The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

College aims to take threats to TASC

As violence on college campuses has grown, college administrations and counseling departments around the nation have begun to focus on ways to prevent tragedies. Guilford College has recently picked up this trend with the Threat Assessment and Students Concerns Team.

For many years, members of the Campus Life office met weekly to review incident reports.

Early last year, this meeting was expanded to include Barbara Boyette, the assistant academic dean for student support, and Gaither Terrell, director of the counseling center.

The team continued to grow after Ron Stowe, director of public safety, organized a visit from Major Gene Deisinger, director of threat management at Virginia Tech. TASC was announced as a formal organization this fall.

Currently, the team consists of Boyette, Terrell, Stowe, CCE Admissions Counselor Rob Overman, Associate Dean for Campus Life Tammy Alt, Associate Dean for Campus Life Jennifer Agor, Director of Residence Life Susanna Westberg, and Director of Student Judicial Affairs Sandy Bowles.

The group meets weekly to review incident reports; they also consider students’ performance in classes and hear concerns from professors.

“The purpose of my presence on the committee is not to bring information that I know about students who might be in counseling,” said Terrell in an email interview. “My role is to serve as a consultant to the committee on mental health issues. We take confidentiality seriously.”

The team looks out for patterns in student behavior that suggest something is wrong. They are not just hoping to identify students who may be a threat to themselves or the campus community, but to intervene with students who may be having problems before they become serious.

“Public Safety sometimes hears some things, faculty hear some things, we hear some things, RAs hear some things, but if we don’t all get together and put all the little pieces together it doesn’t ever necessarily look like something big,” said Agor. “But when you have all the pieces you can often see that it’s something more serious.”

Some students are concerned the team may not be effective.

“I think they should have student involvement in the team,” said senior criminal justice and psychology major Paul Bersoff. “I think the students just have a better idea of what’s going on on campus.”

Nonetheless, programs like TASC are available on nearly every college campus in the country. The University of North Carolina at Greensboro has a similar program, as does Fordham University in New York.

“I definitely think it is something that every campus needs,” said Agor. 

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