Handling Student Emergencies
We are all a part of the broad network of support for our students. Your willingness and ability to recognize and respond to students who appear to be distressed or who have an emergency is invaluable to the University. The following procedures have been developed to respond to a student in distress or a student who is seriously injured or has died. Any such situation may have complicating or extenuating circumstances, but the procedures described below are generally applicable. Please remember that when in doubt, trust your instincts and contact your Dean of Students for guidance on how to proceed.
Students in Distress
If you are concerned about one of your students because she or he has expressed distress or thoughts of self-harm or inflicting harm to others, contact your Dean of Students, the student's Dean of Students and/or the Student Counseling Service (SCS) directly (773-702-9800).
Some tips for helping a student in distress.
- Arrange a quiet time and place to talk with the student.
- Discuss the observations that led to your concern. Keep your tone supportive, reassuring, and empathic. Avoid being judgmental or making assumptions about the cause of the apparent distress.
- Let the student respond to your concerns — Listen.
- Students do not have to struggle with their issues on their own. Mention that there are people on campus who can help and offer to assist the student in making these contacts.
- Stress that receiving services at the SCS is strictly confidential.
- Though the student may reject your offer of support or referral, remain supportive.
- Encourage the student to talk to his or her Dean of Students. You also might want to contact the Dean of Students to share what you know about the student.
The SCRS staff is always available to talk with you about possible courses of action and how to best help your student. In the case of an urgent situation you might want to walk a student over to SCS (5555 S. Woodlawn Avenue). Please call ahead if possible (773-702-9800).
Communication About an Injured or Deceased Student
If you learn that a student has been seriously injured or has died as a result of an accident, crime, or suicide attempt, immediately contact the University of Chicago Police Department (UCPD) (773-702-8181). The UCPD will inform either the Dean-on-Call or the Sexual Assault Dean-on-Call. The Dean-on-Call is the University official responsible for coordinating the University's response to student emergencies and is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, year-round. This person will follow an established University protocol. That protocol includes informing the Associate Dean of Students in the University's Office of the Vice-President and Dean of Students, the Dean of Students in the student's school or division, and, if appropriate, the Student Counseling Service (SCS) Therapist-on-Call and the Housing staff. The Dean of Students in the student's school or division will ordinarily inform the relevant Chair and Dean. The Dean of Students, Chair, and Dean will discuss the academic unit's response, what information to convey to the other students and faculty of the department or school, and how best to communicate the information. This communication should remind students that support is available from SCS, Rockefeller Chapel, and other campus ministries, and note the availability of the Dean of Students, Chair, and/or Dean to meet with students.
If an injured student asks the Dean-on-Call not to notify other University officials, the Dean-on-Call will honor this request as fully as possible and will inform the student of the extent to which such a request can be honored. The Dean-on-Call will also inform the student if the incident may result in a Safety Awareness Alert.
If you hear rumors about incidents concerning your students, please contact your Dean of Students for information and advice on how to proceed.
Whether an emergency involves a particular student's experience or the community's response to that experience, a swift, warm response by a school, division, department, and individual faculty members goes a long way towards allaying anxieties and easing a difficult situation. Please note that SCS has a useful website. The URL is https://wellness.uchicago.edu/.
Important Phone Numbers
- Student Counseling Service: M-F, 8:30 am to 5:00 pm, 773-702-9800
- Student Counseling Service: after hours, 773-702-3625
- Dean-on-Call: 24/7/365, 773-834-4357 or through University Police
- University Police: 123 from a campus phone
- 773-702-8181 from any phone