TIPS is a customizable service that administrators can set up with their own criteria and fields for reporting. Thomas Nelson customized it to allow users to report their campus location, the name and description of the person they are reporting, the location of the incident, and details of the incident. There is also an option to include contact information if the person wants to receive follow-ups on the report.
Tipsters are not required to identify themselves. The college decided to allow tipsters the option of remaining anonymous to avoid any instance “where people wouldn’t report something because they weren’t comfortable,” MacDonald says. He adds that “we felt it was better to get all the data than miss something that was potentially actionable.”
The types of concerns reported may range from sexual harassment to aggressive acts to signs of emotional distress. Users can also upload supporting documents when making a report.
“If you take a picture or you have an e-mail or you scan something in, you can attach that to your report, which is a great tool for us as we go through the process,” MacDonald says.
The next step, where the concern or person reported does not present an imminent threat, is to talk to faculty, staff, and students to assess the validity of the concern. The threat assessment team will also likely ask a school counselor to step in and set up a meeting to talk with the individual whose actions or behaviors have been reported.