Direct Threat Procedure

Related Policy Direct Threat Assessment Policy for Students with Disabilities
Responsible Office/Vice President Student Affairs and Academic Development
Initial Date March 11, 2015
Revision Date  

I. Procedures

These Procedures are related to the Direct Threat Assessment Policy for Students with Disabilities, which is incorporated by reference, including all defined terms and is found on the University website.  

Determination of Whether the Direct Threat Assessment Policy for Students with Disabilities Applies

A. Absent emergency situations, no University employee may place any restrictions or special conditions on the participation of a Student With a Disability in any University program or activity, based upon the actual or perceived risk to the health and safety of others resulting from the nature of a student’s actual, past or perceived disability or physical or mental impairments, without first contacting the Dean of Students or the Assistant Dean of Academic Development, or their respective designee.

B. The Dean of Students or the Assistant Dean of Academic Development, or their respective designee, will determine if the proposed action is one covered under the Direct Threat Assessment Policy for Students with Disabilities or should be handled under some other policy or procedure.

C. There will only be rare situations in which exclusion of a student to protect the health or safety of others, based solely on the nature of the student’s mental or physical impairment is an emergency.  One example would be the diagnosis of meningitis in a student residing in a residence hall.  Situations involving a perceived risk to others by a student with a mental illness based upon the student’s “erratic” behavior, but where the student has not violated any University rules or behavior codes, would not be an emergency.

II. Interim Actions

A. In cases of emergency, the following individuals may remove a Student With a Disability from campus or impose other interim restrictions based upon an actual or perceived threat to the health or safety of others: the Dean of Students, the Assistant Dean of Academic Development, the Director of Counseling Services, the Associate Dean of Students, and the Assistant Dean of Students for Residence and Commuter Life.  Whenever possible, the Dean of Students or the Assistant Dean of Academic Development, or their respective designee, should be consulted, and the student provided notice and an effective opportunity to respond to the person making the decision.  As soon thereafter as possible, the Dean of Students or the Assistant Dean of Academic Development, or their respective designee, will review this decision.

B. The Dean of Students or the Assistant Dean of Academic Development, or their respective designee, shall determine whether any interim actions are necessary or appropriate pending (i)the determination of whether there is a reasonable basis for believing a student may pose a Direct Threat and, if so, (ii) pending the Individualized Assessment.

C. If interim actions are taken, the student shall have a right to appeal to the Student Care Team. The student should file a written appeal within five (5) days of the imposition of interim actions.  This deadline may be extended if the student is unable to effectively prepare this appeal until a later date. The Student Care Team shall then convene, determine whether additional information is necessary or appropriate from the student or others, and then render a decision.  The decision should normally be made within one week of receiving the appeal.  

III. Determination of Whether There is a Reasonable Basis for a Direct Threat Assessment

A. The Dean of Students or the Assistant Dean of Academic Development, or their respective designee, will determine whether there is a  reasonable basis to believe that the student may pose a Direct Threat to the health or safety of others.
 
B. Prior to making this determination, the Dean of Students or the Assistant Dean of Academic Development, or their respective designee shall gather all relevant facts from the individual raising the concern, including consultation with other individuals with knowledge. The Dean of Students or the Assistant Dean of Academic Development, or their respective designee, may also consult with the Student Care Team, or any of its members, the student, and (subject to the student’s permission and other applicable releases) the student’s parents and/or health care providers.

C. If the Dean of Students or the Assistant Dean of Academic Development, or their respective designee, concludes that there is no reasonable basis to believe that the student poses a Direct Threat, no further action will be taken. If the student has been informed that a concern has been raised, the student will be notified of this decision.

IV. Individualized Assessment

A. Once the Dean of Students or the Assistant Dean of Academic Development, or their respective designee, has made a determination that there is a reasonable belief that a Student With a Disability may pose a Direct Threat to the health or safety of others, the matter will be referred to the Student Care Team to make an Individualized Assessment of the risk posed by the student. 
 
B. The Student Care Team shall make a determination using the following procedures:

  1. The Individualized Assessment of the Direct Threat posed by the student must consider all of the facts relevant under Section 504 and ADA Title III, including (i) the nature, timing, probability, and severity of the risk; and (ii) whether reasonable modifications of the University’s policies, practices, or procedures will mitigate the risk. 
  2. The Individualized Assessment will be based on current medical knowledge or the best available objective evidence. The Student Care Team will confer with individuals who have in-depth knowledge of, and experience in, the area of the student’s disability.
  3. The Student Care Team may require the student to permit the Student Care Team, or a health care provider designated by the Student Care Team, to obtain and review medical records and/or consult with the student’s health care providers.  The Student Care Team may also require the student to be examined by a health care provider designated by the Student Care Team. The health care provider may exercise his/her discretion in determining what medical or psychological testing may be needed.

C. During this assessment process, the Student Care Team shall permit the student to provide any relevant information he/she deems appropriate.   
 
D. If the Student Care Team makes a determination that the student poses a Direct Threat to the health and safety of others, the Student Care Team shall:

  1. Notify the student in writing of its initial determination.
  2. Allow the student access to the information that was the basis for that determination.
  3. Provide the student with an opportunity to present contrary information to the Student Care Team in writing.
  4. After considering all information, issue a final determination that is final and binding, and is not subject to review under any other University policy or procedure, unless it is a challenge to the Student Care Team’s failure to follow these procedures.

V. Notification of Direct Threat Determination

A. If the Student Care Team makes a final determination that the student poses a Direct Threat to the health or safety of others, it shall promptly communicate that determination in writing to the student.

B. This notice of final determination shall be tailored specifically to the individual student and must communicate in detail the nature of the restrictions (e.g. leave of absence from the University, exclusion or other restrictions on participation in particular programs or services). The notice must also communicate to the student the exact circumstances, terms or conditions, and timetables (if applicable) under which the student would no longer be considered a Direct Threat, reaffirm the student’s qualified status as an individual with a disability and would be allowed to return to the University or to participate, without restrictions, in any programs of the University. 

C. The University may condition the student’s return to the University, future receipt of a benefit or service, or participation in a particular program, upon the student’s provision of documentation showing that the student is no longer a Direct Threat.  Such evidence may include, but not be limited to, a treatment plan or periodic reports from a physician. 

D. In considering whether to restore a student after a determination of a Direct Threat, the University may not condition the provision of a benefit or service, or participation in any program, upon a showing by a student that he or she has eliminated behaviors that are a manifestation of a disability, unless such behaviors significantly contributed to the determination that the student was a Direct Threat to the health or safety of others.

VI. Notification and Action if there is No Direct Threat

A. If the Student Care Team determines that the student does not pose a Direct Threat to the health or safety of others, the Student Care Team shall:

  1. Provide written notification to the student of this determination;
  2. Promptly reinstate the student at the same academic level, restore all of the student’s privileges, and place the student in the same position he/she was in prior to the determination of Direct Threat or imposition of any interim conditions; and
  3. Not exclude the student from, or place special restrictions upon, the student’s participation in the University’s programs or activities based upon the prior determination that he/she was a Direct Threat.

VII. Other Relevant Policies and Procedures

A. If at any point prior to a final determination, the student requests a voluntary withdrawal (whether for medical or other reasons), the University shall process the request in accordance with its policies for all students, unless the student specifically requests a modification due to his/her disability.  However, the University may impose conditions on future re-admission to address the concerns that led to the reasonable belief that the student posed a Direct Threat, so long as those conditions are determined consistent with Section V.