Students of Concern

Faculty, staff, and students play a critical role in helping students who are in distress. The demonstration of care, concern, and compassion for a student in distress is an important factor toward a student seeking the assistance they need. The SUNY OW CARE Team is a campus resource dedicated to assisting students who may be in distress or experiencing challenging or difficult life circumstances. The SUNY OW CARE team may also provide consultation and intervention when students exhibit aggressive, concerning, or disruptive behaviors. The primary focus of the CARE team is to take a proactive approach in identifying students who are struggling and provide early intervention, resources, and referrals, both on campus and in the local community.

Please note: In emergency situations, your first course of action should always be to notify University Police at x3333.

When to Make a Report

The following behaviors can all be important and critical signs of distress. As a member of the SUNY Old Westbury community, you may notice a student exhibiting one or more of the academic, physical, or emotional signs and decide that something is clearly wrong:

Troubling Behaviors

  • Student that is constantly falling asleep in class
  • A dramatic change in energy level (high or low)
  • Deterioration in personal hygiene or physical appearance
  • Frequent state of alcohol intoxication or substance abuse
  • Potential self-harm: noticeable cuts, bruises or burns on a student
  • Repeated absences from class, work study, or normal activities
  • Apathy/extreme change in participation levels
  • Student seeking frequent extensions or exceptions for extenuating circumstances
  • Student sending communication such as frequent, lengthy, “ranting” or agitated types of emails to professors, advisors, coachers, or work supervisors
  • Emotional outbursts (anger or hostility, frequent crying)
  • Extreme personality changes; more withdrawn or more animated than usual
  • Expressed hopelessness, fear or worthlessness; themes of suicide, death and dying
  • Direct statements related to distress, family issues, or other difficulties

Disruptive Behaviors

  • Interferes with or disrupts the educational process and rights of other students or the normal functions of the University
  • Demanding, verbally abusive, bullying or intimidating behaviors
  • Displays of extreme irritability
  • Irrational or impulsive behaviors

Threatening Behaviors

  • Signs of physical abuse
  • Physical/verbal confrontations
  • Direct threats of harming self or others
  • Concerns about references to access or use of a weapon or act of violence
  • Threatening communication

It is important to note that the University does not expect you to assume the role of counselor, therapist or police officer. For those responsibilities, SUNY Old Westbury has trained professionals who are ready to assist you with students who are of concern to you.

These concerning behaviors, especially when more than one are present, may be signs that a student is in distress. There are many resources available at SUNY OW to help.

Your confidential report to SUNY OW’s CARE Team can make a difference.

What Can You Do to Assist a Distressed Student?

When you are concerned about a student’s behavior, please use the SUNY OW CARE Team Student of Concern Report.

Reminder: In emergency situations, your first course of action should always be to notify University Police at x3333.