Ending Campus Violence: New Approaches to Prevention

Ending Campus Violence: New Approaches to Prevention

Ending Campus Violence: New Approaches to Prevention

Ending Campus Violence: New Approaches to Prevention


With the growth of threats and violence in higher education settings, college campuses are increasingly expected to have systems in place to identify potentially aggressive individuals and intervene to ensure the safety of the campus population. This book will be useful for student affairs professionals as well as college counselors, psychologists, social workers interested in the practical management of aggression and violence on a college campus. It will also be a valuable resource for those involved in creating and running behavioral intervention teams and threat/risk assessment teams. Ten case studies from both the community and residential college settings provide a comprehensive overview of campus violence and how to intervene to prevent it. Pertinent background information is discussed as an introduction to these narratives, such as the fundamentals of aggression and violence on campuses; how these behaviors can impact students, faculty, and staff; and what can be learned from past campus violence. Along with discussion questions and a review of ways to approach each situation, experts in higher education, forensic risk assessment, law enforcement, and legal issues weigh in on each case study. Their perspectives offer a context and broad base of opinions and ideas on how each case could be handled. Additional examples for further training of the college counselor are given through a detailed look at almost 100 incidents of violence, including thwarted attacks, rampage shootings, and hostage situations.


There is a poem by the American poet John Godfrey Saxe (1816–87) that tells the story of six blind men who have never seen an elephant before.

It was six men of Indostan
To learning much inclined,
Who went to see the Elephant
(Though all of them were blind),
That each by observation
Might satisfy his mind.

The poem continues as each blind man touches a part of the elephant and shares his findings with the others. The first touches the side of the elephant and compares this to a wall. The second touches the tusk and compares it to a spear. The third touches the trunk and compares it to a snake. The leg is compared to a tree, the ear to a fan and the tail to a rope.

The moral of the poem centers on the importance of being cautious in terms of making assumptions when one does not have an understanding of the entire concept.

Understanding violence and how it impacts an institute of higher education is kind of like this poem. There are many aspects to consider, many theories about what drives violent behavior and various subjective contexts in which the violence may occur.

Consider for a moment a college student who is quiet, keeps to himself and is described as “odd” or “strange” by the other students. The student resents feeling different, has difficulty forming friendships and fails miserably when he attempts to flirt and tries to date a girl he likes. Perhaps this student withdraws further and finds some solace and comfort in creative writing. Perhaps the student signs up for an online gaming community where his avatar completes magnificent quests and earns treasure and respect among his fellow gamers. The student connects deeper and deeper in his on-line world and drifts from the negative interactions in the real world. The student becomes irritable and increasingly anti-social with other students. He falls behind in his academic work and eventually is confronted by his professors about his poor attendance in class and the low quality of his work.

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