Faculty/staff concerns about a student

Faculty are often the first to notice when a student is struggling or in distress. Faculty are encouraged to know the resources available at Western Washington University and speak directly to the student to acknowledge their distress and connect them with these resources.

Concerning behavior includes: uncharacteristic procrastination and poorly prepared work, changes in attendance, frequently falling asleep in class, change in personal hygiene, lack of connection to others in class, displays of extreme emotion, or complaints from other students about inappropriate behavior. Faculty are encouraged to speak with students, refer them to an appropriate resource(s), and inform the Office of Student Life if the concern continues.

How to refer:

  1. Contact a resource below for assistance; and/or
  2. Speak to the student in private and express your concern for them directly.
  3. Respect and acknowledge the difficulties the student is experiencing.
  4. Suggest the student seek out assistance. Your knowledge about appropriate resources can help inform their next steps.

Potentially harmful behavior includes: threats to harm others, suicidal thoughts, hallucinations, high levels of irritability, impaired speech or disjointed thoughts, disruptive classroom behavior, and behavior that reflects increased hopelessness. Faculty are encouraged to contact the Office of Student Life and/or University Police depending on the severity of this behavior.

Resources
Office of Student Life/Dean of Students (360 650-3706)
The Office of Student Life is a good first contact for faculty concerned about a student. Staff will work with the faculty to identify appropriate next steps, and can involve other campus support services including those listed below as well the Network.
Counseling Center (360 650-3164)
Counselors can consult with faculty and strategize how to help a student. Keep in mind that counselors can receive information about a student but cannot share information about individual students (including whether or not the student is receiving service from them) without a student’s written permission.
Student Health Center (360 650-3400)
Medical staff can consult with faculty and strategize how to help a student, particularly for students who have mentioned previously seeking health services or having a medical condition that is affecting them. Health Center staff can receive information but also cannot share information about an individual student without that student’s signed permission.
University Police (360 650-3911 or 911 for emergencies; 360 650- 3555 for non-emergencies)
Police should be informed of any concerning behavior that might result in harm to any member of the Western or Bellingham community. Police can also be a resource for students who are worried about potential harm from another student.

Page Updated 08.14.2013