General FAQs

for the February 16th Incident

General FAQs

Answer: UCCS has double-checked the feed from registrations to alerts. Unless students have opted out, their information in their UCCS portal should be enrolled for alerts (emails and text messages). We are encouraging every student to log into the Rave Alert system to make sure that they have not opted out and to add additional contacts (parents/family members) who they want to receive alerts. The alert system will be tested once per semester. Please also download the UCCS Safe App which is a redundant system that will also provide alerts should you want a back-up.

Answer: No large events were held before the suspect was apprehended by police. All gatherings that were ultimately held on campus were intended to allow those members of our community who found value in being together to come together in the wake of the tragedy and after the suspect was in custody and the campus was reopened.

Answer: UCCS is and will continue to be focused on creating a safe environment for all students, faculty and staff. To that end, the university regularly reviews policies and procedures around all aspects of campus life to ensure they align with national best practices and meet our high standards. For many months, well before this isolated and horrible incident, the university has been working to upgrade and enhance security. For instance, all students have access to the UCCS Safe App, which allows them to request a UCCS police officer to their location as well as request things like an escort to their vehicle. Since last fall, the university has been engaged in a large ongoing project for campus-wide surveillance cameras which is about 50 percent complete. This will include cameras in and around all residence halls. The entire project should be completed before the end of the summer semester.

Answer: UCCS is and will continue to be focused on creating a safe environment for all students, faculty and staff. To that end, the university regularly reviews policies and procedures around all aspects of campus life to ensure they align with national best practices and meet our high standards.

Safety Questions

Answer: The UCCS Police Department has several policies that require reporting by all police officers, campus security officers, and campus security authorities. The policies also require a thorough investigation of all reported crimes. Safety concerns are investigated by the UCCS Police Department in coordination with numerous other campus departments that may include the Office of Institutional Equity, the Office of the Dean of Students, Residents Life, and the Wellness Center.

Answer: When a staff member hears a concern about student safety, they should report it to the UCCS Police (719-255-3111) and/or the University CARE Team (https://dos.uccs.edu/care) depending on the nature of the issue.

Answer: It depends on the concern. There are many avenues students can access to find support for their problems:

  • If it’s an emergency, students should call 911 or UCCS Police (719-255-3111).
  • If it’s a non-emergency life and/or safety concern, it should be reported to UCCS Police (719-255-3111).
  • If it’s a behavioral concern (noise, roommate disagreement/issue, etc.) and they are living on-campus, they should start with reporting it to their Resident Assistant.
  • If it’s a behavioral concern and they are a commuter student, they should report it to the University CARE Team (https://dos.uccs.edu/care).

Answer: All reports to the UCCS Police Department regarding criminal activity or potential threats to the campus community are thoroughly investigated and reported by the UCCS Police Department using national best practice standards (criminal offenses that are too complex for the resources of the UCCS Police Department are turned over to the Colorado Springs Police Department for investigation).

These reports are then reviewed by the Dean of Students Office, the Office of Institutional Equity, Residence Life, and the Wellness Center for general oversight and discussion to help ensure that all affected areas of campus are aware and that all perspectives are included to mitigate potential threats. There are occasions when assistance by federal law enforcement partners is requested.

Answer: Since last fall, the university has been engaged in a large ongoing project for campus-wide surveillance cameras which is about 50 percent complete. This will include cameras in and around all residence halls. The entire project should be completed before the end of the summer semester.

Residence Life Questions

Answer: When staff at UCCS hear concerns about student safety from a student or any community member, they should report it. If the report or concern involves a crime, the staff member is required to report it to UCCS police and the University CARE Team. If the report or concern involves sexual misconduct, they are also required to report to the Office of Institutional Equity. Information on what staff have to report can be found on the Campus Security Authority responsibilities page.

When Residence Life receives a report that a student feels unsafe with their roommate, they will ask to meet with the student to get a full report of the behaviors that are making that student feel unsafe. Any student with concerns is offered a temporary room assignment while the situation is reviewed or investigated.

Answer: Our residence life and housing team takes the safety of students very seriously. In the case of roommate conflicts, roommates are usually encouraged to work with their resident assistant (RA) to resolve the conflict, however, room change requests involving safety issues may be made at any time and are given priority.

There is a room change period every semester, where students can request room changes with no questions asked. However, if a student is uncomfortable or feels unsafe, they can work with their Residence Hall Manager to get a room change outside of the room change period. These policies and procedures regarding residence halls is explained in the student handbook.

Answer: These two processes are not always mutually exclusive. Investigations can be conducted by the UCCS Police and student conduct officers simultaneously. Behaviors that are criminal in nature are also a violation of the code of conduct, but many behaviors that are not illegal can violate campus polices.

Answer: Students living on-campus have access to the buildings in the living area in which they reside. So, students in the Village at Alpine Valley have access to all of the buildings in Alpine. Students in Summit Village (which are predominantly connected by bridges) have access to Summit Village buildings. This allows students access to common lounges, laundry, and their mailboxes.

Answer: You can read the full code of conduct, but in short, when a student is found responsible for a code of conduct violation, university staff start with an educational approach. The most common violations of student conduct are underage drinking and marijuana use. These result in a referral to an education class called Choices. This is based on a nationally recognized curriculum that helps underage individuals understand the consequences of their actions and make better choices. Last year the recidivism rate for this program was only 5 percent.

For repeat violations, there are more severe consequences and can result in removal from housing or even the university.

Also, we know there are students that engage in misbehavior that are never “caught.” If your student is uncomfortable with behaviors happening in their room, even if they don’t feel unsafe, they should speak to their Residence Hall Manager about options.

Answer: They can go to multiple different staff and faculty including:

  • Resident Assistant: Resident assistants are student staff that are trained to support residents and share information with professional staff.
  • Residence Hall Manger: Residence Hall Mangers are professional staff that can help students navigate roommate conflicts, serious issues, and how to go through room changes outside of the open room change period.
  • Faculty: Faculty can help get students connected to professional staff both in Housing and the Dean of Students office.
  • Police: Students may contact the UCCS Police at any time if they feel unsafe.

General Questions

Answer: Outside of the text alerts and information shared on social media, the office of Student and Family Connections did not have enough information to share. UCCS disseminated information through our official social media channels, through the text alert system, and through our UCCS email accounts as soon as it was available. Parents and Families primarily receive communications from the office of Student and Family Connections, who were disseminating information as they learned and confirmed it.

Answer: We understand that many members of our community are frustrated that we cannot be more forthcoming with specific details of the tragedy. The reality is that our university was thrust into a criminal justice process over which we have no control. We have been directed by the District Attorney not to discuss details of the situation while the investigative process moves forward. Our highest duty and obligation is to ensuring justice for all involved. We take the responsibility seriously.

As we are allowed to release information, it will come out through our official channels such as emails to UCCS email accounts, official UCCS social media platforms, and through the Student and Family Connections email list.

Answer: UCCS policy, like the whole University of Colorado system, allows students with a valid and active concealed carry permit to have a handgun on campus. Handguns and weapons or firearms of any other kind are not permitted in First-Year dorms (Summit Village, Village at Alpine Valley). If a student possesses a valid concealed carry permit, the student may store a gun in their apartment at the Alpine Village Apartments with written consent from their roommates. The student must provide a copy of the permit to the Residence Hall Director. You can read the UCCS policy in the Housing Contract.

Answer: You may subscribe to receive parent and family email communications through this form.

Answer: In addition to addressing student behavior through the student conduct process, the CARE (Campus Assessment Response and Evaluation) Team addresses concerns related to students’ safety and wellbeing, and we support students in times of challenge and crisis. The CARE team consists of university personnel with expertise in mental and physical health, student affairs, student resiliency, student conduct, and law enforcement/campus safety. Each member of the CARE Team has specialized training related to their field of professional practice. As a whole, the CARE Team utilizes the NABITA Risk Rubric to evaluate campus safety concerns.

When the university gets a report of roommate conflict, the university investigates it. University staff, including RAs, successfully resolve roommate conflicts regularly.

For example, if there is a complaint about someone smoking marijuana in housing in violation of university policy, that complaint is investigated. If it can’t be proven during the investigation, the student will receive counseling and a reminder that using marijuana in university housing is a violation of university policy. Subsequent complaints of the same nature will result in a CARE Team referral, and the student will be required to complete a course called Choices. Of the students participating in the Choices course, only 5% re-offend. Additional proven offenses would result in a removal of the student from housing.

Sometimes roommates have other types of conflicts. If there is a report of a conflict that results in a threat, it is investigated. If a student reports feeling unsafe in their current housing assignment, they will be offered an opportunity to immediately be placed in alternate housing. That housing may be temporary until a permanent housing arrangement may be made. It is also possible that roommates do not want temporary housing, or they resolve the immediate dispute and do not want to proceed with a move until a later time. In this situation, students are not forced to move.

UCCS and other CU campuses do not conduct background checks on students. On the application for admission to UCCS, students are asked to attest to their own past and current behavior. And that attestation is taken at face value. This is common among most universities across the country. We do ask students to answer questions under a pledge of conduct. The questions are:

  • Are you currently under any pending investigations, facing allegations OR have you been found responsible for a disciplinary violation at any educational institution you have attended for the final four years of secondary schooling (e.g., 9th grade and forward) for stalking, sexual assault and/or domestic violence?
  • Are you currently under any pending investigations, facing allegations OR have you been found responsible for an academic misconduct violation at any educational institution you have attended for the final four years of secondary schooling (e.g., 9th grade and forward)? You need only to report findings of responsibility for academic misconduct if your educational record reflects that you were assigned probation, suspension, removal, dismissal and/or expulsion from the institution.
  • Do you have any pending criminal charges?
  • Have you been adjudicated guilty or convicted of assault, kidnapping, voluntary manslaughter or murder within five years of submitting your application for admission?
  • Have you ever been adjudicated guilty or convicted of stalking, sexual assault and/or domestic violence?

Students are not required to answer "yes" to any of the following questions if the criminal adjudication or conviction has been expunged, sealed, annulled, destroyed, erased or otherwise required by law or ordered by a court to be kept confidential. If a student does answer yes to any of the questions, follow up is conducted with that student.

Additional Questions?

If you feel as though your question has not been answered above, you may add your suggestions or ideas below. Please note that your contact information is required if you are expecting a response. 

Light