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Angel GrayIn her role as the inaugural Director of Threat Assessment and Management at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Angel Gray brings a uniquely distinctive blend of legal expertise and a wealth of experience in promoting safety. With a career spanning from Durham County Assistant District Attorney to legal counsel for the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation (SBI), Gray is poised to lead the charge in enhancing campus safety.

“Establishing an office dedicated to threat assessment and management is essential for addressing ongoing safety and security needs across campus,” explains Associate Vice Chancellor for Campus Safety and Risk Management Derek Kemp. “Investing in this endeavor not only protects individuals but also upholds the University’s commitment to providing a secure and productive learning environment for everyone. Angel Gray’s expertise and knowledge are invaluable assets to the University.”

Gray possesses an understanding of legal frameworks crucial to the intersection of threat assessment and preventing targeted violence.

For over 15 years, she worked for the North Carolina Attorney General’s Office, providing legal services to the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services Division of Mental Health, Developmental Disabilities and Substance Abuse Services and has served as a faculty advisor for the UNC Forensic Psychiatric Fellowship.

She later transitioned to the Law Enforcement Liaison section for the North Carolina Department of Justice, assuming the role of legal counsel for the SBI. During her tenure, she played a pivotal role in the establishment of the Behavioral Threat Assessment Unit, widely recognized as BeTA.

Drawing from her extensive background, Gray is leveraging her experiences and knowledge to develop the framework for UNC-Chapel Hill Threat Assessment and Management.

“The short-term goal is to create a strategic plan for building out the unit and enhancing threat assessment capacity at the University,” Gray explains. “The long-term goal is to establish a multidisciplinary team from diverse backgrounds responsible for identifying, assessing and mitigating persons of concern who may be on the pathway to committing an act of targeted violence.”

University Reporting Systems

Gray officially assumed her role on Oct. 16, 2023. In her initial months, she familiarized herself with UNC-Chapel Hill’s academic environment, met with members across the Carolina community and assessed existing University processes that address potential threats and criminal offenses.

“There are already various sectors within the University who are responsible for managing persons of concern,” she notes, “alongside resources and policies to assist individuals who may have been subjected to criminal offenses.”

For instance, the Dean of Students office utilizes the Care Referral Form to report concerning behaviors observed in current UNC-Chapel Hill students. These behaviors encompass, but are not limited to, threats of self-harm, emotional or physical outbursts, and abrupt or significant changes in mood or behavior. The form is accessible for use by other students, employees, family members, visitors and acquaintances, regardless of whether the incidents occur on or off-campus.

The University offers a centralized portal called Safe at UNC to guide victims in exploring their options for reporting discrimination, harassment, sexual or interpersonal violence, stalking and other criminal offenses. This portal provides information about the University’s Policy on Prohibited Discrimination, Harassment and Related Misconduct, as well as the Policy on Prohibited Sexual Harassment under Title IX.

Safe at UNC also offers information on support and resources, particularly addressing the needs of marginalized communities that may experience higher rates of offenses and encounter additional barriers when seeking help. Support services like the Gender Violence Services Coordinators, who are independent of the Equal Opportunity and Compliance Office (EOC) and law enforcement. These coordinators assist individuals in navigating potential next steps in reporting an incident and can provide support by accompanying them to meetings.

“There are an abundance of resources available to Carolina students,” says Dean of Students Desirée Rieckenberg. “Partnerships like this with Threat Assessment and Management support our community as we foster learning and student success. It’s all part of how we’re building a community of compassion and care.”

Developing a New Campus Safety Department

UNC-Chapel Hill will be only one of a few universities within the University of North Carolina System to establish a dedicated office and staff exclusively focused on threat assessment and management, external to a law enforcement office.

Gray proposes a structured approach to the department, emphasizing the significance of a multidisciplinary team. The approach entails collaboration between key campus offices, such as the Dean of Students, EOC and Human Resources, which already play roles in assessing persons of concern.

“When you have various groups of reporting and various campus entities assessing a particular person of interest, either simultaneously or at different times, there’s a risk of information getting lost or not being shared between those groups,” Gray explains. “This office serves as a means to break down information silos across the University, and a central place where all of the campus departments involved in assessing and managing persons of concern can access the same information simultaneously.”

UNC-Chapel Hill Threat Assessment and Management will consist of professionals with expertise in law, psychology, security and other related fields, ensuring a comprehensive evaluation of potential threats. Gray aims to create a unified and efficient reporting system that adheres to best practices in threat assessment, creating a central repository for all information about a person of concern and their potential to pose a threat to the community.

She intends to expand interdepartmental training to enhance preparedness at all levels, including those for students and external members of the Carolina community.

Gray’s role underscores the University’s commitment to fostering a safer campus environment for everyone. With strategic goals and well-organized approach to multidisciplinary collaboration, she assumes a leading role in assessing campus safety standards through proactive threat assessment and management.

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