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Student Affairs

Student Care Guide

 College students encounter a great deal of stress during the course of their academic experience. While most students successfully cope with challenges that may arise, an increasing number of students find academic and social transitions difficult. In addition, COVID-19 has impacted the mental health of many students across the country. According to a recent Active Minds study, students reported stress, anxiety, disappointment, sadness, loneliness, and isolation among negative mental health outcomes. The following is a guide developed to aid faculty and staff in assisting students that are experiencing difficulties. It is important to note that the information in the guide may not address every situation one may encounter with a student.

With that in mind, in the event you believe that a student may be in danger, contact Rollins Campus Safety at 407-646-2999 or the Winter Park Police Department at 911.

Distressed Students

A student in distress may exhibit behaviors, which suggests that something is wrong, show signs of emotional distress, and indicate that assistance is needed. If you see something, whether in person, or virtuallysay something. Use this guide and information below to help you help students gain the assistance they need.

What are some signs a student may be in distress?

A student may not be disruptive to others, but may exhibit behaviors which suggests that something is wrong, show signs of emotional distress, and indicate that assistance is needed. They may also be reluctant or unable to acknowledge a need for personal help.

Behaviors may include:

  • Change in academic performance (such as a change in grades or sudden unaccountability and poor performance).
  • Excessive absences, especially if the student has previously demonstrated consistent attendance.
  • Unusual or markedly changed patterns of interaction (e.g. avoidance of participation, excessive anxiety, domination of discussion, dependency-excessive appointments).
  • Trouble managing stress successfully.
  • Signs of depression (lethargic mood and lack of energy).
  • Attention issues or rapid speech.
  • Marked change in personal dress or hygiene.
  • Expressed uncertainty about emotional stability, family issues or relationship problems.
  • Appearing uncomfortable or highly emotional.
  • Unusual or exaggerated emotional responses, or high levels of irritability.
  • Repeated requests for special considerations.
  • New or repeated behavior which pushes the limits of decorum and which interferes with effective management of the immediate environment (e.g. aggressive or abrasive behavior).

How should I respond to a distressed student?

For students who are mildly or moderately distressed (not an immediate threat to self or others), you can submit a Student of Concern Report, or call Dean of Students/Student and Family Care office at 407-646-2345. You can submit a student of concern report for any student, whether they are face to face, or fully virtual. If in doubt, contact Campus Safety at 407-646-2999.

  • Deal directly with the behavior/problem.
  • Address the situation on a personal level.
  • If the student does not pose a threat, discuss the situation with the student to address the inappropriate behavior.
  • If needed, ask the student to leave the room and report the situation to the Assistant Vice President for Care/Dean of Students, or call Campus Safety 24/7.

Disruptive Students

A disruptive student may seem severely distressed or exhibit behaviors that signify a crisis that necessitates emergency care.

What are warning signs of disruptive student behavior?

Disruptive students exhibit behaviors that signify a crisis and that necessitate emergency care.

Behaviors may include:

  • Highly disruptive behaviors (e.g. hostility, aggression, violence, etc.).
  • Inability to communicate clearly (garbled, slurred speech, unconnected, disjointed thoughts).
  • Stalking or obsessive behaviors.
  • Threats to harm self or others.
  • Loss of contact with reality (seeing or hearing things which others cannot see or hear, beliefs or actions that are greatly at odds with reality or probability).
  • Inappropriate communication (including threatening letters, email messages, social media, harassment).
  • Taking pleasure in making others feel uncomfortable through their language or actions.
  • Suicidal thoughts (including referring to suicide as a current option in a written assignment).
  • Note: Negative behaviors are typically and likely not isolated to just one class. It is quite probable that a student is also acting out in other classes, on campus, in their residential hall, or missing practices, rehearsals or meetings. 

How should I respond to a disruptive student?

Remain calm and call for help if necessary.

  • Find someone to stay with the student while calls to appropriate resources are made (see referral section).
  • Remember that it is NOT your responsibility to provide the professional help needed for a severely troubled/disruptive student. Responding to a disruptive student does not rest on your shoulders. You only need to make the necessary call and request assistance.
  • When a student expresses a direct threat to themselves or others, acts in bizarre, highly irrational or disruptive way, call Campus Safety at 407-646-2999 or 911.

How should I respond when a student is disrupting my class?

Faculty members have broad authority to manage their classrooms and establish reasonable guidelines for classroom discussions that ensure everyone has an opportunity to participate in an orderly manner.

  • If you believe a student’s behavior is inappropriate, consider a general word or caution rather than singling out a student or embarrassing a student. Keep verbal interactions respectful. It is natural for educators to experience feelings of defensiveness, embarrassment, anxiety, or irritation when attempting to talk down a student from an emotional outburst. However, you should strive to appear calm and to treat the student respectfully at all times. Avoid use of teasing, reprimands, or other negative comments and abstain as well from sarcasm or an angry tone of voice.
  • If the behavior is irritating but not disruptive, speak to the student after class. Identify the student’s wants and feelings. Use communication tools such as active listening (e.g., “Let me repeat back to you what I thought I heard you say ....”), open-ended questions (e.g., “What do you need right now to be able to calm yourself?”), and labeling of emotions (“You look angry. Tell me what is bothering you.”) to better understand how the student feels and what may be driving the current emotional outburst.
  • If a student’s behavior reached the point that it interferes with your ability to teach or other students ability to benefit from the class, the student should be asked to leave the room for the remainder of the class period. The student should be provided with a reason for this action and an opportunity to discuss the matter with the faculty member as soon as practical. In such situations, contact the Assistant Vice President for Care/Dean of Students.

Current Social Issues

Please check back here for information regarding how students might be struggling due to current social issues (COVID-19, Racial Justice, ETC.).  

For the time being please consult the COVID-19 Faculty Page for helpful information.  

Additionally, please review the Center for Inclusion and Campus Involvement's Web Page for helpful information regarding Racial Justice. 

 If a student shares any event believed to have been hate- or bias-motivated at Rollins College please submit a Bias Incident Report Form

Title IX & Disclosures

Discrimination on the Basis of Sex, Including Sexual Harassment, Sexual Assault, Relationship Abuse, and Stalking

Rollins is committed to creating and maintaining a safe, healthy, and respectful environment in which our community can work together in an atmosphere free from discrimination. Sexual harassment – which includes sexual assault, dating violence, domestic violence, and stalking – is a form of sex-based discrimination. Any member of the community who is affected by sexual harassment, sexual assault, relationship abuse, or stalking is encouraged to seek immediate medical attention and/or to notify law enforcement as appropriate. In addition, all individuals are encouraged to promptly report incidents to the Office of Title IX, so we can provide supportive measures, stop unwanted behavior, prevent future incidents, and address the impact of violence on our community.

Required Reporters

All employees (including faculty, staff, resident assistants, and peer mentors) are considered “required reporters,” which means you are required to share information regarding sexual assault, relationship abuse, stalking, sexual harassment, and other forms of sex-based and gender-based discrimination with the Title IX Coordinator. Confidential on-campus resources (Wellness Center, Cornell Counseling Clinic, Dean of Religious & Spiritual Life, and designated confidential faculty [Drs. Caitlyn Bennett, Kathryn Norsworthy, Derrick Paladino, and Samuel Sanabria]) are not required to contact the Title IX Coordinator.

If a student discloses to you, let them know you have to share the information with the Office of Title IX. Assure the student that every effort will be made to respect their privacy. Let the student know that the Office of Title IX will contact them directly. Required reporters are required to share the following information with the Title IX Coordinator:

  • Name of student and other involved parties
  • Information about the incident (date, nature of the incident, and any other details provided)
  • Other helpful information (for example, “the student wanted to speak with a counselor, so we called the Wellness Center”)

Information can be shared with Title IX Coordinator Sarah Laake by submitting an online reporting form, emailing, or calling 407-691-1773. For more information, please visit

How should I respond if a student discloses sexual assault, relationship abuse, stalking, or sexual harassment?

You may be the first or only person with whom the student shares their experience. It is not always easy to know what to say when someone discloses victimization. Use the following ways of showing support:

  • Let Them Know You Are a Required Reporter: Be honest with the student about sharing information with the Title IX Coordinator. Assure them that their privacy will be respected. Tell them you are not a confidential resource, and let them know that you can connect them to confidential support.
  • Assess Safety: Determine if the student needs immediate medical attention and has a safe place to go.
  • Listen and Be Present: Listen patiently and give the student your full attention. Resist the urge to say or do something to fix the situation or ask a lot of questions.
  • Believe Them: Accept the student’s experience without question or doubt. Communicate without judgment. Check your reactions to what they are sharing.
  • Express Empathy and Compassion: Express your feelings of empathy without contributing to feelings of victimization or blame. Say things like: “I’m sorry this happened to you,” “I am here to listen and help in any way I can,” and “It’s not your fault.”
  • Empower Them: Present the resources available and allow the student to make the right decisions for themselves. Avoid offering advice or making assumptions because each person’s story and personal experience are unique.
  • Provide Resources: Refer the student to professional resources such as a mental health counselor, doctor, hospital, or local victim service center if they are in need of medical treatment or support services.
  • Be Patient: There is no timetable for recovering from trauma. Avoid putting pressure on the student to engage in activities for which they are not ready.
  • Follow Up: Show your support by checking in occasionally to remind the student you care and ask if there is anything with which you may be able to help.
  • Self-Care: Both you and the student will need to practice good physical and emotional self-care.

On-Campus Confidential Resources

Rollins Wellness Center: Provides students with free one-on-one and group counseling for mental health concerns, as well as access to medical care, Plan B, and STD/STI testing. Confidentiality laws protect the conversations individuals have with a counselor or medical staff in the course of care or treatment. To speak to the Wellness Center during normal business hours, call 407-628-6340, email, or visit the office at 118 W. Fairbanks Avenue. In a mental health emergency, call 911, After-Hours Crisis Phone 833-848-1761, Lifeline of Central Florida 407-425-2624, or Campus Safety 407-646-2999.

Cornell Counseling Clinic: Provides free, private, confidential individual counseling to Holt and Crummer students, including evening hours. The Cornell Counseling Clinic can be reached at 407- 646-2134 or In a mental health emergency, call 911, After-Hours Crisis Phone 833-848-1761, Lifeline of Central Florida 407-425-2624, or Campus Safety 407-646-2999.

Dean of Religious & Spiritual Life: Reverend Katrina Jenkins offers confidential pastoral counseling and can be reached at 407-646-2440 or

Employee Assistance Program (EAP): Counseling, life coaching, legal and financial services, and family care, and other resources for faculty, staff, and their household members. Call 877-398-5816 or visit to access the services. User name: ICUBA; password: 8773985816.

Off-Campus Confidential Resources

Victim Service Center of Central Florida: 24-hour sexual assault helpline 407-500-4325;

Harbor House of Central Florida: 24-hour domestic abuse crisis hotline 407-886-2856;

Zebra Coalition: LGBTQ+ resource 407-228-1446;

Planned Parenthood East Orlando Health Center: Healthcare and sex education 407-246-1788;

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