Responding to Students in Distress
Students face a number of stressors that may affect their academic success and mental health. The stress may manifest as anxiety, depression, anger, alcohol and/or drug abuse, eating disorders, aggressiveness, self-harm, violence, etc. The vast majority of the time, the condition is temporary, and the student returns to normal functioning, often with support and assistance of family, friends, college staff and faculty.
Nonetheless, there are times when such conditions escalate to the point of heightened concern and should be reported to ACT for possible intervention.
For example, if a student:
- is disruptive in class and does not stop when you instruct him/her to do so;
- causes you or others to be concerned for safety (ex. yelling, intimidation, etc.);
- creates a hostile environment in class (others stop attending because of student);
- writes about committing violent acts;
- engages in bizarre behavior or seems to be disconnected from reality;
- is consistently angry or depressed/lethargic
Immediately notify Campus Police (x8201) if a student:
- threatens violence or is violent
- communicates suicidal or homicidal thoughts, threats or actions.
- has a firearm or any weapon on campus
There is no reliable “profile” for a student who is likely to be violent. Trust your instincts and ask for help if you have concerns about a student.
Assessment and Concerns Team for students
The Assessment and Concerns Team for students (ACT) is comprised of Academic and Student Affairs professionals with expertise in assessing and intervening in situations involving students who are intimidating, disruptive, aggressive or violent. ACT facilitates efforts to deal safely and effectively with such students. When alerted to a concern, ACT will:
- gather information
- identify needs of those impacted
- assess threats, consulting with outside experts when necessary
- develop and implement plans for dealing with the student, including both immediate and ongoing strategies
- provide and make referrals for advice, support, and assistance
- address and reduce risks of harm to the student or others involved with the student
- review interventions and process after resolving a case
What Happens When You Contact ACT
- The single most important goal of the ACT is to protect your safety and welfare, as well as the safety and welfare of the student and the campus community
- Anonymous reports can be made, and ACT may intervene with the student without necessarily revealing the source of the information
- ACT may recommend actions such as encouraging the student to seek counseling, notifying the student’s parents/guardians or responsible adult, or having the student evaluated
- If a crime is alleged, the police may investigate and, when appropriate, the student may be prosecuted
- Similarly, if a violation of the Student Conduct Code is alleged, the student may be subject to discipline
- If there are reasonable grounds for believing that the student’s presence on campus or participation in college activities will lead to physical assault, threats of violence, conduct that threatens health or safety, or substantial disruption of college activities or functions, the student may be placed on interim suspension and barred from campus pending a hearing on the matter
- ACT will provide updates as necessary to those members of the campus community who need to know the information
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
How do I know when to call ACT?
If you have concerns, tell someone. ACT is available to consult and help plan interventions when necessary.
Can ACT provide training for my unit?
Yes. Contact ACT to arrange training tailored to your situation and needs, including how to respond to disruptive, intimidating, or threatening conduct.
Will the student be removed from school?
Yes, if the student is found to have engaged in serious misconduct and is suspended or dismissed. Students have a right to due process before they can be disciplined.
Who/where should I call after hours?
In on-campus emergency situations, call Campus Police at 401-456-8201 (extension 8201).
Where can I find more resource info?
--Student Life website: ric.edu/studentlife
--Counseling Ctr: ric.edu/counselingctr
--On-line Early Intervention Form: www.ric.edu/studentlife/Pages/Early-Intervention-Form.aspx
ACT includes representatives from the Counseling Center, Residential Life, Student Life, Campus Police, Health Services, Academic Affairs and Disability Services.
How to Contact the Team
Mr. Steven Casbarro, Campus Police
Dr. Scott Kane, Student Life
Dr. A. Chantelle Pseekos, Counseling Center
Ms. Shawna Altenburger, Residential Life
Ms. Keri Rossi-D’entremont, Disability Services
Dr. Holly Shadoian, Academic Affairs
Ms. Lynn Wachtel, Health Services
In situations of clear and imminent danger, call RIC Campus Police (401-456-8201) or 911.