Response to Violence and Threatening Behaviour


April 15, 1993

Revision Date

March 21, 2013


GP 25

Revision No.


Preamble: Statement of Principles

 Simon Fraser University is committed to:

  1. creating a scholarly community characterized by honesty, civility, diversity, free inquiry, mutual respect, individual safety and freedom from harassment, discrimination, violence, and threats;
  2. supporting the well-being of all members of the university community; and,
  3. responding in a timely way to violence and threats in a manner that is proportionate to their seriousness. 

1.0       Purpose

The purpose of this Policy is to ensure that all members of the University community and visitors to the University remain safe. This Policy reaches beyond provincial safety programs for employees to outline the University’s response to all violent incidents and threats at the University, or otherwise within its jurisdiction. Guidance is also provided for responding to other behaviour that may provoke concern in those who observe or learn of the behaviour. 

2.0       Jurisdiction/Scope

This Policy applies to:

  1. Violent behaviour occurring at the University that is directed at, and/or committed by, a member of the University community, or a visitor to the University;
  2. Threats originating at the University, or threats issued through the University’s computing or communication resources, and directed at and/or committed by a member of the University community or a visitor to the University;  and,
  3. Any violent incident or threat directed at a member of the University community that has the potential to affect the person’s ability to work and/or study at the University without threat to personal safety.

3.0       Definitions:

Campus” means any buildings or lands owned or occupied by SFU.

Incident Management Team or “IMT” means a group composed of the University staff that shall be on call for the purpose of determining a thorough response to violent incidents after the initial emergency has been dealt with by Campus Security and/or other emergency responders. 

Members of the University community” means any student or employee of the university, including any faculty member, temporary or sessional instructor, adjunct professor, or any volunteer engaged in a sanctioned University activity.

“Self-Harm” means an attempt to harm or cause physical injury to oneself and may include any form of suicidal behaviour, or other forms of self-injurious behaviour. 

“Student” means a person who is either actively enrolled in one or more credit or non-credit courses during a given term whether degree-seeking or not, or who is enrolled in a partnered program, or has been so enrolled during the past 12 months.

“Student Threat Assessment Team” or “STAT” means a group composed of University staff that monitors and determines appropriate responses to student behaviour that could become violent or pose a threat to safety on campus.

“Threats” or “Threatening Behaviour” means any statement or action, whether made in person or through any form of media, by an individual or group that may cause a reasonable person to believe the statement or action may result in harm to him/herself or others.

“Threat Assessment Team” or “TAT” means a group composed of University staff that monitors and determines appropriate responses to employee behaviour that could become violent or pose a threat to members of the University community.

“Violence” or “Violent Incident” means any act or attempted act of physical force that may cause, or has caused, physical injury to a person.

Visitor” means a person on a University campus who is not a member of the University community, and may include contractors, alumni, visiting faculty, guests, members of the general public, former employees and former students.

4.0       Policy

4.1 Violence or threatening behaviour is prohibited.

4.2 Active or imminent acts of violence, threats of violence or of self-harm should be immediately reported to Campus Security.

4.3 Campus Security personnel will respond as necessary, primarily to protect personal safety.

4.4 Threat Assessment Teams will support the University’s response to threatening behaviour.

4.5 The Director of Campus Security  or the Director of Health and Counselling  may be consulted for advice on behaviours that are of concern, but are neither violent nor threatening, as defined in this policy.

5.0       Roles and Responsibilities

5.1 The Vice-President Finance and Administration has oversight of this Policy.  This includes incident consultation as required and receiving an annual report of incidents addressed under this policy.

5.2 The Chief Safety Officer is responsible for implementing and monitoring all procedures related to this Policy and for chairing the Incident Management Team and the Threat Assessment Team.  He/she will report annually to Vice-President Finance & Administration on all incidents and activities addressed under this Policy.

5.3 The Director, Campus Security is responsible for implementing, monitoring and conducting a continuous review of emergency response protocols to reports of violence and threatening behaviour.

5.4 The Associate Vice-President, Students is responsible for implementing and monitoring procedures for Student Threat Assessment Teams.

6.0       Procedures

The Chief Safety Officer will institute operational procedures pursuant to this Policy and is responsible for keeping them current.  The procedures are outlined in Appendix A (PDF 51KB).