When do I refer a student?


Students can be referred to the Dean of Students office when they seem to be struggling emotionally, academically, or otherwise. If you have noticed changes in a student’s behavior over time or if you notice a student appears withdrawn, sullen, upset or depressed, you may wish to consider referring that student. Additionally, if a student is engaging in aggressive or inappropriate behaviors, is violating boundaries you have set, or fails  to comply with your requests, it is important you refer that student.

In some circumstances you may provide us with information about a student’s behavior that violate the Student Conduct Code. When appropriate, those cases will be referred to the Student Conduct office. The conduct process is another way a student can receive assistance, referrals and follow-up.

It is important to know that you do not need to make this decision on your own.  If you are concerned about when to bring a student to the attention of the CARE Team, just give us a call. We will provide consultation under all circumstances.


How do I refer a student

You may refer a student by using the online form to share your concerns. If you submit the form online you will have the option of remaining anonymous. You may also contact the CARE Team by calling the Dean of Students office directly at 323-343-3103.

What happens after I refer a student?

Once we receive information from a concerned person we may request additional information from that individual prior to contacting the student. When appropriate, a staff member will reach out to the student and invite them to meet. During the meeting, we typically provide the student with referrals and resources and offer additional follow-up.

Students exhibiting behaviors that may require further attention beyond resources and referrals may be discussed during a CARE Team meeting. The team may make additional recommendations that will be facilitated via contact with the student. Some behaviors may violate the Student Conduct Code, in which case the Student Conduct office will be notified and their process followed in parallel with CARE Team interventions.

In extreme cases, students may be encouraged to withdraw from courses to focus on addressing their problems. It is the goal of the CARE Team to act out of care and concern with prevention in mind. The primary goal is to get students connected with resources and referrals before they start exhibiting signs of severe distress.


Will someone notify me about what actions have been taken and what the outcome will be?

We will gladly answer general and specific questions you may have. It is important to note that we may not be able to share all of the details or outcomes; however, we rely on you to contact us if you have questions. We recommend that, whenever possible, you wait approximately one week before contacting us with questions. There are some cases that are more pressing, so you can call us anytime you need information sooner.


Doesn't FERPA prevent me from sharing information about a student?

One of the most important things to understand about FERPA is that what a college official sees, hears, experiences or personally observes is not governed by FERPA – at all – unless it is drawn from a written or recorded source or it is subsequently memorialized in a written or recorded form. At that point, release of information from the written or recorded version is governed by FERPA. What the official saw, heard or observed can still be shared with anyone deemed appropriate. It is not part of an educational record.


Is there an emergency health and safety exception to FERPA?

When there is a credible threat to the health and/or safety of a student, the campus, or any member of the campus community, FERPA authorizes college officials to release information from educational records, to anyone necessary, to avert the threat.

Prior to Virginia Tech, this provision was construed narrowly; subsequent changes to FERPA have relaxed this stance.  The Family Policy Compliance Office will now be hands-off, showing deference to college officials’ determination of what constitutes an emergency and what information needs to be released to whom.

If you would like additional information regarding FERPA, please review the website for the Office of the Registrar or contact the office of the University Counsel at (323)343-3054.