Harper Early Alert Team: HEAT

Early intervention to prevent violence on campus.

TheHarper Early Alert Team, or HEAT, is a multidisciplinary campus threat assessment and behavioral intervention team that guides the campus community in effectively assessing and addressing threatening and/or concerning behaviors. HEAT strives to assist the campus in intervening with someone before their behaviors reach a critical level.

NOTE: HEAT does NOT respond directly to emergencies or "in the moment". Call 9-1-1 if you experience an emergency, or call Harper College Police Department at 847.925.6330 if you need assistance right away, or if you do not know the identity of the person you are concerned about. 

The roles of HEAT include:

  • Conduct threat assessments
  • Provide recommendations to appropriate campus constituents in order to manage concerning situations and behaviors, preferably before they escalate to become threats or acts of violence.
  • Support and advise individuals who experience concerning or potentially threatening behaviors.
  • Educate and empower the campus community to recognize, report, and effectively address aberrant, dangerous, threatening and concerning behaviors.
  • Collect, assess, and track information about behaviors.
  • Provide guidance and best practices for preventing violence and providing supportive services in response to acts of violence.

Report a Possible Threat or Concern to HEAT

The Harper Early Alert Team, or HEAT, is a multidisciplinary campus behavioral intervention and threat assessment team that guides the campus community in effectively assessing and addressing threatening and/or concerning behaviors. HEAT strives to assist the campus in intervening before a person reaches a critical level. The roles of HEAT are to:
  • Assess the likelihood of violence or harmful behaviors towards members of the campus community or the campus itself (i.e. conduct threat assessments).
  • Provide recommendations to appropriate campus constituents in order to manage concerning situations and behaviors, preferably before they escalate to become threats or acts of violence.
  • Support and advise individuals who experience concerning or potentially threatening behaviors.
  • Educate and empower the campus community to recognize, report, and effectively address aberrant, dangerous, threatening and concerning behaviors.
  • Provide methods for collecting, assessing, and tracking information such as patterns of behavior, individual likelihood of targeted violence, and longitudinal trends related to concerning and threatening behaviors affecting the campus.
  • Provide guidance and best practices for preventing violence and providing supportive services in response to acts of violence.
HEAT is designed to enable Harper College to be compliant with The Campus Security Enhancement Act of 2008 (Public Act 095-0881, §110 ILCS 12 - 20) and the implementing regulations (29 Ill. Adm. Code § 305).

While HEAT is not an emergency responding body, it serves as a kind of "safety net" for the campus. You can report information about any person affecting the Harper community (including students, faculty, staff, parents, visitors, and other persons not affiliated with the campus). Many acts of violence (such as school shootings or bombings) are planned in advance and there are often warning signs exhibited ahead of time. Examples of the kinds of things to report to HEAT include:

  • A person shows excessive interest in guns or knives
  • You overhear someone discussing making or carrying bombs
  • Someone expresses extreme anger for no apparent reason
  • You observe someone drawing violent pictures
  • A person discusses suicide or extreme despair
  • Someone posts a threat online or sends it via email
  • You don't understand why someone's behavior has changed drastically
  • A friend discusses violence as the way to solve a problem
  • Someone talks about feeling "wronged" and wants to get revenge

Remember: If you are not sure whether you should report it to HEAT or not, it helps to err on the side of reporting the information, even if you just want the information tracked in case there is a bigger pattern. The HEAT is designed to help the campus "connect the dots" to intervene before someone turns to violence as a solution. You are welcome to access our interactive training module, designed to assist you in better understanding the role and scope of HEAT.

In order to ensure that referrals are reviewed in a timely fashion, HEAT referrals are made online - Report a Concern Here

Be prepared to share the following:

  • Name/Harper ID Number/Any other known information about the person you are referring
  • Summary of the observed behavior or concern, including when and where it occurred
  • Any attempts to intervene, manage, or address the behavior
  • Any thing else you think seems important
  • Your contact information

Please be aware that your communication may be subject to review through FERPA or other laws governing communications. The College does not tolerate retaliation, and if you have concerns for your own safety, the HEAT can assist you in contacting the police or other resources.

If your concern pertains not to threatening but more to disrespectful or disruptive student behavior, please consult with your Chair/Dean or supervisor, or learn more about the student conduct procedures.

When you submit a report, it is routed to the HEAT Coordinator (or another team member in his/her absence) for review during regular College business hours. HEAT then conducts an initial threat assessment on every referral to determine any initial action that might be warranted. In many cases, once it is determined there is not a threat of violence present, the outcome of the initial assessment is simply to offer support and resources to either the individual who reports the concern, the person of concern, or both.

In some cases, a more in-depth investigation occurs before the HEAT can determine a possible threat level for the situation. As the reporting party, you will be kept informed as appropriate for the situation, but please be advised that the HEAT strives to maintain privacy of information in the interest of all parties involved.

If there is a potential threat, the HEAT provides guidance and recommendations to the appropriate individuals (on or off-campus) in order to mitigate or manage the threat. All information reported to HEAT is maintained so that patterns can be identified over time. For this reason, you may want to report something as an FYI to HEAT and leave it to the team to determine if action needs to be taken.

  • Jason Altmann, Disability Services
  • Michael Bates, Center for Adjunct Faculty Education 
  • Bridget Cahill, Health Services
  • Leila Ellis-Nelson, Psychological Services
  • Caryn Levington, Psychological Services
  • Keith O'Neill, Student Conduct/Student Affairs
  • Beverly Riley, Human Resources
  • Eric Rosenthal, Academic Advising and Counseling
  • Randy Walker, Police Department

HEAT may also consult with legal counsel and/or bring in additional team members for specific cases as needed.