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BETA Team
Responding to concerns about University of Maryland students
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About the BETA Team

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The BETA (Behavior Evaluation and Threat Assessment) Team evaluates reports about University of Maryland students who are concerning, disruptive, or threatening.

We bring expertise from various functional areas: public safety (policing), mental health (psychiatry and social work), counseling (psychology), student conduct, and student affairs to assess concerning behavior and to develop strategies to support the well-being and academic success of all students.

It is rare for our students to be disruptive, threatening, or violent.

But sometimes students behave (whether in or out of the classroom) in ways that faculty, staff, other students, or parents/families may consider concerning or alarming. 

Examples may include:

  • Being disorderly, disruptive, or verbally aggressive- expressing uncontrollable anger, hostility, or frustration
  • Acting bizarrely, disturbed, or odd for that person
  • Stalking, in other words, pursuing another person- whether in person, on the phone, or electronically
  • Threatening physical harm – in person, on the phone, or electronically
  • Being a threat to oneself- suicidal ideation
  • Possessing a weapon, being violent, or damaging property***
     

If you are concerned about a student for whatever reason, contact the police or any member of the BETA Team.

Early intervention is important. 

See Something.  Say Something.

***Call 911 or University Police at 301-405-3333 in emergencies such as weapon possession, violence (including suicide threat or attempt), or property damage.

Students Concerned About a Student

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Are you a student who is concerned about another student? 

  • Did a fellow student write something concerning online or in a text?
  • Is a student acting very strange and causing you to worry? 

Trust your instincts.  You don't need "proof" or "evidence" that something isn't right.  Say something right away- do not wait!  We are all responsible for a safe and academically productive campus.

Call 911 or the University Police at 301-405-3333 in emergencies: weapons, violence (including suicide threat or attempt), or property damage.  When in doubt, make the call.  Do you feel you need to warn someone about another student?  If so, call the police.

Unsure if a situation warrants immediate police response?  Call the University Police non-emergency number at 301-405-3555 to talk about the situation.  The University police officers in the Department of Public Safety never consider it a bother if you contact them. 

Want to report your concern about a student to the BETA Team?  

Most people reporting give their names and contact information, but you may remain anonymous.

Almost all reports contain the name of the student of concern, but if you withhold the student's name, give us your contact information.  We'll give you advice and resources to help you engage with the student.  Else, there is nothing we can do with the report.

Did the concerning behavior or situation happen on the University of Maryland campus?  No matter where the student is, if he or she is a University of Maryland student and you are concerned, contact us.  We respond to all reports about University of Maryland students whether on our campus, off-campus, in another state, or abroad. 

Are you unsure if you should make a report?  You won't want to regret ignoring a worrisome situation.  When in doubt, report it.  Let us know you aren't sure how serious the situation really is, or you want us to have a "heads-up" in case things get worse.  If it ends up that your report was unwarranted, you would know that at least you didn't stand by while someone might have been in need.  And you may not think you have all the information you need to make a report, but go ahead and report what you do know; we'll take it from there.

What happens when the BETA Team receives a report?  The BETA Team reviews the report of concern, checks to see if the student is exhibiting concerning behaviors in other areas on campus, learns more about the student's experience on our campus, and develops a strategy to support the well-being and academic success of the student.  It determines if the BETA Team is the best method for reponding to a report of concern.  For example, a report may be re-directed to the Counseling Center's Dyad Liaison Team (whereby individual psychologists are assigned to counsel with specific campus units) when that course of action is deemed most appropriate. 

Often, a member of the BETA Team will contact the student directly but sometimes, the BETA Team will guide a faculty or staff member in interacting with the student if that person is on a familiar basis with the student.  When BETA members reach out to students, they do so from their area of expertise and identify themselves by their University title not as members of the BETA Team.  The BETA Team typically does not identify the person who made the report; we tryo to keep that information private.

We seek to connect with students in appropriate ways specific to their needs.  The BETA Team itself does not discipline, impose sanctions, or provide or mandate treatment.   However, individual members on the BETA Team do possess authority to take action as follows:

  • The University of Maryland Police have the authority to make arrests,
  • The Director of the Office of Student Conduct has the authority to suspend a student on an interim basis pending a medical evaluation or threat assessment by the police,
  • The Director of Mental Health Services has the authority to transport a student for psychiatric evaluation and/or hospitalization.

 

Does the BETA Team communicate with the person making the report?  We will acknowledge that we received your report.  And we may be able to share with you the steps we are taking depending on the confidentiality issues of the situation.  We view you as an ally in this process and so if you shared a concern and yet, given time, you continue to be worried about a student, we would appreciate hearing from you.  Contact the BETA Team chair or case manager directly.  

Would you like additional contact information?

You are always welcome to directly contact departments that are part of the BETA Team:

 

Faculty and Staff Concerned About a Student

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Are you a faculty member or staff member who is concerned about a student, either inside or outside of the classroom? 

  • Did a student disrupt your class in an alarming way?
  • Did a student send you a disturbing email or write something worrisome on an exam?
  • Do you feel threatened by a student?

Trust your instincts.  You don't need "proof" or "evidence" that something isn't right.  Say something right away- do not wait!  We are all responsible for a safe and academically productive campus.

Call 911 or the University Police at 301-405-3333 in emergencies:  weapons, violence (including suicide threat or attempt), or property damage.  When in doubt, make the call.

Unsure if a situation warrants immediate police response?  Call the University Police non-emergency number at 301-405-3555 to talk about the situation.  The University police officers in the Department of Public Safety never consider it a bother if you contact them. 

Considering reporting your concern about a student to the BETA Team? 

By providing you with this information about the BETA Team, we do not mean to imply that faculty or staff should not directly interact with the student you are concerned about.  In fact, oftentimes, a faculty or staff member who already knows the student (such as yourself) can be very effective in asking questions such as "Are you okay?", "Can we talk about this?", "I have noticed you have been absent from class a lot, can I offer you resources on campus to help?"  You may also consider emailing the student and/or calling the student on their cell phone to inquire about a student's well-being and academic progress.  If you want to talk directly to the student but might like a bit of guidance or ideas for what to say, call us in the Counseling Center (301-314-7651) or call the BETA Team chair or case manager (301-314-BETA). 

If you decide to report your concern to the BETA Team:

Most people reporting give their names and contact information, but you may remain anonymous. 

Almost all reports contain the name of the student of concern, but if you withhold the student's name, give us your contact information.  We'll give you advice and resources to help you engage with the student.  Else, there is nothing we can do with your report. 

Did the concerning behavior or situation happen on the University of Maryland campus?  No matter where the student is, if he or she is a University of Maryland student and you are concerned, contact us.  We respond to all reports about University of Maryland students whether on our campus, off-campus, in another state, or abroad. 

Are you unsure if you should make a report?  You won't want to regret ignoring a worrisome situation.  When in doubt, report it.  Let us know you aren't sure how serious the situation really is, or you want us to have a "heads-up" in case things get worse.  If it ends up that your report was unwarranted, you would know that at least you didn't stand by while someone might have been in need.  And you may not think you have all the information you need to make a report, but go ahead and report what you do know; we'll take it from there.

What happens when the BETA Team receives a report?  The BETA Team reviews the report of concern, checks to see if the student is exhibiting concerning behaviors in other areas on campus, learns more about the student's experience on our campus, and develops a strategy to support the well-being and academic success of the student.  It determines if the BETA Team is the best method for reponding to a reports of concern.  For example, a report may be re-directed to the Counseling Center's Dyad Liaison Team (whereby individual psychologists are assigned to counsel with specific campus units) when that course of action is deemed most appropriate. 

Often, a member of the BETA Team will contact the student directly but sometimes, the BETA Team will guide a faculty or staff member in interacting with the student if that person is on a familiar basis with the student.  When BETA members reach out to students, they do so from their area of expertise and identify themselves by their University title not as members of the BETA Team.  The BETA Team typically does not identify the person who made the report; we tryo to keep that information private.

We seek to connect with students in appropriate ways specific to their needs.  The BETA Team itself does not discipline, impose sanctions, or provide or mandate treatment.   However, individual members on the BETA Team do possess authority to take action as follows:

  • The University of Maryland Police have the authority to make arrests,
  • The Director of the Office of Student Conduct has the authority to suspend a student on an interim basis pending a medical evaluation or threat assessment by the police,
  • The Director of Mental Health Services has the authority to transport a student for psychiatric evaluation and/or hospitalization.

Does the BETA Team communicate with the person making the report?  We will acknowledge that we received your report.  And we may be able to share with you the steps we are taking depending on the confidentiality issues of the situation.  We view you as an ally in this process and so if you shared a concern and yet, given time, you continue to be worried about a student, we would appreciate hearing from you.  Contact the BETA Team chair or case manager directly.  

Would you like additional contact information?

You are always welcome to directly contact departments that are part of the BETA Team:

What have some faculty and staff reported after contacting the BETA Team?

  • I greatly appreciate everything that you have done and are doing to assist me and my student.
  • Thank you so much for giving me additional resources if the need arises.
  • Thank you for being a point person as the faculty in my department tried to make sense of a rather peculiar scenario.
  • I had a great conversation with the BETA Team and the student seems to have settled down since I talked with him. 
  • I must say that my student’s behavior changed positively after implementing the suggestions you gave me. He cooperated and with small reminders, he remained on task. I think he'll be okay for the upcoming semester in his other classes. 

 

Parents/Families Concerned About a Student

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Are you a parent or family member who is concerned about your student or an unrelated student?  Trust your instincts.  You don't need "proof" or "evidence" that something isn't right.  Say something right away- do not wait!  We are all responsible for a safe and academically productive campus.

Call 911 or the University Police at 301-405-3333 in emergencies:  weapons, violence (including suicide threat or attempt), or property damage.  When in doubt, make the call.

Unsure if a situation warrants immediate police response?  Call the University Police non-emergency number at 301-405-3555 to talk about the situation.  The University police officers in the Department of Public Safety never consider it a bother if you contact them. 

Want to report your concern about a student to the BETA Team?  

Most people reporting give their names and contact information, but you may remain anonymous. 

Almost all reports contain the name of the student of concern, but if you withhold the student's name, give us your contact information.  We'll give you advice and resources to help you engage with the student.  Else, there is nothing we can do with your report. 

Did the concerning behavior or situation happen on the University of Maryland campus?  No matter where the student is, if he or she is a University of Maryland student and you are concerned, contact us.  We respond to all reports about University of Maryland students whether on our campus, off-campus, in another state, or abroad. 

Are you unsure if you should make a report?  You won't want to regret ignoring a worrisome situation.  When in doubt, report it.  Let us know you aren't sure how serious the situation really is, or you want us to have a "heads-up" in case things get worse.  If it ends up that your report was unwarranted, you would know that at least you didn't stand by while someone might have been in need.  And you may not think you have all the information you need to make a report, but go ahead and report what you do know; we'll take it from there.

What happens when the BETA Team receives a report?  The BETA Team reviews the report of concern, checks to see if the student is exhibiting concerning behaviors in other areas on campus, learns more about the student's experience on our campus, and develops a strategy to support the well-being and academic success of the student.  It determines if the BETA Team is the best method for reponding to a report of concern.  For example, a report may be re-directed to the Counseling Center's Dyad Liaison Team (whereby individual psychologists are assigned to counsel with specific campus units) when that course of action is deemed most appropriate. 

Often, a member of the BETA Team will contact the student directly but sometimes, the BETA Team will guide a faculty or staff member in interacting with the student if that person is on a familiar basis with the student.  When BETA members reach out to students, they do so from their area of expertise and identify themselves by their University title not as members of the BETA Team.  The BETA Team typically does not identify the person who made the report; we tryo to keep that information private.

We seek to connect with students in appropriate ways specific to their needs.  The BETA Team itself does not discipline, impose sanctions, or provide or mandate treatment.   However, individual members on the BETA Team do possess authority to take action as follows:

  • The University of Maryland Police have the authority to make arrests,
  • The Director of the Office of Student Conduct has the authority to suspend a student on an interim basis pending a medical evaluation or threat assessment by the police,
  • The Director of Mental Health Services has the authority to transport a student for psychiatric evaluation and/or hospitalization.

Does the BETA Team communicate with the person making the report?  We will acknowledge that we received your report.  And we may be able to share with you the steps we are taking depending on the confidentiality issues of the situation.  We view you as an ally in this process and so if you shared a concern and yet, given time, you continue to be worried about a student, we would appreciate hearing from you.  Contact the BETA Team chair or case manager directly.  

Would you like additional contact information?

You are always welcome to directly contact departments that are part of the BETA Team:

In addition, the Office of Parent and Family Affairs is full of resources. 

 

After-Hours Resources

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Call the Counseling Center
 
If you are concerned about a UM student or if you, yourself, need support, call the Counseling Center anytime at 301-314-7651.  Counselors are available to you everyday, around the clock, including on holidays, and University breaks.
 
Call the Police

If you are concerned about a student and need help when most University offices are closed, the University Police are always open.  Call the University Police at 301-405-3333 or call 911

If your situation is not necessarily an emergency or you aren't sure if it is, call the University Police non-emergency number at 301-405-3555.  They will never consider it a bother if you contact them.

Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline

No matter what problems you are dealing with, we want to help you find a reason to keep living.

By calling 1-800-273-TALK (8255) you’ll be connected to a skilled, trained counselor at a crisis center in your area, anytime 24/7.  They also have an online chat feature. 
 

Consider Reporting Your Concern to the BETA Team for Receipt by the Next Business Day

If this is not an emergency (no violence, no weapons, no threat of harm to self or others, etc.) report your concern to the BETA Team.  We will receive your report at least by the next business day if not before. 

You may use the online form on this website (you may report anonymously), email us at beta@umd.edu or call us at 301-314-BETA (2382). 

We will let you know that we received your report.  If appropriate, we will let you know what steps we are taking.  We may not be able to share our strategy and actions due to confidentiality issues.

Even if it is "After Hours", SEE SOMETHING, SAY SOMETHING!

 

Special Situations: Sexual Misconduct and Child Abuse

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Report Sexual Misconduct and Relationship Violence

In accordance with Federal law and University of Maryland Policy, any "Responsible University Employee," must promptly report instances of sexual misconduct and all disclosures of different types of sexual misconduct to the Office of Sexual Misconduct and Relationship Violence.  A "Responsible University Employee" includes all University administrators, supervisors, faculty members, law enforcement, coaches, trainers, and resident assistants.  It also includes individuals who are perceived as having the authority or duty to take action or to report sexual misconduct to the University.

Report Sexual Misconduct and Relationship Violence:

 
Report Child Abuse and Neglect

Under Maryland law, you must make a report if you have "reason to believe that a child has been subjected to abuse or neglect."  All members of the University of Maryland campus community are expected to comply fully with this reporting standard.  This State law applies whenever you suspect that a current or past incident of child abuse or neglect has occurred. 

On the University of Maryland, College Park campus, reports of child abuse and neglect are to be sent to Chief David B. Mitchell, Chief of Police.

Click here to review the Policy on Reporting of Suspected Child Abuse and Neglect.  Or you can review the Frequently Asked Questions and/or Report Child Abuse and Neglect by printing out, completing, and sending this form.

  • by email to dmitche5@umd.edu
  • by mail to Chief David B. Mitchell, Department of Public Safety, 1101 Pocomoke Building, University of Maryland, College Park, MD 20742
  • call the Police at 301-405-3333 or the non-emergency number at 301-405-3555.

 

Note: documents in Portable Document Format (PDF) require Adobe Acrobat Reader 5.0 or higher to view, download Adobe Acrobat Reader.

Functioning of the BETA Team

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The BETA Team responds to reports of concern about students.

Reports are received:

  • through an online form found on the BETA Team website,
  • by email to the BETA Team (beta@umd.edu),
  • by a phone call to the BETA Team (301-314-BETA), or
  • through individual Team members.

The BETA Team reviews the report of concern, checks to see if the student is exhibiting concerning behaviors in other areas on campus, learns more about the student's experience on our campus, and develops a strategy for response.  It determines if the BETA Team is the best method for reponding to the report of concern.  For example, a report may be re-directed to the Counseling Center's Dyad Liaison Team (whereby individual psychologists are assigned to counsel with specific campus units) when that course of action is deemed most apprpriate.  Often, a member of the BETA Team will contact the student directly but sometimes, the BETA Team will guide a faculty or staff member in interacting with the student if that person is on a familiar basis with the student.  When BETA members reach out to students, they do so from their area of expertise and identify themselves by their University title not as members of the BETA Team. 

The BETA Team functions collaboratively and holistically.

While maintaining and respecting each other's distinct areas of professional expertise, the BETA Team reviews the circumstances of a report, determines a course of action, and identifies one individual to serve as the point person for that case. The case manager maintains confidential records of all initial reports and summaries of related correpondance and actions, and monitors the resolution progress to ensure the Teams' response is timely and complete.  BETA's records are kept private and are never linked to other Univerity or academic records.

The BETA Team focuses on supporting students' well-being and academic success.  The Team itself does not have authority to implement or require action such as treatment, separation from campus, relation, etc.  However, individual members on the BETA Team do possess authority to take action as follows:

  • The University of Maryland Police have the authority to make arrests,
  • The Director of the Office of Student Conduct has the authority to suspend a student on an interim basis pending a medical evaluation or threat assessment by the police,
  • The Director of Mental Health Services has the authority to transport a student for psychiatric evaluation and/or hospitalization.
     

In addition, the Director of the Department of Resident Life has the authority under the terms of a student’s residential housing contract, to require a mental health review before a student may return to the residence halls or if the student poses a substantial threat to him/herself or others.

Overall, the BETA Team works to collect and discover early warning signs before a students becaome threats to themselves and/or others.  The Team works with a preventive mindset connecting students in distress with resources that can help them.  The BETA Team works in conjunction with other departments, units, committees, and individuals on campus that address issues involving concern about students.  The BETA Team recognizes the value of having various modes for responding to concerns about students as each situation is unique, personal, and sensitive and no one approach can be effective for all situations.  

The BETA Team has regularly scheduled meetings year round but will hold additional meetings if necessary, and likewise, will cancel meetings if there are no cases to review.  Fuithermore, the Team stays current with issues involving students of concern in higher education and in society.  The University of Maryland's BETA Team, was created in 2005. 

Learn more about the BETA Team

Contact Dr. John Zacker, chair of the BETA Team and Assistant Vice President for Student Affairs, at 301-314-8430 and jzacker@umd.edu.

 

BETA Team Members

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The BETA Team is comprised of representatives from the Counseling Center, the University Health Center's Mental Health Services, the Office of Student Conduct, the Department of Public Safety, and the Office of the Vice President for Student Affairs.  

It is chaired by Dr. John Zacker, Assistant Vice President for Student Affairs.

The BETA Team may consult with other University units when appropriate.

Feel free to contact any BETA Team member individually.

Current core members are as follows:

Dr. John Zacker
Chair of the BETA Team and Assistant Vice President for Student Affairs,
Mitchell Building, 301-314-8430, jzacker@umd.edu

Major Kenneth Calvert
Police Officer, Department of Public Safety,
Pocomoke Building, 301-405-3555, calvert@umd.edu

Dr. Andrea Goodwin
Director, Office of Student Conduct,
Mitchell Building, 301-314-8209, agoodwin@umd.edu

Dr. Marta Hopkinson
Director, Mental Health Services,
University Health Center, 301-314-8106, mhopkin2@umd.edu

Dr. Sharon Kirkland-Gordon
Director, Counseling Center,
Shoemaker Building, 301-314-7651, skirklan@umd.edu

Ms. Maria Lonsbury
Case Manager for the BETA Team and Project Specialist, Office of the Vice President for Student Affairs,
Mitchell Building, 301-314-8441, lonsbury@umd.edu

Dr. David Petersen
Associate Director, Counseling Center,
Shoemaker Building, 301-314-7651, petersen@umd.edu