Responses to Mental Health Crisis

The University must respond to challenges created by mental health crises promptly and with compassion. The University may respond in a variety of ways, as necessary, when a student exhibits behaviors resembling or indicating a psychological emergency and/or an inability to appropriately manage their own behaviors effectively. University staff will assess the student’s overall safety and ability to reasonably manage his/her community experience and academic progress. This assessment will include consideration of any negative impact created for the community in which the student lives. 

It is important to note that the residence halls are not managed by mental health professionals.  Students should be reasonably healthy in terms of mental and emotional health in order to successfully live in a residence hall environment.  The University has professional counseling services on campus, but unless a student is in crisis or acting out, it cannot identify a student who is having serious problems. 

The student may be referred to the Office of Student Conduct or Dean of Student Life to participate in the standard administrative hearing process where deemed appropriate.  There may be instances where the student and the University will be best served by employing alternative mechanisms.  These include any combination of the following:

  • The student may be required to adhere to a behavioral contract.
  • The student may be referred for counseling with criteria for future behavior stipulated in a behavioral contract.
  • In some circumstances, it may be necessary for the student to move to a new environment either in another residential area or off-campus.
  • A parent or guardian may be contacted regarding the identified behaviors and participate in the development of a plan of assistance for resolving these issues.
  • The student may be required to obtain a psychiatric assessment.
  • An Interim Suspension may be imposed until the student’s health circumstances and/or behavioral issues can be properly addressed and resolved.

An Interim Suspension may be implemented if the Vice President for Student Affairs or designee determines that a student may be suffering from a mental health crisis, and the student’s behavior poses a current or imminent danger in any of the following ways:

  • Potential physical harm to the student or others;
  • Causing significant property damage;
  • Directly and substantially impeding the lawful activities of others; and/or
  • Creating an environment that severely compromises an individual’s ability to be an appropriate student and/or campus community member.

A student who is subject to an Interim Suspension shall be notified in writing of the reasons for his/her Interim Suspension.  The notification shall include the procedures related to future due process.  It may also contain the terms and conditions for consideration for readmission to the University, if appropriate.  Students who have received an Interim Suspension for mental health crisis or other health and safety reasons may be required to participate in the normal adjudication process depending on the circumstances of his/her case. 

In all circumstances involving imminent danger or the possibility thereof, the University reserves the right to attempt to contact the student’s parents(s) and/or other individuals who have been identified as potentially able to respond to and/or assist in resolving an emergency or crisis involving the student.