Utah State University President Noelle Cockett released a “resource guide” Thursday to guide faculty and staff through helping distressed students, specifically those dealing with mental health or sexual assault-related issues.
The guide, which was sent via email to all university faculty and staff, comes at a time when mental health and sexual assault are at the forefront of societal topics, Cockett said, mentioning the issue is situated “With growing awareness about the prevalence of mental health issues and sexual violence on college campuses.”
Though university faculty and staff have long been required to alert the school’s Affirmative Action office of “any allegations of sexual misconduct,” the guide serves to provide its recipients with telltale signs of students in distress, as well as resources to help the student and protect the safety of those around them.
The four-page electronic document first lists USU’s “Think, Care, Act” slogan, encouraging those faced with distressed students to notice warning signs of dangerous behavior or troubling circumstances, show care for the student and contact appropriate resources.
“Your expression of concern may be a critical factor in saving a student’s academic career or even their life,” the document states.
The document emphasizes the necessity of following official procedures — such as reporting sexual misconduct to Affirmative Action, as well as filing reports with the “Behavior Intervention Team” and contacting USU Police when necessary. It also recommends faculty and staff “Always document your interactions with distressed students and consult with your department chair/supervisor after any incident.”
Similarly, the document reminds faculty and staff “The Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) permits communication about a student of concern in connection with a health and safety emergency. Observations of a student’s conduct or statements made by a student are not FERPA protected.”
In addition to listing resources, the document points out “distress indicators” of students in academic and personal circumstances. Though it focuses on the USU Logan campus, the document also points out resources and protocol for regional campuses.
While outlining procedures and warning signs for faculty and staff, the guide also lists confidential resources for students, such as:
COUNSELING AND PSYCHOLOGICAL SERVICES (CAPS)
USU HEALTH AND WELLNESS CENTER
LOGAN REGIONAL HOSPITAL
SEXUAL ASSAULT AND ANTI-VIOLENCE INFORMATION (SAAVI)
NATIONAL SUICIDE PREVENTION LIFELINE