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Geneseo CARE(S)

"Protecting the health and safety of our students, faculty, and staff is paramount within the State University. The events of 9-11 permanently changed the way campuses view the issue of security. Many improvements have been made. Yet, no single campus today can guarantee they can prevent situations like the one that occurred at Virginia Tech from ever occurring. However, that fact should not stop us from doing everything possible to reduce the likelihood of such an event and ensure the effectiveness of our responses if such an attack does take place."

&

- Chancellor John R. Ryan
Testimony to the Senate Standing Committee on Higher Education
May 1, 2007 

In light of the incident at Virginia Tech, Chancellor Ryan convened the Task Force on Critical Incident Management. One recommendation from the Task Force outlined the need for all campuses to have a multi-behavioral assessment committee related to the identification of and services provided to individuals who are at-risk/distressed.

 

Code vs. No Code

Currently, when a student’s behavior rises to a level that is determined to be harmful to self or to others, or when they threaten such behavior, the College judges such behavior according to Geneseo's Student Code of Conduct. It is also clear that through campus judicial reviews and sanctions, and/or vice-presidential interim suspension, the safety and well being of all members of the College community can be effected. 

Less clear, however, is what to do with those students whose behavior does not rise to the level sufficient to initiate a Code of Conduct review, yet whose behavior is, nonetheless, described as “disturbing” and worrisome to one or more members of the Geneseo community. Disturbing behavior usually causes us to feel concerned, alarmed, afraid or frustrated, but generally has no concrete negative impact on the behavior of other students, the professor’s ability to teach or conduct class, or the implementation of other professionals’ roles in the college. This could include, for example, that person who keeps to themselves, is a loner, may be anti-social, or doesn’t interact with his/her roommates - at this time, the disturbing behavior does not directly threaten nor endanger the physical or psychological health, safety, or welfare of self or of others, but it is of concern.  Further, how do we provide services to students of concern that may be in their best interest, without at the same time infringing on their individual rights?  And how do we evaluate the possible escalation in disturbing behavior over time?

 

We CARE

The CARE(S) team was created at Geneseo to address these and more issues. CARE stands for Campus Assessment, Response, and Evaluation, but the reality is at Geneseo we get together because We Care. Our mission is assist students in distress and provide them with support/services that allow them to continue to be productive members of our College community. As a team we address students’ behaviors that are disruptive and/or disturbing to others. Some of this is threat assessment, or determining how to best assist someone in crisis, or putting together a support or response plan.

The CARE(S) team consists of College personnel identified as key to the effective sharing of information about at-risk/distressed students and issues, and positioned in College roles that  contribute to the clear elucidation and evaluation of relevant situations.  An at-risk/distressed student may be a student with behavioral, academic, or mental/physical health problems.  Often there may be a combination of all of these issues in a single student, and these students are considered to be at-risk in terms of personal well-being or academic standing.

When to be Concerned

It is very normal for students to encounter some difficult situations during their college years, which may involve academic struggles, social pressures, personal issues and physical or mental health concerns. Students who experience increased levels of stress or anxiety may exhibit signs of distress or find themselves in crisis, which will affect academic success and overall well-being.

Led by the Dean of Students, the team will provide advocacy and offer guidance and consultation to help students navigate challenges and assist in identifying and connecting them to the appropriate resources and support services that are available both on and off campus.

 

What to do When Concerned

Referrals can be made by students,faculty and staff who notice unusual changes in a student’s behavior or have concerns about a student’s well-being. Students may also self-refer or contact the dean directly to receive assistance. In conjunction with CARE(S), the dean will review and assess incoming referrals that have been made and conduct appropriate outreach as required.

 

Examples

"Red Flag" behaviors are behaviors that are disturbing or inappropriate and should be reported to the dean of students. They may include:

  • Notable change in academic performance, including repeated absences from class, missed assignments or appointments, deterioration in quality or quantity of work 
  • Notable change in behavior, appearance or personal hygiene 
  • Impairment of thoughts verbally or in writing 
  • Extremely erratic or overly aggressive behavior toward others 
  • Direct statements indicating extreme confusion; distress, despair, social isolation, suicidal ideation, or writings or comments focused on or endorsing violence 
  • Threats to others 
  • Excessively dependent behavior

 

What Next

The dean of students (or designee) will:

  • Serve as the primary contact for students exhibiting signs of distress, crisis or other reported struggles.
  • Provide outreach and consultation to identified students.
  • Meet with students and provide advocacy and guidance to connect to the appropriate support services.
  • Make referrals and assist with the navigation to available on or off-campus resources.
  • Monitor progress and offer follow-up meetings as needed.

The Dean of Students can be reached at 585-245-5706 or deanstu@geneseo.edu.

In the case of clear and imminent danger, 911 should be called or the Geneseo University Police Department should be contacted at 585-245-5222.