The Behavioral Intervention and Threat Assessment Team (BITA) is a multi-disciplinary group who meets regularly to support the Pierce College community. The BITA team receives, assesses and responds to reports of concerning or troublesome behaviors of students, employees or others that may affect the College community. BITA’s primary focus is to provide support for individuals through referrals to internal and external resources while addressing threats to, and safety of, the College community.
The primary goals of the BITA team are to:
- Review all reports of concern as soon as reasonably possible, recognizing that some reports will require immediate review and response, while others may be reviewed during regular meetings.
- Offer referrals for resources and support to individuals of concern as appropriate.
- Centralize the collection of information to identify patterns of concerning behaviors for individuals who may be known to multiple members of the campus community.
- Assess threats using nationally recognized threat assessment tools and develop and implement action steps in accordance with College policies and procedures.
How do you submit a report?
Individuals who are concerned about a student or employee should complete the electronic BITA report sharing as much information as possible. While the report can be submitted any time, please note that reports will be responded to within 2 business days.
In cases where a student or employee’s behavior poses an imminent threat to themselves or others, first contact 911 or the Pierce College Campus Safety Department at 253-444-0325 (Fort Steilacoom) or 253-444-0325 (Puyallup), second submit a report to document the concern.
Why should you submit a report?
At Pierce College, it is everyone’s responsibility to take action and assist those individuals who show any type of behavior that could affect their success, impact the safety of themselves or others, or affect the well-being of the community. The success of the BITA process centers on the community’s commitment to early intervention and to reporting concerns, big or small, so patterns of behavior can be identified and addressed in a timely manner.
What happens once you submit a report?
Once the BITA report is submitted, it enters a secure database, and each team member immediately receives the report via their Pierce email. All information and reports will be handled in a confidential manner based on college policy, and state and federal laws. The team evaluates each report and meets regularly to discuss them. A member of BITA will reach out to the reporter to acknowledge receipt, ask clarifying questions if necessary, and briefly explain the action steps that the team may be taking to support and address the person of concern. If deemed appropriate, a member of BITA will then reach out directly to the person of concern to assess their situation and collaboratively develop an action plan to support the individual with referrals to internal and external resources as appropriate.
In the event that the individual of concern is perceived by the BITA team to be a risk to themselves or others, a threat assessment process is utilized. Through the threat assessment process, the BITA team will determine appropriate action steps to address the individual of concern while also prioritizing the safety of the campus community.
A BITA intervention may not be appropriate in every instance and reports may simply be logged in case there is a future pattern of behavior that needs to be addressed.
What behaviors should you be concerned about?
As a member of the Pierce College community, you may notice a student or employee exhibiting any of the following behaviors which could serve as important signs of distress. These behaviors represent signs that something may be wrong. The BITA team asks that you not dismiss your feelings of concern and encourages you, as appropriate, to check-in with the individual to help you get a better sense of their situation, as well as submit a BITA report to document your concerns and receive additional support from the BITA team.
Please note that any one of these signs, in and of itself, may not mean that the individual is experiencing a significant crisis and could be an isolated incident. However, one serious sign (e.g., suicidal ideation) or a cluster of smaller signs (e.g., emotional outbursts and repeated absences) may result in an intervention by the BITA team.
- Dramatic change in energy level (either more or less)
- Changes in hygiene or personal appearance
- Falling asleep at inopportune times
- Appearing under the influence of drugs or alcohol
- Noticeable injuries (cuts, bruises or burns)
- Drawing or writing about violence
- Inappropriate outbursts (unprovoked anger or hostility)
- Exaggerated personality traits (more withdrawn or animated)
- Expressions of hopelessness, fear or worthlessness
- References to suicide, death and dying
- Statements indicating distress, family problems, or other difficulties
- Confusing or disjointed communication
- Deterioration in quality/quantity of work
- Repeated absences
- Disorganized or erratic performance
- Sending/posting lengthy, ranting, or threatening types of messages
- Pattern of seeking special provisions (late papers, extensions)
How do you know if a concerning behavior is a BITA issue or is more appropriately handled by other campus processes?
The most critical step is that you report the concerning behavior by submitting the BITA report. Reports that fall into a different College process, will be forwarded to the appropriate College officials. This includes Title IX matters, Student Conduct matters, Discrimination and Harassment matters, and general complaints. Remember that College employees also have mandatory reporting requirements, including abuse of children and vulnerable adults.
Student Conduct matters will be handled in accordance with the procedures outlined in the Student Conduct Code. The work of the BITA team is not intended to replace the current College disciplinary process.
Who is on the BITA team?
The BITA team is comprised of individuals from across the College who are able to provide a multidisciplinary approach to this work. When appropriate, additional subject matter experts are invited to consult about matters as needed. The members of the team are:
- Kelly Benson, Dean of Student Success & Enrollment Services
- Joseph Cates-Carney, Faculty, Natural Science Division
- Sean Cooke, Title IX Coordinator
- Julie Draper Davis, Associate Dean, Student Conduct
- Holly Gorski, Vice President for Human Resources
- Megan Irby, Faculty Counselor, Fort Steilacoom
- Tami Jacobs, Dean of Student Success, Fort Steilacoom
- Agnes Steward, Dean of Student Success, Puyallup
- Jennifer Wright, Faculty Counselor, Puyallup
What resources are available to support individuals of concern?
There are a variety of resources available to support individuals of concern. You are encouraged to share these resources as appropriate, in addition to submitting a BITA report.
- Access and Disability Services
- Pierce Advocacy and Resource Connections
- Pierce County Crisis Line
- National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255)
- Crisis Text Line: Text HOME to 741741
- LGBTQ+ Resource: Trevor Project
- Military Resource: Give an Hour
- Additional mental health resources