What happens once I refer a student? Once a referral is submitted, it is shared with staff in Student Care and Outreach and the Dean of Students Office. Depending on the circumstances, the concerns may also be shared with other professional staff who will assist in providing support. Once reviewed, an assigned staff member will typically contact the person reporting the concern to thank and update them on next steps. This typically happens within one to two business days of the referral being made. Based on the information provided, the assigned staff member may reach out to the involved student directly or work with other colleagues in Student Life to discuss the concerns that have been shared. These meetings are generally non-confrontational and are designed to help the student navigate any additional difficulties they may be experiencing. Not all referrals result in a face-to-face meeting with the student. In many situations, staff can and do provide consultation advice to the person sharing the concern and ask that they follow-up with additional resources to make sure the student is aware of appropriate campus resources.
I’m concerned about how the student will react when they learn I referred them. Can you keep my name out of it? Yes, but we’d prefer not to. Many faculty and staff express concern that a student will over-react when the student learns that a concern has been shared (perhaps by expressing anger toward the faculty/staff member individually). In most cases, this concern is unfounded and the student appreciates the concern has been expressed. Almost all students referred express their understanding that the referral was made based on a concern for them personally and because someone in the community cares enough to get them help. While referrals can be made anonymously, the fact is that sharing specific concerns with a student about their behavior is very difficult without also sharing information about the source of that information (at least generally). If you have specific concerns about how your name might be used as part of the referral conversation, please contact our office prior to submitting a referral.
I have a student who is being very disruptive during class. Can I have them removed from my section? In most cases, no – not unless their are significant safety concerns. While some classroom disruptions can be signs of a student in distress, many are simply acts of ignorance or disrespect that do not indicate a higher level of concern. Common examples include arriving late to class, inappropriate comments or questions, and interrupting the lecture or discussion. By sharing your concerns with the student in a private setting, you’ll have an opportunity to assess whether the student would benefit from additional support. If you experience disruptive behavior that raises significant concerns for safety, contact our office or the Dean of Students at (336)-278-7200. Often, early intervention is the best strategy for deescalating situations that might result in violence.
I already talked to a student and referred them to Counseling Services. Should I still share my concerns with your office? Yes. Although our office maintains a very close relationship with Counseling Services and other campus resources, your referral will do two things: First, you are enhancing the odds that the student will maintain a connection with the resource provided (e.g. the student is less likely to show up once and then leave). Second, you ensure that your information is connected with other concerns shared about the student so those working with the student have a fuller picture of the issues involved. The best way to think about sharing a concern is as a way to document that you connected the student with a certain resource. As a side note, don’t rely on a student’s assurance that they will visit with Counseling Services. Our advice is always to set up a follow-up appointment/meeting with a student to talk through how things are going and to discuss other helpful referrals.
I received a call from my student’s parent. What can/should I share? Generally, FERPA (a federal privacy regulation) prohibits Elon from disclosing student education records (or information from student records) to anyone other than the student to whom the records pertain, unless Elon has the student’s consent or a special exception applies. This includes grades, transcripts, and records about the student’s attendance. If a parent has called and shared a concern for their student, encourage them to contact our office for guidance on how we can best support the student. NOTE: There is one special exception worth mentioning here. Faculty and Staff are allowed to disclose student educational records to University Officials with a “legitimate educational interest” – meaning, a person at the University who needs this information to adequately perform their job functions or duties. Elon has determined that staff within Student Care and Outreach have a “legitimate educational interest” in any educational records related to students brought to their attention or when they are managing their situations. As a result, any records relating to that student (including performance, attendance, behavior in class, etc.) can and should be disclosed.