Team watches for danger on local campus

by: Allison Latos Updated:

Loading

CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Eyewitness News learned how UNC Charlotte investigates threats on campus.

Among the 26,000 students, there is a team watching for danger. The Campus Behavior Intervention Team meets every Tuesday afternoon.

These teams gained national attention after the University of Colorado came under fire for not alerting police about James Holmes after his psychiatrist became worried.

Weeks later, Holmes is accused of opening fire inside a movie theater, killing 12 and injuring 58 people.

“We can’t foresee things," said UNC Charlotte Counseling Director Dr. David Spano. "It's hard to predict violence. There are not a lot of good technologies about that. We do the best we can. We look for warning signs."

Spano said college can trigger mental issues, and his office educates professors on the warning signs.

"Sometimes, students will say something in a paper or in an email to a professor that they might be suicidal or having anger management problems," he said.

CBIT decides whether to offer students counseling or seek suspension or expulsion through the student conduct office.

But if students leave school, UNC Charlotte Police Chief Jeff Baker is concerned outside police departments across the country may not act on warnings.

“I think there needs to be a much larger discussion about what role outside jurisdictions would play," said Baker.

So far, the CBIT team hasn't needed to contact an outside police agency. Most of the issues deal with individual students, and the most common is eating disorders.

Students told Eyewitness News they didn't know about the team, but now, they're grateful.

“They're kind of protecting us," said junior Dyaffyo Browne.  "Nowadays, even in your classes, can never really trust people."