FIRE in ‘The Denver Post’ on the Colorado Shooter and College ‘Threat Assessment Teams’

By September 27, 2012

Reports following the tragic theater shooting in Aurora, Colorado, indicate that James Holmes, the alleged shooter, had been referred to the University of Colorado’s threat assessment team for evaluation. This revelation has led to calls for expanding the powers of those committees (sometimes referred to as "behavioral intervention teams," or "BITs") on college campuses. Some advocates are even calling on Congress to create a new "National Center for Campus Public Safety."

Yesterday, I took to The Denver Post to explain why creating such an agency or increasing the authority and reach of behavioral intervention teams would be a significant imposition on students’ constitutional rights. I wrote:

Universities already wield considerable power to deal with truly threatening student behavior. And unfortunately, the concern that universities might abuse their power by invading student privacy and curtailing protected student speech has already proven justified.  

To read more about how threat assessment teams threaten student rights and what steps we should take to improve campus safety without sacrificing those rights, please check out my op-ed in The Denver Post.