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What are some signs that a student might need help?

The most important thing is to err on the side of caution; if it occurs to you to make an Aggie Care Team report, just do it, and let the team sort things out.  Signs suggesting a student may need help include:

  • Missing class
  • Significant change in appearance and/or changes in behavior (declining hygiene, excessive fatigue, lack of focus, increasing disorganization, argumentativeness, withdrawal, etc.)
  • Verbal or written statements suggesting hopelessness or self-harm
  • Student appears extremely isolated from peers
  • Student discloses relationship problems
  • Any indication of alcohol or other substance abuse
What would suggest this student needs help *now* and I should call Public Safety at 215.489.4444?

Public Safety is the University’s resource for urgent assistance.  If you need help now, Public Safety, 215.489.4444 is the best call. Trust your judgement; if it occurs to you to call for help, just call…

Specifically, these situations call for urgent assistance:

  • Any direct or implied threat of harm to self or others;
  • Student is unable/unwilling to de-escalate;
  • Verbal or physical violence;
  • Individual appears overly confused, unaware of their surroundings and/or unable to communicate cogently.
What happens after I make a referral to the Aggie Care Team?

All reports are copied to team members in Academic Affairs and Student Affairs.  Upon receipt of a report, the team gathers available information about the reported student and uses that information to develop the most appropriate intervention strategy.  Typically, reports to ACT are addressed within 24-36 hours.

The purpose of any ACT intervention is to provide support and guidance appropriate to the individual student’s circumstances.  Reporting parties may remain anonymous if they choose.  Aggie Care Team referrals are not reports for the purpose of addressing violations of the Student Code of Conduct.  Information from ACT referrals may contribute to an investigation of student misconduct depending on the circumstances.

Finally, know that the Team may not be able to provide any information regarding the status or resolution of your report.  Student privacy is very important to both the individual student and the ACT process.  Your respect of this important consideration is appreciated.  

What are my responsibilities regarding students of concern?

Each University employee has the opportunity to support the success of our students and well-being of our educational community by sharing any concerning observations with the Aggie Care Team.  Observations and concerns you share just might complete a larger picture, enabling the team to develop a comprehensive, supportive intervention.  These interventions support individual student success and help keep our community productive and safe.

The purpose of any ACT intervention is to provide support and guidance appropriate to the individual student’s circumstances.  When you make a report, trust the Aggie Care Team process and know that your report will be treated with due privacy and timely concern.

Additionally, please know that University personnel have different reporting obligations by virtue of their position. It is your responsibility as a DelVal employee to know what you are obliged to report, and to whom. If you are unsure of your obligations please contact Tim Poirier, Dean of Student Development and Title IX Coordinator, in Student Affairs at 215.489.2215:

  • Responsible employee: obliged to report any instance of possible sexual harassment to the Title IX Coordinator.
  • Campus Security Authority: obliged to report any incidence of crime on campus to Public Safety.
  • Privacy employee: obliged to report non-personally identifying information about possible sexual harassment to the Title IX Coordinator
  • Confidential employee: obliged to maintain confidentiality by virtue of licensure and position
How can I respond when a student is disrupting my class?

Faculty members have broad authority to manage their classrooms and establish reasonable guidelines for class participation that ensure all students are able to take full advantage of the learning environment. If you believe a student's behavior is inappropriate, consider a general word of caution rather than singling a student out during class. Occasionally students are unaware their behavior is disruptive, and subtle reminders can provide the necessary correction. Faculty members may find it necessary to speak with a student privately outside normal class times to provide guidance on appropriate behavior and decorum.

As always, Faculty may report disruptive classroom behavior to the Vice President for Academic Affairs via the Disruptive Classroom Behavior form available in the VPAA office.

In the event a student escalates beyond reason and refuses to cooperate, it is appropriate to call Public Safety for urgent assistance.  Officers may remove a student from class.  In this case, the responding officers will report the interaction to Student Affairs through established protocols.

I’ve decided to speak with a student I’m concerned about…any advice?

Trust your instinct. If you are concerned, there is typically good reason for it!  If you are unsure as to how to approach the conversation, ACT members are available for consultation.

First, engage the student in conversation.  “Small talk” can be effective in making a student feel comfortable talking with you and invite them into more in-depth conversation.

Avoid accusatory language.  Don’t assume you know “what’s best” for any individual student. Take care with “why?” questions, as they can be perceived by students as implying negative judgment.  Rather, ask for clarification; “tell me more about…” encourages students to disclose what’s on their mind.

Know the resources and offer them as appropriate (resource guide here).

Finally, know the limits of the assistance you are able to provide.  In such cases, the student is best served by appropriately trained professional staff.