Acts of violence include:
  • intentionally causing physical injury to another, including sexual assault and domestic and dating violence;
  • intentionally damaging property;
  • using language or engaging in behavior that threatens physical injury to another or intentional damage to property and has the effect of intimidating, frightening, coercing or provoking others;
  • brandishing or using a weapon in a manner not required by the individual's position (see also the University's Weapons on Campus Policy and Regulation); and
  • inciting or aiding any of the above.
Violence Prevention

Preventing violence means intervening long before any initial act of violence occurs. Instead of focusing solely on individual behavior, prevention efforts attempt to engage the community to promote environments where everyone can thrive. Violence prevention can also include efforts to stop or prevent individual acts of violence, while increasing the use of healthy behaviors and strategies. All of these efforts help to lessen the chances for violence to take place in a community. For prevention efforts to be successful, everyone in a community - faculty, students and staff - has to be invested and involved. 


An unplanned event that can disrupt business operations, cause physical or environmental damage, or threaten the institution's financial standing or public image, or can cause significant injuries or death to members of the university community.

Levels of Emergency

The ability to provide information to the community during an emergency is cruicial to the management of the emergency. It is important to have a process that makes effective use of the university's emergency notification system. The university strives to inform the community without causing widespread alarm. To accomplish this, the university has designated three levels of emergencies.

Potential Threat

    An emergency where the conditions are favorable for the incident to occur, or for an event that happens off campus that is likely to have an impact on the university at some point in the near future. Examples of this are usually weather related such as predicted hurricanes and ice storms or manmade incidents such as a chemical spill or fire near campus.

    Imminent Threat

      An event that is likey to affect the university within the next several hours but currently has not seriously affected the university. Examples include a person with a gun on campus whose intent has not been established or the Surry Nuclear Power Plant has had a nuclear release with the potential for contamination of the university.

      Active Threat

        Usually a spontaneous event that comes without warning requiring immediate action to prevent the loss of life. Examples include a hazardous materials incident that poses an immediate threat to life or an incident with a firearm that has been used to cause injury.

        Type of Violence

        While not all inclusive, the types of violence listed and defined below are currently addressed through resources and training at the university. The types of violence are listed alphabetically.


        The university defines harassment to include abusive conduct that is sufficiently severe, persistent or pervasive to threaten an individual or limit the ability of the individual to work, study or participate in university activities.  Often, harassment takes the form of hostile words and actions that create an abusive living, learning or work environment. Harassment in this context should relate to the issues of safety and security and not discriminatory practies.

        Hate Violence

        Committing any crime resulting in bodily injury that is committed because of the perpetrator's bias against the victim's actual or perceived race, gender, religion, ethnicity/national origin, sexual orientation or disability. Bias, prejudice or hatred must be the motivation for committing the crime as evidenced by such things as racial or other slurs, comments, actions (i.e. burning a cross) or graffiti. Racial or other slurs alone, however, do not constitute hate crimes.


        Hazing, as defined by, refers to any activity expected of someone joining a group (or to maintain full status in a group) that humiliates, degrades or risks emotional and/or physical harm, regardless of the person's willingness to participate. In years past, hazing practices were typically considered harmless pranks or comical antics associated with young men in fraternities. Activities that are often considered hazing include paddling in any form; creation of excessive fatigue; physical and psychological shock quests, treasure hunts, scavenger hunts, road trips or any other activities; wearing publicly any apparel which is conspicuous and not normally in good taste; engaging in public stunts of buffoonery; morally degrading or humiliating games or activities; late work sessions which interfere with scholastic activities; and any other activities which are not consistent with the regulations and policy of the university.

        Intimate Partner Violence

        Intimate Partner Violence (domestic violence/dating violence/battering) is made up of a learned pattern of abusive behaviors that is used to exert power and control over another person in the context of an intimate relationship. Abusive tactics vary and can be either physical, sexual, psychological, emotional or a combination of all of these. Often, there is more than one form of abuse taking place in a relationship at the same time. 

        Issues in the Workplace

        Workplace violence is any physical assault, threatening behavior or verbal abuse occurring in the workplace by another employee or third party. A workplace may be any location where an employee performs any work including buildings, surrounding perimeters including parking lots, field locations and travel to/from work assignments. Simply put, workplace violence is any attempt or act that harasses, intimidates or injures an employee and is initiated by another employee or third party.

        Mental Health

        Mental illness is not a indicator of violence and yet is often associated with violence and/or crime. In the context of this website, mental health is referenced because of the concern for self-directed violence (see below). Even then, this is a broad category that addresses many different aspects of a person's overall well-being or ability to balance all of the dimensions of wellness; physical, spiritual, intellectual, occupational, social and emotional. It also encompasses:

        • Psychological issues, such as depression, anxiety, eating disorders or substance abuse;
        • Broader personal issues, such as self-esteem, communication problems, relationship issues, identity development, sexual orientation or family conflict;
        • Educational issues, such as procrastination, test anxiety, studying difficulties, career counseling and time management;
        • Crisis situations, such as suicidal thoughts or the death of someone close.

        SAMHSA Fact Sheet on Understanding Mental Illness Fact Sheet  provides additional information on the relationship between mental illness and violence.

        Self-Directed Violence

        This type of violence can range from self-mutilation (such as cutting) to suicide. According to the World Health Organization, self-mutilation "is the direct and deliberate destruction or alteration of parts of the body without conscious suicidal intention." Self-directed violence can also involve being preoccupied with death, thinking about suicide and attempting suicide. For an expanded definition, read the World Health Organization's Fact Sheet on Self-Directed Violence.

        Sexual Assault

        Sexual assault encompasses acts that range from unwanted touching to rape. Sexual assault occurs when a person does not, or is unable to, consent to sexual activity. A person is unable to consent when he or she is forced, threatened, intimidated or is mentally or physically incapacitated.

        Sexual Harassment

        In addition to Harassment (describe above), sexual harassment may consist of unwelcome sexual advances, requests or behaviors toward an individual that threatens their safety and security. Sexual harassment, in this context, should relate to the issues of safety and security, not discriminatory practice.


        Stalking is a series of actions directed at one person or entity toward another that would make one reasonably feel afraid or in danger. Stalking is serious, often violent, and can escalate over time.