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Member Spotlight: Kevin McCarthy

What is a challenge you face doing BIT work?

I am lucky enough to have served on a seasoned BIT for a number of years. I think one challenge that can arise when you have a veteran team is the idea that many BIT-related issues fit into a particular schema and therefore, have a particular pathway with which they should be addressed or managed. I fall into this trap frequently. Of course, following a proven path is an efficient way to manage an ever-increasing caseload. However, I think it is important to always ask ourselves, what are we missing? What is different about this situation? What makes it unique? Taking a moment to pause and critically look at each case only makes us better and helps combat groupthink and complacency.

What is a successful achievement you have had doing BIT work?

This question always gets me thinking. So much of BIT work feels like “measuring a zero.” Meaning, if we are doing our best work, if we are being proactive and preventative, there may be fewer violent or concerning outcomes. Our field, and the world, often track how many bad or violent events have taken place on campus. But what we neglect to consider, and what is virtually immeasurable, is how many violent events were prevented by the work of a BIT and the campus partners that assist and share information with the BIT. So, although I can’t quantify this question with a specific number of successes, I like to think the achievements of the amazing team on which I serve are the innumerable ways in which the team has intervened, prevented, and cultivated an environment inhospitable to violence on our campus.

How has having a BIT/CARE team improved the experience of students, staff, and faculty at your institution?

In so many ways. The active presence of the BIT and the mechanisms to report to the team have built trust among the faculty and staff. Colleagues know that when information is shared it won’t fall on deaf ears and follow-up will occur. It has taken years to cultivate this trust but it has also allowed the BIT to receive more and more referrals and allows faculty and staff to focus on their areas of expertise while the BIT focuses on its own: risk assessment and intervention. And although few students express this in the moment of intervention, I truly believe that students feel safer knowing that there is a team of trained individuals wanting to help and waiting to provide resources and support. Every time our BIT manages a case successfully we are that much more likely to be “referred” to a friend, roommate, or teammate. The good work of the BIT allows the team to continue its important and sometimes life-altering work.

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