Workplace Violence Prevention Policy

Effective Date June 3, 2013
Last Updated September 26, 2016
Responsible University Officer Donna Davis, General Counsel
Policy Owners Dan Lawson, Senior Director, Department of Public Safety
Policy Contacts Diane Nelson, Assistant Vice President, Human Resources

Policy Statement

The University of San Francisco is committed to promoting and maintaining a safe and secure workplace for its faculty and staff, students, and visitors. Acts of violence, threats of violence, or physical intimidation will not be tolerated. If such conduct occurs, it should be promptly reported to the proper authority. The University will take appropriate action in response to reports of such conduct. Employees found to have violated this policy will be subject to disciplinary action, which may include immediate dismissal consistent with University personnel policies. In addition, the University may assist in pursuing civil penalties, criminal penalties, or other appropriate action against the offender.

Employees who believe that they are victims of threatening or violent conduct in the workplace, who observe such behavior, or who believe that a credible threat of such behavior exists, should immediately report the conduct to the appropriate authority, listed below. Those who make such reports will be protected from retaliation.

The University conducts periodic workplace violence training. Information about these can be obtained from Public Safety or from Human Resources.

Reason for Policy

This policy is intended to guide members of the University of San Francisco community both in preventing threats and acts of violence and in responding to them when they occur on or in relation to the University's campuses, or off-campus locations where faculty, staff or student employees are engaged in University business.

Who Should Read this Policy

This policy explicitly applies to University students, faculty, staff, administrators, independent contractors and all other individuals engaged in University activities either on site or in the course of University duties offsite.

Policy Text

Prohibited conduct in the University of San Francisco workplace includes acts of violence, physical attacks, verbal or physical threats of violence, physical intimidation, stalking, and property damage committed by or against any faculty or staff, visitor, or any student employee. This behavior includes, but is not limited to:

  • Making intimidating or menacing gestures,
  • Making intimidating comments or statements,
  • Threatening to harm another individual, directly or indirectly, or via any telephonic, electronic or other communication devices,
  • Threatening to harm property of the University or property of others,
  • Engaging in horseplay that endangers or threatens others,
  • Fighting or challenging another person to fight,
  • Grabbing, pushing, pinching, or touching another person in an unwanted way (whether sexually or otherwise),
  • Striking, punching, slapping, or kicking another person,
  • Bringing firearms, explosives, weapons, or any item that may be construed as such onto USF property including parking lots or other exterior premises related to USF business.

Any such conduct is unacceptable behavior and will be treated as a violation of USF’s rules, even if meant in a “joking” manner. Violators will be subject to corrective action, up to and including termination or expulsion. In addition, USF may report the incident to external law enforcement authorities and may seek criminal prosecution or appropriate civil remedies.

Most personal situations need not be reported to the University of San Francisco unless they pose a risk of violence in the workplace. Examples of personal situations that could pose a risk of violence in the workplace and should be reported to the appropriate authority at the University of San Francisco include, but are not limited to:

  • Incidents or threats of domestic violence against an employee where it is possible that the threatening party could seek out the employee at work,
  • Receipt of work-related threatening telephone calls, emails, or other communications, 
  • Unwanted pursuit or threats by an outside party who has been observed at or near the workplace,
  • Any situation in which an employee has obtained a protective or restraining order naming their workplace as a prohibited area of contact.

Employees facing personal situations that involve violence or the potential for violence are encouraged to seek confidential counseling assistance through the University’s Employee Assistance Program at 1-800-344-4222 (company code: usf). Student employees should seek assistance through Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) at (415) 422-6352.


Reporting Violent Acts or Threats

It is the responsibility of every member of the campus community to take any act of violence or threat of violence seriously and to immediately report workplace violence or threats of violence to the appropriate authorities listed in the table.

Location Type of Violent Act or Threat How to Report
Hilltop Campus Imminent threats, violent incidents, or dangerous or emergency situations
  • USF Public Safety: (415) 422-2911
  • Local police:  911
Branch Campuses or Off-Campus Imminent threats, violent incidents, or dangerous or emergency situations Local police:  911
Hilltop Campus, Branch Campuses, or Off-Campus Non-emergency situations (i.e. verbal abuse, perceived intimidation, harassment, etc.)

Any of the following:

Support for Those Affected by Violence

The University’s Employee Assistance Program and Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) will respond to requests for assistance from victims of violence or threats of violence by providing counseling, advocacy, safety planning, and other support as appropriate. Requests for assistance may be directed to:

Group Contact
Faculty and Staff Employee Assistance Program (EAP):  (800) 344-4222

Any of the following:

Restraining or Protective Orders

In order to help provide a safe environment and protect individuals from risks to their safety, USF must be informed about individuals ordered by the courts to keep their distance from USF-related individuals or property. USF understands the sensitivity of this information and will treat it with appropriate discretion and confidentiality.

Any individual who seeks or has obtained a restraining order or protective order involving USF as a “protected location”, whether named explicitly or not (e.g. work, school, etc.), must provide the following documentation of the matter to Public Safety:

  • a copy of the petition and declarations used to seek the protective or restraining order,
  • a copy of any temporary protective or restraining order which is granted and its proof of service, and
  • a copy of any permanent order and its proof of service.

For more information about obtaining a restraining or protective order, contact Public Safety at (415) 422-4201.

Related Information

Type Name and Location
USF Policy Against Unlawful Harassment, Discrimination, and Retaliation*
USF Employee Handbook (refer to Workplace Conduct section)
USF Student Conduct Code
USF Nondiscrimination Statement (scroll to bottom)
USF Annual Security Report
USF  Sexual Misconduct Policy 

*formerly known as the Preventing Sexual and Other Unlawful Harassment (PSOUH) Policy and currently known as Anti-Harassment Training in myLearning


Term Definition
Intimidation An act or expression toward another person causing the other person to reasonably fear for his/her safety or the safety of others.
Threats of violence An act or expression that threatens mental or physical harm to person (s) or damage to property.
Acts of violence An act or expression that cause mental or physical harm to person (s), however slight, or damage to property.
Workplace All University facilities, work sites, vehicles, field locations, and off-campus locations where faculty, staff or student employees are engaged in University business.
Restraining orders Court orders that restrict one party from making contact with another party.
Protected locations Protected locations are places and distances that are delineated in the court order in which these parties are not to make any contact with each other.
Department of Public Safety (DPS) Reporting Obligations Regarding Crime The USF Department of Public Safety's on campus law enforcement authority is guided by a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the San Francisco Police Department. This MOU requires that all major crimes that come to the attention of DPS are reported to the SFPD. DPS must offer victims of on campus non-major crimes the opportunity to make a San Francisco Police report.
Verbal Abuse Verbal abuse is the use of words to cause harm to the person being spoken to. Verbal abuse may consist of shouting, insulting, intimidating, threatening, shaming, demeaning, or derogatory language, among other forms of communication.

Additional Contacts

Primary Contacts

Office/Dept. Title Contact Phone Email/URL Location
Public Safety Director Dan Lawson (415) 422-4222 University Center, 5th Floor
Human Resources Director Liliana Rojas (415) 422-4280 Lone Mountain Main 339
General Counsel Vice President Donna Davis (415) 422-6822 101 Howard, Suite 200
Student Life Vice President Julie Orio (415) 422-5330 University Center 509
Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) Senior Director Barbara Thomas (415) 422-6352 Gillson, Lower Level
Accounting and Business Services Risk Service Manager Melissa Diaz (415) 422-5899 Lone Mountain North, 3rd Floor
Title IX Case Manager Emily Schermerhorn (415) 422-3430  

Secondary Contacts

Office/Dept. Title Contact Phone Email/URL Location
Public Safety Lieutenant Kevin Dillon (415) 422-6986 University Center, 5th Floor
Public Safety Lieutenant Dean Coit (415) 422-5613 University Center, 5th Floor
Human Resources Assistant Vice President Diane Nelson (415) 422-2441 Lone Mountain Main 339
General Counsel Assistant General Counsel Joe Tackett (415) 422-6822 101 Howard, Suite 200
Student Life Director, Student Development Ryan Garcia (415) 422-5330 University Center 508
Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) Assistant Director Molly Zook (415) 422-6352 Gillson, Lower Level
Accounting and Business Services Associate Vice President Frank Wasilewski (415) 422-2402 Lone Mountain North, 3rd Floor
Title IX Interim Title IX Coordinator Leighia Fleming (415) 422-4563 University Center, 5th Floor




The prevention of workplace violence is a shared responsibility. Specific responsibilities are described below. Depending on the circumstances, the University may be obligated to report incidents to external agencies. The University’s policy is to fully comply with its reporting obligations in all cases. Anyone having questions about such reporting is encouraged to contact USF Public Safety.

Everyone at the University of San Francisco

  • Immediately report violent incidents or threats of imminent violence to USF Public Safety or local police.
  • Report warning signs of actual or potentially violent or hostile behavior that may affect the workplace as soon as possible to your supervisor or Human Resources (See “Procedures for Reporting Violent Acts or Threats” above).
  • Be alert to behaviors or attitudes that may be indicators of disruptive, threatening, or violent conduct such as: recent changes in behavior, appearance, or demeanor; work or personal crisis; withdrawal from normal activities or contacts; substance abuse; threats or references to violence or self-harm; and possession of or fascination with weapons.


  • Ensure awareness of this policy by faculty and staff, as well as student employees within your areas of supervision.
  • Contact USF Public Safety if you have concerns about a possible threat of violence.
  • Take appropriate steps to protect those who report threatening behavior from retaliation.
  • Participate in planning and response efforts to mitigate the risk of workplace violence.

University of San Francisco Department of Public Safety

  • Respond to reports of workplace violence and emergency situations and coordinate with other law enforcement agencies.
  • Advise and coordinate with Human Resources, and other affected departments on appropriate responses to threats of workplace violence.
  • Work with employees in at-risk areas to develop safety plans.
  • Take appropriate steps to protect those who report threatening behavior from retaliation.
  • Coordinate preventive measures to encourage a safe and secure workplace.

Human Resources

  • Ensure the effective implementation of this policy by collaborating with departments and Public Safety.
  • Review reports of potential workplace violence or hostility affecting employees, consult other campus units as appropriate, and recommend appropriate responses.
  • Oversee disciplinary action against employees who have violated this policy.
  • Review this policy periodically and revise it as appropriate to enhance its effectiveness. 
  • Take appropriate steps to protect those who report threatening behavior from retaliation. 
  • Notify USF Public Safety of threats of violence reported to Human Resources.
  • Coordinate follow up with USF’s Title IX Coordinator for those situations that fall under Title IX of the Higher Education Amendment of 1972.


What is a violent threat?
A violent threat is a threat that causes a person to fear physical harm or injury.