Assisting Emotionally Troubled Students

Identifying Behaviors

Distressed Students:

Are irritable, sad, unduly anxious, withdrawn, confused, lacking motivation or concentration, seeking constant attention, showing lack of hygiene, or demonstrating bizarre, erratic, or concerning behaviors including references to self-harm.

Disruptive Students:

Interfere in the University of Iowa’s learning environment with behavior that is reckless, disorderly, aggressive, defiant, destructive, threatening, and dangerous to self or dangerous to others.

Students Concerned for Personal Safety

Typical stalking behaviors include:

  • Repeated phone calls to home or work, including hang-ups
  • Unsolicited letters, email messages, or text messages
  • Unsolicited contact through any social media
  • Unsolicited sending or leaving of gifts
  • Notes on car or at personal residence
  • Surveillance behaviors, both on foot and by car
  • Unexpected appearances at frequented places (e.g., classrooms, stores)
  • Contacting friends, family or co-workers without consent or knowledge
  • Searching public and private records to get personal information
  • Vandalism (residence, car, personal possessions)
  • Entering residence to move things or steal personal items

Responding to Students

Response

  • Safety first. The welfare of the student and the campus community is our top priority when a student displays threatening or potentially violent behavior.
  • Trust your instincts; seek consultation from your department chair, supervisor or the Threat Assessment & Care Team or University Counseling Service.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask students if they feel their functioning is impaired, or have thoughts of harming themselves or others.
  • Avoid threatening, humiliating, or intimidating statements.

Documentation

  • Maintain a record of all incidents/events.
  • Keep all correspondence (notes, letters, emails, voicemails, Facebook messages, text messages, etc.).

Making Reports

  • Always report serious or persistent inappropriate behavior to the Office of the Dean of Students.
  • Share information and consult with appropriate University personnel to coordinate care for the student.
  • Safeguard the student’s privacy rights.
  • Keep Student Care & Assistance and the Threat Assessment & Care Team informed of new concerns.