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Division of Student Affairs

CARE Team Questions

The CARE Team

A team of professionals is prepared to help disruptive students or students in distress.

The Crisis Assessment Referral and Evaluation Team or CARE Team was created to address student behavioral concerns that may negatively impact the campus learning environment or potentially harm the health, welfare and safety of members of the University community or the individual(s) exhibiting such behaviors.


Here are answers to common questions about the CARE team.

When should faculty and staff consider making a referral?

If you identify distressed or disruptive behavior in a student, which does not necessitate an immediate response, you may refer to the CARE Team.

How can I identify and respond to a student in distress?

A student who is distressed may seem troubled, confused, severely depressed, highly anxious, and irritable. Distressed students often lack motivation and/or concentration and may demonstrate bizarre behavior or have suicidal inclinations.

Warning signs of a distressed student

  • A sudden change from passing grades to poor performance
  • Excessive absence from a previously consistent attendance
  • Avoidance of participation, anxiety, or dominance of discussions in class
  • Increase or decrease in energy level or sleeping in class
  • Depression, rapid speech, swollen red eyes, or change in personal hygiene
  • Unusual or exaggerated emotional responses that are inappropriate to the situation
  • Highly emotional or repeated requests for special consideration

How should I handle a student in distress?

For students who appear to be distressed, it is appropriate to consider the following responses.

  • Deal directly with the behavior or problem according to your established classroom protocol as outlined in the course syllabus
  • Address the situation on a more personal level before or after class, rather than in front of a student audience
  • Consult with a colleague, academic department head, the Director of Student Judicial Affairs, or a professional at The Counseling Center
  • Refer the student to one of the CARE Team or Student Judicial Affairs

What makes a student disruptive and how should I respond?

A student who meets this criterion may be engaging in conduct that is visibly disruptive or dangerous and may include verbal or physical threats. In some instances, the student may even make active threats of suicide or be resistant to help when offered.

What are the warning signs of a disruptive student?

A disruptive student exhibits behaviors that signify an obvious crisis and that necessitate emergency CARE. These problems are the easiest to identify. Examples include:

  • Highly disruptive behavior which may include hostility, aggression towards others, or in serious cases, violent outbursts
  • Garbled or slurred speech with unconnected or disjointed thoughts and rambling
  • Loss of contact with reality such as seeing or hearing things that are not witnessed or heard by others present and may also include holding beliefs or engaging in actions that are not consistent with reality or that a reasonable person would perceive to be probable
  • Stalking behavior or repeated unwelcome advances
  • Inappropriate communications including threatening or intimidating messages, e-mails, or verbal harassment
  • Suicidal ideations expressed verbally or in classroom assignments
  • Threats to harm self or others

 How should I respond to a disruptive student?

  • Remain calm and know who to call for help if necessary.
  • Find someone to stay with while the student and make calls to the appropriate resource
  • Remember that it is not your responsibility to provide professional counsel
  • Your priority is to connect the student with the resource best suited to address the concern
  • If a student expresses a direct threat to themselves or others, or acts in a bizarre, highly irrational or disruptive way, contact UAPD or 911 immediately.

When and how can I refer a student to the Counseling Center?

While many students may refer themselves to the Counseling Center if they are able to identify an issue, it is not a guarantee that all students will seek assistance in times of personal crisis. If a student is noticeably distressed, here are the roles you can play in helping the student recognize the benefits of considering counseling services:

  • Recommend the Counseling Center to the student as an available option
  • Determine the student’s willingness to meet with a representative from the Counseling Center
  • Reassure the student that it is an act of strength to ask for help and seek assistance
  • Dispute the myth that only “weak or crazy” people go for counseling for personal help
  • Remind them that the Counseling Center resources are free and confidential services
  • Offer to help make the initial contact with the Counseling Center for them

For more tips on identifying distressed students and when and how it is appropriate to make a counseling referral, please review the referral recommendations offered by the Counseling Center.

How can I make a referral?

Make a referral by contacting:

  • Denine M. Rocco, ext. 6048
    Associate Vice President and Dean of Students
  • Or fill out the online form.

When reporting information to the CARE Team, please provide the following information to help the team with their assessment and response:

  • Incident description
  • Primary contact
  • Victim(s) information
  • Possible offender(s)
  • Other individual(s) affected

What happens when a referral is made?

The CARE Team will evaluate the referral and determine the appropriate response and identify who is responsible for contact and outreach to the individuals affected, parents if necessary, and if notification to the President and other University officials is warranted.

Recognizing that individual situations may be unique and sensitive to a variety of student needs, the CARE Team may consult University departments with whom partnerships have been established to ensure a coordinated response to students and parents. In some cases, the student may simply be referred to a member of the CARE Team who may have exclusive training or skill sets best suited to serve the students needs.


Have further questions?

Please call:

  • Denine M. Rocco, ext. 6048

The University of Akron

Akron, OH 44325
Phone: 330-972-7111
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