What you can do in an escalating situation

These are some things that you can do when you notice the situation is escalating:

  • If you are concerned that a student may be violent, do not arrange to meet with her/him until you have consulted senior personnel or campus security to determine if this is an appropriate course of action.
  • If a student seems to become angry during a meeting, use a time-­‐out strategy (ask the student to reschedule a meeting with you after s/he has taken more time to think about her/his response).
  • Stay calm and set limits (explain clearly and directly what behaviours are acceptable).
  • Enlist the help of a co-­‐worker (avoid meeting alone or in a private office with the student).
  • If you feel it is appropriate to continue meeting with a distressed student, remain in an open area with a visible means of escape (remain at a safe distance, sit closest to the door, and keep a phone available to call for help).

Assess your level of safety and be cognizant of your intuition. Call the campus security/local police if you feel the student may harm her/himself, someone else, or you.

Times of year that can feel more stressful for students:

September – October
These months are particularly high stress for first year students and students in general as they settle into the new academic year.

Quite often, during this month, students write their mid-­‐terms and submit major assignments.

End of Semester
Typically as the end of each semester closes, students are under increased stress academically and also financially.

End of the Year
This is the most intense period of the year when students write all the final examinations for their full year courses.

End of Final Year
Students transitioning out of the University may be concerned about their career and life outside of the University.

Depending on Discipline: around thesis/major research project deadlines