CSU Policy: Referral for Psychological Assessment and Voluntary or Involuntary Student Withdrawal for Personal or Campus Safety

Policy Title: Referral for Psychological Assessment and Voluntary or Involuntary Student Withdrawal for Personal or Campus Safety Category: Public Safety/Risk Management
Owner: Vice President for University Operations Policy ID#: 6-6023-006
University Police
Web: http://police.colostate.edu/
Phone: (970) 491-6425
Original Effective Date: 7/11/2011
Last Major Revision: 7/11/2011
Print Version: Click Here to Print


This Policy is to establish a procedure whereby a student who poses a direct threat may be referred by the University for mandatory assessment or treatment, and, under certain circumstances, may be involuntarily withdrawn from enrollment at the University to protect the safety of the student or others and, in appropriate cases, provided with an opportunity to be readmitted at a later date.


This policy applies to all students enrolled or in attendance at CSU.




Direct Threat: A ”direct threat” is present when a student is reasonably believed to pose a serious risk of substantial harm to self or others. A “serious risk” is one that is supported by the facts and circumstances known at the time it is assessed, and not just a slightly increased, speculative, or remote risk.

Public Safety Team (PST): The Public Safety Team at Colorado State University reports to the President and coordinates prevention strategies, policies, and education/training regarding crisis prevention and threat-assessment techniques, in addition to disaster preparedness, mitigation, response, and recovery. The Public Safety Team organizational structure includes various affiliated Response Teams to handle specific types of emergencies. The Chair of the PST is the President’s Chief of Staff.

Student Consult Team (SCT): A team of University representatives comprised of members of the Public Safety Team who are appointed by the Chair of the Public Safety Team to serve as SCT members from time to time.

SCT Chair: the elected or appointed Chairperson of the SCT. Whenever the “Chair” is designated in this policy, such designation shall include any person who is appointed by the Dean of Students, Vice President for Student Affairs, or the President to act in the Chair’s stead during any absence or unavailability, and any person designated by the Chair to make the decisions or carry out the actions within the authority of the Chair.

Withdraw or Withdrawal: a student’s status when his or her enrollment in all coursework is terminated prior to the end of the term for which the student was enrolled, as a result of a voluntary decision and request by the student (voluntary withdrawal), or a decision of the University to administratively terminate such enrollment (involuntary withdrawal).


Colorado State University (“CSU”) is committed to the success of all students, and to the safety and security of all persons in the CSU community. CSU recognizes there may be situations wherein a student poses a direct threat to the safety of that student or to others. In such situations, where practicable, CSU may encourage a student to voluntarily withdraw from CSU in order to obtain any care that may be necessary to mitigate the risk to the student or others. Where the offer of voluntary withdrawal is refused or is determined to be an inadequate measure to mitigate the threat, then CSU may require mandatory medical or psychological assessment and/or treatment, and/or to impose an involuntary withdrawal, and the student has a right to notice of the actions taken or to be taken, and an opportunity to be heard.


Disruptive or Disorderly Conduct

Reports of behavior that is disorderly or disruptive or that poses a concern for violence should be reported to the CSU Police Department (491-6425 or 911) and the Dean of Students. Disruptive or disorderly students may be charged under the University's Code of Student Conduct, if appropriate.

Initiating Review

Concerns regarding a student’s mental health, medical health or behaviors of concern shall be brought to the attention of the Student Consult Team (SCT). The Chair may review the matter with the SCT or others as deemed appropriate under the circumstances. If the Chair determines that there is a reasonable likelihood that the student may pose a direct threat as defined herein, the matter will proceed to an individualized review.

Individualized Review Process

The Chair, together with members of the SCT or others as deemed appropriate by the Chair, shall conduct an individualized review of the facts and circumstances, which may include an interview with the student and others, and shall make a determination as to whether the student poses a direct threat. At a minimum, the SCT shall consider the following:

  • The nature, duration, and severity of the risk;
  • The probability that injury to any person will occur as a result of the threat posed by the student; and
  • Whether or not other reasonable steps may be taken that will sufficiently mitigate the risk without the necessity of taking any of the actions described below, with the safety of the student and others being the primary consideration at all times.

Mandatory Assessment

If, after the individualized review, the SCT Chair determines that there are reasonable grounds to believe that the student may pose a direct threat, or that there is not enough information available to make a determination as to whether or not the student poses a direct threat, the SCT Chair may require the student to undergo an assessment by a physician, psychologist, or other professional and to authorize that professional to provide the results of the assessment to the SCT Chair.


Upon a finding by the Chair that there are reasonable grounds to conclude that the student poses a direct threat, actions to be taken by the Chair may include any or all of the following: (1) recommend to the student that he or she voluntarily withdraw from classes at CSU in order to obtain treatment; (2) require that the student be referred to medical, psychological, or other evaluation and treatment to address the risks, behaviors, and concerns that are presented; or (3) recommend to the Vice President of University Operations (VPUO) and the Vice President of Student Affairs (VPSA) that the student be involuntarily placed on withdrawal status pending treatment and further review.

Voluntary Withdrawal

A student will be permitted under this policy to voluntarily withdraw from CSU when initiated or authorized by the Chair, after due consideration of the student’s circumstances and all information reasonably available. Grounds for authorizing a voluntary withdrawal include, but are not limited to, a finding that there is a substantial risk that the student may pose a threat of serious harm to him/herself or others.

Mandatory Referral for Evaluation and Treatment

The Chair may direct that the student be referred for a mandatory health evaluation and treatment to a qualified professional of CSU's choosing, at the student's expense (unless the student demonstrates undue economic hardship, in which case, CSU may pay for the initial evaluation, but not for ongoing treatment). The evaluation must be completed within five business days from the date of the referral unless an extension is granted by the Chair. A student who fails to complete the evaluation in accordance with this Policy and/or who fails to give permission for the results to be shared with appropriate administrators of CSU may be placed on an involuntary withdrawal status, if approved by the VPUO and the VPSA upon recommendation of the Chair. The student may also submit treatment records, reports or other evidence from other health providers of the student’s own choosing, together with a release and authorization for each provider to discuss the student’s health with the Chair and/or with a provider designated by CSU.

Recommendation for Involuntary Withdrawal

Where evidence suggests a likelihood that a student is engaging in, or is likely to engage in behavior that reasonably appears to pose a direct threat, and it appears that

  1.  the risk cannot be mitigated to an acceptable level through readily available support services, or the student is failing to comply with recommended treatment that would potentially mitigate the threat;
  2. the student has been offered the opportunity to voluntarily withdraw and has failed to take such action, and
  3. it appears an involuntary withdrawal is in the best interest of the student with regard to obtaining necessary treatment and support to mitigate the direct threat, an involuntary withdrawal may be imposed by the Vice President for Student Affairs and the Vice President for University Operations, acting jointly upon the recommendation of the Chair. (In the event of unavailability of either or both, the Executive Vice President/Provost shall appoint an alternate).

Before involuntary withdrawal is recommended by the Chair, the Chair shall, to the extent that it is practicable, provide the student with notice and an opportunity to confer with the Chair or designated members of the SCT. Notice should be given in writing if practicable, but any method of providing such notice that is reasonable under the circumstances shall be effective. If the student cannot reasonably be provided with an opportunity to meet and confer with the Chair or SCT prior to the involuntary withdrawal action being taken without unreasonably endangering the health or safety of the student or others, then the student shall be provided with such opportunity at such time as the Chair determines that the direct threat of harm has subsided and the conference can be held in a safe and orderly manner.

Academic and Financial Consequences

CSU is committed to working with students, faculty and staff to help students manage the academic and financial consequences of a voluntary or involuntary withdrawal. The student will be advised that:

  • For each course in which a “withdrawal” is entered in lieu of a grade, no course credit is earned, and the withdrawal is noted on the student’s permanent transcript;
  • The student may be eligible for a partial refund of tuition and fee payments for the semester in which the withdrawal is entered, depending upon the effective date of the withdrawal, in accordance with the University’s policy on withdrawals and tuition adjustments (see policy cross-reference below);
  • The student may be responsible for repayment of financial aid (if applicable); and
  • The student may receive assistance and counseling with respect to other consequences of not completing coursework due to the period of withdrawal, through his or her caseworker.


The student may appeal the decision to impose an involuntary withdrawal by submitting a written request for an appeal, along with any additional written materials that the student desires to have considered, to the Executive Vice President/Provost, in writing, within five business days from the decision imposing involuntary withdrawal. The decision of the Executive Vice President/Provost shall be the final decision of the University.

Disciplinary Action

CSU at all times reserves the right to proceed with disciplinary action pursuant to the Student Conduct Code or any housing policies and guidelines independent of, or concurrent with, any action taken pursuant to this policy. Students with mental health or medical conditions or who exhibit concerning behaviors will be held accountable in a non-discriminatory manner for compliance with the Student Code of Conduct and all other CSU policies, even when any violations of said Code or policies do not rise to the level of a direct threat to him/herself or to another.

Action to Prevent Imminent Harm

Notwithstanding any other provision of this Policy, at any point in the process of evaluating concerns about a student’s mental health, medical health or behaviors of concern, the Chair, or such other administrators as may be appropriate (including, but not limited to, law enforcement personnel) may take such immediate action as is reasonably deemed necessary, including (but not limited to) suspension of the student and exclusion from campus, to avoid an imminent, direct threat of harm to the student, other persons, or the campus community. Notice and an opportunity to be heard shall be provided to the student as soon as is reasonably practicable after such action is taken.

Returning to CSU

A student who withdraws, whether voluntarily or involuntarily, may request in writing to the Chair of the SCT, at any time, to have the hold removed from his or her account and be allowed to apply for readmission to CSU, commencing with the semester following the one in which the withdrawal became effective, or any semester thereafter. The student shall be required to demonstrate that he or she is fit to return to campus and no longer presents a direct threat of harm to self or others. An opinion from the student’s treating mental health professional, together with an evaluation of the student’s condition by the SCT Chair that indicates a student is fit to return (which may include a requirement for a second opinion from a mental health professional of CSU’s choosing), should, in most cases, be sufficient. The SCT Chair, after review and evaluation, shall then make a recommendation for the student’s request for readmission to be granted or denied to the Vice President for Student Affairs and Vice President for University Operations. (In the event of unavailability of either or both, the Executive Vice President/Provost shall appoint an alternate). A student’s request shall be denied if the Vice President for Student Affairs or Vice President for University Operations, or both, finds that the direct threat of harm has not been fully abated, or that the student will not be able, upon return, to meet academic standards or be safely at the school even with reasonable accommodations. If the request to be allowed to re-enroll is denied, the student may appeal such decision in writing to the Executive Vice President/Provost within five days of the decision denying readmission.


List related Board of Governors Policies, institutional policies, statutes, and regulations that provide helpful, relevant information.

University Withdrawal Policy

Letter from Pearthree, Office of Civil Rights, U.S. Dep’t of Educ., to Bernard O’Connor, President, DeSales Univ., 2005 NDLR (LRP) LEXIS 568 (Feb. 17, 2005)(“OCR Letter to DeSales University); Letter from Rhonda Bowman, Team Leader, Office of Civil Rights, U.S. Dep’t of Educ., to Lee Snyder, President, Bluffton Univ. (Dec. 22, 2004) (“OCR Letter to Bluffton University)

Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended, 29 U.S.C. § 794, and its implementing regulations, 34 C.F.R. Part 104


Approved by Anthony A. Frank on July 11, 2011


Print Version: Click Here to Print

csu ramhead logo

The CSU Policy Library is maintained by the Office of Policy and Compliance