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Student Support at Dickinson

The CARE Team provides a centralized resource for bringing concerns about students to the attention of the people on campus who can best assist these students. Concerns may range from mental health issues to family problems, roommate issues, conduct issues, or feeling like Dickinson is not academically or socially fit.  The CARE Team meets on a weekly basis throughout the academic year to confidentially share information and exists to assess potentially unsafe situations within the Dickinson community or other more complicated cases.  We attempt to intervene early to help students who are showing signs of distress and those engaging in more harmful or disruptive behaviors.  The CARE Team reviews each case individually and coordinates an appropriate action plan for response. The CARE also meets to discuss escalating situations that may need more timely intervention. The Executive Director of the Wellness Center is a member of the CARE Team and attends these meetings to serve as a resource, and in accordance with professional and legal standards, does not share confidential information unless a situation is life-threatening. 

Often, students who are experiencing challenges in one aspect of their lives also struggle in other areas. For example, a student with a roommate issue may suffer academically as a result. Or, a student under great academic stress may act out in unhealthy ways in their social lives. The purpose of our collaboration within the CARE Team between Academic Affairs and Student Life is to connect different pieces of information about students experiencing difficulties to have a larger context for what is happening in students’ lives. This, in turn, allows for better consultation with students to refer them to the most appropriate resources. Maximizing student success and student persistence to graduation are among the goals of our collaboration. 

In many instances, students experience levels of anxiety or distress, for which faculty and staff can provide adequate support through empathic listening, facilitating open discussion of problems, and offering basic advice. There are times, however, when students require more serious intervention and support from appropriate staff members. The following guide is intended to provide the Dickinson community with general guidelines for what to do if you are interacting with a student who is experiencing difficulty. d/or Wellness Center personnel. 


LOW (red flag behaviors) 

Evidence of behaviors that may be negatively interfering with academic or personal success and warrant discussion by the Academic Affairs/Student Life team for appropriate support to be provided and information sharing to be facilitated. 

Examples include: 

  • Academic or social performance deteriorating 
  • Missing class frequently 
  • Falling asleep in class 
  • Difficulty adjusting to college life 
  • Significant roommate difficulties 
  • Discussion of transferring 
  • Changes in physical appearance/hygiene 
  • Time management/procrastination 
  • Lack of cooperation when requests are made 
  • Potential leave of absence 
In this category, the line between what is an academic concern and what is a social/personal concern can be blurred, as one often influences the other.  Submit a referral to the CARE Team.  In LOW-level situations, the CARE Team will share this information with the Residence Life staff for follow-up. 

MEDIUM (escalating behaviors) 

Conduct is temporarily manageable but requires an appropriately trained staff member to speak with the student to assess the situation and determine an appropriate response. 
Examples include: 

  • Attempts to instigate fights 
  • Withdrawal from friends 
  • Covert or indirect threats 
  • Physically acting out in anger 
  • Comments about weapons 
  • Increased isolation or irritability 
  • Severe emotional distress 
  • Increased consultation needs 
  • Suspicion of drug abuse or dealing 
  • Alcohol problems that impair social or academic performance 
  • Emotionally erratic behavior 
  • Behaviors that significantly disrupt the classroom or residential community
  • Increased hopelessness or helplessness 
  • Disturbing content in academic work 

Document the situation in as much detail as possible and make a referral online with the CARE Team. 

The CARE Team will convene the necessary parties, decide on the appropriate intervention, and take action based on the assessment of the student. 

While the behaviors in this category are not likely to be immediately life-threatening, they should be reported at the earliest opportunity. 

HIGH (very dangerous behaviors) 

Conduct poses an imminent safety concern for the student in question, others, or the general campus community.  

Examples include: 

  • Clear intent to harm self or others 
  • Physical assault 
  • Intense anger 
  • Overt threats to kill 
  • Showing a weapon 
  • Suicide attempt or expression 
  • Drug or alcohol overdose 
Call the Department of Public Safety immediately at 717-245-1111. Public Safety officers are the emergency responders on campus and are trained to intervene in emergencies. They will also marshal other resources as needed. These resources may include outside law enforcement or medical personnel, the College’s Emergency Response Team, the Student Life staff member on-call, and/or Wellness Center personnel.