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Threatening Behavior by Students

Policy Information

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Effective Date: 
October 14, 2003
Policy Number: 
Responsible Unit: 
Dean of Students Office

Purpose and Summary

The University seeks to promote a safe environment where students and employees may participate in the educational process without compromising their health, safety, or welfare. The Arizona Board of Regents (ABOR) Student Code of Conduct, ABOR Policy 5-308, prohibits threats of physical harm to any member of the University community, including to one’s self. Threatening behavior can harm and disrupt the University, its community, and its families.


“Threatening behavior” means any statement, communication, conduct, or gesture, including those in written form, directed toward any member of the University community that causes a reasonable apprehension of physical harm to a person or property. A student can be guilty of threatening behavior even if the person who is the object of the threat does not observe or receive it, so long as a reasonable person would interpret the maker’s statement, communication, conduct, or gesture as a serious expression of intent to physically harm.


Threatening behavior is prohibited.

Procedures for Mandatory Reporting of Threatening Behavior

If threatened by any student’s conduct to the point of reasonable fear of immediate physical harm to self, others, or property:

  1. Leave the area immediately.
  2. Call the University Police by dialing 9-1-1 to request that an officer come to the location. Inform the Police if this is a repeat occurrence.
  3. Anyone who observes what appears to be threatening behavior must report it to the Dean of Students Office and, in the appropriate case, file a Student Code of Conduct Complaint (see ABOR 5-403).
  4. University employees who observe what appears to be threatening behavior must also report it to their supervisor or Department Head, who should report it to the Dean.

Disciplinary Process

In addition to any law enforcement action, the Dean of Students Office will investigate complaints against students and will keep records of such complaints and investigations in accordance with the Student Disciplinary Procedures (ABOR Policy 5-401 et seq.). Such records are subject to the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) and may be shared with faculty and other University officials who have a legitimate educational interest, and with those persons who need to know in a health or safety emergency, including any person who was the object of the threat. The person observing a threat or being threatened by a student is to complete the Student Code of Conduct Complaint Form and send it to the Dean of Students Office. This will initiate Student Disciplinary Procedures regarding the student who is charged with exhibiting threatening behavior. Within 24 hours, the Dean of Students Office will e-mail the person who submitted the form to confirm that the form has been received. The Dean of Students Office will communicate the progress of the investigation within 10 calendar days to the person who was the object of the threat.

The Student Disciplinary Procedures shall govern all proceedings involving such complaints. The Dean of Students may suspend the student for an interim period prior to the resolution of the disciplinary proceeding if the Dean determines that the continued presence of the student poses a threat to any individual, property, or University function. Sanctions, as appropriate, may be imposed in accordance with the Student Code of Conduct, up to and including suspension or expulsion from the University. In addition to any other sanction, any student who has been found responsible for threatening behavior after an opportunity for appeal may be expelled from the University.

The Dean of Students Office may utilize the Student Behavior Assessment Committee to assist in determining whether the student can remain on campus or whether other appropriate disciplinary actions should be taken. The Student Behavior Assessment Committee is an advisory committee that shall include representatives from Counseling and Psychological Services, the Dean of Students Office, member(s) of the Faculty (including a representative of the Faculty Senate Student Affairs Policy Committee), Life and Work Connections, the Department of Risk Management, the University Police Department, and other ad hoc members and consultants as deemed necessary by the Dean of Students on a case-by-case basis. The committee will receive its charge from the Dean of Students, as necessary.

Revision History*

09/08/2022: Updated link to ABOR Student Code of Conduct Policy [Related Information section].

* Please note that sections titled Frequently Asked Questions, Sources, Related Information, and Revision History are provided solely for the convenience of users and are not part of the official University policy.

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