Lipscomb University has launched a new anonymous reporting and prevention program as an enhancement to its campus safety program.
The new platform, called TIPS (Threat Assessment incident Management and Prevention Services), allows students, faculty, staff and others from the campus community to confidentially report potentially harmful incidents or concerning behaviors. It is a new tool that university officials have added to take a proactive approach to safety and compliance at Lipscomb.
“The safety of our students and everyone in our community is our number one priority,” said Kathy Hargis, director of risk management at Lipscomb University. “We are dedicated to providing a safe and secure learning environment and doing everything we can to protect our students, faculty, staff and guests on campus. TIPS gives our community a safe and effective method of notifying university officials about situations that put others at risk on our campus.”
TIPS is a web-based tool that allows individuals to anonymously report suspicious activities involving assault, weapons, illegal drug and alcohol use, harassment or intimidation, hazing, vandalism, threats of violence, suicide risk, sexual harassment, abuse, workplace safety, whistle blowing claims and other incidents. The new reporting program will aid the university’s behavioral prevention team in proactively preventing situations from escalating.
“Recent headlines from universities across the country reveal some alarming trends and these lessons learned helped Lipscomb select TIPS as the most comprehensive solution to identify safety, security and compliance concerns,” said Hargis.
Hargis said when an individual is aware of conditions that adversely affect the Lipscomb University or Lipscomb Academy campuses, the Spark facility in Franklin, Tenn., or have information that warrants concern for safety of the community, he may access the TIPS report incident link located at the lower right-hand corner of the Lipscomb University website (www.lipscomb.edu). From there, individuals may select the appropriate campus location and fill out the customized form. Individuals may also upload pictures or videos, screen shots of social media communications or other digital media to provide additional report details.
“We want to encourage all our students, faculty and staff to report any type of information they feel relevant, whether it is an off-handed remark made by a student in class, a suspicious individual hanging around outside a building, being a victim or a witness of bullying or harassment, or if something just does not feel right,” said Hargis. “By reporting these incidents, they can be appropriately investigated. At Lipscomb, we want to be proactive on the prevention side and by using TIPS, we are taking additional steps to further protect the safety of our entire campus community.”
Once a report is submitted through TIPS, the appropriate campus personnel are notified and an investigation of the situation takes place to determine appropriate actions. As needed, reports are referred to law enforcement agencies, Hargis said.
“All reports will be thoroughly investigated and referred to law enforcement when necessary or mandated,” said Hargis. “TIPS makes it easy for our team to coordinate actions during investigation, intervention, prevention and response to ensure legal compliance with state and federal requirements.”
The TIPS system is just one part of an overall emergency management plan developed by university officials that outlines procedures to follow in responding to specific emergencies. Hargis said the plan categorizes different levels of emergencies and identifies the emergency management team with specific assigned duties as well as the role various offices on campus play in these events.