Not one to shy away from students in crisis, Dave Aurich, associate dean of students, joined the College of Charleston in 2015 so he could make an impact in the areas of behavioral intervention, threat assessment and student organization conduct.

“I feel like this is what I’m called to do,” explains Aurich. “I’ve been in higher ed for 20+ years and am most fulfilled when I’m helping students in crisis.”

In 2022, Aurich received the National Association of Behavioral Intervention and Threat Assessment (NaBITA) Research Grant Award for his proposed risk rubric for student organizations. In fall 2023, he presented his initial findings at the NaBITA annual conference in West Palm Beach, Florida.

“There was a great response for what I’ve been able to produce so far,” says Aurich, who got a “thumbs up” from NaBITA founder Scott Lewis during his presentation. “A lot of attendees said, ‘I can’t believe no one has thought of this yet, but it makes so much sense to treat a student organization like an individual student if it poses a threat to the health and safety of the campus community!’ I just hope that, once the Organizational Risk Rubric is released, it helps people.”

The impetus behind Aurich’s research stems from a university classmate taking his own life. Losing his friend instilled a desire to keep people safe, no matter the cost.

“If I can help prevent a tragedy, I’ll do it,” he says. “I may not take the popular approach, but will always take the one that keeps the most people safe. I don’t want any student organization at CofC or anywhere to experience the loss – preventable loss – of one of its members.”

Aurich hopes the College will be the first school to implement his Organizational Risk Rubric in conjunction with the accountability process. He believes the rubric will create a safer environment for students to be involved on campus, as well as address issues that pop up.

As he continues to fine-tune his Organizational Risk Rubric, Aurich will continue championing a safe, fun environment for College of Charleston students.