For emergencies or immediate safety concerns, call VCU Police at (804) 828-1234 or call 911.
The Dean of Students office can provide assistance to students who are experiencing a variety of concerns, including but not limited to:
- Academic issues (repeated absences from class, missed assignments, academic stress)
- Mental/Physical health issues that are impacting a student’s academic success
- Personal issues (death of a close friend or family member, financial problems)
If you need help yourself or are concerned about a fellow student, share a concern or call the Dean of Students office at (804) 828-8940, and we will assess your concerns during normal business hours to determine the type of follow-up necessary to address them.
Why Should I Share a Concern About a Fellow Student?
All members of the VCU community are encouraged to report behaviors that they feel are concerning or worrisome. We all play a part in maintaining a safe and caring community. This is important because:
- Early intervention means rapid solutions. Often, a quick response to provide a distressed student with timely resources will ensure that the student remains successful academically. Late intervention often involves missed classes, isolation from friends and family, and an overall interruption in the student’s experience.
- We can connect the dots. The Dean of Students office receives reports from all over the university. Our ability to connect your concerns with the concerns of others means we are able to provide a greater level of support for the student.
How Do I Know Who Should be Referred?
Key Questions that May Help Identify a Distressed Student
- Has the student’s personality changed?
- Has the student’s behavior changed?
- Is the change in behavior gradual or is it sudden?
- What kind of support network does the student have?
- Is the student taking steps to improve their situation?
Academic Indicators of a Distressed Student
- Persistent unexplained absences
- Decline in quality/quantity of work
- Extreme disorganization or erratic performance
- Continual seeking of special permission (extensions, make-up work)
- Disproportionate response to grades or other evaluations
Emotional Indicators of a Distressed Student
- Significant change in mood
- Inappropriate emotional outbursts, yelling or aggressive comments
- Withdrawal or isolation from others
- Expression of hopelessness or suicidal thoughts
- Disturbing or disruptive social media comments
Physical Indicators of a Distressed Student
- Deterioration in physical appearance or personal hygiene
- Excessive fatigue, exhaustion
- Noticeable cuts, bruises, burns
- Disorganized speech, rapid or slurred speech, confusion
- Substance use
When Should I Share a Concern?
If you or a fellow student are experiencing a crisis situation, then contact VCU Police immediately at (804) 828-1234 or dial 911. VCU Police Officers are trained specifically to work with students in crisis.
If you need assistance for yourself or if you are concerned for a fellow student, please contact the Dean of Students office by sharing a concern or calling the Dean of Students office at (804) 828-8940 during regular business hours for guidance and support. If you are unsure if you should share a concern, we encourage you to reach out to the Dean of Students office for assistance.
What Happens after a Concern is Shared?
Online reports of concern are forwarded to the appropriate university officials for follow up, depending on the nature of the concern. Please be aware that online reports may not receive an immediate response. In cases of emergency or immediate safety concerns, contact VCU Police at (804) 828-1234. Once the report is reviewed, you may be contacted for additional information. When possible and appropriate, you may be provided with an update on the situation. Information is shared on a need to know basis.
The university operates two interdisciplinary teams of university officials that assess, respond, and manage issues of concern involving students, faculty or staff. The Student Assistance & Support Team (SAS) primarily addresses students exhibiting behavioral or mental health concerns who do not pose a risk of harm to others; whereas the Threat Assessment Team identifies, monitors, and coordinates the management of threats to the university community. It is not your responsibility to determine which team should address a concern or to provide assistance to the student that is beyond your scope of knowledge and ability. If you share a concern, it will be referred to the appropriate team.
Student Assistance & Support Team (SAS)
The Student Assistance & Support (SAS) Team serves the university and individual students by coordinating prevention, intervention, and support efforts to assist students involved in psychological distress, inappropriate behaviors and harm to self. The SAS Team provides a centralized mechanism to review concerns and address the needs of students through a variety of interventions, referrals and follow ups. The team is composed of key personnel from the Division of Student Affairs, University Counseling Services, University Student Health Services, the Office of Student Conduct & Academic Integrity, Residential Life & Housing, VCU Police and other units as deemed appropriate. The team meets weekly and is available to faculty, staff, or students for case consultation to address significant student situations. Information shared is limited in its dissemination on a need-to-know basis. Concerns should be submitted via the share a concern form.
Threat Assessment Team (TAT)
Pursuant to the Code of Virginia Section § 23.1-805, the university has designated its Threat Assessment and Management Team and Violence Prevention Committee (TAT) to establish procedures for the prevention of violence on campus, including assessment of and intervention with individuals whose behavior poses a threat to the safety of the university community. The university has charged TAT with identifying, monitoring and coordinating the management of threats to the university community.
The Senior Vice Provost for Student Affairs and Chief of VCU Police co-chair TAT, and its membership includes representatives from student affairs, university police, human resources, counseling services, residence life, and others as determined necessary by co-chairs. University legal counsel attends TAT meetings, in an advisory capacity, as available.
Report to TAT information about a threat to the safety of any student, employee or campus visitor that does not require an immediate response. Share a concern or call the Dean of Students office at (804) 828-8940 during regular business hours.