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The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald


Team prevents violence at UW

the wake of campus shootings at Northern Illinois University and Virginia Tech,
a University of Wisconsin advisory committee says it has stopped potential
threats from advancing in Madison.

Threat Assessment Response Team is ?charged with trying to assess specific
threats that an individual might pose to others in the campus community and
develop a response plan,? said Kevin Helmkamp, assistant dean and co-chair of

committee says it has recorded several successful interventions upon identifying
threatening behavior. Success in this area is difficult to measure, but perhaps
success can be defined by what has not happened, Helmkamp said.


?We?re living in a world
of damned if you do and damned if you don?t,? Helmkamp said.

shootings at NIU as well as Virginia Tech have helped the committee to learn a
lot, and Helmkamp said he is confident the committee will continue to learn

?Northern Illinois
triggered a chance to go back and review people,? Helmkamp said. ?We try to pay
attention to anything that might be a trigger to any activity.?

committee is comprised of representatives from academic and classified
personnel, UW police, University Housing, the Offices of the Dean of Students
and the University Health Services counseling center, among others.

to Helmkamp, all of these are considered ?natural points of contact if somebody
demonstrates a threat.?

?I think one of the big
challenges ? is that the flags weren?t raised,? UW Director of Counseling
Services Dr. Robert McGrath said in reference to the recent shootings at
Northern Illinois University.

added that while early intervention is key, the perpetrator at NIU was thought
by many to be an ideal student and unlikely to be considered a threat by any
counseling center.

?One of the goals of the
committee ? is to try and connect the dots when something is reported to us,?
Helmkamp said. ?The makeup of the committee allows for a variety of entry
points from which to identify individuals that may pose a threat.?

said UW receives an appropriate level of funding to deal with analyzing
potential threats.

?I?d say we?re OK, we?re
comfortable,? McGrath said. ?It?d be nice if we could expand, but we balance
our needs versus not wanting to impose more cost on students.?

added funding for counseling services at UW comes from a general university
fund as well as the student health services fee.

ability of the counseling center at the university was discussed last this past
weekend at the 2008 Big Ten Counseling Centers Conference hosted by UW.

?We?re right up there
with the standard,? said McGrath, comparing Wisconsin to the other Big Ten
universities, citing TART as an idea shared by the other schools in the

TARTt is still a relatively young group.

?It?s a difficult
committee ? because of the topics and situations we respond to,? Helmkamp said.
?We?re still learning about all the things we need to know, but we?re more
attentive than a year ago, and I?m confident that in a year from now we?ll be
even better at it.?

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