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University of Colorado Denver | Anschutz Medical Campus

University of Colorado Denver, Newsroom

Update: answers to general questions on BETA

Court order prohibits answers to some specific questions

8/2/2012

We are unable to respond to specific inquiries about James Holmes due to court orders and other laws that protect the confidentiality of student information. Nor can we discuss how BETA teams have acted in other cases involving our students, faculty and employees. To reveal other situations would violate the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, otherwise known as FERPA, and confidential personnel matters. At the same time, we wish to help you understand how the University’s BETA team operates and to correct potential misimpressions about how our BETA team functions.

BETA stands for a Behavioral Evaluation and Threat Assessment Team. It is a resource consisting of representatives from various offices within the University of Colorado Denver that exists to provide information to faculty, staff, or students who are concerned about a member of the campus community. Any person in the University community has the ability to contact the Chair of the BETA Team, or other member, to report a concern. The BETA team does not receive reports on every student who has mental health issues or has an encounter with law enforcement. Its involvement in a particular case begins with an individual, or member of the BETA team, contacting the Chair of the BETA team to report a concern.

  • The BETA Team is not a law enforcement mechanism, but instead allows members of the university community to confer and collaborate about how to provide support and resources to those involved.   
  • The BETA team does not have a standing meeting, but instead meets or confers when concerns are brought to its attention. 
  • The BETA team itself does not have the authority to take medical, administrative or disciplinary actions. Instead, it provides referrals for voluntary mental health assistance and has the ability to report potential violations to authorities who have responsibility for adjudication of honor code and/or professionalism violations. 
  • The University’s BETA team serves two campuses – the Denver Campus and the Anschutz Medical Campus  - and operates slightly differently on each.
  • With issues on both campuses, the Chair of the BETA team is always involved and other offices of the University may be involved as the circumstances require.  Diverse members of the campus community with different areas of expertise can be tapped to be a resource in a particular case and, when that happens, that person is considered a member of the BETA team addressing that issue.
  • To resolve specific issues, the BETA team can consult with members of the campus community in a number of areas including, police at the Auraria Higher Education Center or the Anschutz Medical Campus, the Office of University Counsel, student affairs, and student mental health services. For example, if a student is concerned about her roommate and stress that she is experiencing around the time of finals, members of the BETA team might confer with officials in student housing or the student’s department about ways to relieve those stresses.
  • The BETA team does not create an official report as a result of its consultation.  At the time of a referral or action, there is a record created in a FERPA-protected database. 
  • Since its implementation in 2010, there have been more than a dozen times the BETA team has consulted on issues at the Anschutz Medical Campus. 
  • There are no fixed set of outcomes from a BETA evaluation, and what occurs in a particular case could vary greatly depending upon the issue brought to the BETA team’s attention. As described above, in some cases where a student has engaged in conduct that violates the University’s honor or professional codes, the BETA team might refer the matter to disciplinary action. In other cases, the BETA team might suggest that the student be referred for mental health services, particularly if the student has not been receiving any care. In other cases, the BETA team might make recommendations to minimize conflicts between specific individuals.
  • The BETA team uses evidence-based evaluation methods when conducting its assessments
  • Issues brought to the BETA team are recorded so that if in the future other issues arise there is historical information to refer back to.  FERPA continues after individuals are no longer students.
  • Lynne Fenton, MD, was instrumental in establishing a BETA process at the CU Anschutz Medical Campus. 
  • The University’s BETA team remains active in evaluating issues brought to its attention.
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