University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee

Threat Assessment at UW-Milwaukee


‘True threats’ encompass those statements where the speaker means to communicate a serious expression of an intent to commit an act of unlawful violence to a particular individual or group of individuals.(United States Supreme Court in Virginia v.Black, 2003)

In emergencies or imminent threats, the UWM Police are contacted by calling 9-911 from a campus phone or 414-229-9911 from a cell phone and they will respond.  In non-emergencies, an incident report is filed by contacting the Dean of Students Office (DOS).  DOS will respond to the reportas soon as possible, typically within 24-48 hours, to review and identify the person(s) of concern and collect available information. If there is evidence of a health or safety concern, the information is sent to the Campus Assessment, Response, and Education (CARE) Coordinating Team.

While there is no single set of warning signs that will reliably predict behavior orcampus violence, the CARE Coordinating Team will do an initial assessment looking for behavioral evidence that an individual may be planning or preparing to actout inappropriately or carry out some type of threat to self or others.  In the assessment the team looks for the person’s motive and tries to asses if there is a plan to commit harm, at recent events in a person’s life that may trigger violence, and/or prior concerning or threatening behavior. For the assessment a team member may consult with the individual who is the subject of the referral, or others, such as theparent or guardian or other family member if appropriate.  In addition, it may include consultation with administrators, faculty, staff and students who may have been witness to or impacted by specific behaviors reported.

It is often difficult to discern threatening behavior because a lack of information or what is known is very subjective and is dependent on interpretation of a person’s intent.  If the initial assessment by teh Coordinating Team has been made and a possible ongoing risk identified, the incident is referred to the larger CARE Team, comprised of a variety of professionals from across campus. The larger team will evaluate the nature of the behavior or incident reported to determine each person's present ability to safely participate inthe UWM Community.

The overall goal is to maintain a safe campus environment for all students and staff; one that focuses on student learning, development, and success. The CARE Team will utilize the resources ofthe University to intervene and provide necessary supports, including academic, mental health and/or police services. The larger team may make recommendations to the CARE Coordinating Team on intervention strategies, behavioral boundaries, or other appropriate action(s) consistent with University policies and procedures.  In addition to any ofthe specific intervention strategies developed, the CARE Coordinating Team will determine a plan for follow-up monitoring of the ongoing behavior of individuals who have displayed disruptive or concerning behavior.

If you see something concerning or threatening, Report It! If it is an emergency or you need immediate assistance, call 9-911 from a campus phone and 414-229-4632 from a cell phone for UWM Police.  For all other situations please contact the Dean of Students Office by using the web form www.incident.uwm.edu, or emailing dos@uwm.edu, or calling 414-229-4632.