Violence Prevention & Threat Assessment

The University of Mary Washington (UMW) promotes a safe and secure environment in which to learn and work by prohibiting threats or acts of violence by or against members of the University community. In addition, UMW prohibits threats and acts of violence on University property and within University facilities.

The violence prevention and threat assessment process promotes campus safety and aims to prevent violence through comprehensive threat management oversight and the identification and evaluation of possible threats to an individual or to the campus. UMW uses a variety of strategies to accomplish the following objectives:

  • To educate members of the University community about violence prevention and threat assessment.
  • To identify, prevent, and provide consequences for threats and acts of violence.
  • To mitigate the effects of threats and acts of violence on victims and on the campus community.

How to Report a Concern

If you are concerned about a possible threat or act of violence, or any odd or inappropriate behavior from any member of the UMW community, there are a variety of ways to report:

  • Call the UMW Police – 540-654-1025 (non-emergency); Emergency – dial 4444 or 777 from any campus phone or dial 540-654-4444 (cell phones).
  • Submit a concern about a student online
  • Submit a Silent Witness Report to the UMW Police anonymously
  • Contact any member of the Violence Prevention Team or Threat Assessment Team, whose information is below. These faculty and staff members have been trained in violence prevention and threat assessment and meet regularly and as necessary to assess concerns and respond depending on information received.

Members of the Violence Prevention Team
The UMW Violence Prevention Team (VPT) is a multidisciplinary group composed of members of various campus departments who meet regularly and as needed to develop comprehensive threat management oversight and programming for the University of Mary Washington.

Members of the Threat Assessment Team
The UMW Threat Assessment Team (TAT) is a multidisciplinary group composed of members of various campus departments who meet regularly and as needed to recognize and respond to specific concerns, emerging concerns, and threats that may pose a significant disruption to the campus environment and thus the institution’s academic mission.

What should be reported?

Many behaviors may cause concern for the safety and security of an individual or the campus as a whole. The following list provides examples of concerning behaviors or situations, though the list is not exhaustive:

  • Unusual or abrupt changes in behaviors or patterns.
  • Extreme reaction to a loss or traumatic event.
  • Preoccupation with weapons, violent events, or persons who have engaged in violent acts.
  • Uncharacteristically poor performance.
  • References to harming others or planning a violent or destructive event.
  • Evidence of depression, hopelessness, or suicidal thoughts/plans.
  • Inappropriate responses such as prolonged irritability, angry outbursts, or intense reactions.
  • Strained interpersonal relations, isolating behaviors, or low self-esteem.
  • Significant change in life circumstances such as loss of job or relationship.

It is important to share the name of the individual(s) involved and specific behavioral observations.  UMW will accept anonymous reports, but having limited information minimizes options when addressing the situation.

What will happen to the information you share?

The goal of the violence prevention and threat assessment process is to resolve all issues with dignity using appropriate discretion. Your identity will be treated privately to support a positive outcome while ensuring safety as the central priority.

UMW Violence Prevention and Threat Assessment Policies and Procedures

Origin and History of Violence Prevention and Threat Assessment at UMW

In 2008, the University of Mary Washington initiated a formal violence prevention and threat assessment process in response to legislation passed by the 2008 session of the General Assembly (§23-9.2:10 of the Code of Virginia) requiring state institutions to establish a preventative, collaborative, and multidisciplinary approach to situations that pose, or may reasonably pose, a threat to the safety and security of the campus community. In the spring 2010, the University of Mary Washington Board of Visitors officially endorsed the structure and function of violence prevention and threat assessment at UMW.

Known originally as UMW Cares, in 2016 the University renamed the process Violence Prevention and Threat Assessment to more accurately reflect the purpose of the multidisciplinary groups overseeing this work.