Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some answers to common questions about the Marymount Student 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 the matter to the Marymount Student Care Team. If there are perceived concerns regarding the mental and /or physical health, welfare or safety of a student, you may refer the matter to the Student 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.

Possible warning signs of a distressed student

  • A sudden change from passing grades to poor performance
  • Excessive absence from 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

Handling 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 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 Conduct and Academic Integrity, or a professional counselor at the Counseling Center

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.

Possible warning signs of a disruptive student
A disruptive student exhibits behaviors that signify an obvious crisis and that necessitate immediate support.  These problems are the easiest to identify.  Examples may include but are not limited to:

  • Highly disruptive behavior which may include hostility, aggression toward others, or in serious cases, violent outbursts
  • Garbled or slurred speech with unconnected or disjoined 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, emails, or verbal harassment
  • Suicidal ideations expressed verbally or in class assignments
  • Threat to harm self or others

Responding to a disruptive student

  • Remain calm and know who to call for help if necessary
  • Find someone to stay with 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 Campus Safety at (703) 284-1600 or call 911 immediately

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


Listen carefully to what the student is troubled about and try to see the issue from the student’s point of view without necessarily agreeing or disagreeing. The Counseling Center provides free and confidential support for all registered students.

If the student is receptive, you can suggest calling for a counseling appointment at that moment, or walking the student to the Counseling Center. You may even offer to contact a counselor and provide background information.

If the student appears hesitant, ask them about their fears or concerns about seeing a counselor. Addressing these concerns can help to eliminate barriers to seeking help.

How can I make a Marymount Student Care Team referral?


Make a referral by clicking on the following link:


You may also contact the Team Chair at (703) 908-7670 for consultation during regular business hours.

If you have an urgent questions/concern after hours, please call Campus Safety at (703) 284-1600 or 911 if there’s an emergency.

What happens when a referral is made?


The Marymount University Student Care Team will evaluate the referral and determine the appropriate response.  In addition, they will identify who is responsible for contact and outreach to the individuals affected.  The team then takes appropriate action to support the student as well as protect the safety and welfare of the University community.

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

Individuals submitting referrals will be notified by a member of the team as to the status of the referral and may be asked to provide additional information or details that could be helpful to the situation.

What about privacy?


The Family Educational Rights & Privacy Act (FERPA) permits the following:

  • Marymount faculty and staff may disclose personal identifiable information from an educational record to appropriate individuals in connection with a health and safety emergency
  • Information may be released to parents, police, or others if knowledge of the information is necessary to protect the health and safety of the student or other individuals
  • Observations of student’s conduct or statements made by a student are not educational records and therefore not FERPA protected. Such information should be shared with University personnel when there is a specific need to know with appropriate consideration for student privacy.