BIT Team strives to connect students, campus resources

An advocacy system was created by an interdisciplinary team of faculty members to better understand students’ behavior and assist in connecting them with resources on campus.

The Behavioral Intervention Team, or BIT, looks at student behavior in a holistic way through an interdisciplinary team of faculty from across the Marshall University campus, according to Lisa Martin, founder of BIT and director of the Office of Student Conduct. 

The core of the BIT Team is an online advocacy system where anyone can submit a report about a concern they have regarding a student’s behavior, Martin said.

“With advocate, we look at our whole behavior management system at the university, every report that we get from anyone on campus about a student’s behavior, Martin said.

Once the initial report is submitted, it is identified as either a BIT, Title IX or student conduct concern and forwarded to the appropriate office so the student can receive the help they need, Martin said. 

“We are reviewing this data to see if there are any patterns or trends,” said Michelle Biggs, member of BIT and assistant dean of advocacy and support. “We need to look at this with various issues to see where we can provide more support.”

One pattern seen in the data is mental health concerns, Biggs said. 

Of the 155 cases currently in BIT, 114 of those were mental health concerns, Martin said, which is why the interdisciplinary aspect of BIT is important. 

Candace Lane, director of the Counseling Center, is a member of the BIT team who is able to connect students with mental health concerns to resources in the center.

There are seven additional members spanning from representatives in housing, academic affairs, public safety and athletics, Martin said. 

“We have really streamlined that committee so that everyone is heard at that table,” she said.

The committee has been adapted to better fit the needs of students according to Biggs. Martin said how one of the adaptations is the implementation of a marketing campaign to spread BIT awareness around campus.

“We are wearing buttons on Tuesday that say, ‘Herd about MU BIT?’” Martin said “We are wearing the buttons every Tuesday as a conversation starter. We also have these stickers that people can put on their doors that say, ‘I’m Marshall BIT, are you?”

These buttons are distributed to all members trained on BIT, which includes chapter chairs, vice presidents, deans, Housing and Residence Life, Counseling Center and some colleges, Martin said. 

“We want more awareness of BIT for the campus community so that faculty, staff and students know they can send in reports and it’s more of caring system to helps students succeed academically and socially,” Biggs said.

Ralph May can be contacted at [email protected]