Today I attended a presentation by NYPD about active shooter incidents, and the best way to respond. A January 5th email sent from Bill Keller, VP for Finance and Administration, explained: “Queens College is working with the New York Police Department to ensure that our community is as prepared as possible to handle such an event.” The session was a review of statistics as well as recommendations for responding to such a horrific event; it was measured, specific, and entertaining (yes, really).
But this post is not really about that. This post is about a brief exchange I had with a colleague from QC CTL at the end of the session. While the message “if you see something, say something” rang loud and clear, we were told over and over to contact supervisors, security, or HR to report any behaviors of concern from colleagues, or even random strangers. The only nod to students was at the very end, when it was announced that we could always contact the Office for Student Affairs if we have concerns about a student. Thomas Szlezak turned to me and wondered why they hadn’t mentioned the QC BIT (Behavioral Intervention Team). YES! Why hadn’t anyone mentioned it?
So that’s what this post is about. Did you know that there exists a specific behavioral intervention team that you can contact if you are concerned with a student’s physical / emotional well-being? Without going into details, I will say that there have been at least three occasions in my experience teaching at CUNY when I have felt concerns about a student and knowing that the BIT exists would have been a huge help. By the time I had the third experience (here at QC), I was directed to the BIT, but I still feel that it is NOT a widely known resource. Just to clarify, although in the first two cases (one at Baruch and one at QC) I was concerned about violence potentially being used against me / other students, in the case of the third student, I was not so much fearful that the student would do violence to me or others, but more concerned that he would harm himself.
The QC BIT: http://sl.qc.cuny.edu/behavioral.php
CTL also has a handout and discusses this and other resources at their pre-semester orientation in fall and spring: http://ctl.qc.cuny.edu/files/2014/08/BIT-handout1.pdf
Anyway, hopefully we will not have need of the BIT, but I am calmer knowing that the resource exists. The same goes for the event of an active shooter on campus. Hopefully we will never have to deal with such a horrific event, but I prefer to be prepared with a response plan if it ever occurs For anyone who missed today’s session, there will be a repeat session after spring semester starts.
Thanks to our QC campus security officers and the NYPD who are taking active steps to ensure our preparedness if we ever are targeted. Wishing everyone a safe, healthy and peaceful 2015!