Report of the Committee on Campus
The Johns Hopkins University / March 27, 1997
In the aftermath of the April 1996 fatal shooting of Hopkins
Rex Chao, the Committee on Campus Violence was established by
Daniel Nathans to examine the University's policies, procedures,
programs and to make recommendations for actions to reduce the
campus violence. The Committee, which consisted of fourteen
faculty, and students, with Provost Steven Knapp as chair, met
from July through February. In its study of the issue of campus
the Committee utilized a variety of sources of information,
publications, survey research, and consultation with experts,
some of whom
were members of the Committee.
The Committee's charge was to address both student and staff
although more of its attention was directed to student concerns
workplace issues. The issues addressed by the Committee
included codes of
conduct and disciplinary procedures for students and staff,
substance abuse, firearms, dating violence, harassment and
monitoring and intervention in the case of students and staff who
potentially dangerous to others, crisis management, and
As part of its study, the Committee considered the extent of
workplace violence at Johns Hopkins in national and relevant
contexts. Compared to other universities, the incidence of
of various forms at Johns Hopkins has been very low. In a review
of the very
few student cases of serious injury or death due to violence,
suicides, over the past ten years, the Committee was unable to
common characteristics or to find evidence of any endemic factors
be associated with campus violence. It is the Committee's
Johns Hopkins University is simply not immune to the
unfortunately affect some people in our society.
While the Committee believes that it is impossible to
the threat of violent incidents or to predict with certainty who
a violent act, the Committee proposes a series of policy
education and training initiatives, and interventions designed to
the threat of campus violence and to respond to campus crises.
Committee's recommendations call for action of several kinds:
Policy and procedure changes
Education and training initiatives
- a revision to the firearms policy making even more
prohibition against the possession and use of guns on campus and
certainty of sanctions for violations.
- revisions to extant student conduct codes to prohibit
threats of harm
and persistent, unwanted contact.
- promulgation of student conduct codes in those
divisions where formal
statements do not exist.
- strengthening the reporting system for disciplinary
Initiatives to strengthen intervention mechanisms for dealing
with students and staff who are potentially dangerous
- support for continued aggressive education and
counseling efforts in
combating alcohol and substance abuse.
- the development of health/wellness brochures for
students and the use of
orientation week as vehicles for educating about the dangers of
increasing awareness of relationship violence.
- training for appropriate administrative staff, faculty,
advisors, mental health workers, and health personnel in
signs of obsessive behaviors and the symptoms of dating
- training for department chairs and supervisors about
and how to seek help in addressing problems;
- training for staff in employee and student service
offices to ensure
their preparation to deal with distressed or potentially violent
- professional preparation in risk assessment for the
Faculty and Staff
Assistance Program (FASAP) and Homewood Counseling Center
- expanded discussion of harassment in the Counseling
Center's letter to
faculty and initiation of similar letters in other divisions.
Enhancement of resources for dealing with distressed students
- the adoption of a formal protocol for dealing with
students who are
potentially dangerous to others.
- the establishment of a risk assessment and prevention
- the wider use of letters constituting administrative
orders to desist
from inappropriate behavior.
- the development of plans for interim actions prior to
resolution of formal disciplinary proceedings.
- the early involvement of security in issues of
harassing behavior and
- revisions to the student health form to strengthen the
ability to identify health and behavior problems.
Efforts to enhance communications
- adoption of crisis management response protocols in
- development of a crisis management plan for the
- identification of expertise in post-traumatic stress
syndrome for use with trauma victims.
- provision of support for students in case of police
- development of professional resources for the Nitze
School of Advanced
International Studies (SAIS) to facilitate the evaluation of
- consideration of establishing a dispute resolution
mechanism that might
include a panel of trained mediators.
Research and data gathering initiatives
- consideration of appropriate parental involvement in
potential violence and communication in the event of campus
- dissemination of the committee report within the
- sharing these recommendations with other institutions
The Committee calls also for the assignment of specific
implementing its recommendations, the establishment of an
group to oversee action on those recommendations accepted by the
and a formal review of progress after nine months.
- the collection of data about the extent of firearms
possession and use within the Hopkins community.
- the collection of baseline data about the prevalence of
dating violence within the Hopkins community.
- the development of a research protocol to facilitate
study of more intensive health and behavior screening through
- the design of a study on the effects of the training,
monitoring, and intervention efforts proposed in the report of
the Committee on Campus Violence.
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Violence Table of Contents
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