In the event of an emergency, including threats, medical emergencies, significant injuries, or any serious or iminent concern for safety please call 911 immediately.

Threat Recognition & Reporting on Campus

Campus safety is enhanced when all community members identify and report behaviors of concern in a caring and timely manner. It is important for all campus affiliates to be mindful of threats and concerning behavior on campus and the broader community.  Early identification of concerns enables early intervention to more effectively address behaviors that are threatening or significantly disruptive to the learning, living, and working environment. There are sometimes concerns about behavior or incidents that you may not feel fall squarely into a “threat” category. Behavior notably out of the norm on the part of a friend or co-worker, and discovery of hate speech – which may fall short of a direct threat - directed at a group or person are two of many examples.

Personal safety and threat assessment are covered in a campus-wide policy available on the UVM Policy Page. Our teams have also spent considerable time updating the resources available to recognize and report threats or concerns. Reporting - sharing the information you have - about threats or concerns is arguably the most important step in community safety and ensuring the healthiest possible environment. Early intervention is essential and each of us has an important role, with the support of the threat assessment team.

The remainder of this page has a variety of helpful details.  If you read no further the top takeaways are:

1. Be mindful that each of us has a role in campus safety.
2. See something – say something.  Reports are not viewed as a means to “get someone in trouble.” Rather, they provide an opportunity to help someone – and the broader campus community – before trouble occurs. Early recognition and intervention are the best options.
3. Download and familiarize yourself with the LiveSafe app.
4. Share this information, and the link to this site, with your friends and colleagues.

For reporting options, beyond direct threats or emergencies, visit our Unified Campus Reporting Portal.

Reporting a Concern

Who Should Report a Concern?

Anyone can make a report for review and response by the Threat Assessment Team if they see or become aware of a threat or act of violence directed at a group or individual member of the campus community or the campus itself.  It is also important to remember that concerns about self harm should also be reported swiftly. Reporting observations or incidents of this nature assists the University in taking both preventative and responsive action and providing assistance to the individuals in distress. If you are a UVM Reporter, you also must report alleged misconduct in accordance with the UVM Reporter Procedures.

“It May Be Nothing, But...”

If you have concerns about a person or situation, even if you think it may be nothing, you are encouraged to share the information. The information you provide, no matter how trivial it may seem by itself, may be critical to understanding a broader range of problematic or threatening behavior. Police Services and the entire University team is committed to preventing violence and other crimes when possible, and to maintaining the safest and healthiest possible campus.

How to Share Your Concern

If you are aware of an emergency or immediate safety concerns, call 911 and report the danger or concern to law enforcement. If you are concerned about threatening behavior, a disturbing situation, or other issue that is NOT an emergency, contact the University Police at (802) 656-3473.

What will you need to share?

When providing information, please include the name of the person you are concerned about, the behaviors you observed, and we ask that you consider sharing your name and contact information. While you can report concerns anonymously and the Threat Assessment Team does accept anonymous reports, if you don’t identify yourself, the team has fewer options for addressing and collecting pertinent information about the situation you are concerned about.

What Will Happen to the Information You Share?

Your identity and the information you share will be treated privately with your safety in mind. The information will be used to address the situation in a respectful and helpful manner. The university’s Threat Assessment Team - or other pertinent teams and support staff, if appropriate - will gather more information about the situation and implement a plan to enhance the safety of the campus community.

Recognizing Behaviors of Concern

There are many behaviors and circumstances that may indicate an individual is at an increasing risk of violence or needs of assistance. Below are examples of warning signs to look for. These examples are NOT all-inclusive and are not intended to be used as a checklist. We encourage ANY concern regarding behavior that could pose a risk to a person - including self or others - to be reported. Our goal is a safe, healthy, and supportive campus.

Violent Behavior

Violent behavior includes, but is not limited to:

  • Any physical assault, with or without weapons.
  • Behavior that a reasonable person would interpret as being potentially violent, such as throwing things, pounding on a desk or door, or destroying property.
  • Specific threats to inflict harm, such as a threat to shoot a named individual.
  • Use of any object to intimidate and/or attack another person.

Threatening Behavior

Threatening behavior includes, but is not limited to:

  • Physical actions short of actual physical contact and/or injury, such as moving closer aggressively, waving arms or fists, or yelling in an aggressive or threatening manner.
  • General verbal or written threats (in any medium, including email and social media) to people or property, such as, “You better watch your back” or “I’ll get you” or “I’ll ruin your car”.
  • Threats made in a “joking” manner.
  • Stalking behavior.
  • Implicit threats, such as, “You’ll be sorry” or “This isn’t over yet”.

Concerning Behavior

Individuals who exhibit certain behaviors may be in need of assistance of could potentitally escalate to violence.

  • Attempts to harm or kill self.
  • Indications of significant substance misuse or any misuse in the work environment.
  • Extreme or sudden changes in behaviors.
  • Displays of paranoia.
  • Makes statements indicating approval of use of violence to resolve a problem.
  • Identifies with or idolizes persons who have engaged in violence toward others.

Indicators of Suicidality

An individual could potentially be at risk for suicidality if they experience or exhibit:

  • History of previous suicide attempts or family history of suicide.
  • A sense of there being "no way out".
  • Strong feelings of being a burden to others.
  • A recent situation involving intense embarrassment, guilt or shame.
  • This could include poor or failing grades, academic or disciplinary suspension, criminal charges, etc.
  • Tendencies towards poor impulse control, especially when combined with substance abuse.
  • Behaviors reflecting efforts to tie up loose ends or resolve their affairs.
  • This could include giving things away, writing a will, etc.

If an individual has a plan to kill themselves, a means, and the intent of carrying out their plan, their potential risk of suicide is high. Please contact the proper authorities.

If you see any indications of self-harm, please reach out to the appropriate support resources for assistance.

Indicators of Distress

Indicators of Distress could include:

  • Deterioration in physical appearance or hygiene.
  • Significant academic or work style changes-- A student going from consistently passing grades to frequent poor performance. A student or employee/coworker who exhibits excessive absences or tardiness.
  • Frequent requests for exceptions to policies and deadlines.
  • Increased dependence on you-- Students or coworkers schedule numerous appointments or remain after class to speak with you.
  • Unusual patterns of interaction with others-- Showing aggressiveness, dominating conversations, or displaying anxiety caused by having to interact with others, or acting extremely withdrawn.
  • Unusual or exaggerated emotional responses that are inappropriate to the situation.

How To Help

If the individual you are concerned about is not interested in help, consider contacting other appropriate resources for consultation.

Have a Conversation with the Individual

If you encounter someone in distress, it can be beneficial to have a conversation with the individual to determine the best approach to help. Do this only if you are comfortable and confident that approaching them will not pose a risk to you or others.

When speaking with the individual:

  • Speak privately. Inform a colleague or another appropriate individual about the meeting and ask for assistance if necessary.
  • Express your concern and be direct. Let the individual know you are concerned for their welfare. Share your concerns in nonjudgmental terms and inquire about the individual's experience.
  • Listen carefully and be patient. While it is important to help the individual feel heard, seek a time out if the behavior escalates.
  • Maintain clear physical boundaries. Do not physically touch the individual or try to force them to leave your office. End the meeting and/or get assistance if you feel it is not going in an appropriate direction.
  • Offer to assist the individual in getting help. Provide information for appropriate resources and if appropriate, offer to walk them with them to the specific resource such as the CARE team.
  • Recognize your limits and trust your instincts. Do not ignore the unusual behavior or involve yourself beyond the limits of your time and/or skill.
  • Document the interaction and contact the appropriate university department. Do not promise confidentiality. If you suspect there is imminent need for intervention, call UVM PD at 911 or the non-emergency phone number (802) 656-3473.

Report and Engage the Threat Assessment Process

The significance of any one behavior or circumstance is often difficult to determine. Therefore, the threat assessment process is designed to review the situation in the context of all of the facts that can be known. If you are aware of a situation that has indicators of concern like the ones listed above, please share what you know with the Threat Assessment Team (TAT) by contacting University Police Services at (802) 656-3473.

How do I know if the behavior warrants a TAT intervention or if other campus resources are more appropriate to handle it?

Typically, behaviors that pose a potential threat to safety or that cause a significant community disruption to qualify as TAT referrals.

BUT you do not have to make this determination; the threat assessment team (TAT) will do it for you. The most critical step is that you report your concern to UVM Police Services (802) 656-3473.  If another campus resource is more appropriate for the situation, the TAT will refer the community member and handle the transfer of information. If you believe a threat is imminent, always contact University Police immediately.

Even if you are questioning or unsure, it’s always better to talk to someone about a person or situation of concern.

Recognizing and reporting early signs of a potentially dangerous situation is crucial to violence prevention. Your participation is the first step to keeping our campuses safe. Therefore, you should always get in touch with UVM Police Services (802) 656-3473

If you are comfortable doing so, you can also tell the individual who is exhibiting threatening behavior that you are concerned and ask if they need help. If they do, you can refer them to this page of services for students and employees:

Student's of Concern Resources

How and when do we communicate about threats or other issues related to safety and security?

Choosing when to communicate on topics related to safety and security is important. The first and most important principle guiding our safety and security messaging is: does communicating the event enhance the safety of our campus community? When it does, we aim to communicate as clearly, quickly, and frequently as necessary. When communicating impairs overall safety or creates new risks, our efforts turn to investigation, collaboration with state and federal resources and careful monitoring of the event. Because this decision making is fluid and extremely fact and circumstance sensitive, it is difficult to set clear expectations for our community regarding when and how they might expect to hear from us regarding events that unsettle members of our community. The following provides an overview of the channels for communicating safety and security events, including how they may be utilized in several common campus scenarios.

Emergency Messages and Notifications

Emergency messages and notifications are sent when there is a time-sensitive need to broadcast information about a safety or security concern that affects the campus community including “Timely Warnings” required by federal regulation. These messages are sent via the CatAlert broadcast system (including text, voice, and email messages) and may be followed up with other forms of communication as appropriate.

Example: If the university receives a report of an assault on or near campus and has a description of a suspect who is still at large.

It is likely, under these facts, that a campus alert will be issued that describes the event, the suspect, and provides information that enables members of the campus community to be vigilant and protect themselves.

Broad Campus Communication and Notifications Regarding Safety and Security

Broad campus communication and notifications regarding safety and security are sent, generally via email and in some instances crossposted to other UVM communication channels, when:

A. There is, based on the professional assessment of our safety and security professionals – often in consultation with local, state, and federal emergency management, law enforcement, or other government officials – an articulable safety concern that impacts or could impact the campus community.

B. Based on the professional assessment of our safety and security professionals – often with the same consultations – there is a call to action by, or information from, the campus community.

Example: UVM receives a report or report(s) of an upcoming national, regional, or local demonstration may create unrest or the potential for violence on or around campus.

It is likely, under these facts, that broad campus communication via email and through several social media channels will take place. The communication will describe the upcoming event and, to the greatest extent possible, its potential impact and instruct the campus community on any precautions they should consider to keep themselves safe.

Constituent-Specific Messaging and Notifications Regarding Safety and Security

Constituent-specific messaging and notifications regarding safety and security are sent using the same rubric as broad campus communication, with an added caveat. Communication to specific groups of people is sometimes based on campus geography (where you live or work) and sometimes based on an affiliation with team, club, an identity center or identity-based group. These communications may occur through university channels (generally email) or via channels maintained by the affiliate group and generally occur when, in our professional judgement, a more focused security message will enhance safety for the group receiving the message.

Example: UVM receives information that a particular event, activity, building, individual or group is being targeted by harassing or threatening messages.

It is likely under these facts, that University personnel will work directly with event organizers or recipients of the messages to analyze the threat level and devise safety measures for the particular person, place, or event.

Other Recommended Subscriptions to External Safety Communication.

For information about off campus events, traffic, weather, and other hazards we recommend that campus affiliates subscribe to the VT Alert system. Further details can be found at .

Our Safety and Security Communications Evolve Based on Changing Facts and Circumstances

Our communications decisions are not static. As information and events evolve and our analysis of the facts sharpens, we may adapt our communication strategy. Again, that is done based on the best available information by our professional safety and security teams.

Example: if a single poster carrying a hateful and derogatory message is found on or near campus, the initial decision may be not to amplify that message. However, if sharing the message with other law enforcement or intelligence partners sharpens the analysis such that the level of threat is raised, the communications strategy will adjust to reflect the new information. Likewise, if the flyers continue or their messages evolve from despicable hate to targeted threats, the communication will conform to the changed circumstances.

Why be silent about such things?

Silence is a common starting point when assessing reports of potential threats. From an investigation and analysis perspective, it takes time to evaluate a communication and, at times, there is great value in learning who might have posted or left behind a potentially threatening message. Details about the investigation are likely not to be released until a point at which making them public will not compromise the investigation.

Example: I heard there was an angry phone call, a hateful poster, or a threatening letter received by a member of the campus community. Why is the university “silent” about it? What about the need to ensure that offensive, hateful, or otherwise inappropriate speech or material is not hidden in the shadows?

As an institution we denounce these things broadly and specifically. Identity-based hate and everything that comes with it is a destructive force in our country that should be called out, discussed, and dismantled. Our safety and security posture, including our messaging decisions, are in no way meant to diminish that important work or give safe harbor to those espousing hate speech or making threats. It is, in some instances, mindfully designed not to amplify those voices, to provide them with a larger platform to recruit others to their ideology or provide more momentum for their message where little or no momentum exists.

In the case of a reported crime, there are often considerations around victim/survivor privacy or federal or state laws or regulations that can preclude any public comment about a case. Occasionally, an incident that has been “reported” via social media or other informal channels has not been reported via official channels. In the event there are ongoing safety concerns for our community, those will always take precedence.

As Vermont’s flagship University, we work to foster broad dialog and education on these topics. Communications play a key role in our concerted efforts to create a safe and secure campus community and must be approached with consideration and care.

UVM Police Services

284 East Avenue
Burlington, VT 05405-3401

Phone Numbers

Crisis Text Line

Crisis Text Line is free 24/7 support for anyone in crisis in VT or nationally.

Just text VT to 741741 from anywhere in Vermont.

Submit an Anonymous Tip