Have you ever read a novel that described a scene or situation so well that you felt like you could place yourself right into the story?  This is very much what writing an incident report is like.  However instead of creating some fantastical world you're using the facts and experiences of those involved in the incident to paint a descriptive and thorough picture of what took place for those who will be reading your report.

There are three different reporting forms to choose from: sexual misconduct, bias-related incidents, and all other.  As you write your reports keep in mind that the information you submit will be seen by the Dean of Students.  Depending on the type of report, and the information included, the Dean of Students may choose to involve others on the report, including members of the Conduct Board, the Student Affairs staff, the Campus Safety staff and/or law enforcement officials.  Please also be aware that the students who were involved in the incident may also be informed of the information in the report that pertains to them.

Information documented in an incident report, as well as any other information regarding student disciplinary/conduct issues are protected under the student record guidelines as outlined in FERPA and should be kept confidential.  Through your role as an RA you may be exposed to information about students that should not be shared. Please be mindful of this when you discuss aspects of your RA position with others, including other student staff.

A good incident report:

  • Includes chronological dates, times, and locations for when/where the incident occurred

  • Is written in the third person

  • Identifies those involved, including witnesses, and additional staff

  • Names should be taken from their ID

  • Use first and last name initially, and then last name any subsequent times they're mentioned

  • If two people have the same last name then include initials from their first name

  • Uses appropriate titles and subsequent abbreviations (ex. Resident Assistant, RA)

  • Is clear, concise, grammatically error free, and is professionally written

  • Includes strictly objective facts, not opinions, guesses, or assumptions

  • You should include whether those involved were cooperative or not, but be sure to back up this opinion with facts that show they were/weren't

  • Provides all requested and required information

  • Quotes word for word what people say that is relevant to the incident

  • If you have any other information you wish to share that should not be included in an incident report please e-mail it to the Dean of Students

What to write an incident report for

  • Policy violations

  • Damaged property

  • Situations of violence

  • Police/Public Safety involvement

  • Serious maintenance issues

  • Any incident you feel the College would want to follow up on or that a student would want the College to follow up on

When should the form be submitted

  • Incident reports should be turned in as soon as possible after the incident so details remain fresh in your memory, however all reports should be submitted by 8:00am the morning following the incident to ensure timely processing.

How to submit an incident report

Sample Good Incident Report

At approximately 12:35am on Thursday, September 26, 2015 Resident Assistant (RA) Peter Parker was doing rounds on second floor of Pauley-Rorem Hall when he heard loud music and yelling coming from room 231. 
As RA Parker approached room 231 he also heard the sound of cans being opened and chants of "chug, chug, chug." 
When RA Parker arrived at the door to room 231 a male voice from inside the room said "I'm so glad that my block is over.  I'm going to party all night." 
Another male voice then said "Here's to the end of our first block in college!"
RA Parker knocked on the door and announced himself as an RA.
Immediately after knocking the loud music was turned down and rustling of cans could be heard inside the room.
As RA Parker was getting ready to knock again, room resident John Doe opened the door.
RA Parker greeted Resident Doe and explained that he had heard loud music and conversations about drinking coming from inside the room.
RA Parker asked Resident Doe if there was any alcohol in the room.
Resident Doe explained that he and his roommate, resident John Smith, had a few beers because they were celebrating being done with finals.
RA Parker asked to see the IDs of everyone in the room.
While writing down their information RA Parker asked if the residents of the room were 21, and both Resident Doe and Smith indicated that they were not.
RA Parker reminded Residents Doe and Smith of the college's alcohol policy, and stated that he needed the residents to collect all the alcohol that was in the room to be disposed of in the bathroom.
RA Parker watched as Resident Smith opened the refrigerator and produced twelve cans of Bud Light (two cans were open and partially consumed, six cans that were empty and four cans that were unopened), along with a half-full bottle of Captain Morgan rum.
RA Parker did a visual scan of the room and saw no indication of additional alcohol or any other policy violations.
RA Parker then escorted Residents Doe and Smith to the bathroom and asked them to pour out the remaining alcohol in the sink and recycle the cans and bottle.
Residents Doe and Smith complied and asked RA Parker what would happen now.
RA Parker explained that he would be documenting the situation and that the Dean of Students will review the report and likely be in contact.
Both Residents Doe and Smith were compliant throughout the entire situation.

Sample Bad Incident Report

I was chilling in Pfeif and heard something. I knocked on the door and Joe answered. I told him he couldn't drink in his room because it was substance free. Joe shoulda known that, cuz he'd been to my floor meeting. I told Joe and the other guy in the room to dump out the beer. They're both cool dudes and shouldn't be punished for having beer on the floor. I mean, it was just one beer and he dumped it out. Oh, I told em to have a great day when they walked away.