are reporting a concern based on an observed behavior (e.g., verbal exchange, hostile interaction, etc.) not making a determination or judgment about the individual. There is no expectation that reporters make judgments about whether their observations are “right” or “wrong.” Let the BETA team weigh all the information available, gather further data if warranted and determine the best course of action.
Will the person I refer be able to know that I sent the form? Can I report a concern anonymously?
Anonymous referrals are accepted but discouraged. Identifying yourself assists the BETA team if clarification or additional information is needed. Submitting your name also gives the referral more credibility. The BETA team will attempt to handle all matters discreetly. We cannot guarantee that the person(s) involved will not be able to determine the source of the report. If this concerns you, please speak directly with a team member. Richland Community College does not permit retaliation against any individual who reports a concerning or troubling behavior in good faith.
Will I find out what happens?
That depends on the situation. Various privacy and confidentiality laws apply to the situations handled by the BETA team. A member of the team will follow up with the person making the referral when appropriate and possible to let you know the continuing action or closed status of the referral.
Does FERPA prohibit faculty and staff from disclosing student
information to the BETA team?
No. The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) expressly permits the sharing of any and all information from you to the team.
What authority does the BETA team have and what can it do?
The BETA team does not enact sanctions or administer policy regarding referrals; however, the BETA team can:
- develop specific strategies to manage potential harmful or disruptive behavior to protect both the safety and rights of the both the individual and the Richland community.
- assist faculty or staff in developing a plan of action.
- coordinate and share information with units/departments that may take administrative actions such as:
- evaluation for immediate detention (by the Police or other outside agencies),
- conduct/disciplinary action (student, staff, or faculty),
- provide continued support to the individual (e.g., Academic Advising, Student and Academic Services, etc.),
- emergency notification of others, or,
- parental/guardian notification.
- refer information to our outside mental health professional or legal counsel.
- recommend medical/psychological evaluation and or request permission to receive such records.
- continue monitoring the situation without immediate action.