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Supporting Students in Distress

» How to Support Students in Distress as a Staff or Faculty Member

Connecting to Campus Resources

See something. Say something. Do something.

Chapman faculty and staff are uniquely positioned to witness changes in students’ well-being, behavior, and level of participation in class and in everyday activities. If you see an abrupt change or become concerned about a student's behavior, take the first step in seeking assistance for that student by sharing your concern directly with the student. Students may be unsure if they should ask for help or unsure how to do so. You can make referrals and remind the student that we are a community that cares about one another. Use guidelines on this site to frame your conversation.

After identifying concerning behaviors and connecting with the student directly if possible, Chapman staff members and faculty memberscan help the Dean of Students Office provide a coordinated response by notifying appropriate staff of your concern by filling out a Student Concern Informational Report. The context you provide may help staff address the concern more efficiently.

Once you connect a student to the Student Concerns Intervention Team (SCIT), Student Psychological Counseling Services (SPCS), or the Dean of Students Office, the student will be encouraged to meet with a staff member or administrator possibly more than once. Connecting a student to resources is only the first step in what can be a lengthy process. You may not see an immediate change or receive updates, but the University does take student well-being seriously and will follow up with the student directly.

If you feel a student’s current state has declined, or you think they need more support after making your initial referral, you may submit a follow-up a Student Concern Informational Report online to inform staff members of your ongoing or new concerns. However, if you feel the student has declined significantly and is now in a state of emergency, please call the appropriate authority: 911 for life-threatening emergencies or Public Safety’s 24/7 dispatch at 714-997-6763. Thank you for keeping our campus community safe, and thank you for looking out for the well-being of Chapman students.


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When to Connect Students to Resources

Understanding Your Role

As a staff or faculty member, please connect to campus resources regarding a student you are concerned about in the following situations:

  • You realize that the student is in crisis or has significant problems that you feel requires professional help, and you are unable to handle them yourself
  • You recognize that the student has persistent problems which do not appear to get better with your help, or are getting worse
  • You see that the student is unwilling to take responsibility for their behavior or seems unable to recognize the impact their negative behavior has on themselves and others

A Note on Confidentiality

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) permits communication between appropriate faculty and staff about a student’s well-being or concerning behavior in a health or safety emergency. Observations of a student’s conduct or statements made by a student are not FERPA protected. Please share such information with appropriate parties on campus, such as the Dean of Students Office, if you have a health or safety concern to seek advice on how to handle the situation and so that the staff may offer resources and support.

Sexual Misconduct and Title IX Obligations

Chapman is committed to fostering a campus free of sexual misconduct in all of its forms. Faculty and staff who receive information about potential harassment, discrimination, or sexual misconduct or who are otherwise concerned that a member of the Chapman community may have engaged in or been affected by sexual harassment, discrimination, or sexual misconduct are required to report to a Title IX Coordinator. Learn more at the Title IX website.

Steps for Referring Students to Resources

Staff and faculty members here at Chapman have an opportunity to connect with students and help students engage in help-seeking behavior by sharing information with students about campus resources. Consider these steps for making a proper referral.


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Scope of Campus Services


Learn more about campus services and referral processes to assist students with physical and mental health concerns.

Late Withdrawal Petition Process


Learn more about the late withdrawal petition process through the Dean of Students Office for students experiencing significant personal, medical, or family difficulties.

Concerned about a student?


Fill out the form linked below to help us identify students of concern.

Student Concern
Informational Report »

Is this an emergency?


If you are dealing with a life-threatening emergency, call 911 immediately or directly call one of the following offices on campus:

Public Safety 
(714) 997-6763
(all calls after regular business hours and on the weekends should be directed to Public Safety) 

Dean of Students Office
(714) 997-6721 
(regular business hours)

Residence Life and First Year Experience
(714) 997-6603  
(regular business hours)