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Student Life

Culture of Care

Teacher/Student Meeting - Professor meeting with two students. Link to file

SCU CARE Protocol

Follow the chart to determine who to contact when working with a distressed or distressing student.

Is the student a danger to self or others, or does the student need immediate assistance for any reason?


Not Sure


The student's conduct is clearly and imminently reckless, disorderly, or threatening, including self-harming behaviors.

The student shows signs of distress but I am unsure how serious it is. My interaction has left me feeling uneasy and/or concerned about the student.

I'm not concerned for the student's immediate safety, but there are significant academic and/or personal issues. The students could use support or additional services.

EXAMPLE: There is immediate concern for the student's safety due to : incoherent speech, inability to focus, or aggressive behaviors.

EXAMPLE: The student ran out of the classroom crying. Upon speaking with the student, you find out the student is struggling with anxiety.

EXAMPLE: The student asked for an extension on an assignment due to a personal issue.

Campus Safety 4444 and Call 911

Call Cowell 4501 or Office of Student Life 4583

File a Student of Concern Report at SCU.EDU/OSL/REPORT

 How to recognize someone in distress:

  • Significant deterioration in quality or quantity of work
  • Repeated absences
  • Missed assignments, exams or appointments
  • Written or artistic expression of unusual violence, social isolation, despair or preoccupation with suicide or death
  • Repeated requests for special accommodations, e.g., paper extensions, make-up exams, etc.
  • Patterns of perfectionism. e.g., inability to accept any grade but an A
  • Overblown or disproportionate response to grades or other evaluations
  • Direct statements indicating distress, family problems or loss
  • Angry or hostile outbursts, yelling, or aggressive comments
  • Withdrawn from others, low motivation
  • Excessively demanding or dependent behavior
  • Failure to respond to outreach by professors or staff
  • Shakiness, tremors, fidgeting or pacing
  • More animated than usual, euphoria, overly enthusiastic
  • Paranoid, excessively vigilant, fear that others are going to cause harm
  • Extreme disorganization or erratic performance
  • Deterioration in physical appearance or personal hygiene
  • Excessive fatigue, exhaustion, falling asleep in class
  • Visible changes in weight, statements about change in appetite or sleep
  • Noticeable cuts, bruises or burns
  • Frequent or chronic illness
  • Disorganized, rapid or slurred speech, confusion
  • Unusual inability to make eye contact
  • Coming to class bleary or red-eyed or smelling of alcohol or marijuana

You WILL NOT be taking on the role of counselor. You need only to listen, care and offer resource referral information.

  • Speak directly with the student
  • Meet individually and in a quiet place
  • Set a hopeful tone
  • Express your concern and caring
  • Point out specific behaviors you’ve observed
  • Listen attentively to the student’s response and encourage him or her to talk
  • Explain the limitations of your knowledge and experience
  • Refer the student to the appropriate resources, the referral source has the resources to assist the student in a more appropriate manner
  • When in doubt, consult
  • Avoid making promises of confidentiality
  • Plan for follow-up

 UNLESS the student is suicidal or a danger to others, the ultimate decision to access resources belongs with the student.

Faculty and staff have a privileged opportunity to show care and compassion to our students. Sometimes students can be overwhelmed by the pressures and stresses of university life which can manifest as isolation, depression, anxiety, or hopelessness. These feelings easily disrupt the students’ ability to manage academic life to their fullest potential.

Due to your contact with students you may be the first person who observes a student‘s distress. Don’t hesitate to show concern and compassion. Reach out to the student.

A student who is having trouble in your presence is most likely experiencing difficulty in other contexts, such as with roommates, family, the classroom, and social settings. Trust your instincts if a student leaves you worried, alarmed, or threatened!

Students sometimes cannot or will not turn to family and friends for help. Your expression of concern may be a critical factor in saving a student’s academic career or even their life.

SCU CARE represents our collective standard and goal in assisting students to and the best resources to help them through challenges and crises.

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) permits communication about a student of concern in connection with a health and safety emergency. Observations about a student’s conduct or reports of statements made by a student are not prohibited by FERPA regulations. Such information should be shared with appropriate consideration for student privacy.

Additional Information:

  • Provide name, phone number and office location of the referral resource or walk the student to the referral resource
  • If you walk the student to a referral source, inform the resource of your concerns. If the student is sent over without you, notify the resource of your concerns by phone prior to the student’s arrival.
  • Realize that your offer of help may be rejected
  • Keep the lines of communication open, follow up with the student

Santa Clara University upholds a zero tolerance policy for discrimination, harassment and sexual misconduct, including gender-based misconduct, involving students or other members of the University community. Reports should be filed with the Title IX Officer, x3043, or online through Anonymous reports may be filed through Ethicspoint

Helpful Suggestion:

When needed, please call Campus Safety at 408-554-4444 and 911. Campus Safety can play a critical role in directing the police and emergency services to your location or wherever on campus the emergency is occurring. Not all emergency responders know our campus with accuracy. Having Campus Safety available to direct them decreases response time and coordinates efforts.

Student . . .

Contact . . .

is in possession of a weapon

Campus Safety 4444 or 911

is an imminent harm to self or others

Campus Safety 4444 or 911

is a potential harm to self or others

Cowell 4501 and Office of Student Life 4583

is a victim of recent violence, abuse, or sexual violence

Cowell 4501 and Title IX Office 3043

has been a victim of past violence or abuse

Cowell 4501 and Title IX Office 3043

is experiencing psychological distress impairing ability to learn effectively

Cowell 4501

is verbally or emotionally abusive

Campus Safety 4444 or Office of Student Life 4583

is engaging in conduct contrary to that in the Student Handbook

Office of Student Life 4583

has engaged in academic dishonesty

Office of Student Life 4583

is having difficulty managing academic load or stress

Drahmann Center 4318

is experiencing family or personal crisis or loss and needs to miss classes

Office of Student Life 4583

is suspected of alcohol or drug use interfering with academic effectiveness

Cowell 4501 or Wellness Center 4409

is having financial difficulties

Financial Aid 1000

is a victim of bias, harassment, or discrimination

Office of Student Life 4583 and Title IX Office 3043

Campus/Community Resources